~ Owens Valley, California ~

Manzanar Monument in Owens Valley, California


Remembering Manzanar


Manzanar  National Historic Site


Model of Manzanar Internment Camp in California's Owen Valley


Sign to the relocation center


An unconstitutional expulsion - Francis Biddle


Map of explulsion zone of Japanese Americans in 1942, Western United States 


Shiro Nomura Memorial   Ten thousand stories at Manzanar
















A Forced Removal

Bruce at the Manzanar Monument - Nov. 2012 -photo by Francis Guenette


Peace crane @ Manzanar - sitting on the fence

“Peace Crane ~ Sitting on a barbed wire fence”


Essential liberty - Benjamin Franklin quote - photo by Bruce Witzel


Solemn tribute - photo by Bruce Witzel


“Solemn tribute”


Manzanar was a World War Two internment camp for people of Japanese descent – the majority of whom were United States citizens.

In the image of the monument above, the de-saturated color and the greyness of the background clouds and mountains, adds a solemn quality.


What I really like about it, is the light from the clouds breaking through.


I believe it evokes hope…


~ Peace to All  ~





  1. I didn’t have a chance to comment last night, but wanted to let you know that your photos are stunning. Manzanar is on the highway to Mammoth Mountain (skiing!!) for us, but not often do people stop. We stopped to make sure our daughter understood this part of American history as well. There is a fine book that we read “Farewell to Manzanar” that is a first person account of the experiences here. Funny thing as well, Manzanar was in the paper this morning, apparently the Department of Water and Power are considering placing solar panels near the monument….Again, thank you for sharing.

    • The solar panels are a good thing I think. It is also good you stopped in to Manzanar, for your daughters sake. And speaking of Mammoth, I haven’t skied for 20 years. I heard that the hill near here, Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island, didn’t open until mid Feb. this year due to lack of precipitation – and this is the pacific rainforest!?? Thanks for your comments,Tiare, and I’m glad you liked the photos of Manzanar

  2. I’ve been to Manzanar and found it very moving. There are many areas near where I currently live that were staging areas for the families that were finally relocated there. Friends of my parents and the parents of some of my friends were sent to Manzanar, and it’s always been amazing to me that their livelihoods were lost and life was expected to just “move on” after the war. I know people think it could never happen again. I don’t believe that’s true. It does stand as a very sober reminder, however, of a dark period in our history. Your photos are wonderful. It looks like you may have been in the Owens Valley in the winter months. It is really hot in the summer. I think it must have been sweltering in those barracks!

    • Yes, we were there in late October 2012. I hadn’t thought of how hot it would have been in summer. And with 10,000 people in close quarters, the heat would be even more intense. In a way, it has happened again in recent US history at Guantanamo Bay, but not with whole families… and though I don’t know all the details, some at Guantanamo, but certainly not all, were justifiably imprisoned. In Manzanar, no one was.

    • As Einstein said – Peace cannot be kept by force… Only through understanding. Thanks David for taking the time to view the post and to comment, with Bodhisattva wisdom… 🙂

  3. Every time we define groups of people as “other” or less than the rest of us, we do terrible things. Right now we are doing this to people in poverty. By “this” I mean defining them as other and undeserving of compassion. That then makes it okay to have so many people living on the street, in homeless shelters, without enough food or opportunities for decent education, working for minimum wages in jobs that treat them poorly.

    • I have heard it said, “there is no other”… I, me, or mine is an illusion. A recent study in Canada has shown the cost would be identical to create assisted housing for people who have found themselves living on the streets, as it does for all the other judicial, health, and police costs associated with those same people. And each one of us who aren’t living on the streets, are only one or two steps away, much like those who were interned at Manzanar. Thanks for making this connection, Cyndi.

  4. A bit of history I was unaware of. Beautifully constructed blog Bruce. They couldn’t have picked a more remote and inhospitable (though beautiful in its way) spot. There were some wartime decisions that were made in good faith but seem so wrong in retrospect.

    • Thanks Lynne. Some added value to your read!

      My wife and I had visited another internment camp in Idaho and there are so many located throughout the western states and in in our home province of British Columbia.

      When I went to elementary school during the 60’s, a friend of mine was of Japanese descent. I had no idea, but his parents must have been interned as well.

  5. I’ve heard of Manzanar but never visited there. Such a sobering photojournal of one of many dark times in our nation’s history. The Peace Crane touched my heart, and the last photo touched my soul. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.

    • Your welcome Debi. There were many peace cranes there. I’m so glad this moved you heart and soul. We were deeply moved being there, and when I saw the photo challenge, I knew right away I wanted to share this.

      • I’m happy that you did. We all need to be reminded of such places, such times in history. As sobering as that visit must have been we can at least be happy that we’ve moved past that…in some fashion. Thanks again.

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