Letter January 1, 1920 from E.T. Frankel to David Eichel




Letter January 1, 1920 from E.T. Frankel to David Eichel




1 letter from E.T. Frankel to David Eichel and a partial response from David, regarding C.O. detention and the new year


WWI conscientious objection / objectors


C.O. Detention, 1920


Frankel, E.T.; Eichel, David


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


DG 131: Eichel Family Papers


Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.










501 W. 135 th ST., NEW YORK, JANUARY 1, 1920

[illegible word] you are disturbed by a feeling of guilt, I am

Dear Dave:

It is now midnight, and, as I write, people here are blowing horns and making all kinds of noises – celebrating their crazy heads off for, they don’t know what. I am home alone. My parents wanted me to accompany them to a Masonic dance but I declined. I have no desire to go to these smart affairs and meet smug respectable “patriots” while my true comrades are kept in prison. During the past year I have kept in touch with the “group” and have participated in various telegraphic and other protests to the War Dept. As you know, not much has been accomplished in the matter of obtaining definite

statements of policy from the moral derelicts who are running things in Washington – except the usual lies. Recently, Secretary Baker wrote to Franklin D’Olier, Grand Commander of the American Legion, saying that the War Dept. could not take any action to rearrest Allan S. Broms who had been released although having two more years to serve. Baker also issued a statement which concluded as follows: “The War Dept. has this feeling about the conscientious objectors, and other military prisoners – and doesn’t make any distinction between them – that the whole object of confinement in a military prison is reformation and is not punitive or vindictive, the idea being that as soon as it is safe to return a man to civil life as a good citizen, with a better education and better morals

than he had before, he should be released. We feel that men are better outside than inside.” I have in mind sending a letter to Mr. Baker, making use of the above quotation and mentioning your name and Julius’. Please send me your official file or reference numbers, so far as you know them. In closing, I must say that I feel somewhat culpable for not having written you before, although H.L. has kept me informed as to his correspondence with you, and wish to assure you that you will find 1920 a much happier year than 1919 – which, unfortunately, is not promising a great deal.

Regards to all the “boys”,

E.T. Frankel

If you feel culpable I feel no less so. I have often been on the point of asking H.L. to send me your address – I have lost it since I left Upton, but for some mysterious and inexplicable reason I never did so, yet I was constantly thinking and talking of you. I could never dissociate [illegible word] from you. I almost feel indebted to you for his acquaintanceship and for his warm & spirited friendship. I am indeed happy that you wrote me. I am wasting [?] no time in This alone you will agree would constitute sufficient cause for me desiring to express my thanks to you. But I know to maintain amicable relasions with you. But you have unquestionable merit of your own and thru Langman and thru my folks that you were of yourself deserving of my thanks. Yes we read G. Baker’s statement to the American Legion in connection with [illegible word] case. You can imagine what a wealth of cynical comment it was greeted & [illegible word]. I don’t know just how to characterize such a profession. Strange that [illegible word] & evangelical profession should be received such be disparaging and shameful lack of appreciation. We above all should feel deeply greatful to our Saviors who are making such heroic efforts to remake us into something resembling a presentable American. Apparently if their professions are to be taken seriously and you know that everything comes from this source should be taken seriously, the job is not yet complete as far as I am concerned. By some inscrutable process it has been discoved that I shall be completely fit precisely on Apr. 30. By this same incomprehensible process Julius became wholly & absolutely fit at the end of this month. Really Eddie I can’t see wherein he is more fit than I am. He is never [illegible word] assuming an air & superiority [?] that is most annoying. This doctrine having been applied in the fact in a manner to convince one of the infallibility perhaps justifies his presumption [illegible word] While it maybe [?]


Frankel, E.T.; Eichel, David , “Letter January 1, 1920 from E.T. Frankel to David Eichel ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 21, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/19.

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