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Letter April 22, 1919 and Letter April 26, 1919 from Jacob Wortsman [Wortsmann] (extracts)

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[page 2]

Bernstein put his grievances before the Colonel and was promised that he would look into it.

Last night (4-25) some of the mattresses and blankets were still wet and we again crowded 6 men into two double deckers, and about 10 o’clock the Colonel and a Doctor came here, examined Bernstein and gave him more pills.

This morning (April 26) Major Dewan picked 3 of us, Juger, Seidenberg, and myself for an interview with the inspector Colonel Williams. We were escorted to the Disciplinary Barracks. Seidenberg’s and my interview were almost identical, so I’ll just relate mine.

I walked into the office, Colonel Williams and his stenographer were seated at her desk. The Colonel asked my name and number, asked me if I am a conscientious objector and if I would be willing to testify under oath. I was sworn in. The Colonel asked me how long I am a D B prisoner and how long in the Guard House.

Col – Do you know if the fire hose was placed on some C O’s in the Guard House on the evening of April 23rd?

JW – Yes, sir.

Col – Were you in the cage at the time?

JW – Yes, sir.

Col – Now relate to me all the details as you saw them.

JW – I prefer to do that in writing.

Col – In writing?

JW – Yes, sir.

Col – The War Department wants this testimony and you’ll give it the way they want and not your way.

JW – Very well, is that all? (I rose to go) The Colonel got up walked over to a cuspidor, expectorated and said, “No, that’s not all! I want your testimony and I want it verbally.” I am perfectly willing to give you a detailed account but only in writing.

Col – Who told you to insist on that, the fellow outside? (meaning Seidenberg)

JW – Oh, no. That’s my own idea.

Col – Well, what are your reasons for not testifying verbally?

JW – Because I prefer to give it in writing.

Col – Get Out.

Jerger was finally permitted to write a statement affirming its veracity under oath. The Captain and non-coms were in charge during the flood were also called before the Colonel.

Bernstein was called. He testified orally relating his personal experience. How the shock of the cold water awoke him from his slumber and how he made an attempt to escape it by crawling under the blankets but the fireman stuck the nozzle of the hose under the blankets, and he was thus hurled bodily out of bed by the force of the water. How he passed a sleepless night in a sitting position enveloped in a semi-wet blanket, etc.

(signed) Jacob Wortsman.

  1. 14838

P.S. – Dry mattresses were issued to us today in exchange for those which were still wet.

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