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Letter March 10, 1920 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel
Letter March 10, 1920 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel
WWI conscientious objection / objectors
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
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Letter [#8] to Julius Eichel from David Eichel, U.S.D.B., Fort Douglas, Utah
[March 10, 1920]
- Dear Julius:
I have your card of March 1, and your letter of March 3. I was certainly pleased with the contents of the latter. As is to be expected, the news of Colonel Penn's promise and statements to Mrs. Lucy Robins reached us, interested us and was discussed by us. I need not add that we took these utterances with a grain of salt. It was too sweeping and liberal even for the liberal in our government. It was entirely uncalled for and unwarranted. Yet it seemed quite clear on the face of it. Where was the catch? we kept asking one another. We all saw the veiled suggestion to the effect that we were not maintaining ourselves, but strange to say we did not interpret that as another cheap attempt to misrepresent us. The war department officials had only recently, tho not without apparant reluctance, admitted that we were doing such work as was essential to our own maintenance. That they should so brazenly flaunt their own words was inconceivable. Isn't it annoying and exasperating that after such repeated and deliberate misrepresentations, after so many deceptive and perfidious promises, that we should not yet have succeeded in entirely ridding ourselves of every vestige of faith in Official Washington?
I read your letter, that is parts of it, as well as your letter to our honorable War Secretary, to the boys. We were all pleased to learn that you had taken the trouble to see Mrs. Robins and right any erroneous impression she may have harbored concerning us. Apparently, there are other agencies that have also felt the need to correct the prevalent impressions created by the war department. We read an excellent account of the situation first in the Butte Daily Bulletin and then in the New York Call, both articles having been written by Paul Wallace Hanna. It was the best and most pointed article we have been favored with as yet, since this work question has come to the fore. We also read any excellent letter from the Civil Liberties Union to Mrs. Lucy Robins, on the matter of amnesty and our position here. It displayed a very accurate knowledge of the motives actuating our attitude here and elsewhere, while under the military. At last we are getting a bit of real and intelligent publicity. And by the way I think there is something to Roger's contention. There seems to be a more wide-spread publicity concerning C.O's at this time than at any time previous. Whether this succeeds in getting us all out in time or not, it still will have accomplished this purpose. It will spread our views and principles, and while we prefer to be released we are quite content with this effect if we cannot achieve the former.
Your letter to Baker was excellent. The boys applauded when they heard it. It is a good thing to sometimes compel our beaurocrats [sic] to face the facts.
John Maller asked to have those pictures sent to Anderson's mother. Katz would like you to mail the pictures to the person to whom they were intended. I took the address as a precaution. It is Samuel Rueben, c/o Maurer, 136 Essex St. Put your own address on the envelope, for return address, and should the pictures be returned to you, then turn them over to Katz's folks.
I had planned to remind you to learn from Rebecca just what she wants done with the various gowns and lesser articles of female apparel that she was so kind to send us. But something has happened to make that measure unnecessary. You know that we felt that those gowns were of a superb quality and in excellent condition, and that many a girl would be happy to count them among her ward-robe. Well it was nec-
to turn them over for safe-keeping to the supply-sergeant. This morning we asked to have them returned to us, as we expect to put on a play this Saturday. I found the carton that contained the ward-robe in pretty bad condition, tho the rope that had been placed around it had remained untouched. Roderick, Howard and I opened it. Once glane into the box was sufficient to convince me that all was not just right. On further examination it was found that about half of the stuff was missing, and among the missing were some of the best articles we had. I spoke to Colonel Graham about it, made it plain that I was bringing this matter to his attention merely in the hope that it may be possible to recover it, but that I was not seeking any other form of redress. The Colonel was very nice about it, told me that I should have exacted an itemized receit [sic] from the sergeant -- who by the way, has been discharged from the army today, -- and so secured myself against any loss. Well the long and the short of it is, that I am out of luck. The Colonel is going to do what he can, but it is plain that the stuff will not be recovered. You might tell Rebecca about it, and you might also tell her that one of these days if I get a sane moment -- that may come after the sanity board has passed on my mental state -- I'll drop her a line.
Strange how certain thoughts or certain episodes come to light from various quarter at the same time. On the same day that your letter came, I received one from Ann Burness. She too referred to the play "The Servant in the House", altho her reference was in the form of a suggestion that we might try to put it on.
The play that is to be given this Saturday or Sunday night, is entitled "Suppressed Desires," a Freudian comedy. Roderick, Howard and I are the actors. You might tell Rebecca that she may soon see how Howard and I look dressed up in her gowns.
I am happy to hear from the various people you mention in your letters. Please remember me to all.
My love and regards to the folks.
- As always,
P.S. I wrote Jack Rosenfeld two days ago. I hope He'll understand what I was driving at in my letter.
- David Eichel (84)
Eichel, David, “Letter March 10, 1920 from David Eichel to Julius Eichel ,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed October 26, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/98.