Questions & Answers for Evacuees

Questions and Answers for Evacuees: Information Regarding the Relocation Program. San Francisco: War Relocation Authority Regional Office, c. 1942. In the Kaoru Ichihara Papers. Box 1. Manuscripts and University Archives, UW Libraries.

Questions & Answers for Evacuees


Assembly Center

A convenient gathering point, within the military area, where evacuees live temporarily while awaiting the opportunity for orderly, planned movement to a Relocation Center outside of the military area.

Relocation Center

A pioneer community, with basic housing and protective services provided by the Federal Government, for occupancy by evacuees for the duration of the war.

Relocation Area

The entire area surrounding a Relocation Center, under the jurisdiction of the War Relocation Authority. The relocation lands are federally owned, are designated as military areas, and are protected by military police.

Work Project

Work projects, such as development of irrigated land, manufacturing enterprises, and farming, undertaken by the War Relocation Work Corps.


A person who enlists in the War Relocation Work Corps. Enlistment is for the duration of the war.


Question 1: When I am evacuated, where will I go?
Answer: You will, most likely, first go to an Assembly Center, a temporary stopping place where you and your family will be provided with food, shelter, medical care, and protection until you leave for a Relocation Center, at which there will be permanent housing, work opportunities, educational facilities, and other essentials of a normal community. (In some areas evacuees will go directly from their homes to Relocation Centers).

Question 2: Before I leave for an Assembly Center should I sell or store my household goods?
Answer: Keep in mind that you will be going to a war-duration Relocation Center after you leave the Assembly Center, and that many of your household goods will be needed in your new home at the Relocation Center. So do not needlessly dispose of or sacrifice things you may need. During the evacuation, at the time you receive instructions at your local civil control office, you will be informed that your household goods may be stored for you free of charge while you are at the Assembly Center, provided you box and crate these goods suitably. As soon as you move to your war-duration home at a Relocation Center the War Relocation Authority will have these goods brought to you.

Question 3: What kind of household goods should I store, keeping in mind that they will be brought to me later at a Relocation Center?
Answer: At least the essential household equipment and person belongings for your family -- except refrigerators and stoves, which will not be needed. We suggest that you keep your chairs, tables, beds, rugs, etc. We particularly recommend you keep your sewing machines, hand tools, games, books, and musical instruments.

Question 4: What kind of clothes should I take with me when I am evacuated?
Answer: Be prepared for the Relocation Center, which is a pioneer community. So bring clothes suited to pioneer life and in keeping with the climate or climates likely to be involved. Bring work clothes, boots, slacks, and work shirts, rather than business suits or street dresses. Bring warm clothing even if you are going to a southern area, because the temperatures may range from freezing in winter to 115° during some periods of the summer. Although you won't want to take many extra clothes to the Assembly Center, be sure to save and store all of the extra clothing that may be needed later at the Relocation Center.

Question 5: Should I bring any food? Any cooking devices?
Answer: Non-perishable foods may be stored to be brought to you with your household goods, as for example, canned goods, tea, coffee, etc. Meals will be served at central mess halls. You may install supplemental cooking devices, such as electrical cooking devices, in your own quarters only if the fire hazard is negligible and if the fire regulations of your own community council so permit.

Question 6: Shall I bring towels, dish cloths, curtains, sheets, pillow cases, small rugs?
Answer: Yes, these all will be useful.

Question 7: Shall I pack blankets and bedding to be brought to the Relocation Center?
Answer: Yes, by all means.

Question 8: Shall I bring tools, gardening equipment, etc.?
Answer: These will be needed at the Relocation Centers. If you have stored them, the War Relocation Authority will ship them to your Relocation Center.

Question 9: Shall I bring toys, athletic equipment and books?
Answer: Yes, but they should be placed in storage to be shipped to you later.

Question 10: Will there be a place for pianos and other large musical instruments?
Answer: Yes, at recreation halls at the Centers.

Question 11: What cannot be brought?
Answer: Short-wave radios, cameras, weapons, any other contraband material, and alcoholic beverages.


Question 12:Will food, shelter and medical attention be provided?

