It was in operation from September 18, 1942 until November 30, 1944, and held as many as 8,475 Japanese Americans forcibly evacuated from California. The Rohwer War Relocation Center Cemetery is located here, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1992.
The largest remaining structure is the high school gymnasium/auditorium, which was added upon and remains in service with the local elementary school. The tallest structure is the smokestack from the hospital incinerator. Neither of these is marked in any way to indicate historical significance. The rail line used to bring internees and supplies to the camp remains, though it is apparently abandoned. Some of the rails date back to WWII and before.
This rail line also served the Jerome War Relocation Center, which was located 30 miles (48.3 km) southwest of Rohwer.
Various building foundations, walkways, culverts and other improvements are still visible and some are still in use by the local residents. Trees planted by residents have grown tall.
The camp cemetery survives as the only site still identified as having been part of the internment center. It was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1992. It has a monument to Japanese American war dead from the camp, and also a monument to those who died at the camp. The camp site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
In its National Historic Landmark summary on the Rohwer Relocation Center Cemetery, the National Park Service writes:
Rohwer Relocation Camp was constructed in the late summer and early fall of 1942 as a result of Executive Order 9066 (February 19, 1942). Under this order, over 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents were forcibly removed from the three Pacific Coast States—California, Oregon, and Washington. In all, ten camps were established in desolate sites, all chosen for their distance from the Pacific Coast. Over 10,000 evacuees passed through Rohwer during its existence, and over two thirds of these were American citizens. The monuments found within the camp's cemetery are perhaps the most poignant record of this time."
Perhaps none is more poignant than that marking the resting place of 16-year-old Masuye Ogawa (known as "Marion" to her friends and family), or of the Masaki, Tasugi and Sano infants.
In its summary on the Rohwer Relocation Center Cemetery, the National Park Service indicates that the cemetery's condition is threatened due to deterioration of the grave markers and monuments, but that ownership of the site is unclear.Deterioration is visible in photographs of the site. Deterioration is discussed in a report from the National Park Service to the President.
A tank-shaped memorial, made of reinforced concrete, guards the cemetery, commemorating Japanese Americans who fought for the United States at Anzio and elsewhere in Italy and France during World War II. Thirty-one who came from Rohwer died in action, and their names are inscribed on the memorial, as well as a later memorial raised nearby.
The cemetery is located 0.5 miles (0.8 km) west of State Route 1, approximately 12 miles (19.3 km) northeast of McGehee, Arkansas. Signs identify the graded road which goes from the highway to the cemetery, where there is room to park automobiles
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