July 1, 2010
Christine Collaer Kite, now a history teacher, was a kindergartner when her father, Nick Collaer, assumed command of the confinement site for over 1,000 Japanese “enemy aliens” arrested after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Fort Missoula, in western Montana, also held Italian sailors captured in U.S. waters. Nick Collaer was a busy man, as he also managed the Fort Lincoln internment camp in North Dakota.
While Christine Kite’s father defended the internment of Japanese immigrants throughout his life, in his old age he admitted it was “a mistake.” Kite examines her father’s papers with University of Montana journalism professor Carol Van Valkenburg, author of An Alien Place: Fort Missoula, Montana, Detention Camp, 1941-1944.