Letter 1918 from Julius Eichel to David Eichel




Letter 1918 from Julius Eichel to David Eichel




WWI conscientious objection / objectors


Eichel, Julius


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


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Letter to David Eichel from Julius Eichel


Dear brother:

I received all the letters you sent to me and it was with mingling of regret and pleasure that I learnt of the different experiences you went thru in the short time that we've been parted. You write about the pettiness of the officers in charge and I wish to assure you that they are no less petty at Governors Island.

I had refused to accept any kind of work and as a punishment I was kept in solitary from August 6 to the 22nd, on bread and water. Sam was with me in solitary as we acted in concert.

I should have told you that the letter in which so

much of your writing was obliterated at last gave up its secrets. The censor had wiped ink over the matter he did not wish me to read but after a little washing in cold water it all came out in the wash. I then learnt that you wished to convey an idea of the brutality of the officials out in Leavenworth in their treatment of C.O's.

I wish to say that the solitary at Leavenworth is not as bad as the cells here and I have Roger's word to that effect. He spoke of the visit he paid you and also told me that instead of being dark as the cells here are the ones out where you are, are much lighter and more sanitary. The cells here are painted black and are almost totally dark. They abound with all

sorts of vermin. While in solitary all toilet articles were taken away. No soap, tooth-brush or tooth paste or towel was given us. For a full week we could not wash or clean ourselves but every Saturday night we were given change of underwear and we were then allowed to take a bath.

We were in solitary two days before we were given the fourteen days sentence so that accounts for our being in over the prescribed limit. After we were taken out of solitary we were made to cook for ourselves. We had to chop our own wood and make our own crude fire

out in the yard. Although there is a lot of waste wood on the Island we are forced to cut ours off big hard logs. They also force us to cut with a little hatchet when there are plenty of big axes around. Taken all in all, they make it pretty inconvenient for us with all their pettiness. There is another man besides us two cooking his meals and he also is forced into the same sort of trouble as are we. We have to cook one at a time and so we were forced at first to do with one meal a day but now after a little experience at cooking we manage to cook two meals each.

We sleep on the floor without any blankets or mattresses as a punishment for our strange behavior. I believe after fourteen days of this life we will again

be put into solitary if we continue this course. How ever we expect to go to Leavenworth soon so that may save us for a while. After we were taken out of solitary Sam and I were put under observation in regards to our sanity. A notice was posted on the bulletin board warning the prisoners that we may be crazy and that they should avoid us and if they see us act strangely to report us to a certain Capt. Baker. This Capt. later on gave us each an interview. We went thru precisely the same kind of a cross-examination we used to go thru at Upton.

Rodolph is with us and he also got twenty years.

I received Wortsmanns letter and was certainly glad to hear from him. We want to thank you for the four dollars.

Altho we cannot write too many letters we can receive all sent to us. You should write often and arrange with the boys to write to us. We find a whole lot of pleasure in receiving mail and you know we are interested in you boys.

Give my regards to all the boys. At every opportunities I will try to write you. With the fondest regards, I remain



Eichel, Julius, “Letter 1918 from Julius Eichel to David Eichel ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 21, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/102.

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