Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig was born in Sacramento, California in 1924. Her family immigrated from Kumamoto, Japan in 1919. During the Depression, the Yoshinaga family moved to Los Angeles, California.

During World War II, Aiko was incarcerated first at Manzanar with her husband’s family. She transferred to Jerome, Arkansas with her newborn daughter to be with her family. In 1944, the Yoshinaga family left Jerome and resettled in New York. She divorced and remarried a Nisei soldier. She went with him to Japan where he worked during the Occupation period. One of her husband’s co-workers was her future husband, Jack Herzig.

After her return to the United States, Aiko became involved in Asian Americans for Action. Aiko and Jack played a pivotal role in the Redress Movement through their research at the National Archives in Washington D.C. The documents they found were instrumental in the coram nobis case that vacated the convictions against Fred Korematsu, Min Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi. Aiko was also hired as the primary researcher for the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, and then worked for the Department of Justice Office of Redress Administration to help identify individuals eligible for redress payments. 

She passed away on July 18, 2018 at age 93. (July 2018)

discrimination politics World War II education family identity language camps incarceration internment racism Asian Americans for Action redress Triple A prisoners-of-war habeas corpus election

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