ABOUT US


The German American Internee Coalition ("GAIC") was formed in 2005 by and for German American and Latin American citizens and legal residents who were interned by the United States during World War II. We are former internees, or their families and friends. We come from all walks of life and from countries around the world. We would like you to know our story. GAIC is a nonprofit corporation registered with the New Hampshire Department of Charitable Trusts.

Our Mission Statement & Goals

GAIC is dedicated to making public the little known United States World War II policies that led to internment, repatriation and exchange of civilians of German ethnicity, both in the United States and Latin America.

We will educate the general public about the U.S. government's detention and internment of over 11,000 German American and Latin American citizens and residents during World War II.

We will reach out to former internees, their families and supporters. We will gather their stories, share information and support their efforts to make their stories known.

We will seek full U.S. government review and acknowledgment of the civil rights violations endured by the German American and Latin American communities.

We will work collaboratively with other internee groups who have similar purposes.

As we work toward these goals, we also hope that our efforts result in better protection of the civil liberties of future vulnerable ethnic groups.


Our Board of Directors 


 

John Christgau

John Christgau, a California resident, is the author of nine books. His novel Spoon won the Society of Midland Authors prize for "Best Fiction." ENEMIES, this country’s first book on the World War II Alien Enemy Control Program (AECP), was published by the Iowa State University Press in 1983, and republished by the University of Nebraska Press in 2009. John, a recognized expert on the AECP,  frequently speaks on the issue and consults on various related projects, including documentaries and museum exhibits. He is a founding member of the multi-ethnic Enemy Alien Files Consortium. His interest in German American history began as a young man on the family farm, homesteaded in southern Minnesota by his German American ancestors in 1882.

 

 

 

Heidi Gurcke Donald, Vice President/Treasurer

Heidi Gurcke Donald and her family were expelled from their home in San José, Costa Rica and interned in Crystal City, Texas, for fifteen months, before her father was released on parole. A graduate of the University of California in San Francisco, she is a retired public health nurse living in California. She is actively involved in trying to increase public awareness of the Alien Enemy Control Program and its consequences. We Were Not the Enemy, a book she wrote in 2006, chronicles her family’s WW II experiences with the Latin American part of the U. S. civilian internment program.

 

 

Karen Ebel, President

Karen Ebel is a non-practicing attorney in New Hampshire and the daughter of  former German American internee, Max Ebel. She is an active spokesperson for the German American community on the subject of World War II internment of persons of German ethnicities and the lead coordinator for the passage of the Wartime Treatment Study Act now pending in Congress. She is a frequent speaker and writer on World War II alien enemy internment and has consulted on the creation of several related documentaries and exhibits. Karen is a member of the multi-ethnic Enemy Alien Files Consortium. Her father, now deceased, was interned at age 23 for approximately 2 years and was held at camps around the US. Karen only learned of his internment when he was 80 years old.

 

 

 

Lothar Eiserloh

Lothar Eiserloh and his family experienced major upheaval with the advent of WW II. His father, Mathias, was arrested the day after the Pearl Harbor bombing. For two years his mother, Johanna, struggled daily to feed, clothe, and house her children, before the family was reunited in the Crystal City, TX Internment Camp. Two years later they were sent to war-torn Germany as part of an exchange program. He now actively participates in various public education projects, as well as attending yearly ceremonies with other former internees and their families on the Day of Remembrance (February 19th).

 

 

 

 

 

Ursula Vogt Potter, Secretary

Ursula Vogt Potter, a retired educator and Washington State native, is the daughter of a former German internee. In 2003, she published The Misplaced American, a compilation of family World War II memoirs centered on her father’s internment. Since then, she has been actively involved in public education concerning German internment, lecturing at many venues and writing for various publications. Her father, Karl Vogt (now deceased), was arrested on December 9, 1941 and sent to 4 different internment camps before his “parole” in August of 1943. Ursula was 13 months old, and her brother, Armin, 4 years old, at the time of their father's arrest.