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Topaz Relocation Camp, Foundations, 1995, panoramic photo collage, 31"x72".

Research: Topaz Relocation Camp

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Location: Millard County, Utah, near Abraham, 140 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Land: Mix of public domain land, land which had reverted to the county for non payment of taxes and land purchased from private parties.

Size: 19,800 acres.

Climate: Temperatures ranged from 106 degrees in summer to -30 degrees in winter; located at an elevation of 4,600 feet, the region was subject to a constant wind that resulted in frequent dust storms.

Population origins: Primarily California:

Alameda County County (3,679)
San Francisco County (3,370)
San Mateo County (722)

The population was almost completely urban in origin.

Peak population: 8,130.

Date of peak: March 17, 1943.

Opening Date: September 11, 1942.

Closing Date: October 31, 1945.

Project director(s): Charles F. Ernst and Luther T. Hoffman.

Community Analysts: Oscar F. Hoffman and Weston LaBarre.

Newpaper(s): Topaz Times (September 17, 1942 to August 31, 1945).

% who answered question 28 of the loyalty questionnaire positively: 89.4%

Number and percentage of eligible citizen males inducted directly into armed forces: 472 (7.3%).

History: Topaz featured an organized protest against the registration questionnaire, in which a petition was circulated demanding the restoration of rights as a prerequisite for registration. Issei chef James Hatsuki Wakasa was shot to death by a guard on April 11, 1943. The literary and arts magazine Trek was produced here.

Source: Japanese American History: An A to Z Reference, 1868 to the Present, by Brian Niiya. New York: Facts on File, 1993

Edited for exhibition by Masumi Hayashi, 1994.

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