Question 13:Will educational facilities be provided?Answer:Yes. One of the first jobs of the War Relocation Work Corps will be to build schools and school equipment at Relocation Centers. Nursery schools, elementary schools, and high schools will be maintained. Plans are being considered whereby university students may be able to attend midwestern colleges and universities.

Question 14:Will stores be available?

Question 15:What can I purchase at project stores?
Answer:Provisions will be made for purchase of necessary commodities.

Question 16:Will there be a post office?

Question 17:Can I receive mail, magazines, newspapers, books and merchandise by mail?

Question 18:Can I send mail from camp?

Question 19:Will banking facilities be available?
Answer:Yes, limited banking facilities will be provided, but the exact method for supplying these facilities has not yet been worked out.

Question 20:Can I bring a long-wave radio or listen to one in camp?

Question 21:Can I bring a short-wave radio?

Question 22:Will there be storage facilities at the Relocation Centers?
Answer:Yes, storage facilities will be available for household goods which cannot be immediately used in your living quarters. Goods in such storage will be accessible to owners.

Question 23:What living quarters will be provided for me and my family?
Answer:The living quarters for a family of five consists of an apartment approximately 20 x 25 feet.

Question 24:How will this apartment be furnished?
Answer:When you first arrive at a Relocation Center your living quarters will be furnished with army cots and mattresses; also an oil heater, when necessary, and electric lights. As soon as your own household effects are brought to you at the Center, including your own beds and bedding, the issued cots and mattresses will be withdrawn.

Question 25:May I install partitions in my living quarters or make my own furniture?
Answer:Yes, simple materials will be provided for these purposes, if available.

Question 26:May we improve the quarters by using wall board, plywood, shelving, curtains, etc.?
Answer:Yes, if you can supply materials yourself or if funds available permit the War Relocation Authority to provide them.

Question 27:Are bathing, toilet, and laundry facilities available?
Answer:Separate buildings are provided containing bathing, toilet, and laundry facilities.

Question 28:Will there be street lighting at night?

Question 29:Will families be permitted to cook their own meals at Relocation Centers?
Answer:No. Complete kitchen equipment cannot be obtained for individual kitchens. Further, the fire hazard would be too great if there were extensive cooking facilities operated in each apartment.

Question 30:How will meals be obtained?
Answer:All regular meals will be cooked and served at community dining halls.

Question 31:Will this be "American-style" or "Japanese-style" food?

Question 32:Will special food be available for babies and small children?

Question 33:Will special food be available for nursing mothers or patients under care of a physician?
Answer:Yes, on request of the physician.

Question 34:Can food be obtained elsewhere?
Answer:You may buy some foods at the project canteen.


Question 35:Who may enlist in the Work Corps?
Answer:Any able-bodied man or woman above the age of 16.

Question 36:Do I have to be a citizen of the United States to enlist?

Question 37:Is enlistment compulsory?
Answer:It is entirely voluntary.

Question 38:Where may I enlist?
Answer:At an Assembly Center or Relocation Center.

Question 39:How long will enlistment last?
Answer:Until 14 days after the end of the war.

Question 40:What types of work will be available to enlistees in the Work Corps?
Answer:Practically all types, especially those concerned with agriculture, irrigation, manufacturing, small businesses, medicine, education, and camp administration. The tentative plan is to have each Relocation Project function as a type of cooperative.

Question 41:How will I obtain cash to pay for newspapers, tooth paste, tobacco, and so on?
Answer:Monthly cash advances will be made to all enlistees who work.

Question 42:Will my earnings depend on the type of work I perform?
Answer:Yes. Types of work will be classified and earnings will be apportioned on the basis of these qualifications.

Question 43:If several members of the same family enlist in the Corps, will each receive the monthly cash advances?

Question 44:Just what is meant by "cash advances"?
Answer:This term is used instead of the term "wages" for this reason: Each Relocation Project will maintain a set of books in which will be kept all costs and all income. Among the costs recorded will be those for food, heat, light, medical care, clothing, and "cash advances." If the project makes a profit over and above all costs, including the "cash advances," you will be entitled to a share in proportion to the amount and character of the work you have performed; the profits may come to you in the form of increased monthly "cash advances."

