by Bruce Rutledge
Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and the city council declared May 22 “Never Again – Executive Order 9066 Day” to raise awareness about the imprisonment of Japanese immigrants during World War II. The city said in a formal statement that it “hopes that no other such order will be made throughout America and the City of Auburn’s future.”
The city noted that during World War II “Japanese immigrants and their American-born children became important contributing members of the Auburn community, serving on PTAs, operating stores, farming the valley’s rich soil, often gaining high marks in school, helping Auburn to become a prosperous and peaceful city,” and yet when then US President Franklin D.
Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 demanding that Japanese residents be evacuated by noon on May 22, 1942, they were uprooted from their homes and imprisoned.
“The 18-car train was drawn up on the siding along the packing house from which we used to ship our peas and lettuce, and the place was full of people. There was a tremendous lineup of trucks loaded with baggage,” recalled Auburn resident Shuji Kimura. “Many friends had come to see us off.” Most of Auburn’s Japanese and Japanese American residents were taken to assembly centers in Fresno and Puyallup before being shipped to the Tule Lake concentration camp, where most lived until the end of the war in 1945.