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Letter April 4, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents
Letter April 4, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents
WWI conscientious objection / objectors
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 14, 1919]
- Dear folks:
Your letter of April 9, -- I suppose Martha wrote it since it is excellently written -- was indeed a source of comfort. We are happy to see that you support us so wholeheartedly, especially since we both realize the terrible sacrifice you have made for us, and the pangs of torture, worry and anxiety you have been made to suffer because of us. Believe me, it is only situations like this kind that make one realize the value and worth of his friends, relatives and parents. We have been extremely fortunate in this respect, since all our friends and relatives have stuck to us thru thick and thin, while you have been superb. You can't imagine what this means to us, and I wish to assure you that not all
those with us have been so fortunate. We don't feel like brave fellows since we only did what we thought right. It is you that have certainly displayed wonderful spirit in supporting us so faithfully altho at times I am certain you were hardly able to understand what prompted our actions. It requires great courage to be willing to suffer for something you don't feel, and you have certainly suffered greatly in this manner. I don't know just how we'll show our gratitude to you when we return -- perhaps we'll never show it -- but believe me we certainly appreciate you now.
Julius, I believe wrote you about the discharge of the 6 Russian Molochans. You can never realize what they were like unless you saw & lived with them. They were all big healthy robust Russians; their beards gave them an air of dignity and earnestness that was unique
and distinguished. One of them, a big tall fellow, 6 ft & some inches of stature, of blond hair and big blowing blond beard reminded you of the Jesus Christ as shown in pictures. In fact in solitary one of the guards used to say, Jesus Christ is praying or some such remark as the occasion called for, but always calling him Jesus Christ. They were fine fellows to associate with. Even the soldiers respected them in the end. Tho we hated to part with them, we were indeed happy to see them go.
In the morning, Jacob Wipf one of the Hutterians I wrote you about some time ago was discharged. He too was a splendid fellow, altho of a widely different type from the Molochans. The latter were very intelligent fellows and rather worldly wise. Wipf tho not stupid, yet as a result of his narrow and restricted life in the
Hutterian Colony, was a simple as a child. Religion is narrowing usually and hence we are inclined to hope that it did'nt exist, but Wipf was splendid. Only the most callous and hardened would want to deprive him of his religion, its simplicity was so beautiful. Tho Wipf was discharged there are still 3 more Hutterians, all married, with us.; It seems a shame to have discharged Wipf and keep the others. We were just as genuinely pleased to see Wipf go as the Molochans.
Yesterday happened to be Erling Lunde's birthday. he is such a favorite amongst us that we arranged a kind of birthday ceremony for him. According some fellow stole a certain article from Lunde. This article together with a horse-shoe was wrapped in an enormous am't of newspapers so that the package seemed large and attractive. This together with a paper signed by the boys
was presented to him at dinner. Harry Lee one of the Upton boys made a little humorous speech and then Lunde began unwrapping the pkge. Finally he found the stolen article and the horse-shoe. There was just enough humor and sincerity in the procedure to make it highly entertaining.
There seems to be some error on our part. The statement that you sent us writing material seems somewhat ambiguous. That is, we thought that you meant to say that you sent that 2 weeks before the short-hand book, but on second reading it seems that it was sent 2 weeks after the books, pencil sharpener etc. If the latter is the case then we may perhaps receive it yet, even tho it is long overdue.
There is nothing new. We have been hearing rumors to the effect that we are to be transferred to Alcatraz prison, near California. I don't give this rumor much credence, tho such a transfer is not impossible.
Julius and I are both feeling fine and dandy. Tell us how Phil is making out at his new line. Is it promising?
Hoping everything is well. I close with fondest regards from Julius and myself to you, Rose, Will, Abe, Phil, Clara, baby and our friends.
- Your loving son,
Eichel, David, “Letter April 4, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 22, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/48.