Article at San Jose Mercury News

Published today on the San Jose (CA) Mercury News web site:

Herhold: Teen witnesses a wartime injustice

Before she died in October at the age of 79, Ruth Mix Campidonica carried the weight of the past with her. The sound of a firecracker would startle the vivacious and passionate San Jose drama coach. It reminded her of the gunshots she heard more than six decades ago.

At 15, Ruth volunteered at a place unknown to most teenagers of her era: the Gila River Internment Camp for Japanese-Americans, 50 miles southeast of Phoenix. It left her with a permanent sense of guilt – and a heightened dislike of injustice.

Today, her daughter, Claire Mix, is putting together a documentary about her mother’s experience. You can see the opening scenes on her Web site,, including interviews with Ruth.

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Back from Denver


I met and spoke long with Norm Mineta, and George Takei and Brad Altman… see the pic, don’t i look like I’m in heaven!!

I met and interviewed MANY former Gila internees. What’s funny is many already knew who I was, and about the documentary. The word is definitely getting out, and donations coming in.

We cried and laughed together. One group from Manzinar Camp adopted me as part of their family, it was unbelievable! Some wept as they watched the demo of Mom’s interviews. One woman hugged me so tight, and said “arigato” over, and over – it means “thank you”. ありがとうございました

A big article about Mom and Gila was just printed in the Los Angeles paper The Pacific Citizen. It is posted here.

A HUGE thank you to the Gila River Reunion Committee: Hy Shishino, and Ben Tanooka, for helping me get there!!! And to my assistants Joanie Chew and Michael Tann.