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tv   Book Discussion on The Train to Crystal City  CSPAN  April 1, 2015 12:14am-1:02am EDT

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and a lot of the situations, we did get to hear from him. we have the letters quite frankly i don't know what documents they would have had because they were wire the company to some of them so late. so even though they didn't participate researching this was really important to me and a lot of this was out there. and there was just some stuff out there. >> in the depositions, and you can tell there's a lot of lawyers and its such a common typo that people make. i went through the book and i had to make sure that there was nothing there. i do not believe that there is a
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relation. but it's a relatively common last name i believe. >> i did my best to contact distant relatives, but they are so distant that it is what it is. they are in this and there's nothing really tangible in place. so he went about trying to make sure that the quakers in atlantic city were not acknowledged. in my version of it is just telling the story. it seems like i can't even tell you how many times people say oh, you're writing a book. great. and unlike, it's so -- i think
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the part one is getting the story out there, but i don't know of anything tangible. if you have any ideas, i would be all years [inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> that's a good question. every now and then i am not a game collector or a hard-core. i think if it's expensive it's not ludicrously so i haven't seen them it was really successful and there were a lot in circulation. so as far as i know they are not really expensive. boardgames are this weird collectible because i think it's what, folks went through and it
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was just like oh it makes me choke up. but i think that the boardgames are artifacts and they reflect this. i hope that they get preserved and he's changed it a little bit. and to me it is a game about berkeley in the 70s and that's like something that is very valuable. are there any other questions? this is a very quiet crowd. >> they have this collection and we have a few that are spread outside the door. the strong museum has some games and the ford gallery actually had a tremendous monopoly collection and there was a
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flurry of e-mail activity and there were people -- the history is very contentious. we know what they look like because we've gathered the information and i have photos and we know about them. so when i was in the first stage of this book it was amazing. i could walk around and get a visual sense of that. [inaudible] >> they have a ton of great stuff. [inaudible] >> anything else? okay. thank you so much. >> i must to you that this is a
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must-read. "the monopolists: obsession, fury, and the scandal behind the world's favorite board game" is on sale now by mary pilon. [applause] >> you're watching the tv in prime time and a reminder that every weekend booktv teachers 48 hours of nonfiction books beginning at 9:00 a.m. eastern on saturday. for the latest schedule information go to our website at and with congress on the spring recess, we continue wednesday night with a focus on technology. coming up next we have more booktv. at 930, a look at the global automotive industry to create the car of the future. later mark goodman talks about how criminals are corporations and governments are using
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technology to disrupt the lives of people around the world. that's all beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> you need to be vermin your principles and flexible flexible in the details. this includes the harsh polarization of years naing and the methodology that if all the senators all of the congressmen and women and state legislators can adopt, we can come together and solve many of our permanent issues. >> the people that you meet on the way up still need to know that you will be for them on the way back down. >> congress often gives a lack of true statesmanship.
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senator john mccain did something very impressive last year. he maintained how staying away from torture was part of the character of the democracy and the point where you have people that are willing to cross the aisle and make these decisions who people may not often agree with, that is essentially will need to maintain is a security and integrity of the nation as we go on. >> high school students generally ranked academically in the top 1% in washington dc, part of the united states senate youth program sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span q&a. you're watching the tv in prime time. coming up next jan jarboe russell recounts an interment camp in world war ii.
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it was from 1942 through 1948. many u.s. citizens from german and japanese at dissent were held there. this is about 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you for joining us. what a pleasure it is to be with us here in austin, texas, the greatest book sure in the country. i am so pleased to be here. my name is brian sweeney.
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the one secret i want to say how it is a pleasure to be here with you and also with jan jarboe russell, in her book "the train to crystal city." as we know jan jarboe russell is a texas native raised in the tiny woods, she was growing up and there were always books around because of her mother and father and at the age of 16 she took a part-time job at the weekly newspaper in her hometown of cleveland. from then she has never stopped writing. she became a journalist, first covered politics in san antonio and then became a fellow at harvard and then became a writer of texas monthly magazine she's been a terrific friend and colleague and we were very fortunate to take an excerpt of her look, which is so great to
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work with her again and since i'm relatively new to the job i look forward to doing that again here in the future. i would just like to say how wonderful it has been to see the terrific reviews for this book sort of with great notices all around and we are looking forward to hearing from you tonight. help me welcome jan jarboe russell. [applause] >> well, it's great to be here. i would like to recognize greg curtis here and my other friends as well. if there are others, i recognize you as well. you are an anchor in the lives of all of us that are texans. i also just want to say thank you for coming.
