Between 1941 and 1948 the U.S. Government held 15,000 German-American civilians in 18 internment camps or detention centers throughout the Midwest. 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.
Using 10 narrative panels, an NBC Dateline documentary and a 1945 U.S. Government color film about this story, TRACES? mobile museum of Saint Paul, MN, a retrofitted school bus called the BUS-eum 2, is touring four Midwest states this spring.
Bus-eum 2 will be at Dakota Territorial Mu-seum in Yankton from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday, April 18, and at The University of South Dakota I. D. Weeks Library in Vermillion that day from 4-7 p.m.
"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," said Michael Luick-Thrams, TRACES executive director. "It ex-plores a virtually un-known yet significant historical event – possibly one of the United State's least-known WWII sub-chapters."
The Yankton and Vermillion stops are part of a statewide BUS-eum 2 tour being sponsored by the State Historical Society. Other stops include:
- Sunday, April 20 � 1-4 p.m. at Siouxland Heritage Museum in Sioux Falls;
- Monday, April 21 – First from 8-11 a.m. at the public library and then from 1-4 p.m. at Dakota State University in Madison;
- Tuesday, April 22 – 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Central High School in Aberdeen and 12:30-3:30 p.m. at the high school in Ipswich;
- Wednesday, April 23 – 8-11 a.m. at Sully Buttes High School in Onida;
- Thursday, April 24 � 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Black Hills State University Student Union in Spear-fish and 3-6 p.m. at the Journey Museum in Rapid City;
- Friday, April 25 � 7:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m. at T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre and 3-6 p.m. at Rawlins Municipal Library in Pierre.
"We are pleased to help bring the TRACES bus museum to South Dakota, and hope it will give people an insight into a little-known aspect of World War II," said Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society, headquartered at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.
TRACES Center for History and Culture is a Midwest/WWII history museum in downtown Saint Paul's historic Landmark Center. Each of TRACES? more than two dozen exhibits about Midwester-ners? encounters with Germans or Austrians between 1933 and 1948 forms part of a larger mosaic, a fuller image of a war that is often misunderstood or seen in clich�s. At TRACES, WWII is a case study to learn from for present and future generations. For more information visit the TRACES Web site at www.TRACES.org.