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Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on July 30th 2019
Felix Narte: Risking potentially violent racism to rescue a Japanese-American family

Kitamoto family on day of mass removal. Felix Narte, on right
The Kitamoto family on day of mass removal. Felix Narte, on right
Photo: densho.org/
On December 7th, 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing 2,403 people and injuring many more.

The next day, the U.S. declared war, and a fearful, racist America began to take out its anger on Japanese-Americans.

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Making matters worse, on February 19th, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.

This Order forced nearly 120,000 Japanese-Americans, many of them children, into prison camps.

Nearly all the families lost their homes, their cars, their businesses and other major possessions.

But Good Samaritans helped some of these beleaguered Americans. One was Felix Narte, a Filipino immigrant living on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle.

Bainbridge Island, near Seattle
Bainbridge Island, near Seattle
Photo: maps.google.com/

Felix had a close relationship with the Kitamoto family, and worked on their strawberry farm prior to the war.

When the Kitamotos were taken away, Felix and other Filipinos operated their farm and took care of their home, but he did even more. For example:

The Kitamoto family was imprisoned in Minidoka, Idaho, where families had to wash their clothes by hand.

Felix took the Kitamoto’s washing machine and drove for over 11-hours, 669-miles and delivered it to the Kitamotos, to make life a little easier for them and other prisoners.

Because of Felix, at war’s end in 1945, the Kitamotos, unlike most Japanese-Americans had a home and farmland to return to, and could readily begin their lives anew.

In gratitude for all that Felix had done, the family gave him part of their property, where in 1946 he proudly built a home, one still owned by his family today.

Editor's Note: To learn more, click here and here. Thank you to my son Kyle Kazan for calling this story to our attention.

In the next KazanToday: A 78-year-old ballet dancer.


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