April 15, 2015 7:00pm PST
News received tonight from community protesters say that the Rago auction house has agreed to remove from its April 17 auction approximately 450 art, crafts and artifacts made by Japanese Americans while they were incarcerated in World War II internment camps.
The auction which was to be conducted by the Rago Arts and Auction Center of New Jersey caused a national public outrage including a grass-roots petition on change.org created by filmmaker and therapist Satsuki Ina of Sacramento, California, a Facebook page "Japanese American History: NOT for Sale," efforts by community organizations to stop the sale, an intent to file a lawsuit by Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation after its cash offer to acquire the collection was rejected, and calls to the auction house by "Star Trek" actor George Takei who with his family spent time in one of the camps.
Yesterday, The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation issued a news release that its cash offer had been rejected by the seller, however tonight, the foundation issued a statement that the auction house withdrew the auction today within hours after the foundation's legal counsel communicated its intent to file a lawsuit. Most of the items which were scheduled to be sold were made by, or personal effects of Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.
The Rago auction house told CNN, "This is an essential discussion to be had about the sale of historical items that are a legacy of man's inhumanity to man. It extends beyond what is legal. It is something auction houses, galleries and dealers are faced with regularly." "We hope this controvery will be the beginning of a discourse on this issue."
George Takei has agreed to act as an intermediary between the auction house and Japanese American community institutions.
Image: Watercolor by an unknown artist at Tule Lake War Relocation Center - Rago Arts and Auction Center
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