This letter has 12 questions to either refresh your memory or update you on the silent American history of German Americans.
1. Did you know that 300,000 permanent resident German Americans were declared as “Enemy Aliens,” with the stroke of a pen, during World War II?
2. Did you know that the “Enemy Aliens” were fingerprinted and had mug shots taken like criminals; they were prohibited from flying; they were prohibited from leaving their neighborhood; and they were prohibited from having cameras, rifles, shotguns and small arms in their possession?
3. Did you know that some 30,000 (this is a floor, not a ceiling) German Americans were arrested and interned by the FBI and Department of Justice?
4. Constitutional rights were violated?
5. Did you know that thousands of German Americans were deported, repatriated, expatriated and exchanged with our then-enemy Germany? This took place while Germany was under siege by the Armed Forces of the United States.
6. Did you know that hundreds, perhaps even a thousand or more, of German Americans, naturalized citizens, were denaturalized by the courts?
7. Did you know that U.S.-born children and infants were sent into harm’s way when they were expatriated and exchanged with our enemy, Germany, for POWS, diplomats and persons caught behind enemy lines?
8. Did you know that one or more of the foregoing actions destroyed German American families?
9. Did you know that many were incarcerated for more than three years after the war had ended?
10. Did you know that the government of the United States has not enacted one public law for the German American victims of internment?
11. Did you know that many German American and Japanese American victims were incarcerated in the same internment camps?
12. Did you know that the government of the United States enacted 11 public laws for the Japanese American victims?