My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Sunday—Saturday morning I went over to speak in the Pan-American Building at the meeting held in celebration of Pan-American Health Day.

I think it is interesting to note the emphasis that is now being laid on public health services throughout the world and on the need for cooperation everywhere. Our public health service in this country may be very good, but if Dr. Thomas Parran, who is the head of it, cannot rely on getting the necessary information and cooperation from other countries, we are placed at a great disadvantage. The same thing holds true for the other countries, where we are concerned.

In the future, it seems to me that public health is going to be increasingly important to the nations of the world. If a whole community does not live under sanitary conditions, no one in the community is entirely safe. Therefore, it is important that the average man and woman in this country recognize the need for the public health service, back it with enthusiasm, and comply with all government regulations.

These services were in the past rather narrowly interpreted, embracing only safeguards against bringing in diseases from other countries and spreading of diseases within our own nation's borders. It seems to me, however, that nutrition, as well as sanitary conditions in homes and in communities, should increasingly be the business of public health doctors. In addition, the regular care of people not in a financial position to obtain adequate medical attention could certainly be considered a part of our public health service.

I received yesterday from John Groth, an artist-correspondent just returned from overseas, a pamphlet entitled "The Camp of Disappearing Men," for which he did the illustrations. It is a story of German atrocities in Oswiecim, and is published by the Polish labor group. I do not know whether it is generally available to the public, but it should certainly be given wide distribution. The story is made vivid by the illustrations. It is a tale to fill you with horror, worse than almost anything your imagination can conjure up. And the end—the picture of how in desperation a man went gladly to a death that he knew awaited him—leaves you with a determination that such cruelty and such treatment, with men turned into beasts, must never again be allowed to occur in this world.

Any system which can train men through discipline to do the things which were done in Oswiecim must be so completely eradicated that there will never again be a resurrection of it.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 4, 1944

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.