Neil H. Simon

Neil H. Simon is a native of Portland, Oregon. After more than a decade as a journalist, he is now communications director for an international government organization focused on human rights, security, and democratic governance.

Prisoners and Patriots: The Untold Story of Japanese Internment in Santa Fe is his first feature-length film.

Simon’s past work has included Clearing the Air (2001), a public health film about what was then the nation’s toughest city-wide ban on indoor smoking, and Inside Bill Richardson (2005), a look at the political rise of New Mexico’s two-term governor and presidential candidate.

Simon first learned about the Santa Fe Camp while living in New Mexico and continued his original research on the internment camp at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., while serving a journalism fellowship in Congress.

His journalism career included reporting jobs at TV stations in El Paso, Texas, Albuquerque, N.M., and Washington, D.C. His political, investigative, and feature reports have won numerous awards from the Associated Press and state broadcast associations.

In 2009, he was appointed Communications Director of the human rights monitoring U.S. Helsinki Commission then chaired by Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland.  In 2011, he was named Director of Communications for the 56-country Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly. He currently lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, with his wife, son, and two dogs.

Updated April 2012 

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The Japanese in Peru: Lessons for the Justice Department 70 years later*

Seventy years ago this week, 425 men from California entered a detention camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the first time. As prisoners of the United States Department of Justice, their hands were bound behind their backs, but by any legal measure they were innocent.

Their only crime was their heritage: Japanese. As leaders of Buddhist churches, teachers of Japanese language, or business owners with ties to Japan, the FBI had been spying on them months before the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor. On the night of December 7, 1941, arrests began.

While Americans may generally know the U ...

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