The Kalana O Maui building in Wailuku and possibly Horizons Academy of Maui in Haiku sit on sites of former World War II internment camps for Japanese-Americans on Maui.
The sites are among 13 in the state identified through preliminary studies by the National Park Service, which is holding meetings statewide to learn more about the WWII internment camps in Hawaii.
The camps held Japanese-Americans and Japanese aliens during the war.
"What we are hoping with the study is people will be able to provide more information to us," said Suzanne Bott, a National Park Service planner and project manager for the World War II internment study.
The National Park Service is conducting a "special resource study" of the confinement sites to determine the best way to preserve the sites and share their history. There will be informational meetings and a chance for the public to offer input in Maui County beginning Thursday.
On Maui, there is nothing left from the camps to preserve, said Bott, who is seeking the community's feedback on where they would want the story of Maui's camps told - possibly on the Valley Isle or included in projects on Oahu.
Study scoping sessions
Two sessions held per day: 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
* Thursday, Mitchell Pauole Center, Molokai
* March 22, Lanai High & Elementary School, Lanai
* March 24, Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, located off Kahului Beach Road
For more information or for those who have information about internment camps in Maui County, contact Suzanne Bott, planner and project manger, at (808) 541-2693, ext. 737; or send e-mail to Suzanne_Bott@nps.gov.
Congress directed the park service to carry out the study because of the importance of the history of Hawaii's Japanese-Americans and Europeans forcibly confined during World War II, an announcement said. The more well-known camps on the Mainland such as Tule Lake and Manzanar, both in California, and one in Minidoka, Idaho, tell only part of the story of the Japanese-American experience. All three camps are part of the national parks system.
In contrast, Hawaii's sites have received little attention, the park service said. The Hawaii sites held people for varying lengths of time between the start of the war in 1941 and its conclusion in 1945.
The Hawaii sites were found on six islands - Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island.
Bott said internees from Maui were taken to the Wailuku County Jail, which sat on the same property as the county building, and also to Haiku, where the camp used to be on an athletic field makai of the old Haiku Pineapple Cannery, or in an area near or on the Horizons Academy of Maui site along Haiku Road.
The Japanese-American internees, who were usually teachers, businesspeople, community leaders and Buddhist priests, were usually held "temporarily" at the Maui camps before being moved to a Sand Island internment camp on Oahu or transferred to the more widely known internment camps on the Mainland, she said.
Bott also is investigating camp sites on Molokai and Lanai.
Although it's uncertain how many people were held in interment camps in Maui County, Bott said there were 58 people listed on the FBI's custodial detention list for Maui.
She added that records from March 6, 1942, noted that 36 people were transferred from Maui to Sand Island and, as of March 30, 1942, 34 aliens and eight citizens were still interned on Maui.
Bott estimated that the Lanai and Molokai confinement sites probably had only two to three people.
As part of her research, Bott uncovered a letter written Sept. 23, 1943, from a Swedish vice consul, who visited camps in Hawaii and reported that conditions at the camp in Haiku were "good."
At that time, four internees were at the camp, and officials noted that it was the best of all internment camps in the territory, Bott said.
The largest of all the camps in Hawaii was Honouliuli Gulch, located near Ewa on Oahu, where more than 1,200 people were confined between 1943 and 1945, the park service said.
Bott said the Honouliuli camp was near a stream and had lots of mosquitoes.
During the war, hundreds were processed through the U.S. Immigration Station in Honolulu and temporarily housed on Sand Island prior to the construction of the larger internment facility at Honouliuli. There are still structures at Honouliuli.
While the internees were primarily leaders of the Japanese-American community, the camp populations also included German-Americans, Italian-Americans and prisoners of war.
Overall during WWII, around 120,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them United States citizens, were incarcerated, according to the park service.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.