Blossoms in the Desert: Topaz High School Class of 1945--Our Story in an American Concentration Camp

Item # 211500.

This is the collective effort of members of the Topaz High School Class of 1945, which recounts the experiences of their growing up and receiving their entire high school education from September 1942-June 1945, within the confines of the Topaz Concentration Camp in Utah.

Of the 8,000 plus persons imprisoned in Topaz, the high school class of 1945 numbered some 254. This class Included those who graduated in January 1945, June 1945, as well as the January 1946 class members who had enough course credits to graduate with the June class before the camp closed.

Their average age was about 14 years old at the time when they and their families were uprooted from their homes and imprisoned in a hastily-built compound in a harsh, remote desert. The student body came from various urban and rural settings, from San Francisco's Japantown to remote farms located in Washington. No matter what their background, they found their three years in camp to be perhaps the most impressionable years of their lives. From a sociological and psychological point of view, they were forced to cope with circumstances that few teenagers had to face. Adjustment to loss, dislocation and uncertainty, was compounded by having to live in a confined environment where personal privacy was nonexistent…

These stories of Incarceration and education in a concentration camp during World War II, unique in the annals of our country's history, are our collective legacy to succeeding generations to ensure that such a travesty of justice never again befalls any other group of people in this country.

Paper: 252 pp.


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