Letter October 10, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents




Letter October 10, 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, U.S.D.B., Fort Douglas, Utah

[October 10, 1919]

Dear folks:

My letter will doubtless prove a repetition of matters you are already familiar with. Julius made a third attempt to see Col. Byram, the Commandant in order to learn why he was being held. The Executive Officer Lt. Col. Graham who has been uniformly open about the matter, but who apparently is not authorized to deal with it tried once more to aid Julius in obtaining an explanation. He called the Adjutant to the phone, in Julius' presence, reminded him that tho Julius had already addressed two communications to the Commandant he had not yet received any reply. The Adjutant answered that he had Julius' second communication, (his first had gone astray) and that the Commandant would give him an answer when he got ready. Julius asked the Ex. Off. whether that meant that the Col. was making up his mind as to why he was detaining him, a question which, of course the executive officer was unable to answer. In the meanwhile, while the Col. is getting "ready" Julius is being held here, apparently unwarrantedly.

When Lunde was given a hearing a week or so ago, by the Commandant, the latter was almost emphatic in denying that the men were losing "good-time" because of their refusal to work. Now, however, the officials display a palpable inconsistency. The Ex. Off. called two of our men before him, Clark and Brush by name, and asked them to go to work. He told them that if they went to work they would lose only a day's good conduct time for every day they failed to work, since the time the proposition was first advanced, on the occasion that resulted in the whole group's being placed on bread & water. Understand me, we are not supposed to work, according to Wash; we are not being punished, accord-

ing to Col. Byram, for our failure to work, yet according to the Ex. Off. we are losing one day's good conduct time for every day we have'nt worked since Aug. 20. In other words the facts are very much in contradiction to the Col's statement. The situation is perplexing to say the least. You may be able to find someone who is clever enough to reconcile these three statements. The officials do not take us into their confidence, so that we cannot explain the basis of their procedure.

By the way, Lunde received a letter from his wife, which informed him that Baker personally had promised some person interested in Lunde that he would be home by Aug. 26. Lunde however is still here. You may at least take comfort that Washington policy of giving assurances to which they do not expect to live up, is a general one and has not been applied to you in particular. You have probably learned that Baker is opposed to the Chamberlain Bill. When you know that Chamberlain is invariably thought of as a reactionary, while Baker has posed as a liberal, you get the significance of the abhorrence many people have for liberalism. You feel with them that "Heaven save us from liberals." There is some hope in reaction, but liberalism!!!

We have received a letter from Will Ornstein containing 50¢ in stamps. We have also received a box of candy from him. Should you see him please extend our thanks to him for both.

We would also like you to tell Langman, I understand that you meet him every now and then, that I have received the two books he sent me.

Phil wrote us some time ago that Harry Lee had shown him a money order for Julius. We assume that Harry sent it to us, but it has'nt reached us. If Phil should see him it would be well to call his attention to this fact. There is a possibility that it went lost in the mail and if so Harry would be able to trace it, and of course there is the alternative possibility that it was never sent.

We owe a letter to Irving and one to Fruchtman but I fear very much that we may not be able to write them. I know it is very easy for Fruchtman to get news of us from you. On the other hand we have many friends who cannot

obtain information from you so readily. We find it much more urgent to write these others at the rare opportunities that present themselves. I hope Fruchtman will not take this as a slight or neglect. We have them ever in mind. We regret our inability to write. However that need not keep them from writing us. Assure them that we are always pleased to hear from them. Make the same apologies to others who are expecting letters from us.

We have'nt received any mail from you or Phil in about five days. This is rather unusual since we have been receiving mail very regularly from home.

Julius and I are in excellent health and spirit. I hope this finds you as well. Our love and regards to all.

Your loving son

I also received a letter from Augusta Lerner.

David Eichel (84)



Eichel, David, “Letter October 10, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed October 27, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/73.

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