Diary and Letter Excerpts
August 23, 1917
Camp Carthage, Ohio
...In the quiet sunny afternoon with the beauty of nature bringing
the beauty of life home to me I thought of the utter barbarity
of life when expressed in terms of war. I thought how nonsensical
it was to go out in the field and without malice to kill one
another. The utter foolishness of the whole situation struck
me so forcible that I wondered for a moment how people could
even go to war. I thought of the time when people will look
back upon this age as one of unrestrained barbarity.
November 11, 1917
Camp Wetumka, Alabama
...I received a long letter from Jerry and wrote him a long frank
letter telling him how I felt. I wrote him that I had lost all
touch with old times, that I merely thought of today and would
not think of tomorrow until the war was over. I am a different
Marcus. More reserved, quieter, almost a dead person. The war
has changed me. Sometimes I feel it has crushed me. What changes
it has effected will appear when I have been in civil life for
Jacob Rader Marcus Papers, Box 14 File 3
October 18, 1922
Good days work. Covered ground in all branches. Except Talmud.
Thats my bug bear. German began to come easier. I notice
a distinct improvement in my German since I began in August. However,
it is still very much less than what I want. Still very unsatisfactory.
Coal and wood came today. Paid 3042 mark for four small kiste
and two centrum of coal. Highway robbery, but I was glad to get
it. Now I have 700 mark, as good as broke. Hope money comes soon.
Took a walk at 12, saw signs in chalk: Nieder mit den Juden diesselben
sind...Schuld an der Verelendung des Duetsches Volkes. They certainly
hate the Jew. Where will it lead?
November 22, 1922
...Letter from Dad. Pathetic thing. Brought tear to my eyes. Said
I was the crown of his white head. It sure is Hell
to be thousands of miles from your folks. My folks would be satisfied
with so little from me and I am so ambitious with so little behind
my ambition. I wrote Dad and Mother nice letter but elderly folks
arent satisfied with letters. They want the child himself.
I told them to come over some summer. They probably will. Mother
also wrote in Yiddish but I couldnt understand very much.
Retired around 11.
Jacob Rader Marcus Papers, Box 14, File 4
American Expeditionary Forces, France
September 9, 1918
From Marcus to his parents
...Well we had our service. I gave out the Aliyahs. I also had
mafter in the Book of Samuel. You would have enjoyed yourself
seeing me in my uniform, with my pistol and whole outfit with
a talith on my shoulder kissing the Torah and davening like an
orthodox boy. Its a great life folks. A great life. God
forgive me for going up to the Torah with a big pistol and 35
bullets on my waist. I only write this to let you know that I
have not forgotten that I am still a Jew.
Jacob Rader Marcus Papers, Box 19 File 7