Account of arriving at Manzanar Relocation Center

The Mochida family awaiting evacuation
The Mochida family, 1942

“When we got to Manzanar, it was getting dark and we were given numbers first. We went down to the mess hall, and I remember the first meal we were given in those tin plates and tin cups. It was canned wieners and canned spinach. It was all the food we had, and then after finishing that we were taken to our barracks.

It was dark and trenches were here and there. You’d fall in and get up and finally got to the barracks. The floors were boarded, but the were about a quarter to half inch apart, and the next morning you could see the ground below.

The next morning, the first morning in Manzanar, when I woke up and saw what Manzanar looked like, I just cried. And then I saw the mountain, the high Sierra Mountain, just like my native country’s mountain, and I just cried, that’s all.

I couldn’t think about anything.”

— Yuri Tateishi, Manzanar Relocation Center

Note: photo is of members of the Mochida family awaiting evacuation bus. Identification tags were used to help keep family units intact during all phases of evacuation.

“Account of arriving at Manzanar Relocation Center” sources: “Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps.” By Tim Chambers. Anchor Editions. / Photograph of the Mochida Family taken in 1942 by Dorothea Lange – National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the War Relocation Authority (210-GC-153)