Genaro Garcia Cortes

World War II

Date of Birth: 
July 10, 1918

Place of Birth: 
Mexico City

Interviewed By: 
Violeta Dominguez

Date of Interview: 
April 4, 2001

Place of Interview: 

By Juliana Torres

It wasn't the hard work he'd have to endure as a laborer that scared Genaro Cortes as he considered his decision to travel to the States. At 24, he was most worried about the possibility of being drafted. A mason by trade, Cortes remembered the rumors that swirled about how the notion of recruitment for labor work was simply a guise to actually "draft people and send them to the Pacific to fight."

However, the need to support his family was greater than his fears, and in 1944 he decided to travel to the recruitment office where he was to be given a contract to work for Santa Fe, Topeka & Atchinson Railroad near Richmond, Madera and Bakersfield, Calif.

His employment at the railroad went without a hitch. Thanks to his previous work experience, he was skilled with the tools he employed on the railroad: the shovel and the pickaxe.

His contract was for one year and he remembers that time in his life with pride.

"Although we didn't go to the war, we were there to work for those who were sent off," Cortes said.

Mr. Cortes was interviewed in Mexico City’s Iztapalapa on April 4, 2001, by Violeta Domínguez.