Topaz, Utah internment camp site designated landmark

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WASHINGTON -- A Japanese-American internment camp in southern Utah that confined some 8,000 people during World War II will join the ranks of some of the most historic sites in America.

The Interior Department announced Wednesday that the Topaz Camp, near Delta about 140 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, will be recognized as a National Historic Landmark...

The camp, now mainly a windswept field, was used during the war to jail Japanese-Americans and recent immigrants as racial fears increased; nine other camps also held those of Japanese descent during the war and five of those have earned a similar historic designation...

Topaz [internees], mostly legal citizens at the time, spent three or so years living in 20-foot by 20-foot barracks with thin walls; they slept on Army cots.

Residents of nearby Delta have campaigned for some 15 years to raise funds to preserve and partially restore the site, buying up some 624 acres. The Topaz Museum Board currently is attempting to buy the last 16 acres that are privately owned.

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