Internment is the imprisonment of people, commonly in large groups, without charges or intent to file charges, and thus no trial. The term is especially used for the confinement "of enemy citizens in wartime or of terrorism suspects". Thus, while it can simply mean imprisonment, it tends to refer to preventive confinement, rather than confinement after having been convicted of some crime. Use of these terms is subject to debate and political sensitivities.
Interned persons may be held in prisons or in facilities known as internment camps. In certain contexts, these may also be known either officially or pejoratively, as concentration camps.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the term concentration camp as: "A camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable."
Although the first example of civilian internment may date as far back as the 1830s, the English term concentration camp was first used in order to refer to the reconcentrados (reconcentration camps) set up by the Spanish military in Cuba during the Ten Years' War (1868–78). The term saw wider use around the Second Boer War (1899–1902), when the British operated such camps in South Africa for interning Boers.
During the 20th century, the arbitrary internment of civilians by the state reached its most extreme form with the establishment of the Nazi concentration camps (1933–45). The Nazi concentration camp system was extensive, with as many as 15,000 camps and at least 715,000 simultaneous internees. The total number of casualties in these camps is difficult to determine, but the deliberate policy of extermination through labor in many of the camps was designed to ensure that the inmates would die of starvation, untreated disease and summary executions within set periods of time. Moreover, Nazi Germany established six extermination camps, specifically designed to kill millions, primarily by gassing.
As a result, the term "concentration camp" today is sometimes conflated with the concept of "extermination camp" and historians debate whether the term "concentration camp" or "internment camp" should be used to describe other examples of civilian internment.
The essence of internment lies in incarceration without charge or trial.
A formal arrest usually comes with a charge, but many regimes employed internment (that is, detention without intent to file charges)
The Drancy internment camp was an assembly and detention camp for confining Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps during the German military administration of Occupied France during World War II. It was located in Drancy, a northeastern suburb of Paris, France. Between 22 June 1942, and 31 July 1944, during its use as an internment camp, 67,400 French, Polish, and German Jews were deported from the camp in 64 rail transports, which included 6,000 children. Only 1,542 remained alive at the camp when Allied forces liberated it on 17 August 1944.Drancy was under the control of the French police until 1943 when administration was taken over by the SS, who placed officer Alois Brunner in charge of the camp. In 2001, Brunner's case was brought before a French court by Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, which sentenced Brunner in absentia to a life sentence for crimes against humanity.Executive Order 9066
Executive Order 9066 was a United States presidential executive order signed and issued during World War II by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This order authorized the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones, clearing the way for the incarceration of Japanese Americans, German Americans, and Italian Americans in U.S. concentration camps.Gurs internment camp
Gurs Internment Camp was a internment camp and prisoner of war camp constructed in 1939 in Gurs, a site in southwestern France, not far from Pau. The camp was originally set up by the French government after the fall of Catalonia at the end of the Spanish Civil War to control those who fled Spain out of fear of retaliation from Francisco Franco's regime. At the start of World War II, the French government interned 4,000 German Jews as "enemy aliens," along with French socialists political leaders and those who opposed the war with Germany.After the Vichy government signed an armistice with the Nazis in 1940, it became an Internment camp for mainly German Jews, as well as people considered dangerous by the government. After France's liberation, Gurs housed German prisoners of war and French collaborators.
Before its final closure in 1946, the camp held former Spanish Republican fighters who participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, because their stated intention of opposing the fascist dictatorship imposed by Franco made them threatening in the eyes of the Allies.Honouliuli Internment Camp
Honouliuli National Historic Site is near Waipahu on the island of Oahu, in the U.S. state of Hawaii. This is the site of the Honouliuli Internment Camp which was Hawaiʻi's largest and longest-operating internment camp, opened in 1943 and closed in 1946. It was designated a National monument on February 24, 2015 by President Barack Obama. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed March 12, 2019, redesignated it as Honouliui National Historic Site. The internment camp held 320 internees and also became the largest prisoner of war camp in Hawai‘i with nearly 4,000 individuals being held. Of the seventeen sites that were associated with the history of internment in Hawaiʻi during World War II, the camp was the only one built specifically for prolonged detention. As of 2015, the new national monument is without formal services and programs.Internment Serial Number
An Internment Serial Number (ISN) is an identification number assigned to captives who come under control of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) during armed conflicts.On March 3, 2006, in compliance with a court order from District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, the DoD released 57 files that contained transcripts from the Guantanamo Bay inmates' Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) and Administrative Review Board hearings.
