Photographs taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps are often used in articles and books about the American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who fought in Europe and in Asia during World War II.
The photographs shown here were loaned for digitizing by 100th Infantry Battalion veterans and families. Most images have previously not been available to a wider audience. Often a veteran’s collection included photos of his comrades, photos their families may have never seen. In some cases, the photographs included on the website may represent a sampling of a veteran’s total collection.
One of the most poignant images was from an album created by William Takaezu. On the first page he had copied a poem titled “A Letter to Saint Peter” that was written in 1942 by an Oakland, California woman named Elma Dean. In a December 1961 interview that appeared in the Oakland Tribune, she recalled that the war was not going well for the United States. The poem conveyed her sorrow for the young men who were being killed, included some of her friends’ sons. Takaezu then listed eight of his friends who had been killed, including Shigeo Joe Takata, the first 100th soldier to be killed in action on September 29, 1943. A photo of two of his friends flanked each side of the poem.