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[RIP] Jack Herzig, helped gain redress for World War II internment, dies at 83

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  • chiayuan25
    Posted on Wed, Aug. 24, 2005 Jack Herzig, helped gain redress for World War II internment, dies at 83 PAUL CHAVEZ Associated Press LOS ANGELES - Jack Herzig, a
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 25, 2005
      Posted on Wed, Aug. 24, 2005
      Jack Herzig, helped gain redress for World War II internment, dies at
      83
      PAUL CHAVEZ
      Associated Press

      LOS ANGELES - Jack Herzig, a lawyer who with his wife played an
      instrumental role in gaining redress from the United States for the
      internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, has died. He
      was 83.

      Herzig, a World War II veteran, died Sunday at his Gardena home from
      colon cancer, said his son-in-law Warren Furutani.

      Between 1942 and 1945, the federal government interned more than
      120,000 ethnic Japanese, most of whom were born in the United States,
      amid widespread anti-Japanese sentiment.

      The U.S. Supreme Court in the 1944 case of Fred Y. Korematsu v. the
      United States upheld the constitutionality of the decision to
      imprison Japanese-Americans during the war. Korematsu, who in 1942
      was a 23-year-old welder living in Oakland, refused to report to an
      internment camp. He was arrested, convicted of violating the
      internment order and was sent to a camp in Utah.

      Herzig and his wife, Aiko Yoshinaga-Herzig, in the 1980s uncovered
      documents in the National Archives and other repositories that showed
      government prosecutors suppressed, altered and destroyed evidence
      during its prosecution of Korematsu. The documents enabled a team of
      largely Asian-American attorneys to file a petition for writ of coram
      nobis, a rarely used legal strategy to overturn convictions after new
      evidence is discovered.

      In November 2003, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel from
      the bench exonerated Korematsu and blasted the government for basing
      its decisions on "unsubstantiated facts, distortions and the
      (opinions) of one military commander whose views were seriously
      tainted by racism."

      The ruling helped secure a presidential apology and financial
      reparations for former internees.

      Korematsu, who died in March, was given the Presidential Medal of
      Freedom by President Clinton in 1998, the nation's highest civilian
      honor.

      "Jack Herzig is one of those unrecognized giants of redress for
      Japanese-Americans," said Dale Minami, a Bay Area civil rights lawyer
      who helped form the legal team to exonerate Korematsu. "He and his
      wife found the documents that essentially incriminated the United
      States government and undercut the whole rationale of military
      necessity for internment."

      Herzig was committed to social justice and also denounced the
      discrimination that surfaced during the Persian Gulf War and more
      recently during the war with Iraq, Minami said.

      "He understood how significant the internment was not only to
      Japanese-Americans, but also to the notions of civil rights in this
      country," Minami said. Herzig's wife, Aiko, also was a former
      internee.

      Minami called Herzig one of his personal heroes and noted that Herzig
      worked pro bono on the coram nobis legal team.

      Herzig is survived by his wife, daughters Gerrie Lani Miyazaki and
      Lisa Abe-Furutani, and sons David Abe and Tommy Herzig.

      A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Green Hills
      Cemetery in San Pedro.

      http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/12459666.htm
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