This article examines the support that California's church groups offered to Japanese Americans during their resettlement after internment from 1945 to 1947, focusing on the hostels these groups opened to house, feed, provide storage, and assist with employment and long-term housing for their Japanese residents. It offers a narrative of California's church hostels, which have been overshadowed in the scholarship by those in the Midwest and East, which operated for nearly two years before the West Coast was reopened to internees. These select church groups were among the lone supporters of Japanese Americans in California and elsewhere in the country, and demonstrated Christian charity by lending a measure of humanity to an otherwise inhumane situation. At the same time, they voiced strong support for the government that was prosecuting the internment of the very people they claimed to support. Conflating Christian and democratic language, church leaders voiced support simultaneously for a popular war and for the most unpopular ethnic group in the country. During resettlement they adopted the War Relocation Authority's program of assimilation to insulate themselves from criticism as they provided aid to “the enemy.” This paradox of church support is the central focus of this article.
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