These transcripts were only identified by the prisoners' ISNs.
On April 20, 2006, the DoD released the first of two official lists of captives, which contained the captives' ISNs, names, and nationalities.
That list provided information about the 558 Guantanamo captives whom the DoD acknowledges were held in Guantanamo in August 2004 and whose status as "enemy combatants" was confirmed or disputed by a CSRT.
On May 15, 2006, the DoD released a longer list of 759 individuals, which they asserted listed all those who had been held military custody at Guantanamo.The two lists contain incompatible names for numerous individuals. Several dozen men who are known to have been held in Guantanamo are not present on either official list.
A ghost detainee originally known only as Triple X was not assigned an ISN because his secret imprisonment was requested by the Central Intelligence Agency.On January 16, 2010, the DoD published a list of 645 captives who were held in the Bagram Theater internment facility, in Afghanistan.
Historian Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, published an annotated version of the list, in which he noted that the numbers were not always assigned sequentially. Three former Guantanamo captives were re-apphrehended after their release, and are held in Bagram under their original ISN.Internment camps in France
There were internment camps and concentration camps in France before, during and after World War II. Beside the camps created during World War I to intern German, Austrian and Ottoman civilian prisoners, the Third Republic (1871–1940) opened various internment camps for the Spanish refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Following the prohibition of the French Communist Party (PCF) by the government of Édouard Daladier, they were used to detain communist political prisoners. The Third Republic also interned German anti-Nazis (mostly members of the Communist Party of Germany, KPD).
Then, after the 10 July 1940 vote of full powers to Marshal Philippe Pétain and the proclamation of the État français (Vichy regime), these camps were used to intern Jewish people, Gypsies, and various political prisoners (anti-fascists from all countries). Vichy opened up so many camps that it became a full economic sector, to the extent that historian Maurice Rajsfus writes: "The quick opening of new camps created jobs, and the Gendarmerie never ceased to hire during this period." In any case, most of these camps were closed definitively after the liberation of France at the end of World War II. Some were however used during the Algerian War (1954–1962). Several of these were then used to intern harkis (Algerians who had fought on the French side) after the 19 March 1962 Évian Accords. Finally, the Camp de Rivesaltes in the Pyrénées-Orientales and the camp of Bourg-Lastic in the Puy de Dôme were also used to intern Kurdish refugees from Iraq in the 1980s.Internment of German Americans
Internment of German resident aliens and German-American citizens occurred in the United States during the periods of World War I and of World War II. During World War II, the legal basis for this detention was under Presidential Proclamation 2526, made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt under the authority of the Alien and Sedition Acts.With the US entry into World War I, German nationals were automatically classified as "enemy aliens." Two of the four main World War I-era internment camps were located in Hot Springs, N.C. and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer wrote that "All aliens interned by the government are regarded as enemies, and their property is treated accordingly."
By the time of WWII, the United States had a large population of ethnic Germans. Among residents of the United States in 1940, more than 1.2 million persons had been born in Germany, 5 million had two native-German parents, and 6 million had one native-German parent. Many more had distant German ancestry. During WWII, the United States detained at least 11,000 ethnic Germans, overwhelmingly German nationals. The government examined the cases of German nationals individually, and detained relatively few in internment camps run by the Department of Justice, as related to its responsibilities under the Alien and Sedition Acts. To a much lesser extent, some ethnic German US citizens were classified as suspect after due process and also detained. Similarly, a small proportion of Italian nationals and Italian Americans were interned in relation to their total population in the US. The United States had allowed immigrants from both Germany and Italy to become naturalized citizens, which many had done by then. In the early 21st century, Congress considered legislation to study treatment of European Americans during WWII, but it did not pass the House of Representatives. Activists and historians have identified certain injustices against these groups.Internment of Italian Americans
The internment of Italian Americans refers to the government's internment of Italian nationals in the United States during World War II, similar to that of the internment of German Americans. As was customary after Italy and the US were at war, they were classified as "enemy aliens" and some were detained by the Department of Justice under the Alien and Sedition Act. But in practice, the US applied detention only to Italian nationals, not to US citizens, or long-term US residents. Italian immigrants had been allowed to gain citizenship through the naturalization process during the years before the war, and by 1940 there were millions of US citizens who had been born in Italy.
