“There are many fancy definitions of ‘loyalty’ but when (the rest of) those men
straggled in at dawn after an all-night search for me I needed no dictionary
for my interpretation of the word.”
George Grandstaff of the 100th Infantry Battalion
Compassion is the virtue of empathy, sympathy or concern for the
sufferings of others.
Thousands of Japanese Americans showed compassion for other
Americans when they volunteered for military service despite
incarceration and the prejudice against them.
During the war in Europe, the 522nd field artillery battalion was
separated from the 442nd regimental combat unit and ordered to
assist in the invasion of Germany. Many of the men in the 522nd had
volunteered from camps in the U.S. despite the fact that their family
members were still incarcerated in those same camps.
Ironically, during the invasion, while on a mission to destroy the SS
headquarters in Munich, they helped liberate Jewish survivors at a
sub-camp of Dachau, one of the Nazi’s most notorious death camps.
They saved thousands of lives in the process. The exact number is
debated. Estimates range from 5,000 to more than 40,000.13
In another example of compassion, during the war in Italy, 40 enlisted
Nisei were to rendezvous with Capt. George Grandstaff of the 100th
Infantry Battalion. When Grandstaff arrived late to the meeting spot
near Cassino because of an enemy mortar barrage, he saw just one
man instead of 40. The others struggled all night to reach him through
an artillery barrage. Said Grandstaff, “There are many fancy definitions
of ‘loyalty’ but when (the rest of) those men straggled in at dawn after
an all-night search for me I needed no dictionary for my interpretation
of the word.”
On the homefront, during and after the war, the American Civil Liberties
Japanese Americans fight legal battles over incarceration.