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Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the demise of civil liberties.
Educational Media Reviews Online
American History • Asian American Studies • American Studies
Civil & Human Rights • Sociology • Photojournalism
2017. Directors Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider. Producer Abby Ginzberg.
50 Minutes. 


AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US is a cautionary and inspiring tale for all societies.  Seventy-six years ago President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, paving the way for the forced incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US educates audiences about the constitutional damage done in the name of national security.  Thousands of American citizens lost their homes, their businesses and their families due to war hysteria and racism. Yet the validity of these actions were upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1944, based on governmental lies which were later uncovered. Featuring Japanese Americans who were incarcerated, rediscovered photos of Dorothea Lange and the story of Fred Korematsu’s long journey to justice, the film brings history into the present, as it follows Japanese Americans speaking out against the current Muslim travel ban and other regressive immigration policies.

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Reviews & Quotes

"And They Came for Us is an invaluable tool for teaching about the ethical and legal ramifications of incarcerating citizens without due process strictly based on race; the power of documentation and how images are taken and interpreted; and the history of Japanese Internment Camps in the United States. It also provides a foundation for the genesis of a larger discussion about the demonization of the other and importance of safe guarding civil rights now and in the future."

"This is one of the best documentaries this reviewer has seen, well-edited, well-paced, and forcefully presented, combining live action and archival footage seamlessly woven into a compelling whole."

Seattle University School of Law

Lorraine K. Bannai, Director of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and Author of Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice

"This moving film powerfully conveys the story of the mass removal and incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry­ during World War II and its haunting continued relevance today. Through the voices of survivors of the camps and poignant contemporary photos, the film helps us understand the human experience of the round-up and imprisonment – not only the confusion, anger, and sense of betrayal felt by those imprisoned, but also their strength and resilience. It also tells how, 40 years later, the community sought and won recognition of the wrong through the redress movement in Congress and coram nobis proceedings in court. And, importantly, it underscores the ways in which the incarceration remains relevant today when the country continues to target communities based on race, national origin, and religion in the name of national security. This remarkable film compels its audiences to understand that the quest for justice is constant and a quest in which every person must participate."


"This moving program, which draws parallels between this act and currently proposed immigration restrictions, is a reminder of how easily entire populations can be condemned."


"Featuring rediscovered photographs by Dorothea Lange, And Then They Came For Us connects history with the present, by retelling this story and then showing Japanese American activists speaking out today against a Muslim registry and travel ban."

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