Exhibit tells story of German-American civilian internment

Exhibit tells story of German-American civilian internment
Some disappeared under the cover of night, while others were taken during raids on their place of employment. About a third were kidnapped by U.S. agents in other countries and brought here by force. None had a lawyer, or were charged with, tried for or convicted of a war-related crime. Many were imprisoned for the duration of that global war, and for years after it ended.

Suspected terrorists? Inmates at Guantanamo Bay? No: 15,000 German-American civilians the U.S. Government interned between 1941 and 1948.

Using 10 narrative panels, an NBC Dateline documentary and a 1945 U.S. Government color film about this story, TRACES' mobile museum – a retrofitted school bus called the BUS-eum 2 – will tour seven Midwest states through early November 2006, with showings of this innovative exhibit in about 100 communities in Minnesota, both Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.


The BUS-eum 2 plans to stop in Vermillion from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25 on the west side of the I.D. Weeks Library at The University of South Dakota.

The main goals of this mobile exhibit include presenting an unknown history to a wide audience, stimulating penetrating questions on the part of visitors to the exhibit and then leading them to open discussion. It explores a virtually unknown yet significant historical event – possibly one of the U.S.'s least-known WWII sub-chapters.

The Midwest was the site of 18 internment camps or detention centers. Communities across the region will have an opportunity to discuss the legacy as well as implications of the U.S. government's WWII "enemy alien" internment program. At select showings former internees or their children will appear as guest speakers and share what internment meant to them and their families. At all showings related print and electronic documentation will be available for purchase.

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