Author Jan Jarboe Russell Talks WWII Family Internment And Prisoner Exchange

May 29, 2015

The story told by Jan Jarboe Russell in her book, “The Train to Crystal City,” will have a familiar ring to those who know about the World War II internment camp at Minidoka, Idaho.

But Crystal City, Texas, differed from camps such as Minidoka, which held Japanese and Japanese Americans relocated from the Pacific Coast after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Crystal City’s purpose is revealed in the book’s subtitle, “FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II.”

In “The Train to Crystal City,” Russell tells the heartbreaking story of what happened to the men, women and children who went through the gates of the internment camp.  In many respects, they were as much the casualties of a global war as the innocent civilians caught on the battlefields of Asia and Europe. 

Russell is a longtime journalist and a contributer to Texas Monthly, The New York Times and other publications. She joined us by phone from San Antonio, Texas.