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Fort Bliss (detention facility)

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US Gov Name Fort Bliss Internment Camp
Facility Type U.S. Army Internment Camp
Administrative Agency U.S. Army
Location Fort Bliss, Texas (31.8000 lat, -106.2000< lng)
Date Opened
Date Closed
Population Description Held Japanese immigrants from mainland U.S., including seventy-three internees transferred from the Santa Fe internment camp; also held German and Italian nationals.
General Description Located near El Paso in southern Texas, close to the Mexico border.
Peak Population 91 (1942-10-01)
National Park Service Info

Military post in El Paso County, Texas, that also had a small internment facility that held enemy aliens of Japanese, German, and Italian descent. Named after Lt. Col. William Wallace Smith Bliss and established in around 1848, Fort Bliss moved to its current location northeast of El Paso in around 1890. It was used as an army training facility during World War II. [1]

The Nikkei internees included seventy-three Issei from the West Coast as well as a smaller number of Issei from the surrounding area including New Mexico. The former group came to Fort Bliss from the Santa Fe internment camp on May 24, 1942, where they had received their hearings. They were held in a detention area that was 356 feet square and that included two compounds that were surrounded by a double barbed wire fence with guard towers at the corners. A group of ninety-one Nikkei—perhaps the West Coast group combined with the locally detained group—were sent to Lordsburg on June 26, 1942. The detention station was closed in November 1942. [2]

As was the case with Camp McCoy and other camps, Fort Bliss was both an internment site for Issei and a place where Nisei soldiers in the US Army trained. In particular, a group of Nisei who had been in the army prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor were subsequently transferred to Fort Bliss before being assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team or Military Intelligence Service . [3]

For More Information

" Fort Bliss Enemy Alien Detention Station. " Texas Historical Commission.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Footnotes

  1. Barbara Wyatt, ed., Japanese Americans in World War II: National Historic Landmarks Theme Study (Washington, D.C.: National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2012), 183; "Fort Bliss Enemy Alien Detention Station," Texas Historical Commission, accessed on June 7, 2021 at https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/military-history/texas-world-war-ii/world-war-ii-japanese-american-3 .
  2. Tetsuden Kashima, Judgment Without Trial: Japanese American Imprisonment during World War II (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), 110, 197; "Fort Bliss Enemy Alien Detention Station."
  3. Wyatt, ed., Japanese Americans in World War II , 183; Minoru "Min" Tsubota interview by Tom Ikeda, Aug. 18, 2003, Segments 23 and 24, Seattle, Washington, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-149-transcript-2b8b2d1ac9.htm ; Kitako Izumizaki Interview by Megan Asaka, July 28, 2008, Segments 16 and 17, Watsonville, California, Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1015/ddr-densho-1015-3-transcript-34c70f4a1c.htm ; John Kats Marumoto Interview by Martha Nakagawa, Feb. 28, 2011, Segment 23, Los Angeles, California, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-322-transcript-6ebc337054.htm .

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