LOS ANGELES (Nov. 14, 2016) — The UCLA Asian American Studies Center is pleased to announce that the public can now access the Jack and Aiko Herzig Papers at the UCLA Library Special Collections in the Charles E. Young Research Library.
To browse through and locate materials in the collection, the finding aid (also known as collection guide) to the Herzig Papers can be viewed through the Online Archive of California at: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ institutions/UCLA.
An inaugural public program reception was held at UCLA on October 26, 2016, where a standing-room only crowd of family, researchers, community, and students celebrated the rich repository of materials now available in Southern California. The launch event was hosted by the Center, UCLA Library Special Collections, and the Dr. Sanbo and Kazuko Sakaguchi Research Fund in Japanese American Studies.
The Herzig Papers serves to enhance public knowledge about the unjust, forced exclusion, evacuation, and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, Americans from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands, and Japanese Latin Americans during World War II and offers invaluable lessons to anyone vitally concerned with issues of social justice and constitutionality in America. The collection consists of mostly facsimile and some original materials and includes card indexes, evidentiary documents, reports, public hearings and court transcripts, correspondence, books, articles, and clippings. Currently on display through mid-November are items from this collection, located in the exhibit case just outside the Ahmanson-Murphy Room of UCLA Library Special Collections on A-level.
“Community activists and researchers Jack and Aiko Herzig played a pivotal role in the World War II Japanese American redress movement through their historical research at archives and libraries across the nation,” said Center librarian and archivist Marjorie Lee.
Prompted initially by questions regarding the traumatic WWII experiences she and her family, Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga in ensuing years of this movement broadened and expanded her research scope that resulted in the discovery of important ‘smoking gun’ evidence, governmental and military documents and records. Their primary research efforts and discoveries aided in the redress for thousands of Americans illegally incarcerated during World War II, notably with the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC); the Supreme Court coram nobislitigation cases of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu; the National Council for Japanese American Redress class action lawsuit, William Hohri et al., vs. USA; and with the Office of Redress Administration in the Department of Justice to verify eligibility of individuals from the Nikkei community for both redress compensation and the legislative letter of formal apology.
Materials that are identified can be requested for on-site viewing at the Ahmanson-Murphy Reading Room in Library Special Collections at UCLA which is located on the lower A level of the Charles E. Young Research Library. To make research visits in advance, please call 310/825.4988. An overview of the Herzig papers, its arrangement, and how to access its materials is conveniently available on the Asian American Studies Center’s own web resource portalweb resource portal. For information on UCLA Library Special Collections and how to request materials, please visit here or Public Services at Ahmanson-Murphy Reading Room, A1713 UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library, (310) 825-4988 (Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except holidays and university intercession periods).
Processing and cataloging of this archival collection was funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. Additional funding was provided by the Eji Suyama, 100th Bn/442nd RCT Draftees, No-Nos, Draft Resisters and Renunciants Archival Collection Endowment; George and Sakaye Aratani Community Advancement Research Endowment (C.A.R.E.); Dr. Sanbo and Kazuko Sakaguchi Research Fund in Japanese American Studies; and UCLA Asian American Studies Center Friends of the Library/RR Herzig Archival Collection Project.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center also received support in part for earlier processing and cataloging phases of the CWRIC materials from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund and the Eji Suyama, 100th Bn/442nd RCT Draftees, No-No Boys, Draft Resisters and Renunciants Archival Collection Endowment, and which culminated in the Center’s 2011 publication release of Speaking Out for Personal Justice, co-edited by Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga and Marjorie Lee. A milestone resource and reference guide to the 789 oral testimonies presented before the U.S. Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians at 20 hearing sessions in nine cities across the United States between July and November 1981, the guide contains site summaries of testimonies as well as a complete registry of witnesses (with corresponding transcript page numbers) whose complete testimonies can be read in the public hearings transcripts found in the Herzig Papers collection. Also featured are a series of regional maps with locations of the various detention facilities and confinement sites mentioned by the witnesses during their incarceration. Copies of this guide are still available for purchase through AASC Press at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.
Speaking Out for Personal Justice, in conjunction with the Herzig Papers now publicly accessible at UCLA, are significant markers to understanding a profound social movement that generated a new collective response by Japanese Americans towards their wartime incarceration and with keen insights for all Americans regarding constitutionality and accountability.