My mother, Anne Klausen, was photographed in the 1937 issue of Life magazine as the youngest member of the S.F. Ballet and Opera Company at age fifteen. By the time Pearl Harbor came around, she was a bold and sassy nineteen-year-old and out of work. The Opera House had closed down and Anne was looking to further her career. Her father, Elmer Klausen (my grandfather), argued with her to do something patriotic for her country rather than standing around on her tiptoes.
Brash and independent, she would lash back saying that his participation in the California Grays was nothing more than the work of a bunch of vigilantes. History would prove her right. One night in the early part of 1942, before the Japanese internment camps had been OK’d by the boys in Washington, the Grays assembled at the unofficial request of Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt, commander of the Fourth Army at the Presidio.
Lt. Gen DeWitt once said, “Death and destruction are likely to come to this City at any moment.” To do his dirty work, he enlisted the services of the California Grays who were beholding to no government agency. Without his daughter’s knowledge, Elmer Klausen and his vigilante pals instituted a raid on Japantown at the northern end of the Western Addition and boarded up the Shinjuku-ku Language School. There was a brief standoff between the Grays and a batch of young Nisei (American born Japanese) before the militia group made there way down the block to the sound of a bansho bell. The Grays stormed the temple where the Manjusri asked for calm. The California Grays searched the premises and uncovered several maps of West Coast cities as well as a short-wave radio. To the vigilantes and others, the raid proved that Japantown was working closing with the covert insurgent group known as the Black Dragon Society.
This Thursday, Anne finds work as a burlesque dancer down at Sally Rand’s Music Box, unbeknownst to her father.