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Video: "Camp of the Innocents"

 

“Camp of the Innocents” is a short documentary film on the U.S. internment of Latin American “enemy aliens” during World War II in New Orleans and across the US South. Fearful of fifth column activities, the U.S. had 6,600 “enemy aliens” of German, Italian, and Japanese descent arrested in Latin America and transported through the Port of New Orleans to internment camps in the U.S. for the war’s duration. Given often faulty evidence and false accusations, the majority of internees posed no threat to hemispheric security. Beginning in 1943, Camp Algiers, nicknamed “Camp of the Innocents,” became the refuge for Jewish internees arrested in Latin America as Nazi sympathizers. Today while New Orleans is home to the National World War II Museum, little appears in the historical record to shed light on the experiences and plight of the Jewish internees at Camp Algiers. Produced by three Tulane graduate students as part of an “Historical Documentary Filmmaking” course, “Camp of the Innocents” combines archival research and interviews to explore the contested memory of the U.S. Enemy Alien Control Program, as well as its local resonances in New Orleans.

 

This film was produced by Jack Collins, Joe Hiller, and Mira Kohl as part of the course "Historical Documentary Filmmaking" in the Department of History, Tulane University.

 

Mira Kohl is a PhD student in Tulane’s History Department. She received an MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane University in 2015 and a BA in Anthropology from Macalester College in 2010. Mira has conducted ethnographic and archival research in Bolivia and Brazil where she studies the politics of citizenship, nation-state formation, and migration in the mid-twentieth century. Before moving to New Orleans in 2013, she worked in immigrant rights advocacy in Boston and taught English in Andalucía, Spain.