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The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during WWII was one of the worst violations of civil rights against citizens in the history of the United States. The government and the US Army, falsely citing “military necessity,” locked up over 110,000 men, women and children in ten remote camps controlled by the War Relocation Administration and four male-only camps controlled by the Justice Department. These Americans were never convicted or even charged with any crime, yet were incarcerated for up to four years in prison camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.
The story of these camps has become better known after President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and President George H.W. Bush issued a formal apology and token monetary compensation to all former internees. However, the events and causes of this tragic page in history must never be forgotten. If we can understand what occurred and why, we can ensure that a similar denial of civil rights will never happen to any future generation of Americans.
This website contains information about one of the WRA camps, Topaz, which was located 16 miles northwest of Delta in central Utah, on the lip of the Great Basin. Topaz processed 11,212 people through the camp while it was in operation from September 11, 1942 to October 31, 1945.
The Topaz Museum Board, a non-profit, volunteer organization, owns 634 acres of the Topaz site, which was one square mile. The camp begins at 10000 West 4500 North, outside of Delta, Utah. The Topaz Museum is located at 55 West Main, Delta, Utah. There is no admission fee, but donations are encouraged.