Letter December 1, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents




Letter December 1, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents




WWI conscientious objection / objectors


Eichel, David


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.






Letter [#32] from David Eichel, U.S.D.B., Fort Douglas, Utah

[December 21, 1919]

Dear folks:

We received your letter of Dec. 10, the first letter from you, by the way, in over two weeks. Conditions are unusually quiet here now, not even an occasional discharge to excite us. Julius, according to official records, is the next man to leave, and his departure is yet five weeks off. We cannot anticipate what miracle may take place in the interval. I say miracle because we do not expect anything to happen, and any even would be startling. Not that the outlook is any worse now than it was formerly. In fact, despite such reactionary and despotic measures as the Cummins Bill and the Alien Deportation Bill, which this morning's paper announces, had passed the Senate; despite the extra-legal and lawless activities of such organizations as the American Legion and Law & Order groups, the outlook is far from depressing. The one favorable and encouraging effect of such vicious reaction and lawlessness, is to cement and unite all thoughtful and progressive elements, to solidify the activities of liberals and radicals alike, and to arouse in every freedom loving person, a feeling of the danger that threatens him. Already there is a growing sentiment against the Legion; it is growing all the time. Such mob spirit as their activities fosters is bound to result in their own destruction. Mob spirit and gov't cannot exist side by side. Government is based upon a general illusion by the inculcation or a divine reference and awe in people for laws and institutions, for it is obvious to all that no law or institution can exist if people choose in great numbers to disregard and disobey it. The illusion that gov't is a divine

institution, the sole foundation of the faith of peoples in it, must be carefully nursed and guarded. The American Legion is attacking its very foundation by its utter disregard for laws and gov't. The purpose of gov't is to protect opinion and people. The American Legion shows that our present gov't is incapable of either, or is, else, foolishly indifferent. When people find that Gov't no longer affords them the protection they have a right to expect, they lose faith in it and take such measures as they find indispensible [sic] with their safety. Already many conservative newspapers are showing alarm, and are inveighing against the Legion and its effect on Law and Order. As to the reaction in gov't centers it is a sign that they are getting angry and losing their heads, and the saying is that "whom the gods would destroy they first make mad."

The court-martial of Julius Greenberg is still being deferred, while he, his lawyer and the officials are making preparations for it. Col. Byram, the Commandant is back from the Coal Mines, where he was doing duty during the great strike.

To dispel the growing monotony, we have revived interest in the phonograph. We purchased one with a horn from our friends, the Germans, out of the surplus money we made on the pictures. We are now buying phonograph records. We have an exceptionaly [sic] good one, one which I would recommend to Sam Hyman or Irving Lipnec. It is a Columbia Record A2814 -- Patches -- Sweet and Low, both played by Art Hickman's record.

We were very much amused by Abe's letter. We shall certainly be pleased to receive his picture in a Turkish outfit. We are pleased to learn that he has gathered together more than ten dollars.

What does he expect to do with all this money? I hope his frequenting the dentist has resulted in his having his teeth cared for, especially that front tooth which was broken in a fall.; If he has'nt had it attended to, he ought to put the money he has to that use. Julius is coming home soon and I can assure Abe that Julius would'nt be pleased to see him with his front tooth gone.

I am enclosing two more snap-shots. Julius did'nt like the picture of the two of us, and he was very much opposed to my getting any. I like the picture very much. I am sending you one for your opinion. The other picture is a picture of the fellow who came to the D.B's with me.

We have sent over two dozen Christmas and New Years cards to our friends and relatives. They were drawn by our artist and printed by our photography cooperative concern. I did the painting [printing?] myself.

We have also sent you a small box of pictures, parcels' post insured.

Julius and I are feeling fine.

I hope this finds you all in good spirits. With love and good wishes to all. I am



Eichel, David, “Letter December 1, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 22, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/55.

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