My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Friday—In the morning paper I read that, not satisfied with wiping out the village of Lidice, the Germans have gone further and killed 34 more people in the cities of Prague and Bruenn "in reprisal." It does not seem to cross their minds that they are imprinting the name of this village on the minds of the people of the world. None of us will ever forget a little village named Lidice. Reprisals of this kind only bring more reprisals, so that it is an unending spiral of murder.

How curious is the German mentality, that does not realize in giving a dramatic incident of this kind to the world it has stimulated imaginations to the point where, I am sure before long, there will be a play written about this tragic village, there will be a book in which this name will be immortalized. It will appear in current songs. People will paint scenes from memory or imagination. What the Germans thought to do away with forever, will be remembered the world over and lead perhaps to a better understanding of the type of people we will have to deal with when this war is over in Central Europe.

There is a book everybody should read called: " German With Tears" by Peter F. Wiener. It is a collection of letters. The first one is written by a student in England, now in the Army, writing to his German professor at the university. It tells him that his education unfitted him to deal with German people as they actually are and was a purely sentimental and unrealistic approach to international relations. The professor pleads guilty and tries to make amends by telling the truth in this series of letters.

The appalling things to me are the quotations which go back to the time of Bismarck and Frederick the Great, and have nothing to do with Hitler. But it is better to have these things out in the open. All the people of any nation, no matter how they have been conditioned, are never identical. But if you know what the conditioning has been, you can judge the general results and prepare yourself for the time that it will take and the methods which will have to be used to develop a new mentality and new characteristics in Hitler's Germans.

After lunch today, I went right to the Cathedral to hear the young organist, Mr. Paul Calloway, who has been so successful in training a chorus of war workers, in addition to his work at the Cathedral. He is a delicate looking young man. Since he has lately been drafted, he will be in the service before long. I only hope that his gift of music will give as much pleasure there, as it has to the people of the City of Washington. He played a very lovely short program from Bach.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington (D.C., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 13, 1942

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.