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BUS-eum 2, a traveling TRACES exhibit
During WWII the U.S. Government interned 15,000 German-American civilians. Using ten narrative panels, an NBC “Dateline” documentary and a 1945 U.S. Government color film about this unknown history, TRACES’ BUS-eum 2 will tour Wisconsin from mid-March to May 2006, with showings in about 55 communities. Three guest speakers and related programs will complement the educational value and impact of this unique mobile exhibit.
This project’s main goals include presenting an unknown history to a wide audience, stimulating penetrating questions on the part of visitors to the exhibit and then leading them to subsequent discussions, guided by local host communities. It explores a virtually unknown yet significant historical event—possibly one of the
Each host is asked to organize a Community Conversation in conjunction with each BUS-eum 2 showing: in addition to welcoming community members to view the BUS’s ten narrative panels, listen to a BBC Radio documentary and view two films about this internment, each town will hold a panel-led open discussion about this topic. Through this exhibit and the subsequent discussions, Midwesterners will see WWII history in a new way, and “re-visit” an event and a period too often misunderstood and obscured by facile clichés. The discussion itself is meant to support healthy democratic involvement and processes.
host will be asked to invite local community leaders (educators, clergy,
journalists, public officials, military officials, students, business
people, etc.) to sit on a panel of three, five or seven panelists (one as
moderator), to discuss issues like the following Guiding Questions:
ethnic background or ideology justifiable grounds for internment (in other
words, imprisoning suspects for who they are
or what they believe, as opposed
to their actions)?
given society “owe” due process only to its citizens, or also to legal
—during WWII the U.S. Government forcibly removed 4,058 Latin American Germans from South America—some of whom were German or Austrian Jews who’d recently fled Nazi persecution—to camps in Texas, at Ellis Island and elsewhere [just as 2,200 Peruvian Japanese also were interned alongside indigenous Japanese Americans]: what are some of this action’s legal and moral implications? Was this action effective?
internment was a multi-million-dollar, seven-year U.S. Government project:
was it effective (i.e., did it reach its intended aims) or not? What other
actions might have been taken, rather than to intern some 150,000 Japanese,
Italian and German Americans?
camp staff and many of those interned were sworn to secrecy. In 1988 the
U.S. Government acknowledged that it had interned Japanese Americans during
WWII, and in 2000 it admitted that it also had imprisoned Italian Americans;
as of this writing, however, it has never confessed to having interned
German Americans. To what extent, and for how long, is a government
accountable for its actions? Does it “owe” reparations to those
wrongfully harmed? If so, in what form?
For more information, to book a showing or to make a donation
towards this project, contact:
Michael Luick-Thrams, Executive Director
651.646.0400 fax .8070
All organizations and individuals who invest $500 or more (in cash or in-kind) in this special project will be cited prominently on the bus itself. TRACES is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization and all contributions are tax-deductible.
BUS-eum 2 exhibit panels:
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