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WSU previews largest collection of internment photos

Courtesy of WSU
Heart Mountain Internee George Hirahara (shown) created this darkroom in his barracks in the Fall of 1943 by ordering equipment and supplies from Sears and Roebuck catalog.

Washington State University in Pullman previewed a photo collection this morning that's considered to be the largest ever of a World War II internment camp.

The 2,000 donated images come from the family of a father-son team from Yakima. Frank and George Hirahara took pictures and operated a dark room while they were detained at a camp in Heart Mountain, Wyo. Patti Hirahara says her father, Frank, wanted to depict what life was like at the camp.

"My father loved to take pictures till the day he died. And he instilled that in me once I had to take photography classes. He said, 'you're always there to tell a story,'" Hirahara said.

Frank Hirahara graduated from WSU in 1948, when it was Washington State College and later lived in Portland.

WSU Libraries held a Sneak Preview to allow the public to see many of the rare photographs this morning in the Terrell Library Atrium.

Patti Hirahara also plans to donate her family's photos to the Oregon Historical Society and to the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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