Sunday, April 22, 2012

Detainment Camps as Historical Landmarks and their Websites

For this blog post I browsed the website of Manzanar, a Japanese American detainment camp located in California turned National Historic Site and run by the National Park Service.   In addition to information about visiting the park the website is filled with photography, history, and information and about detainment in general.   The largest section of the website is devoted to archives of the individual stories of detainees.  I additionally looked at the website for Auschwitz, a Nazi Death Camp located in Poland.   While exploring these websites I specifically looked at the ways in which the curators dealt responsibility to the respective governments who ran each camp.  While the atrocities and conditions of Auschwitz can in no way be considered comparable to the detainment that occurred in Manzanar it was still interesting to see the amount of responsibility taken for the intrusion of liberty in both situations.  I found that on the Auschwitz website the curators had no problem in affiliating full responsibility for the misdeeds with the Germans.  They did not shy away from using words such as “murder,” “genocide,” and “victims.”  They discussed in depth and “owned” disturbing topics such as medical experimentation and the systematic murder of prisoners.  I was surprised (and impressed) that the website used the term “German” very often in discussing the turpitudes of the camps instead of limiting the scope of responsibility with the term “Nazi.”  The Manazanar website on the other hand focused much more on the day-to-day life of prisoners with a focus on lifestyle instead of imprisonment.   At the beginning of the website the idea of a liberty violation is touched upon but is not a major theme throughout the website.  Both websites are very extensive and very interesting.  I would encourage anyone to go check them out sometime.



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