"Message for young people"

Excerpt from Doris Berg Nye oral history interview with Florence Sugimoto, March 4, 2009

(FS = Florence Sugimoto; DN = Doris Nye)

Doris Nye’s parents were German internees at the Honouliuli internment camp.

FS: What message would you like to leave the young people of today?

DN: To cherish your freedoms. Just cherish your freedoms, because I lived in a time when there were none. 

None of this would have happened because of my parents being American citizens, nothing of this would have happened, if there was no martial law, and no habeas corpus, as habeas corpus was suspended.

The worst part is that, which drives me to continue in my effort to go forward, is that all of this terrible stuff that, the information that was recorded regarding who my parents, what my parents were supposed to have done with the informers, it’s still on their records today. And the information that they were forced to sign is on their records today, and when I went in on the computer, and I went here and there and everywhere, all of a sudden it came up — that here’s my mother who was supposed to have been plotting against America and everything, and that she was an alien. And all of that is still today, so I am hoping that one of these days that we will be able to right those wrongs. And we must right those wrongs. 

And another thing is not only to cherish all your rights and civil liberties, but it’s to make sure that nobody is ever detained under any circumstances, American citizens, without being able to face your accusers. That is so very, very important. And we cannot let this lapse. Nothing can lapse regarding it. It’s just too important. 

We are trying right now to have a bill, and that should be submitted to Congress.   

FS: Is there a redress campaign going on then?

DN: It’s not redress. We don’t (want) the money, but it’s the apology, even the acknowledgement. Nobody even knows about the German detainment, and about the German detainment on the Mainland.  So there is a committee. We would like a committee to be formed and Congress act, forming a committee to look into these allegations, to start an investigation, because that’s where it all starts with. To see what happened.  So that is what we are pushing for right now. And we were very, very happy to find out. 

Where I was very, very fortunate is that the Japanese community supports me. Very much.  In ’06 I was asked to be a member of the Day of Remembrance, one of the three speakers. Mr. Takahashi was one of them, and myself, and I forgot the other. I see the face, but I can’t remember. And without the cooperation and the help by the Japanese community, I would have gotten no place. That this has been a tremendous mission. Because it’s been healing for me too, to get rid of that fear.

SourceOral history interviews, Nye, Doris (Berg), oral history interview with Florence Sugimoto, March 4, 2009
Publication:  Unpublished manuscript
Page #:  34 (in reformatted transcript)  (p. 44-45 in original spiral-bound transcript)
Call No. in JCCH Resource Center:  OH Nye
Note:  A link to the full text (in PDF) of the oral history interview transcript is in the JCCH online catalog record.

MLA citation:  Nye, Doris. "Oral History Interviews, Nye, Doris (Berg)." Interview by Florence Sugimoto, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Honolulu. 04 Mar. 2009. The Untold Story: The Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i. Web. [date of access]