Letter October 26, 1918 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel




Letter October 26, 1918 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel




WWI conscientious objection / objectors


Eichel, David


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


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Letter to Julius Eichel from David Eichel, Camp Funston, Kansas

[October 26, 1918]

Dear Julius:

At last I am again in a position to write you occasionally. My failure to do so of late was not due to careless neglect, I assure you. For a time we were restricted to one letter per week, and finally conditions became so strained that we were not permitted to write at all. Conditions however have improved perceptibly of late and now we are permitted a letter a day. This is due to a complete change of guard-house administrators.

Under the old regime we were subjected to a veritable reign of terror. Conditions were so intolerable that we determined upon an absolute hunger strike as a protest. An investigation, which I understand has been authorized by the Post Commander is now being conducted. With the change of administrators, there has come a remarkable change of treatment. The officers and non-coms. thus far have treated us with deference, consideration and kindness. They have shown themselves real gentlemen, and believe me Julius, it feels great to deal with liberal broad-minded men. Yesterday we received a talk from the officer of the day, and for the time I thought I was back at Upton talking to Cap. Mauschauser. He really is the first officer who spoke to us in a tolerant and liberal manner since my leaving Upton. Under such officers, there will arise no difficulties or friction.

I was called for trial, Tuesday, Oct. 22.

I made it plain that I could not recognize the jurisdiction of the court to try me since I was neither a military person, nor had I to my knowledge committed any offense. I informed them I intended to take no part in the proceedings, but would remain quiet and respectful thru out. However when the question of my letter to Keppel arose, I accomadated the court by explaining its nature, and incidentally, I cross-questioned the lieut. who was chief witness against me, and succeeded in confounding and bewildering him.

Most of the boys have already been court-martialed. Block, Evan Thomas, Caplovitz and one or two others have already been sent to Leavenworth. I know nothing of the extensiveness of the D.B.'s, hence I wonder whether you have met these men there. In your next letter to the folks be sure to tell me whether they are with you. For that matter, I too expect to be with you soon.

The last two or three letters from home state that the folks have not heard from you for a surprisingly long time, and hence are excessively worried. I know you would write if permitted to do so, hence I have suggested that the folks write Wash. Believe me, between the two of us, we are giving the folks no end of worry, tho of course the fault does not lie with us.

I have fully recovered from the effects of the hunger strike and am feeling fine and dandy. I hope that you have had a better experience at your present quarters than at Fort Jay.

Regards and good wishes from the boys with me. Remember me to Sam & Robinson.


P.S. Just learned that Wortsmann & another fellow Lundi have been sent to Leavenworth.


Eichel, David, “Letter October 26, 1918 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed October 26, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/88.

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