In 1942 there were 695,000 Italian immigrants in the United States. Some 1,881 were taken into custody and detained under wartime restrictions; these were applied most often by the United States Department of Justice to diplomats, businessmen, and Italian nationals who were students in the US, especially to exclude them from sensitive coastal areas. In addition, merchant seamen trapped in US ports by the outbreak of war were detained. Italian labor leaders lobbied for recognition as loyal (and not enemy aliens) those Italian Americans who had initiated naturalization before the war broke out; they objected to blanket classification of Italian nationals as subversives.
In 2001 the US Attorney General reported to Congress on a review of treatment by the Department of Justice of Italian Americans during World War II. In 2010, the California Legislature passed a resolution apologizing for US mistreatment of Italian residents during the war.Internment of Japanese Americans
The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps in the western interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens. These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.Of 127,000 Japanese Americans living in the continental United States at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, 112,000 resided on the West Coast. About 80,000 were Nisei (literal translation: "second generation"; American-born Japanese with U.S. citizenship) and Sansei ("third generation"; the children of Nisei). The rest were Issei ("first generation") immigrants born in Japan who were ineligible for U.S. citizenship under U.S. law.Japanese Americans were incarcerated based on local population concentrations and regional politics. More than 110,000 Japanese Americans in the mainland U.S., who mostly lived on the West Coast, were forced into interior camps. However, in Hawaii, where 150,000-plus Japanese Americans composed over one-third of the population, only 1,200 to 1,800 were also interned. The internment is considered to have resulted more from racism than from any security risk posed by Japanese Americans. Those who were as little as 1/16 Japanese, orphaned infants, and anyone with—in the words of the architect behind the internment program, Colonel Karl Bendetsen—"one drop of Japanese blood" were placed in the internment camps.Roosevelt authorized the deportation and incarceration with Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942, which allowed regional military commanders to designate "military areas" from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This authority was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the West Coast, including all of California and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, except for those in government camps. Approximately 5,000 Japanese Americans relocated outside the exclusion zone before March 1942, while some 5,500 community leaders had been arrested immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack and thus were already in custody. The majority of nearly 130,000 Japanese Americans living in the U.S. mainland were forcibly relocated from their West Coast homes during the spring of 1942.The United States Census Bureau assisted the internment efforts by spying and providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese Americans. The Bureau denied its role for decades, but it became public in 2007. In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the removal by ruling against Fred Korematsu's appeal for violating an exclusion order. The Court limited its decision to the validity of the exclusion orders, avoiding the issue of the incarceration of U.S. citizens without due process.In 1980, under mounting pressure from the Japanese American Citizens League and redress organizations, President Jimmy Carter opened an investigation to determine whether the decision to put Japanese Americans into concentration camps had been justified by the government. He appointed the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate the camps. The Commission's report, titled Personal Justice Denied, found little evidence of Japanese disloyalty at the time and concluded that the incarceration had been the product of racism. It recommended that the government pay reparations to the internees. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government and authorized a payment of $20,000 (equivalent to $42,000 in 2018) to each camp survivor. The legislation admitted that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion (equivalent to $3,390,000,000 in 2018) in reparations to 82,219 Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.Japanese Canadian internment
In 1942, Japanese Canadian Internment occurred when over 22,000 Japanese Canadians from British Columbia were evacuated and interned in the name of "national security". This decision followed the events of the Japanese invasions of British Hong Kong and Malaya, the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the subsequent Canadian declaration of war on Japan during World War II. This forced relocation subjected many Japanese Canadians to government-enforced curfews and interrogations, job and property losses, and forced repatriation to Japan.Beginning after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and lasting until 1949, Japanese Canadians were stripped of their homes and businesses and sent to internment camps and farms in the B.C. interior and across Canada. The internment and relocation program was funded in part by the sale of property belonging to this forcefully displaced population, which included fishing boats, motor vehicles, houses, and personal belongings.In August 1944, Prime Minister Mackenzie King announced that Japanese Canadians were to be moved east out of the British Columbia interior. The official policy stated that Japanese Canadians must move east of the Rocky Mountains or be repatriated to Japan following the end of the war. By 1947, many Japanese Canadians had been granted exemption to this enforced no-entry zone. Yet it was not until April 1, 1949, that Japanese Canadians were granted freedom of movement and could re-enter the "protected zone" along B.C.'s coast. On September 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney delivered an apology, and the Canadian government announced a compensation package.Korematsu v. United States
Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of their citizenship. In a 6–3 decision, the Court sided with the government, ruling that the exclusion order was constitutional. Six of the eight justices appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt sided with Roosevelt. The two others and the lone Herbert Hoover appointee, Owen Roberts, dissented.
