Topaz (1945 film)

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Topaz is a 1945 documentary film, shot illegally (though with the assistance of members of the camp staff), which documented life at the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah during World War II.

Filmed by internee Dave Tatsuno (1913–2006), it was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress in 1996, and was the second amateur[1] film ever selected for preservation in the National Film Registry (behind the "Zapruder" film of the JFK assassination).

Tatsuno always credited his store supervisor, Walter Honderick, for helping him get the movie camera into the camp. Film was smuggled out of the camp on trips that Tatsuno made to buy merchandise for the store.

While images appear to show the internees happy and enjoying their lives, Tatsuno said that they were "hamming it up" for the camera, hiding their sorrow.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fox, Margalit (February 13, 2006). "Dave Tatsuno, 92, Whose Home Movies Captured History, Dies". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Ishizuka, Karen (2008). Ishizuka, Karen and Patricia Zimmerman, ed. The Home Movie and the National Film Registry: The story of Topaz. University of California. pp. 129–131. ISBN 978-0-520-24807-6. 

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