Haunted by World War II internment
May 19, 2021
The Alaska Legislature unanimously voted on Monday to help protect an Unangax, or Aleut, cemetery in Southeast Alaska. The cemetery holds the remains of Aleut people who died in a World War II era internment camp.
“The main thing about this bill is that as a country, as a state, as a people, we are still capable of these atrocities. And unless we remember the history, we're at risk of repeating it again,” testified Martin Stepetin, Aleut, at a Senate Resources Committee hearing on May 12.
The cemetery needs protection, Stepetin said. It’s being taken over by the dense rain forest surrounding it. People who stumble across its Russian Orthodox Church style crosses find no information about the cemetery or its significance.