Letter Undated (from Bruno Grunzig?)




Letter Undated (from Bruno Grunzig?)




letter (incomplete) relating Department of Justice visit (to prison?) and other news related to C.O.s


WWI conscientious objection / objectors


United States


Grunzig, Bruno ???


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


Copyright for this material may have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection or may have been retained by the creators/authors (or their descendants) of this set of papers or records, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Please contact SCPC staff for further information.








On Monday an investigator of the Department of Justice came down to pay us a visit and incidentally give the authorities a rude shock. It seems that the D of J ’picked up’ a copy of “The Wire City Weekly” in one of their recent raids on the radicals of Chicago. This is the C O paper published under-cover at the U S D B. It modestly termed itself “One of the 1500 Bolshevik papers in America”. The regular prison monthly “Stray Shot” altho [sic] fairly good, was too carefully gone over with a fine tooth comb, even if edited by a C O, Leighton (known to Evan Thomas) a one time Y M C A worker. The “rebs” needed a medium of expression for themselves, hence established this little paper; typewritten throughout, on regular typewriter paper, except for the special cover which had hand drawn designs of a radical nature. The editor was Carl Haessler, the graduate of Wisconsin and Rhodes (England) as one time editorial writer for Berger’s “Leader”. We had a representative in our wings who was selected to get material for the news items of lecture courses, etc. as well as to obtain special articles, poetry or artwork.

Haessler was invited to have dinner with the investigator and the Ass’t Commandant Col Allisson, which was the first square meal he has had in over a year. Here he read to them various articles, poems, etc., and evidently left the D of J chap satisfied as to our harmlessness for he went home. But the Intelligence officer got excited and had to make several searches which netting him a few cartoons and half completed cover designs in our wing and what was worse other contraband, cigars, cigarettes, candy, fruit, olive oil, cheese, liberator Calls etc. This was truly unfortunate much more so than the discovery of the paper.

During the following night, as if in revenge, some venturesome spirit raised the red flag of the I W W with a skull and crossbones painted thereon; over the prison power house, right back of our rear window. Some officer saw it at about 8 o’clock and indignantly went to the roof and tore down this emblem of anarchy – with great gusto.

Yesterday however some 19 boys, radicals only, were transferred to the Post Guard House. This caused all manner of speculation as to the possible reason for such action. At 4 o’clock this morning some 32 boys were packed into a railroad coach standing on the tracks in the prison yard and shipped away. There were these 19 boys and 13 chronic “escapers”, but rumours are wild concerning the destination of this groupe [sic]. Some say Alcatrez [sic] others insist that they have the real ‘dope’ pointing to Ft Jay and others content that they left under sealed orders not to be opened even by the Major in charge until they reached Kansas City. We do know that there was an order issued by Washington on June 11th, giving the Commandant the privilege of sending any “undesireables” to Alcatrez [sic] Island, Frisco Bay, and so this would seem to be the likely destination. The list of boys is being sent via Kuratish the Russian C O, leaving us with this letter tomorrow morning. He has instructions to deliver one to the C L B and F M. He had a rather interesting experience, being charged with inciting a company of men to mutiny, sedition and what not at Camp Upton.

Did you read about the big counterfeit plot that was ‘pulled off’ at the U S D B 2? At least 13 prisoners and ex-prisoners are involved in a $6,000 counterfeit plot, which was unearthed by civilian authorities, while the local officials were still sleeping calmly. U S Treasury notes of 100 denomination were printed at our printing plant, on regular safety paper, and indorsements forged beforehand; then these notes were given to all trusted prisoners about to make their ‘getaway’ or escape, “over the hill” or via ‘cornfield clemency’. Two of these recently escaped men were caught and several of these notes found on their person, thus giving the whole ‘Plant’ away. The leader of the plot was a lieutenant, an ex-prisoner recently discharged, who organized the ‘passing’ of this bad paper from New York, altho [sic]

[rest of letter is missing; by Bruno Grunzig?]


Grunzig, Bruno ???, “Letter Undated (from Bruno Grunzig?),” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 21, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/1723.

Transcribe This Item

  1. DepartmentOfJusticeInvestigator.jpg