|Japanese Internment Camp Refugees
Japanese Killing Japanese
|117,000 former Japanese
Internment Camp residents
fled their homes from 1952
to 1959, running for their
lives from those few that
filed a lawsuit seeking
damages from the United
States of America for being
in the internment camps.
These refugees abandoned
their homes and suffered
many hardships to prove
their love of their new
homeland, the United States
of America by refusing to try
to get money from the
United States of America for
being in the internment
camps. 60,000 of the 117,000
paid the ultimate price for
showing their love for the
United States of America-
death by execution by those
in the lawsuit. I will speak of
those that survived by being
sheltered in a Safe Haven
system created by Frank
Silva- about 50,000
|Japaneese Internment Camp Refugees - The Start
Living on the family farm in early 1952 was getting
to be a little dull for this little boy of 4. Both sets of
grandparents and my parents and my uncle Joe were
good people, but everybody was busy doing
something besides family activities. Or should I say
so-called normal family activities? Me, every day(since
the day after my 3rd birthday), I went with my
grandfather, Frank Silva, to watch over a much bigger
"family". From time to time , since 1911, Frank Silva
had brought a family to the Santa Maria Valley and a
little north and a little south. From the City of San Luis
Obispo to the Gaviota Pass, every farmer, or their
parents, had been set up in farming by Frank Silva,
with no debts to anyone. That took much work on the
part my grandpa, and some from me. Almost to my 5th
birthday on May 24, 1952, I knew more about farming
than anyone around, except for my grandpa. Not
genius, just good old-fashioned studying- alot of it!
Soon I would appreciate that studying very much,
designating who would go to what Safe Haven camp
and what fields that those Japaneese Internment Camp
Refugees, who wanted to earn some extra money,
would be working where, and matching up separated
family members. But, I did not know about that- yet!
May 1, 1952 was normal for me- I had spent the day
going from friend to friend, I mean from farmer to
farmer with Frank Silva, my grandpa. Part of it was a
couple of hours pretending to be a little kid, when I
was really listening to a couple of big people (adults)
make a deal- so that, if need be, I could come back and
settle a dispute, with my exact memory of what I had
heard. I liked it. If I had a skill, I used it. Anyway, I was
standing there, late on May 1, 1952(my mother, Mabel
Dias, and a friend of hers passed in front of me talking
about the origin of May 1 activities in Europe), when
my father, Frank Dias , came by and told me to go with
him. I guessed that I was going to be a witness to
another conversation, boring probably. No, very
different between Frank Silva and Frank Dias. Frank
Dias told Frank Silva that some Japaneese being
hunted and, when found they were beaten and
sometimes killed- would my grandpa help them? Frank
Silva said he would think about it. He thought about it.
The next morning, a hour early, 6:30, he and I started
going from one farmer to another, asking them if and
how they would help him help these Japaneese
people. Not one of them had even had the chance to
"give back" to Frank Silva for what he had done to
help them, and/or their parents.
The first stop was at the Adams' farm. The parents of
Bill and David Jack Adam had been brought here from
France, where they were running from the Nazis who
were exterminating every Jew they could- Paul Adam
had escaped from Germany and met Leona in France,
also a Jew, in France. Frank Silva believed that the
Jews were being exterminated, so he asked for five
Jewish families. The Jewish organisation only gave
him one family- the Adams - saying that Frank Silva
could not help more because he was not Jewish. The
letter from the head of that Jewish organisation was
filled with anti-everybody-else. There are 4 Jewish
families gone to the gas chambers because of that
The Adams that came here proved that they were
loving people and very appreciative about being
saved- I heard it from them every day because Paul
and Leona lived on the property to the west of our
family farm on East Main Street. This day, May 2, 1952,
Bill and DJ(David Jack) finally had a chance to "repay"
Frank Silva for helping his family. With such a serious
subject, Bill still just had to smile the biggest smile I
ever saw anybody smile. DJ turned to hide his smile
about Bill smiling. Something for me to kid both of
them about. Then, as now, I remind people about
things like that, so they will happy one more time and
to keep alive in them a sense of positive self worth.
Then the work began for Bill and DJ- mostly arranging
their farming schedules to use some workers(Japeese
Refugees) in their fields. Here I better explain that, to
earn some money to help them get to their ultimate
safe home, some worked in fields,
receiving the ENTIRE price of the produce that they
worked on. At the end of each day, Frank Dias, a
broker and a shipper, sold that produce and divided it
among those that did the work. No deductions for
anything. Land and seed and water and fertilizer and
their own labor expenses was paid by the farmer.
Frank Silva, on the round of asking for help, said that
he would pay for the seed. I never heard or read
anything about that later, except about the high price
of the seed, sometimes. Taxes were not paid on any of
work by the Japaneese refugees- a State of California
tax agent and an United states Internal Revenue agent
came by 2 and sometimes 3 times a year to inspect my
Frank Dias' books on those particular sales. They
treated the operation, secretly, as a non- profit
organisation. Would have been nice if the state and
the feds had paid for the expenses, like they do,
Bill and DJ provided a steady place to put some of
those workers;and, with a little security also. DJ
started wearing a pistol in a holster, then two holsters.
