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Ms. "The First World War"

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page 36

that the death rate in our institution for the month of November 1918 during the epidemic, was nineteen times that of the city of New York, although these figures might be correct in a way, yet there is a catch in them intended to convey a false impression to the public, as a slap at the authorities. Still we suffered heavy casualties, and at the end of the week we had seventy corpses most of which had to be laid out under a canvas for a few days until coffins could be obtained for shipping them home.

Some time along in mid-winter a commission was sent from Washington to us for the purpose of examining us as to sincerity. This was about or soon after the time the armistice was signed. This board consisted of three members. Dean Stone, Judge Julian Mack, and Major Kellog. This commission examined many objectors in the various camps and finally also came to us who were under sentence. At the D.B. this commission examined a few hundred. One of our ministers, Rev. H.P. Krehbiel, was also present during a part of the inquest. I do not know how long this work lasted, but according to unconfirmed reports it was found that over ninety present of those examined were sincere.

There is little doubt that the findings of this board had a lot to do with the action of the War Department which was now confronted with the task of demobilization of soldiers and C.O.s and political prisoners as well. After the cessation of hostilities in Europe, agitation for the release of all sorts of war prisoners began in earnest. The King of Italy granted a general amnesty to some 30,000 political prisoners, and in our country similar moves were proposed. However, public hostility toward religious and political prisoners was still strong, and it

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