Letter April 10 1919 from Joe ___to David Eichel




Letter April 10 1919 from Joe ___to David Eichel




WWI conscientious objection / objectors


____, Joe


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


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






[April 10, 1919]

Fort Riley, Kansas
Guard House

Dear Dave,

Received yours of the 6th and was very glad to hear from you. You need not wait until you have something of moment to write, before you favor me with a letter, but whenever you have a little spare time, remember that Joe is at Riley and always waiting for mail.

You are laboring under a delusion if you think that I was afraid to say that I was displeased at your not writing sooner. You know Joe. More than once he got in trouble by stating his innermost thoughts. Of course I will not guarantee to act the same in case there is a repitition [sic] of the silence, so you can consider that you are under a suspended sentence.

You write that Brex received a dishonorable discharge. We are curious as to whether you made an

error in your letter but if that is so perhaps you can inform us the whys and wherefores for the dis. Lester and I are not in the mood for unraveling conundrums especially W.D. variety, so we must decline to be Sherlocks and seek to ferret the reasons for his discharge. Life is too short.

So Greenberg is ill again. When he was here he had mumps and after a few weeks he was discharged from the hospital as cured but returned the same day. He had travelling mumps and they located themselves in a spot – well it was difficult for him to walk, that is all I can say.

Lester has not received Abrams letter but will write again. I tried to pin him down as to when he will write but he was evasive and I cannot mention definitely when he will keep his promise.

Perhaps it will interest Abrams to know that I had some correspondence with Grange & Petersen.

He will know who they are. They seem to think one cannot be a socialist and a C.O. There was an editorial in the Weekly People on the same question and I wrote a reply to it, but to date it has not been printed and I doubt if it will. I don’t know whether he knows about the internal trouble in the Party, but the bunch in control are certainly playing old hell with everything.

But this does not interest you, I know and I want to write something that will cause you to smile favorably upon our correspondences.

I am surprised at your veiled insinuations regarding Jake. I have been hearing quite a lot about a certain Wortsman family in Brooklyn. It seems that every time my sister B.B. writes to me, she is either going to or coming from Wortsman[n]s. My wife was over there and she wrote and told me that someone there told her fortune with a deck of cards and the results

were that I would be home soon and that two friends of hers would die. The latter has happened within this past week and perhaps it would not be amiss to relate a story about one of the deaths.

My sister, aforementioned, had a very dear girl friend. She came over to the house often and we knew her well. She was working for the Medical Corps of the War Dept, on Greenwich St. but about 6 months ago, she was discharged for having the same faith as Christ. She was unable to find another job and one night she failed to come home and the next morning[‘]s mail brought a letter to her folks in which she wrote that she was going to kill herself. She said she wants to live but she cannot. She was a fine girl. A graduate of Wash. [illegible word] & Hunters College. 21 years old and sacrificed on the altar of Moloch.

Isn’t that enough in itself to make one feel bitter against this

damnable industrial system.

My sister is much upset as you can imagine. She is getting to be a real radical. She was going with a young chap for some time and broke off diplomatic relations with him because he doesn’t take any interest in Socialism, C.O’s, etc. She wrote and told me that she wants a C.O. and that I should pick one out for her. I have not decided upon a favorite as yet as I don’t know whom to pick and I am afraid I will have to give up in despair. She has been doing a lot of work for us and is co-operating with Jakes brother in running the dance on May 3rd.

So you only have 4 years to serve. Evidently the W.D. is trying to save its face by reducing the sentences. 20 years looks bad but 4 years, I suppose, appears not so unjust.

It reminds me of the foolish virgin that Max speaks of who while she admitted she had had a

child explained “that it was such a little one.” Well we shall see what we shall see.

I received a letter from Palma [?] Iversen the same time as yours. We correspond regularly. In her previous letter she sent a snapshot of herself and as I am out of the running I thought I might be able to advise you to “stick to it.” I know you correspond with her and you have a pull. Nuf sed.

We are still living the life of Rilley [sic] here. I went to the canteen this week to do my Easter shopping and when I came back we had fresh fruit and ice-cream. We get a newspaper each day and in all ways they try to make us feel at home. Well I am satisfied to call prison my home so long as Justice is dead.

We are following up the

Piece Conference. I use piece correctly as it has developed to a stage where each country wants a piece of some other country. And Debs was put in jail for 10 years for saying that the purpose of the allies, was plunder. And Galileo was tortured for saying the earth moves. History repeats itself, say the philosophers and as Marx adds, first as a tragedy and then as a farce.

And the spinach act is still here. Every body [sic] is wondering whether the high prices [?] are coming down to see the county they were raised in. They expect much quiet after July 1st and perhaps it is because a great many people will keep a still in the house. It is expected that we will have freedom of the seas but we will still have to pay anywheres up to a $1.00 to bathe in the Atlantic ocean.

The Bolshevicki are still

giving capital many sleepless nights. Soviets are springing up like mushrooms over night [sic] in spite of the fact that no one favors them. In fact the best thing I can use to analyse [sic] the situation is a cartoon that appeared in the K.C. Post. Mars looking at the earth and asking itself “what the hell is the matter on the earth”.

Well Dave I guess that’s enough for the present. I will convey your remembrances to my wife. Best regards to all from Lester and myself and remember I shall expect to hear from you again.


P.I. [?] is a regular Bull she weekie [Bolsheviki?] and I am afraid is not a sincere C.O. I am going to write to her now as I always answer my letters promptly. “Go thou and do likewise.”


____, Joe, “Letter April 10 1919 from Joe ___to David Eichel ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed October 26, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/31.

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