Letter July 16, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents




Letter July 16, 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 from David Eichel, Fort Douglas, Utah

[July 16, 1919]

Dear folks:

I am sending this with a discharged Russian. I wrote you three days ago, thru the regular channels, but we are experiencing some difficulties with the censor. Besides restricting our letter writing privileges to six letters a month, we are cautioned to write on one side of the paper with not more than 20 lines to the page and not more than 4 pages to the letter. While such restrictions are not in any sense a hardship upon us, they are nevertheless annoying, prevent our writing as often and as much as we would like.

Conditions here are excellent. Aside from the one fact that we are restricted within the barbed

wires conditions here are even better than they were at Upton. We are left absolutely to ourselves by the military. The officers themselves are more tolerant and fair than at Leavenworth. We cook for ourselves and we are once more eating food that is fit for human consumption. Our food is served in porcelain dishes, adding materially to the appetizing appearance of the food.

There are about 140 of us here. We are divided into two companies of 70 each. This afternoon we are to play a game of baseball - one company against the other.

The days here are very hot and dry, the nights correspondingly cool. We are about 5500 ft. above sea-level, a condition which makes the atmosphere very dry, but exceptionally healthy. For those unaccustomed to such climate the first few days occasion a little discomfort. We are continually drinking water to moisten parched throats and

respiratory organs, and to keep our tissues sufficiently moistened. Because of the light atmosphere pressure, nose-bleeds are very common. Most men have had at least one. One man has had 14. I am among the very few who have escaped without a single nose bleed, thus far.

The men walk about with as little clothes as they dare. They times they go about absolutely naked. They are all browned by the sun. We expect to come home with a complete and attractive coat of tan.

The German prisoners have been exceedingly good to us. They have supplied us with tables and chairs for writing and reading, with baseball gloves and balls, with boxing gloves, a phonograph, a good one too, with about 200 excellent records, a large

organ etc. Before I forget I wish you to ask Sam or Irving to speak to Abe Belinko, and if possible have the latter send us a supply of phonograph needles. I know Abe would be pleased to do so, assuming of course that he is still in a position to get them, while we would certainly appreciate it.

We have one C.O. amongst us that has been in the prize-fighting ring. The Germans have quite a few men of boxing experience. We are supposed to keep apart but we mingle in spite of orders, that is we do so by stealth. Their best boxer met our mainstay in a regular three round engagement. It was a very clever fight, with the Germany showing a slight supremacy.

I have said that the Germans have been unboundingly kind to us. One of them, a writer for the N.Y Staats Zeitung has been particularly good to Julius and me, supplying us with all sorts of eatables etc.

I must hurry on with this. In closing I wish to say that

it will not be possible for us to write our friends & relatives regularly, altho we would be pleased to hear from them. We are permitted to receive all mail and packages.

With kindest and fondest regards to all, I am



Internment Camp

C.O. Barracks


Eichel, David, “Letter July 16, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 22, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/59.

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