He wounded one of the men that were hunting the
Japanese Refugees. I then recummended that he shoot
to only scare the bad en away- because these guys
were pretty stupid and killing one may mean
somebody with half a brain may replace the dead
badman- bringing something we could not handle.
One of my primary activities was to move the field
workers and the Safe Haven camp residents away from
the anticipated returns of the badmen(lawsuit people).
I was successful enough so that only a total of 34 out
of 50,000 were killed. Looking back, I was was very
wise to try to "keep" the badmen there were then.
Much better than the 60,000 killed outside our
operation. Not that my actions were the cause of the
saving of all the 50,000 who came to our Safe Haven.
An informal group of 20 men( sometimes 3 or 4 wives
would help the 3 or 4 men) rated me at: one man said
25,000, 18 said 30,000 and 1 said 34,000. Considering
that the 25,000 rating came from a man would always
try to urge me on by saying negative things to me, I
have settle on the 30,000, leaving 20,000 for everybody
else. As if numbers meant much- saving lives was
|Some personal numbers of me
and the refugees.
51,000 one on one interactions
25,000 handshakes and wiiiddee
10,000 I never met initially, but I
assigned work stations for
those wanted to earn some
money(this 10,000 plus the
41,000 above= 51,000 survivors
of the Safe Haven project.
5,000 nose-kisses I gave to boys
and young men as a memory to
give them a very different and
very friendly memory in their
4,000 early teens to early 20s-
Girls that I absorbed their
frustrations of loosing what they
had practiced their young lives
to be perfect at running- their
homes, the center of Japanese
life. These girls shook
moderately to violently in each
hug that I gave and that I hung
3,003 that looked for me and
told me their detailed stories and
then they went on- to be killed
by the lawsuit people, because
they refused to sue the USA.
1000-1500 real sweet hugs from
very sweet girls. Sweet night
memories that I still have
500 other dead that I saw that
the refugees were taking with
3002 men and women and
children that I set 1 or 2 broken
4000 I cleaned up cuts and
Buried about 350 that had been
killed before coming to this area.
Helped bury about 250 others
that had been killed before
coming to this area.
8500 hours I used on 1700
mornings 6-11 that I spent
watching for the hired
salesmen(killers) of those in the
lawsuit against the USA.
1700 of my lunches I gave away
on the above 1700 mornings
14915 hours that I used to
search for refugees at night
between the City of San Luis
Obispo and the Gaviota pass.
8700 hours taking produce to
Los Angeles market to sell to
give entire amount to
refugees,that I put in.
1952-1959 I missed 51.2 % of
school- I was expelled from
I saw- 2716 hit with sticks as
they were grouped together-
976 then beaten
I saw- 148 both their elbows and
I saw- 26 executed, two blows
to their foreheads and two
blows to the back of their heads.
I saw one man that had
survived the execution attempt-
very silent, but still well cared
for by his family.
I saw 3 other deliberate killings
and one of the cripplings(148
above) die from those blows.
I saw two refugees killed and
then about 9,000 came to see
them lay where they had died- I
saw the lights from the candles
from more than 40 miles away.
The only gift I received from a
refugee was a bit of soup in a
tin can that was made from
discarded cabbage leaves ,
made by an elderly couple over
an open fire- the best anything I
| I was talking about DJ. Bill Adam did not want to wear a gun, so he wore a very
bright white holster, without a gun! That holster could be seen half a mile away. Even at
night. Here I say that night, Bill and DJ did try to have some of the Japaneese Refugees
park their cars on their land at night, but that place was too open and too close to Main
Street, where the badmen could find their targets easily. There were other places to hide
the Japaneese Refugees at night.
Those lawsuit badmen never did realize that they had Jews, Italians, Germans, English,
Japaneese an Portugeese all very eager to hide and protect these poor
and homeless and hungry refugees.
Easy pickings for Frank Silva to find help from the Souzas. Joe and Mary Souza had
been homeless and hungry in the Azore Islands when Frank Silva
brought them here and set them up in house and farming and a future that was bright.
And they had taught their son Henry the importance of every bit of food he ate and
every night he slept inside- so the Souzas, with Henry's wife Lucille and son Ronnie
and Sugar, I mean daughter Rosemarie, were eager to help these others that were
homeless and hungry. They treated the Japaneese Refugees as if they were their own.
Feed them so much sometimes they complained that they could not get any work done,
in the program I described above. Food was important to the refugees, but getting to
where they could work and support themselves was much more important. Hmmm.
Sounds American to me. This is the country they had traveled 10,000 miles to get to.
Sometimes our kids complain about having to get up to answer the phone or the door
bell. See my point?
The Souzas were not spoiled on anything- they appreciated what they had and they
helped the refugees get whatever they did not have. I did hear a few comments(from the
refugees themselves) that they were getting 'soft' at the Souzas. I said, many times, that
Santa Maria would be a good place for them to live in, after the lawsuit violence was
over. Lots of good people around here and love to have more.