Event Details

Detained by My Country

Oregon Historical Society

McMenamins Kennedy School

5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211

Start Date: 02/24/2020 7:00 PM

End Date: 02/24/2020 8:30 PM

Detained by My Country. Presented by Mitzi, Toby, and David Loftus

For Japanese Americans who lived in the West during World War II, the removal to internment camps in 1942 as decreed by Executive Order 9066, is an experience they will never forget. Mitzi Loftus was a child living in Hood River when her family was forced to leave their belongings and home and relocate to Tule Lake Camp in northern California in 1942.

For this presentation, Toby and David Loftus will interview their mother, Mitzi, regarding her time spent at Tule Lake. Loftus will share related photographs from her personal collection and will detail her parents’ immigration story to the United States in 1904 and 1911. In addition to describing the removal from her house in Hood River, Mitzi will tell of her family’s movements through World War II and re-settlement in Oregon, with the attendant discrimination they experienced in the following years.

Mitzi Asai Loftus was born in Hood River, Oregon in 1932. Her parents emigrated from Japan and owned and operated fruit orchards in Hood River. She was in the fourth grade when World War II began and her family was sent to the Pinedale Assembly Center in Fresno, California and later to internment camps in Tule Lake, California, and Heart Mountain, Wyoming. In April 1945, the family returned to Hood River where Loftus finished school. When she was in the ninth grade, she changed her name from Mitsuko to Mitzi. She attended the University of Oregon and studied education. She taught at schools in Oregon for 47 years. Loftus taught English in Japan on a Fulbright scholarship. Loftus has written a book, Made in Japan and Settled in Oregon, about her family's history and experiences during World War II. She frequently gives presentations about the internment camps and her life as a Japanese-American in Oregon.

David Loftus is a writer and actor who lives in Portland. He has published three books and several articles for Oregon Encyclopedia. Loftus was also a reporter and columnist for the Roseburg News-Review (1987-1990). He acts on stage, in indie films and commercials, and appeared in the 19th episode of the first season of "Grimm." He also works part-time for Portland Walking Tours and the Portland Streetcar.  

Toby Loftus supports his viola habit working high tech. He has performed in Newport Symphony for 14 years, helped found the Oregon Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and performs occasionally in other orchestras and string quartets. He recently traveled twice to Japan with his mother blogged extensively about his experiences. Outside work, music, and travel, he likes to spend his time fly fishing lakes and singing karaoke.

*Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale.