Florence (detention facility)

We need your help! There is little available research or existing scholarship about the subject of this article. If you have information or sources that you can share, please help make the Encyclopedia better by contacting us at [email protected].

US Gov Name Florence Internment Camp
Facility Type U.S. Army Internment Camp
Administrative Agency U.S. Army
Location Florence, Arizona (33.0167 lat, -111.3833 lng)
Date Opened
Date Closed
Population Description Held prisoners of war and possibly some enemy aliens of Japanese descent
General Description Located in Florence, Arizona. Florence is northeast of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, between Phoenix and Tucson in southern Arizona. Hot desert area with extreme summer temperatures.
Peak Population 343 (1942-05-04)
National Park Service Info

Camp Florence was a large POW camp located outside of Florence, Arizona. It opened in August 1942 to hold Italian POWs and later held Germans and Austrians. It had a peak population of 13,000.

A chart showing the distribution of Japanese relief goods distributed to various Japanese American confinement sites in late 1943 published in Michi Weglyn 's Years of Infamy shows a small distribution to Camp Florence, suggesting that the camp also held persons of Japanese descent. A list of INS Temporary Detention Stations based on INS documents compiled by Tetsuden Kashima lists Florence, indicating that it was also used to hold enemy aliens, though it includes no additional information. Robert F. Spencer , a researcher for the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study , was mistakenly taken to Florence while trying to get to Gila River in mid-August, 1942. He describes Florence as empty at that time and having "high wire fences and with machine gun towers." Camp administrators told him that the camp was for POWs and for "enemy aliens convicted of sabotage and espionage." No other information on persons of Japanese descent being held at Camp Florence could be found. [1]

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho


  1. Jeffery F. Burton, Mary M. Farrell, Florence B. Lord, and Richard W. Lord, Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), 406; Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1976), 176; Tetsuden Kashima, Judgment Without Trial: Japanese American Imprisonment during World War II (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), 256n30; Robert F. Spencer, "Diary report of visit to Gila," Aug. 15, 1942, Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder K8.35, accessed on June 7, 2021 at http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/jarda/ucb/text/cubanc6714_b165k08_0035.pdf .

Last updated July 6, 2021, 9:31 p.m..