February 18, 2012
Long before he was Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, actor George Takei had to face a harsh reality. At the age of 5, Takei was one of more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent who were ordered into internment camps during World War II.
… In an interview with The Post, Takei called the internment “one of the most egregious violations of our constitution. We were held without charge or trial.”
This Sunday, Feb. 19, marks the 70th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the creation of the detention facilities. To commemorate the anniversary, the geneology site Ancestry.com is releasing two of its databases for free to the public: an index of internees’ biographical information as well as documents such as newspapers, employment reports and church records. Ancestry.com is also opening up its database containing passenger lists into Honolulu from 1900 to 1959.
… “It is a day that all Americans should know about,” he said. “Alas, I’m astounded by the number of people — particularly east of the Rockies — who say to me, aghast, ‘I had no idea such a thing had happened in the United States.’ ”