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i have these photographs that i was just going to kind of pretend it is like a family vacation we are visiting crystal city and you can see. i'm going to start with this. the great glory. [applaus nonfiction is that lause] the great glory of nonfiction is that it's true and that they are real people and evan played a big role in this book and i wanted to have knowledge them. so this is his mother and his father and brother. i love this picture and i just can't imagine ever living
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without. and so i was 20 years old. and i know [inaudible] i approached him and the faculty senate meeting after a brief interview for the daily texan and i asked him about this question and he explained to me that he was japanese but born in america. so how did you get to texas, i asked. and that was a question that i asked of everyone. and so he said that my family was in camp here and so being like this at the time i said
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church camp in a. [laughter] and he said not exactly. and so this one tell me about his father that one. and that includes here in crystal city, texas, here in world war ii. he explains that his family was part of the arrest and incarceration of 120,000 japanese and nearly two thirds of them american-born. and over the years we were in touch infrequently but time to time we saw each other and returned to the camp. in 2010 i decided to stop by his architecture office and the truth is i had just finished reading unbroken and i thought he was interned as a japanese american, i wonder what he
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thinks about this book. and so evan is also an architect and explained that he died seven years before. so over the course of the conversation he gave me a list of names and individuals that were in the camp. the children were old men and women who live all over the world and the next day i started telephoning him. slowly this the great. and that includes families of multiple nationalities that is
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also the center of a government prisoner exchange program. thousands of them tourneys including their children were traded for more important americans, diplomats businesses, soldiers and others. .. roundup. this is a family from san francisco. and this is them caught by the fabulous photographer dorthy lang as they were being rounded up. this is the smallest girl in the family. this is the wife of reverend pucutea. this is a picture taken before they got on the bus. typical all of their baggage. you can see the little coat. and i love this picture. it shows humanity of that woman and that mother's face as she is
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holding her baby and is about to be taken to the camp. but the book tells the story my book, there were lot of characters. and i had to come up with name shishs. and so i tell the story from the primary point of view of two american-born teenage girls who were inturned in crystal city. these are the first one's parents on their wedding day. they were legal german residents in the process of applying for actualization. this is ingrid at 11 years old. 11-year-old ingrid's world changed forever on january 8th 1942 a day after the surprise
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attack on pearl harbor. during the course of the war the u.s. government interned 31, 275 enemy. 16 849 japanese. 10, 905 germans. 3, 278 italians and miscellaneous others. one of the enemy aliens was ingrid's father. he and his wife integrated from germany 17 years before and settled to raise ingrid her 6-year-old brother and her 1-year-old sister. on the cold morning of january the 8th two fbi agents pulled up to their house in large black cars. they were dressed in dark suits and both carried guns. over the next few hours while ingrid was at school the agents
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moved from room to room looking for short waves radio, dynomitt and other items. ingrid came home and found her father gone and was told he was arrested. ingrid ran outside and lay laid out on the ground and screamed. my god she thought to herself, what will happen to us. this photo was taken at the house right after her father was arrested. they lost the house 30 days later. this is the second person.
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on the morning of december 7th 1941 a 13-year-old girl in 1941 rested her elbows on the window seal of the apartment in little tokyo. the enclave for japanese in los angeles. cars filled with angry men filled the streets down below. horns honked. a few horns honked. if you carried posters with enraged messages. jazz hunting license good for duration of hunting season. open season now no limits. within two hours of the bombing of pearl harbor fbi had swung through the streets of little tokyo and placed the japanese leaders in handcuffs. while her parents were immigrants from japan sent me
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was a nisei born on august 14 1982 in los angeles. she considered she told me herself to be 100% american. the knock on the door for tom came on march 131942, friday the 13th and unlucky day in america and perhaps an omen. she was not at home but she too was at school. little did she know that it would be her last day at central junior high. at the end of the day she shuffled up the iron steps of the apartment building. on the second floor she noticed that the front door was open. she pods. her mother was seated at the dining room table with her head in her hands. when she looked up she had a frozen smile on her face. her mother was almost always cheerful. she laughed easily and never complained.
