Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Dec. 29, 1941: People line up outside of Central Jail in Los Angeles to turn in cameras and shortwave radios. More than 4,000 articles were turned in by people from Japan, Germany and Italy. This photo was published in the Dec. 30, 1941 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Dec. 29, 1941: Lt. C.C. Garrison at the Beverly Hills Police Station with shortwave radio equipment turned in. The Dec. 30, 1941 Los Angeles Times reported the most valuable equipment was turned in by Beverly Hills residents "where foreign royalty and film moguls packed the police station with 300 cameras and 10 radios."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Dec. 29, 1941: Japanese nationals turn in cameras and shortwave radios after the start of World War II.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Dec. 29, 1941: Property clerk Joe Aigner is busy collecting banned articles. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, residents born in foreign countries had been ordered to turn in all cameras and shortwave radio equipment. This photo was published in the Dec. 30, 1941 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Dec. 29, 1941: From left: Deputy Sheriff E. A. Russell, Mrs. Margaret E. Ito, Capt. Ray Bergh, George S. Muraoka and Deputy Sheriff Ben T. Cook.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew H. Arnott / Los Angeles Times

Dec. 28, 1941: A camera is turned in at Hollenbeck Jail. This photo was published in the Dec. 29, 1941 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Dec. 29, 1941: Although orders from Washington did not mention guns, many were brought in. Capt. Ray Bergh is shown with several firearms that had been turned in.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew H. Arnott / Los Angeles Times

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1941 camera and radio confiscation

In late December 1941, the federal government required that all Japanese, German and Italian nationals on the Pacific Coast turn in their cameras and shortwave radio equipment.

A story in the Dec. 30, 1941 Los Angeles Times reported:

Cameras, radios capable of short wave reception, and firearms of all kinds flowed into police stations and Sheriff’s substations throughout the city and county yesterday in an ever-increasing stream as enemy aliens complied with a government order that the first two articles be turned in.

Guns were not mentioned in the order from Washington, for aliens are permitted to posses guns which are not capable of concealment, and prohibited from owning any other type. But several hundred, mostly rifles and shotguns, were turned in throughout the county voluntarily.

All that were turned in were accepted and receipts given for them. It is understood that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will arrange to store the firearms and other equipment for the duration of the war, after which they will be given back to their owners.

Some 500 radios and cameras had been turned in Sunday and by late afternoon yesterday, the total had reached an estimated 4000, with more expected to be brought in before the 11 p.m. deadline yesterday set by United States Attorney General Francis Biddle in Washington.

Guns ranged from rusty relics of dueling and target pistols to modern revolvers, rifles and shotguns; cameras, from cheap box types to expensive equipment such as used by experts, and radios from tiny table models to big consoles.

Many of the guns turned in came from American-born Japanese and other aliens, most of whom claimed ownership of the weapons, but said that an alien was included in their family and they were turning in the guns to avoid any possible complications.

Prize for confiscating the most valuable equipment went to Beverly Hills where foreign royalty and film moguls packed the police station with 300 cameras and 10 radios.

A second article in the same Dec. 30, 1941 Los Angeles Times reported that similar camera and radio restrictions would soon be imposed nationwide.

This gallery accompanies previous From the Archive posts related to the 1942 Japanese internment:

Alien Registration Act of 1940 [updated]

Executive Order 9066: Japanese American internment in World War II

Japanese evicted from Terminal Island

Japanese Internment: Santa Anita Assembly Center

Japanese American internment: Pomona Assembly Center

Japanese Internment: Manzanar

Japanese Internment: Poston

This series of posts on the internment of Japanese Americans was started in 2012.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

Follow Scott Harrison on Twitter and Google+

Thumbnail view of all From the Archive posts.

2 Comments

  1. March 16, 2015, 6:45 am

    So did te people get the cameras and radios back after the war?

    By: Grimreapers
  2. March 16, 2015, 4:12 pm

    In photo #1, the face of the man in the middle, whose profile we can see and who appears to be smiling, looks like a drawing.

    By: tallahto@hotmail.com

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