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Letter February 16, 1920 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel
Letter February 16, 1920 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel
WWI conscientious objection / objectors
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. 16, 1920 Letter [#3] by David Eichel, Fort Douglas, Utah
Dear Juluis [sic] [Eichel]:
I am now completing my third day at "K. P.", and am a bit tired. We altered the work schedule since you left, and we now work three successive days and rest eighteen, which taken in the light that workers are making all sorts of sacrifices to obtain fourty [sic]-four hour weeks etc., is hardly so bad.
I received your registered letter no. 1, of Feb. 5, as well as your card of Feb. 7.
Your letter was most interesting, and a source of genuine pleasure. I was truly astounded at your welcome. Of course, I expected that some people would be pleased at your return, and receive you with open arms, but I would never have presumed such marked solicitation at the hands of some of the people you have mentioned in your letter. It was highly gratifying to say the least. it was the first definite intimation I have received of the true lay of the land. I read part of the letter in the mess-hall to the gang, and it put them in a fine frame of mind.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Kriewa was surprised with an immediate release. On the same day Ben received a fifteen day furlough. We understand from a telegram from Gus, that Ben's mother is in a very serious condition, altho Ben left hopeful and cheerful, without a suspicion of the true state of affaires [sic]. Quite a peculiar contrast with Gus' case. He left prepared for the worst, and he found his mother in an improved condition.
Two days after the release of Kriewa, Col. Graham called O'Hilco to his office, and Lassen was called to act as interpreter. The Col. told them that they would be released as soon as they would decide to go to work. Their stubborn attitude is keeping them in jail. Incidentally he asked Lassen to deliver this message to the group. The war department was very anxious to get rid of us, but we would do nothing to help them do so. We are a stubborn lot, but our stubbornness would avail us nothing. We are bucking up against a stone wall. Lassen explained to him that it was not a question of stubbornness but a matter of principle. The Col. insisted that it was all stubbornness, pure and simple, and as long as we maintained that attitude the war department would do nothing for us. In fact he considered the whole C.O. stand nothing but stubbornness. Well what matters it whether it is called "stubborness" [sic] or something else. Of course it would be criminal to brand the war dept. as stubborn. They are endowed with the majesty of power and everything they do is pure principle. They release Kriewa without even questioning him on the matter of going to work, but O'Hilco who is here for the very same offense and Kriewa, is a Russian alien, he must go to work if he wishes to receive consideration. Well, considering the fact that I have sacrificed over two years because of my foolish stubbornness, I fear me I shall continue my perverse and obstinate attitude for the remaining two and a half months of my sentence. I can certainly afford to be "stubborn" now.
Breger's going temporarily upset our theatrical plans: he being cast for Ferovius. Since Ferovius requires certain physical characteristics that Ben alone in all the group possesses, he cannot be replaced. So we shall have to bide our time untill [sic] he is back with us.
Your Montgomery Ward order has not reached me yet, altho I filled out a schedule of question for them in order to enable them to trace it, a few days after your leaving. I dont [sic] know but it might be advisable for you to drop them a line or two as a reminder.
The pictures Colonna took of the Group as well as the picture he
took of you did not turn out well.
Serg't Jim asked after you. He wanted to know whether you got home all right. I assured him you did, and also thanked him for the kind services he had extended to you.
The cats continue to make great inroads in Katz's family of Guinea Pigs. The other day the cat got away with his prize female. Katz and Buzzi are on the war-path. The cat that crosses their path will never live to regret it. They have absolutely renounced their humanitarianism in so far as cats are concerned.
From your letter I gather that our friends outside are still under the erroneous impression that jail is a place of torture and suffering. How absurd! Why its [sic] a place of rest and peace. Really some of them ought to try it sometimes. If they commit burglary, arson or some equally unsocial and destructive, but pardonable offense, they will only go to jail for a short time and will hardly be there long enough to grow tired of their imprisonment. But tell them to be careful not to look with a tolerant eye upon the activities of the "wobblies" or Communists, for that is an offense that brings with it ten or twenty years, and the best of jails grow tiresome in that time.
I had a good laugh over Abe's strike. I think papa or someone else ought to get after him, for he is displaying marked Bolshevist tendencies. He runs the danger of being expelled from school for such anarchist actions. I am wholeheartedly in sympathy with the dentist's wife, that is, I was able to laugh with her. However Abe deserves credit. More power to him.
Have you started struggling for board and a meal-ticket yet, or are you still resting? It must be tough, after leaving so glorious a home to have to enter that soul-destroying competition of what is generally dignified as business life. And the weather is still so beautiful here. It hasn't changed for the worse since you left, in fact it has steadily improved.
Graham left today. Everything comes to him that waits, even a discharge. They tell me I've got seventy-three days and a flop. I dont [sic] bother to keep track as yet.
I am enclosing a picture that I know will interest you, as well as the folks and many of our friends. I am quite certain that you will recognize it, as it represents one of the most important institutions of lear[n]ing on this side of the Mississippi. You will probably recognize it from the fact that you have recently taken a very intensive course in government and its modus operandi, there.
Nothing more. Regards from Franklin, Block, Downey, Powell, and others. Remember to all our friends. My love to the folks. I was happy to learn of their good circumstances and their fine frame of mind.
David Eichel (84)
I was credited with the $25.00 contained in the letter.
I was also glad to receive Abe's postcard. He hardly seems to have change[d], altho the picture is hardly large enough to enable me to judge the accuracy.
Eichel, David, “Letter February 16, 1920 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed June 25, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/94.