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even at 13 she could see that her mother was frozen in terror. she walked through the apartment. jurors had been dumped on the living room floors, the contents of the kitchen cupboards were spilled on the counter. mama was popper arrested? >> guest: . five fbi men man cave mandate to pop pop a way. as was the case of the other enemy aliens including the father they there were never any charges filed against these people. no reason given for his arrest no opportunity to defend themselves. the camp. these are the two important leaders of the camp. on this site is earl harrison who was the commissioner of
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immigration and naturalization service. this is the officer in charge. it's hard to see him, joseph r. work a border patrol agent to earl harrison roosevelts new commissioner of the immigration and naturalization service visited the small town of crystal city texas on november 6, 1942 arriving by train from his home in philadelphia. he walked around the 240-acre site that was previously used as a migrant worker camp for mexican laborers. we have a couple of people here from crystal city including lola and one more that i heard. anyway born in crystal city and their fathers worked with the camp. from harrison's point of view the isolated location of the camp far from areas considered vital to the war effort was a positive. he was out scouting for where he could put this camp.
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crystal city he decided was this close to siberia as we have in america. it's located about 35 miles from the mexican border and you can see the lights in the camp at night from the border. it's 120 miles from my house in san antonio. that day harrison decided he would locate the family camp in crystal city. week after week month after month from 1942 to 1948, three years after the war was over trains with windows pulled shut. approximately 6000 civilians from all over the world across miles of flat empty plains to the small desert town at the southern tip of texas. the roosevelt administration not only arrested german japanese and italians on american soil but orchestrated incredibly the removal of 4058 germans 2264
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japanese and 288 italians from 13 different latin american countries. lock them up around the united states, thousands of them in crystal city. daily life in crystal city, this is a map of the camp. a german child in the camp has noted where all the houses and bungalows are so that if you are a child of the camp you can find your bungalow here on this beautiful map. this is an aerial view of the camp that you guys will remember that. daily life in crystal city was highly regimented. every morning the american flag was raised in ceremony.
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sensors flew into german and japanese and spanish read the incoming mail of attorneys and cut out fourchon's related in any way to the war effort. internees were allowed to write two letters one postcard to week week. these were censored. border patrol agents patrol the camps. there were guard towers at six different locations around the 10-foot barbed wire fence and those were also manned by armed border patrol agents. the roll call seemed endless. three times a day a whistle blew and the camp and everyone had to run back to their cottages or huts to form lines, show their faces and stansfield -- standstill for the count. despite the harsh conditions for children in the camp like that most of them were born in america. they were humanely treated.
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no one ever went hungry in crystal city. the camp had three schools, the american schools where sumi went. the american school the japanese colon the german school in those were taught by internees at the american school was topped by board-certified texas teachers. one anecdote tells a story about the children. shortly after the camp was opened ahead of the ins came back to visit the camp. during a tour given by church -- joseph r. work the officer charged harrison encountered a group of japanese children. o'rourke asked what they were doing. playing war a young boy said. okay said o'rourke but i hope nobody gets killed.
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they continued on their tour. on the way back to two men stopped at the same spot and found the children seated on the ground, looking glum. what happened to the war o'rourke said? it ended they said. nobody wanted an enemy. we all wanted to be the americans. this is a close-up of sumi. it was a good scout and this was her picture. this is the german beauticians and barbers in camp. this is a scout troop of japanese. this is a sewing circle. be internees had to make all the mattresses and whatever clothing they had, a sewing circle. this is a beer garden. o'rourke was a big drinker and
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when the germans came to him and said they wanted to have ear once a week he let them build a still. of course it didn't go once a week. it was kind of a nonstop situation. these are the germans and the japanese wanted tofu and it's a fun story in the book about how they converted a picture hat to the first texas tofu factory. it was so hot and sumi was from los angeles. and ingrid was from strongsville so they weren't used to snakes and scorpions and 125-degree weather so they had irrigation reservoirs and o'rourke also let the children use it as a swimming pool. most of the kids have incredible
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memories of the swimming pool. there were some sad things that happen in a pool but i'm not going to ruin the surprise of the book in my e-mail. so the family each family had a small bungalow and some of them were all squished together. they could eat in their own kitchens which is not allowed in heart mountain and this is a japanese family bringing home a christmas tree. by far the most jaw-dropping aspect of life in crystal city was the fact that the camp was the center of fdr secret dressner exchange program. one of the lessons i learned in going through all of these documents and interviewing all
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these people is by whatever name it is called internment detainment or just flat imprisonment the practice of incarcerating immigrants with blood ties to countries in which the united states was at war always exists in part for the purpose of exchange. it works like a human chess game. each side tries to get back their own citizens without giving up their highest valued prisoners. some of the people in crystal city they probably should've been a crystal city. the prince who is the head of the american nazi party was a high valued prisoner for us for the united states. it germany desperately wanted them back. he was mum on the early trades.
