And Then They Came for Us

47 min. Films for Justice. 2017. $50 (PPR). ISBN unavail.
Gr 7 Up—The film opens at a rally against the Trump administration's proposed travel ban. One speaker recites Martin Niemöller's poem, "First They Came," which refers to the dangers of political apathy. The film draws parallels to the situation of Japanese Americans at the start of World War II. Numerous internment camp survivors, including actor George Takei, recount their experiences after Executive Order 9066 decreed that approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans be rounded up and sent to camps in 1942. The government hired photographers, including Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange, to keep a photographic record. The aim, however, was to create a sanitized version of events; photos showing barbed wire and the camps' grim conditions were impounded. The film also notes that all adult internees were forced to take a loyalty oath, though no one was convicted of espionage or treason. In 1944, Fred Korematsu and two other American-born men challenged the constitutionality of the executive order. They lost, but Korematsu continued to fight for an appeal, and his case was overturned in 1983. His courageous fight eventually earned him a Presidential Medal of Freedom in the 1990s. This timely film offers a well-documented overview of the plight of Japanese Americans during the war along with poignant interviews with survivors, family members, and researchers.
VERDICT This excellent resource for teachers and students belongs in a wide range of libraries.

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