The majority opinion was written by Supreme Court justice Hugo Black and held that the need to protect against espionage outweighed the rights of Americans of Japanese descent, such as Fred Korematsu. The Court limited its decision to the validity of the exclusion orders: "The provisions of other orders requiring persons of Japanese ancestry to report to assembly centers and providing for the detention of such persons in assembly and relocation centers were separate, and their validity is not in issue in this proceeding."During the case, Solicitor General Charles Fahy is alleged to have suppressed evidence by keeping from the Court a report from the Office of Naval Intelligence that there was no evidence that Japanese Americans were acting as spies or sending signals to enemy submarines, and on the basis of this prosecutorial misconduct, Korematsu's conviction was voided by a California district court in 1983.The decision in Korematsu v. United States and the legal precedent it established have remained controversial. Constitutional scholars like Bruce Fein and Noah Feldman have compared Korematsu to Dred Scott v. Sandford and Plessy v. Ferguson, respectively, in arguing it has become an example of Richard Primus's "Anti-Canon", a term for those cases which are so flawed that they are now taken as exemplars of bad legal decision making. The decision has been described as "an odious and discredited artifact of popular bigotry" and as "a stain on American jurisprudence".In 2011, the Department of Justice filed an official notice conceding that the Solicitor General's defense of the internment policy at the time had been in error. The Supreme Court explicitly repudiated the Korematsu decision in 2018 via their review of Trump v. Hawaii. However, the Korematsu opinion remains significant: it was the first instance of the Supreme Court applying the strict scrutiny standard to racial discrimination by the government. Also, it was one of only a handful of cases in which the Court held that the government had met that standard.List of Japanese-run internment camps during World War II
This is an incomplete list of Japanese-run military prisoner-of-war and civilian internment and concentration camps during World War II. Some of these camps were for prisoners of war (POW) only. Some also held a mixture of POWs and civilian internees, while others held solely civilian internees.List of concentration and internment camps
This is a list of internment and concentration camps, organized by country. In general, a camp or group of camps is designated to the country whose government was responsible for the establishment and/or operation of the camp regardless of the camp's location, but this principle can be, or it can appear to be, departed from in such cases as where a country's borders or name has changed or it was occupied by a foreign power.
Certain types of camps are excluded from this list, particularly refugee camps set up to house refugees who have fled across the border from another country in fear of persecution, or have been set up by an international non-governmental organization. Prisoner-of-war camps are treated under a separate category.Manzanar
Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from December 1942 to 1945. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in California's Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is approximately 230 miles (370 km) north of Los Angeles. Manzanar (which means "apple orchard" in Spanish) was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and is now the Manzanar National Historic Site, which preserves and interprets the legacy of Japanese American incarceration in the United States.Long before the first incarcerees arrived in March 1942, Manzanar was home to Native Americans, who lived mostly in villages near several creeks in the area. Ranchers and miners formally established the town of Manzanar in 1910, but abandoned the town by 1929 after the City of Los Angeles purchased the water rights to virtually the entire area. As different as these groups were, their histories displayed a common thread of forced relocation.