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that's way it worked. we did want to give them up as roosevelt knew he knew a lot and it could harm us. so every trade in the book describes what was considered behind the trades. the great tragedy of crystal city is that many of those traded should have done of the highest value to americans because many of them were american-born children. as this fact unfolded during years of research at the national archives in washington d.c. and with interviews with many former children now elderly men and women in their 80s and sometimes 90s i just found myself shaking my head in disbelief. it was in crystal city that the machinery of modern internment and prisoner exchange was crafted on an industrial level.
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the first of four large prisoner exchanges took place in june of 1942 and the second september 2, 1943. during these two exchanges more than 2000 japanese and japanese-americans were literally traded for other americans imprisoned in japan. in february 1944, 634 german residence and their american-born children were sent from crystal city into germany in exchange for americans. on january 2, 1945425 in crystal city were traded including the family. i focused on the exchanger deal of the families of sumi and ingrid and also on the ordeals of people like the family who were arguing about whether or not to be traded and the complex that occurred all over the camp. both of these young girls this
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is sumi after she was traded into japan and this is her father. by this time tom had taken a distinctly more japanese look and both young girls face to war-ravaged japan and germany. they did so with unbelievable unbelievable human endurance resilience and determination. just to give you an example of the kinds of things that they faced i would like to just read a short passage from -- this is sumi after she comes back for more. so they were in the last exchange in crystal city so it was her father to win the ingrid
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her brother. what happened was they left chris -- left crystal city they went by train to new jersey and new york. they took the voyage 22 days across an angry sea landing inmar sigh until they came to a place in switzerland where they are trained went into germany and another train coming from germany met on tracks and they literally switched. at this point and in this passage i'm about to read, and then they went on to berg and where they were processed by the germans and of course they were immediately considered american spies and badly treated. and so i just wanted to read
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they went on walking and they went on trains. this is an incident that happened almost just a few days before they arrived at their destination. so they are in germany here. the train left the station and even pace. about eight kilometers east, the train slowed to a tunnel. as it snuck its way through the tunnel to the other side the conductor blew the whistle once. then a separate glass filled the air and suddenly the train lurched forward and picked up speed. the passenger straightened in their seats. outside the windows snowing mountains and forests. something was wrong and everyone on board knew it. then ingrid heard the sound of airplanes above the train followed by blasts of machine gun fire. mathias moved to the end of the train and looked outside were
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ingrid followed in rapid strides close behind. eight american yates flew above the mounted with 24-barrel machine machine guns. attack, attack killed the conductor in german. she watched from her seat and her mother cradling the baby had the aisle seat. get down joanna, get down. eyes wide open she strained to see the action has machine gun bullets at the side of the train. she heard around each time the planes made another pass overhead. joanna slapped her face and pushed her underneath the seat and joanna reached up to an overhead rack grabbed the suitcase and placed on top of the seat to further protect her. keep your face down screen and joanna, don't look up. with this ingrid heard accuracy. they shoved them under their seats that i will you both if you moved she said.
