The Truth Behind FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program

I am reading The Train to Chrystal City about FDS’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s only internment camp that had Japanese, German and Italian families. During World War II isolating immigrants in camps is a severe form of nonverbal punishment.

I have learned that:

So much of the general public’s prejudice back then mirrors current prejudice against immigrants.

Eleonore Roosevelt opposed the entire idea of internment camps and tried to stop them.  She met Congressmen and Senators and wrote articles under another name opposing the camps and asking for acceptance.

FDR was adamant that they were necessary and was far more racially prejudice than I knew. Also the secret motivations for the camps were to gain spies for us that spoke Japanese and German and get people to trade for POW.  

We “kidnaped” Germans, Latin Americans, and Italians not only from the US but also from Mexico and South America to put in the camps. And that the rationalization for kidnapping people from other countries was that they may harbor the enemy near our borders, but what ended up happening is that those countries made money by “selling’ their immigrants.

Though I knew it happened, far more people than I thought were reported as “spies” by their neighbors and coworkers in order for the neighbors to gain property and for the coworkers to get the jobs of those they reported or advancement.

The favorite song for the interred was, “Don’t fence me in.”

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at