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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