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the train slowed and came to a stop trade as the passengers cautiously emerged from beneath his feet the conductor ordered everyone off the train. maffei is pointed to a 10-point embankment on one side of the train that led to grow with trees. he grabbed the child in a white blanket. let's go he ordered. all six of them hurried up the hill. he took and see's and instead a quick pace for the others. mathias handed guenther to ingrid to clutch the baby in her arms and scuttled up the hill. when ingrid looked over her shoulder she saw her mother flat on the ground with mathias crouched over her. joanna had fallen and ingrid watched as she struggled to her hands and feet. together they pushed up the hill. at the top of the hill he positioned himself to meet the branches of a small pine tree. ingrid carried guenther to join
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them. most of the trees in the forests have been cut for fuel that the black whims of the pine trees were visible against the gray sky. the children watched as mathias inched joanna up the hill. from his vantage point they fix their eyes on a train stopped on the tracks and the american planes is circled it. mathias speculated to his wife and children that the purpose of the american mission must have been sealed in the tamil that led to its scene. the conductor blew the whistle to signal the train was leaving. they hurried down the hill and we boarded the train. once the passengers were back on board the battle continue. the american planes swooped down over their grails and flew low to the ground. their machine guns going to the right of the train and in the left. germans returned fire from two antiaircraft guns attached to the trains, one gun on the last
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car and the other just behind the locomotive. as low tar and ingrid watched from their seats each p. 38 hit by fire. he was ejected from his plane with a parachute and landed in a tree his body riddled with bullets. then the second plane was hit and went down on the other side of the tree. he was on that side and watched as the planes plunged to the ground leaving a spiraling trail of black smoke in the sky. none of the german soldiers were hit and the six remaining p. 38 hoff retreated. though the battle was over the atmosphere inside the train was pandemonium. he looked at his mother who appear to be in a daze. when she spoke she described her mixed emotions. she was relieved that her family was all alive but remorseful and
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grieving for the two american pilots who were killed. the irony of american flyboys shooting at my american-born children she told them i will never understand it. both low tar and ingrid were shaken from traveling between two distant worlds america and germany. one part of them was to its strong smell of ohio and texas. on the other face the reality that their lives had been saved by german soldiers fired on american pilots. sumi then ingrid and many other of the children from crystal city survived their journeys to war devastated japan and germany and return to the united states. to me they are heroes of world war ii. this is and see when she was
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grown up area to ingrid and lotar came back first on a liberty ship to the united states after the war was over and this is mathias and joanna, enzi and their youngest son guenther. and you saw the ones of sumi coming back i just want to show you sumi's dutiful family. the sumi merida man that was in the famed 442nd unit that saved italy but he had, they didn't call it ptsd but he had ptsd at the time and he died very early of a heart attack. his sumi was left with all these beautiful children which erased. each one has a college degree and they are doing fantastic. that is sumi and she said just tell them i am one tough cookie.
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[laughter] does guenther and this is ingrid when she did get back from the war and that was her first husband. this is joanna and she who only wanted to be an american didn't come back to the united states. she settled in to california near ingrid calder south naturalized in and she became the proud reagan volunteer. [laughter] and here is ingrid and her family in honolulu. this is ingrid the last time i interviewed her. in the course of my career as a journalist a single subject has always fascinated me. it is the subject articulated in the biblical story of job that
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confronts the universal question, why do good people suffer? in my own life that question has often been phrased in a less dramatic way than in the lives of ingrid and sue me suffering after all is universal part of the human condition. we lose people that we love. we go on. it happens to all of us. but the question is what then do we do when we don't know what to do. over the course of my research the characters in my book provided me with many new answers to that dilemma. often i was extremely inspired by the japanese idea to persevere in the face of unendurable suffering. but they don't mean like in some kind of flaky way.
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they find some kind of practice whether it's buddhist meditation, calligraphy, judo, architecture tea ceremony. they do some daily practice that helps them persevere in the face of suffering. the practicality of it is so beautiful. so in a way writing was -- i was also inspired by ingrid, lotar and nancy who had every turn update the first amendment. they honored their mysterious father and mother and at the same time they never lost faith in the country of their birth that had an effect betrayed them. the officials said crystal city harrison lotar -- and of other
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staff members saved our national honor bite treating the internees humanely in a treacherous time. finally it was irene harrisonburg, a jewish girl from amsterdam who was freed from the concentration camp in the january 1945 trade, the same trade that ingrid was on that provided the lesson for me about how we might deal with people in times of war. always remember she told me in an interview at her home in ann arbor, remember this. enemies are people whose stories you haven't yet heard and whose faces you have ever seen. my gratitude goes to the characters in my book that after 72 years had the courage to tell
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their stories and show their faces. thank you very much. [applause] >> i am sure we have got some questions and comments. just to make sure that i get to you with the mic before you start asking and hold your hand up until i'm in front of you. does anyone have a question? seen my question is that sound like the people that were returned to germany and japan that they have voluntarily do that or were they ordered to do that or how did that come about? >> it's not a simple question but they weren't technically all voluntary repatriates. but the fact is that the enemy
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alien fathers felt they had no choice but to go back to germany and build their life because the course of their internment in crystal city, they had no idea how long it would be. of course they have nothing to go back to. one other thing is that when they left crystal city to be exchanged they all signed and one of the reasons the story hasn't come out is they all signed oath of silence never speak of their experience in crystal city for their role in the exchange. so while they were from the bureaucratic point of view voluntary exchange eased certainly the children were there by consequence of their parents situations and that was a real problem


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