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Letter November 10, 1918 from David Eichel to Parents


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[November 10, 1918]

P.O. Box No. 60
Dear Folks:

I am aware that I need no explanations. You have already become familiar with this paper and hence know where I am confined. I also did all in my power to prepare you for my eventual transfer here. I received word to get ready for the trip to Leavenworth on the 3rd and reached here on the 4th. I had a most delightful reunion with Julius and I must say that he is looking fine. He will probably send you a similar compliment about me. I came here with the avowed determination not to work but I wanted to be fair both to myself and also to the authorities here. I felt that perhaps my resolution was unreasonable so in my interview with the Executive Officer, I agreed to work. But I felt perfectly miserable while at work; every moment was one of intense suffering to me. Work under these conditions was absolutely nauseating and revolting to me. I saw myself losing everything in a few days, -- everything that I had stood and suffered for during my 11 months at camp. Hence I have decided to do the only thing left me and that is to discontinue work. I realize too well that such course may result in a good deal of physical discomfort to me -- but my conscience will be at ease -- and in my opinion, the greatest torment one can suffer is an outraged and violated conscience. I further feel that compulsory prison labor is the most contemptible type of scab. I hold that I am held here, despite the fact that I have committed no crime. I might concede to the government the right to restrain me for my views may be detrimental to their present interests, but I will never concede to them the right to work me. If they choose to hold me here it behooves them to care for me. I won't aid in keeping myself in prison where I am thrown in promiscuously, with men of vilest tongues, filthiest mouths and most degrading morals. This, despite the fact that I have been told that I have been brought here in order to be returned to civil life, "more fit and a better man."

My sentence calls for 25 years at hard labor. The thought of spending so long a time in this place is hardly calculated to fill one with joyful anticipation. I contemplate with dread, living in this place so long and subsisting on its course and poor food.

You are probably fully aware of my horrible experience at Funston. Phil ought to receive a copy of all the brutalities to which we were subject -- taken from my diary. I desire that he have a type-written copy made of it and mail it to Theo. H. Lundis, Edison Park, Chicago, Ill. I wish him to please give immediate attention to this, as I am extremely anxious to have this done promptly.

Phil should also receive a copy of my court-martial. Though the stenographer garbled and mutilated my statements wonderfully well, yet it still makes interesting instructive reading. I wish you to carefully preserve both the records of atrocities perpetrated upon us at Funston and also my court-martial record.

Your letter dated Nov. 3 was forwarded to me from Funston. Since you last heard from Julius, conditions here have changed somewhat. Wortsman[n] and Evan Thomas have had their fill of prison

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