Bess Kawachi Chin

Date: April 21, 2005
Location: Berkeley, California
Interviewers: Jane T, Glynis M, Nathanael S

Date: May 17, 2006
Location: El Cerrito, California
Interviewers: Amanda B, Mario G, Will G

Bess Kawachi Chin was born in Alameda, California. In 1942 at the age of eighteen, Bess was interned with her mother and younger sister in the Japanese internment camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Having the privilege to leave early, she went to St. Louis and attended Washington University. Once finished with school Bess was able to find work at the medical school as a technician in the Bacteriology Department. Later, Bess married a Chinese-American man and moved to Berkeley, California. She now teaches quilting once a week at the JASEB Nutrition Center (Japanese American Services of the East Bay)—a center for seniors at at the Berkeley Methodist United Church—which serves lunch and provides classes for activities. Her class made a quilt with her fellow interned Japanese-Americans representing their experience in the camps. The quilt helps Bess discuss her past as she educates others about this time period.

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