Since the last incarcerees left in 1945, former incarcerees and others have worked to protect Manzanar and to establish it as a National Historic Site to ensure that the history of the site, along with the stories of those who were unjustly incarcerated there, are remembered by current and future generations. The primary focus is the Japanese American incarceration era, as specified in the legislation that created the Manzanar National Historic Site. The site also interprets the former town of Manzanar, the ranch days, the settlement by the Owens Valley Paiute, and the role that water played in shaping the history of the Owens Valley.Minidoka National Historic Site
Minidoka National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in the western United States. It commemorates the more than 9,000 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during the Second World War.Located in the Magic Valley of south central Idaho in Jerome County, the site is in the Snake River Plain, a remote high desert area north of the Snake River. It is 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Twin Falls and just north of Eden, in an area known as Hunt. The site is administered by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and was originally established as the Minidoka Internment National Monument in 2001. Its elevation is just under 4,000 feet (1,220 m) above sea level.Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre
The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre is a museum and interpretive centre in New Denver, British Columbia, Canada, dedicated to the history of the Japanese Canadians who were relocated to internment camps during World War II by the Canadian government (see Japanese Canadian internment).
The site consists of five buildings, of which three are original shacks built to house the interned people. Many artifacts such as stoves and furnishings are preserved, as are some personal effects of the displaced people. It also features a Japanese garden designed by Roy Sumi, a former supervisor of the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia.
The centre was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2007.Operation Demetrius
Operation Demetrius was a British Army operation in Northern Ireland on 9–10 August 1971, during the Troubles. It involved the mass arrest and internment (imprisonment without trial) of 342 people suspected of being involved with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was waging a campaign for a united Ireland against the British state. It was proposed by the Northern Ireland Government and approved by the British Government. Armed soldiers launched dawn raids throughout Northern Ireland, sparking four days of violence in which 20 civilians, two IRA members and two British soldiers were killed. All of those arrested were Irish nationalists, the vast majority of them Catholic. Due to faulty intelligence, many had no links with the IRA. Ulster loyalist paramilitaries were also carrying out acts of violence, which were mainly directed against Catholics and Irish nationalists, but no loyalists were included in the sweep.The introduction of internment, the way the arrests were carried out, and the abuse of those arrested, led to mass protests and a sharp increase in violence. Amid the violence, about 7,000 people fled or were forced out of their homes. The interrogation techniques used on the internees were described by the European Commission of Human Rights in 1976 as torture, but the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on appeal in 1978 that while the techniques were "inhuman and degrading", they did not constitute torture. It was later revealed that the British government had withheld information from the ECHR and that a policy of torture had in fact been authorized by British government ministers. In December 2014, the Irish government asked the ECHR to revise its 1978 judgement.The policy of internment lasted until December 1975 and during that time 1,981 people were interned; 1,874 were nationalist, while 107 were loyalist. The first loyalist internees were detained in February 1973.Parwan Detention Facility
The Parwan Detention Facility (also called Detention Facility in Parwan) is Afghanistan's main military prison. Situated next to the Bagram Air Base in the Parwan Province of Afghanistan, the prison was built by the United States during the Bush Administration. The Parwan Detention Facility, which houses foreign and local combatants (terrorists), is maintained by the Afghan National Army.
It was formerly known by the United States as the Bagram Collection Point. While initially intended as a temporary facility, it has been used longer and handled more detainees than the US Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. As of June 2011, the Parwan detention facility held 1,700 prisoners; there had been 600 prisoners under the Bush administration. None of the prisoners has received POW status.The treatment of inmates at the facility has been under scrutiny since two Afghan detainees died in the 2002 Bagram torture and prisoner abuse case. Their deaths were classified as homicides and prisoner abuse charges were made against seven American soldiers. Concerns about lengthy detentions here have prompted comparisons to U.S. detention centers in Guantanamo Bay on Cuba and Abu Graib in Iraq. Part of the internment facility is called the Black jail.Stanley Internment Camp
Stanley Internment Camp (Chinese: 赤柱拘留營) was a civilian internment camp in Hong Kong during the Second World War. Located in Stanley, on the southern end of Hong Kong Island, it was used by the Japanese imperial forces to hold non-Chinese enemy nationals after their victory in the Battle of Hong Kong, a battle in the Pacific campaign of the Second World War. About 2,800 men, women, and children were held at the non-segregated camp for 44 months from early January 1942 to August 1945 when Japanese forces surrendered. The camp area consisted of St Stephen's College and the grounds of Stanley Prison, excluding the prison itself.
Segregation in countries by type (in some countries, categories overlap)