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"Snow Country Prison: Interned in North Dakota" will be on display through Sept. 25 at the North Country Museum of Arts. The exhibit tells the store of German and Japaneses nationals, as well as Japanese American citizens, deemed "enemy aliens" following the renunciation of their citizenship during World War II. (Submitted photo)

Story of 'enemy aliens' told through NCMA's internment camp exhibition

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Snow Country Prison, a photographic exhibition of an internment camp for Germans and Japanese people arrested as enemy aliens during World War II, will be displayed at the North Country Museum of Arts in September.

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In 1941, the U. S. Justice Department converted the Fort Lincoln, N.D. surplus military post into an internment camp.

Over its five-year operation as a camp, the Bismarck facility housed about 1,500 men of German nationality, and over 1,800 of Japanese ancestry.

The first group of Japanese and German men was arrested by the FBI in the days immediately after Pearl Harbor. The arrests were done under the authority of the Alien Enemies Act, and these so-called "enemy aliens" were removed from their homes, primarily on the West Coast and East Coast, and sent to camps in isolated parts of the country.

"Snow Country Prison: Interned in North Dakota" opened in 2003 in Bismarck at the site of the former camp, now United Tribes Technical College.

The exhibition examined the internment experience of German and Japanese nationals, as well as Japanese American citizens deemed "enemy aliens" following the renunciation of their citizenship during World War II.

The exhibition features historic photos and murals of the camp, floor-to-ceiling cloth banners imprinted with images of people interned there and wall text drawn from the haiku poems of one of the Japanese internees, Itaru Ina, the father of Dr. Satsuki Ina, a consultant to the exhibition.

Exhibition hours are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Friday.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Volunteer docents are welcome; training will be conducted prior to the reception at 3:45 p.m.

Admission to the NCMA is free; donations are welcome.

(A special section on the Snow Country Prison is included in the print edition of today's Enterprise.)

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