Letter February 5, 1920 David Eichel to Julius Eichel




Letter February 5, 1920 David Eichel to Julius Eichel




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.






Feb. 5, 1920 Letter by David Eichel, Fort Douglas, Utah

Dear Juluis [sic] [Eichel]:

I am addressing this letter to you because it is novel and strange to address letters to you. What is more I feel that you will be called upon to explain the fine points of the note -- should it have any -- so that it is quite logical and expedient to direct my remarks to you.

But I should begin this letter properly (I might say in passing that it is quite a task to think of the type-writer and letter at the same time. I find I cannot do a "Cutler" very easily." I received your two cards, Tuesday morning. We were all pleased to learn that you got away pleasantly. We were more than pleased at your meeting Gus and making the trip with him. Gus left us in a most depressed state; he had been called away so suddenly and unexpectedly that we could only infer that the worst had happened. Gus must have felt the same. The next day, however, we received some letters from Jake with the encouraging intelligence that Mrs. Wortsmann had already passed the crises and was improving. But the letter was dated a few days before your leaving, and a relapse may have taken place in the interim. But next morning, a telegram to Ben from Little set us at ease again. We racked our minds as to how we might get the good news to Gus in transit. We gave up in the hope that he might get the news somehow in Chicago, how we knew not. But we took consolation in the convenient thought that all's well that ends well. That being so, I shall continue my tale.

In my last letter to the folks I made the solemn vow that I would avenge myself for all the trying moments you caused me during the past fifteen months and for the unpardonable offense you have committed in leaving me behind, by making you so [do?] some very useful work. I added that it was only necessary for my friends to co-operate with me. My friends somehow divined my purpose and have already entered into the spirit of the thing. I received three letters yesterday which I shall charge you to acknowledge. 1. A letter from Eddie Frankel. He closes his letter with a piece of advice, the suggestion of which he gleaned from one of Wells' fanciful tales. It is to the effect that there are two drugs, one known as the "accelerator" which causes the user to move and live at so tremendous a pace that the rest of the world seems as slow in comparison; the other known as the "retarder" has the opposite effect so that the world moves very rapidly. He suggests that I take some of the "retarder" and so have the three months move with extreme rapidity. Now aside from the difficulty of entertaining seriously any suggestion that comes from Wells (just think of taking seriously a man who invents a new God when we are attempting to demolish the old ones) there is a great one which confronts me at present. This type-writter [sic] absolutely refuses to co-operate. In fact it would be quite simple if the suggestion were that I should imbibe some of the accelerator. However I shall do what I can to see that time does not hang heavy on my hands.

2. I have a letter from Trix. She begins badly; she commits the incomprehensible effort of conveying the impression that you are the more, or rather that you were the more important member of this firm, and addresses the letter to you. You will proceed to impress upon her the utter absurdity of such a notion. You will nevertheless thank her for her kind offer to send us some dance records. Assure that we have all we want. I have no definite answer to her intimation that she will expect me to do the shimmy with her, I am merely considering the

3. A letter from Anna Wenger. She expressed the hope that I might surprise her and come home with you. I would have gladly done so but I had very little say about the matter. She also offers to send me some pads and writing material should I require some. Assure that I have enough to last me at least the three month that my prodigal hosts have agreed to permit me to stay. Thereafter I shall be in the position to supply myself with material as I have need of it. Give her my thanks.

The day you left was as exciting a day as we have had in months, and that was hardly exciting enough to arouse us. Things seemed to happen on that day tho. First you left and that was exciting -- at least to me. Then came an inscrutable order that we abandon one of the barracks and consolidate. Then Gus' unexpected and rather unpleasant departure. We attempted to obtain a reconsideration of the order to join barracks. We tried to learn its purpose, but it isn't the policy nor purpose of military procedure to make itself understood. We received no explanation and our request for a reconsideration was not entertained. We were given peremptory instructions to consolidate. Some of the men took the matter with a good deal of feeling at first. We did seem somewhat crowded but we are gradually growing accustomed to the new conditions. We doubt less have as much room as sanitary regulations would require but we could see no reason for not having more since it was possible. But since we are not masters here we are resigned to the change. I am in possession of a complete bunk so that the consolidation has in no wise inconvenienced me. The men have utilized every piece of available ground underneath the barracks and mess-halls so that there are almost as many sleeping outside as inside.

Otherwise things are as calm as usual. Ben Salmon still meets me occasionally and greets me with "it's a beautiful day Dave or it is a delightful evening, Dave" and I answer prosaically "yes isn't it, etc. Speaking of Ben reminds me that he has intrusted [sic] me with a message to you. He suggests that you see G's cousin as soon as possible and not wait to hear from him as was originally agreed. Ben will write you directly he hears from home. In the meanwhile in order to avoid delay go ahead with your visit.; B. and G. and R. think this is the best arrangement.

Greenbergs [sic] trial was brought to a close last Sat. Jan. 31. and Greenberg feels quite confident that the verdict will be a favorable one. It is customary in court-martial proceedings to call the accused in, in the event the verdict is one of guilty, to answer the previous convictions if he has had any. This did not take place at the close of Greenberg's trial which carries the implication that the verdict was in his favor. However we know nothing definite.

I shall begin anew in numbering the letters. This is number 1. I hope you will acknowledge them properly. I am bringing this to a close since my time on the machine is almost up.

My love and regards to the folks, Phil, Clara and Baby, Rose, Will and Abe. Remember to all my friends.


David Eichel (84)


I don't believe it is customary to sign one name with a typewriter. Hence I've done so.

I am sending two Pictures of the performance to Rebecca. Please deliver them.

Your order from Mont. Ward has not come yet. I filled out a questionnaire & sent it to them.


Eichel, David, “Letter February 5, 1920 David Eichel to Julius Eichel ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed June 25, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/93.

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