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And Then They Came For Us

AND THEN THEY CAME FOR US is a cautionary and inspiring tale for all societies. In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, paving the way for the forced incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. The film educates audiences about the constitutional damage done in the name of national security due to war hysteria and racism. Featuring actor George Takei and others who were incarcerated, rediscovered photos of Dorothea Lange and the story of Fred Korematsu’s long journey to justice, the film brings history into the present, as it follows Japanese Americans speaking out against the current Muslim travel ban and other regressive immigration policies.

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Jennifer Dean, Film Editor, Filmmaker, Film Curator
"And They Came for Us is an invaluable tool for teaching about the ethical and legal ramifications of incarcerating citizens without due process strictly based on race; the power of documentation and how images are taken and interpreted; and the history of Japanese Internment Camps in the United States. It also provides a foundation for the genesis of a larger discussion about the demonization of the other and importance of safe guarding civil rights now and in the future."

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Sheila Intner, Professor Emerita, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College GSLIS at Mt. Holyoke
"This is one of the best documentaries this reviewer has seen, well-edited, well-paced, and forcefully presented, combining live action and archival footage seamlessly woven into a compelling whole."

Seattle University School of Law | Lorraine K. Bannai, Director of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and Author of Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice
"This moving film powerfully conveys the story of the mass removal and incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry­ during World War II and its haunting continued relevance today. Through the voices of survivors of the camps and poignant contemporary photos, the film helps us understand the human experience of the round-up and imprisonment – not only the confusion, anger, and sense of betrayal felt by those imprisoned, but also their strength and resilience. It also tells how, 40 years later, the community sought and won recognition of the wrong through the redress movement in Congress and coram nobis proceedings in court. And, importantly, it underscores the ways in which the incarceration remains relevant today when the country continues to target communities based on race, national origin, and religion in the name of national security. This remarkable film compels its audiences to understand that the quest for justice is constant and a quest in which every person must participate."

Booklist Online | Candace Smith
"This moving program, which draws parallels between this act and currently proposed immigration restrictions, is a reminder of how easily entire populations can be condemned."

UC Santa Cruz | Scott Rappaport
"Featuring rediscovered photographs by Dorothea Lange, And Then They Came For Us connects history with the present, by retelling this story and then showing Japanese American activists speaking out today against a Muslim registry and travel ban."

Stir | Gail Johnson, Co-Founder and Editorial Director
"And Then They Came for Us takes viewers from one troubling chapter in U.S. history to another. It touches on anti-Muslim sentiment set off by 9/11 and Donald Trump’s 2015 call for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. Takei led the response among everyday people to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans, to protest the Muslim registry, with Japanese-Americans right by their fellow countrypeople’s sides. Set to an original score by composer Tatsu Aoki, And Then They Came for Us reminds that never again means now."


Main credits

Ginzberg, Abby (film producer)
Ginzberg, Abby (film director)
Ginzberg, Abby (screenwriter)
Schneider, Ken (film director)
Schneider, Ken (editor of moving image work)
Takei, George (on-screen participant)
Ina, Satsuki (on-screen participant)

Other credits

Directors of photography, Ashley James and Vicente Franco; music, Tatsu Aoki.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

American History
Asian American Studies
Civil & Human Rights
Japanese Internment
Documentary Films
American Studies
Asian-American Studies
Civil Rights
Human Rights


American History, Asian American Studies, Civil & Human Rights, Sociology, Photojournalism, Japanese Internment; "And Then They Came for Us"; GOOD DOCS