Question 45:If we raise food which we use in the mess halls, will we receive credit for it?
Answer:Yes. Decidedly so. Food raised on the project will reduce project costs, which in turn will enhance the opportunity for profit.

Question 46:How much will the cash advances amount to each month?
Answer:This will be announced soon. The only official statement on this subject is that under present conditions the maximum cash advance will not exceed the minimum cash pay of the American private soldier.

Question 47:May I obtain cash advances if I do not enlist in the War Relocation Work Corps?

Question 48:It is to our interest, then, to do all we can to keep down costs and to increase the income of the project?

Question 49:Will evacuees be permitted to do the bookkeeping, stenographic, and related work?

Question 50:Will the administrative cost of the War Relocation Authority be charged against each project?

Question 51:If the project fails to make money, will we be indebted to the Government for the advances made to us?

Question 52:What other benefits will I get by enlisting in the Work Corps?
Answer:The War Relocation Authority has pledged that not only will enlistment permit your participation in project activities, but it will also serve as evidence of your loyalty to America.


Question 53:Can I receive rents, profits, dividends or royalties from businesses or property I own outside the project?

Question 54:Can I make investments in securities, mortgages and war bonds?

Question 55:Can I continue business negotiations with banks, businesses or individuals outside the Relocation Center?


Question 56:Will physicians and nurses be available?

Question 57:Will a hospital be available at the Relocation Center?
Answer:Yes, basic hospital facilities will be available. However, one of the first jobs of the Work Corps will be to improve these facilities according to the desires of the community.

Question 58:What vaccinations are necessary when I settle at a Relocation Camp?
Answer:To protect the health of the community it is necessary for all evacuees to be vaccinated against smallpox and inoculated against typhoid fever.


Question 59:Can I obtain temporary leave of absence from the Relocation Center?
Answer:Short furloughs may be granted by the Project Director and the Military Authorities on matters of necessity concerning legal, business, or medical problems. Special leaves of absence may be granted to enlistees for purposes of private employment, under appropriate safeguards, and to university students to attend colleges and universities where satisfactory arrangements can be made with such institutions. A non-government committee has been set up to attempt to work out a program which may enable American citizen Japanese students to attend colleges and universities outside the prohibited military zones.

Question 60:Can I leave the Center to obtain a job in the vicinity?
Answer:Furloughs may be granted enlistees in the Work Corps to accept private employment, under the following conditions:

  1. That the State and local communities involved provide adequate protection and guarantee the safety of evacuees and communities.
  2. That recruitment is on a voluntary basis.
  3. That workers are assured of receiving prevailing wages.
  4. That employers provide, without cost to the Government, transportation from Centers to work location and return.
  5. That employers provide suitable housing for evacuees at work locations.


Question 61:Will families be kept together?
Answer:Yes, wherever members of the family so desire.

Question 62:May I be moved from one Relocation Center to another?
Answer:Yes, if this appears necessary for the public welfare. However, the Authority wants your communities to be as stable as possible, and you may be assured that enlistees will not be transferred from one Center to another unless absolutely necessary.

Question 63:Can I get married while in the Center?

Question 64:Can I get divorced while in the Center?

Question 65:Can I sue or be sued?

Question 66:Can I defend myself in a suit brought outside the project?

Question 67:Will there be religious freedom?

Question 68:Am I liable to draft for service in the Army like any other American through the Selective Service System?

Question 69:Will communities at Relocation Centers be permitted to establish their own community governments?
Answer:Yes. It will be up to each community to plan its design of community life within the broad basic policies determined by the Authority for over-all administration of Relocation Areas. Eligible voters will nominate and elect officers and officials and organize institutions necessary for the efficient conduct of a typical community. The community government will draft ordinances and regulations and provide for their enforcement, subject to such restrictions as military necessity may impose on the over-all supervision of the Relocation Areas.

Question 70:What provisions will be made to keep law and order?
Answer:The Army has responsibility of maintaining external protection and of controlling ingress and egress. Internal protection will be maintained by the community and the War Relocation Authority.

Question 71:Will visitors be allowed at the Center?
Answer:Yes, subject to such reasonable limitations as may be necessary for good administration of the area.