Between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island.
But in the 1940s, Ellis Island served another purpose—it was the location of an internment camp that held about 8,000 German, Italian, and Japanese U.S. citizens, naturalized citizens, and resident foreigners.
["Alien enemies" having Christmas dinner in the Great Hall in 1943]
“In the fall of 1941, even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Justice Department had begun planning to round up foreigners,” states a 2003 New York Times article.
“Letters show that the Attorney General’s office expected to arrest 600 people from New York and 200 from New Jersey per month and hold them on Ellis Island. On Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the attack, the roundup began. Internees were housed in the baggage and dormitory building behind the Great Hall.”
The war ended in 1945, and the camp was closed later that year.
Tags: Alien Enemies World War II, Ellis Island Great Hall, Ellis Island history, internment camp Ellis Island, internment camps in New York, New York City in World War II, U.S. internment camps World War II