Today’s post is written by Jana Leighton, an Archivist in the Electronic Records Division at the National Archives at College Park with support from Kaitlyn Crain Enriquez, Archives Technician in the Still Pictures Branch at the National Archives at College Park.
In February of 1942 the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank was tasked with the role of fiscal agent for properties and goods (other than farms and farm machinery) of Germans, Italians, Japanese, and Japanese Americans affected by the evacuations from the west coast of the United States of America after the attack on Pearl Harbor through to 1946.[i] This role was initiated by Executive Order 9066 that allowed the Secretary of War to designate military areas and order evacuations of persons deemed a threat to national security. The records from Record Group 210: The Records of the War Relocation Authority in the series San Francisco Branch Evacuee Property Files, 3/18/1942-6/30/1946 reflect several of the Bank’s tasks. Many of the records depict the Bank assisting evacuees in the disposition of property holdings, protecting them from fraud, forced sales, and unscrupulous creditors, in addition to arranging for orderly liquidation of business and property interests while coming under the authority set out by the establishment of the War Relocation Authority.[ii]
A significant portion of the records contained in the series is correspondence and interviews. The correspondence between bank representatives and concerned parties, as well as reports and interview forms, provide a picture of what was being dealt with throughout the evacuation process. Photographs from Record Group 210’s series Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 – 1945 (NAID 536000) provide faces to some of the names seen within the documents.Continue reading