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Liveblogging World War II: September 25, 1942

Eleanor Roosevelt:

NEW YORK, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon I joined in a broadcast to the women of Poland on the third anniversary of the loss of their country's freedom. Arranged by Station WRUL, it was a most impressive occasion. My own part was limited to a very few minutes.

Miss Dorothy Thompson, Mrs. Luce, Miss Pearl Buck and Mrs. Moore, were extremely effective in their talks. I hope the broadcast will give some sense of future security to the women of Poland. I was glad to be able to say how deeply the women of this country sympathized with the sufferings of the women in Poland.

Starvation and horror live with them day by day. I wonder more and more at the Nazi psychology when I read descriptions of what happens to people in the occupied countries under Nazi control. How can the Nazis hope to create loyal and friendly citizens in a country which they have conquered by cruel treatment? Certainly, if they want goodwill, they go about it in a strange fashion.

I have before me a description of the Ravenbruck Women's Preventive Detention Camp in Poland. One of the items reads:

People are regarded as ill only when they drop. Prisoners have to go barefoot in streets sprinkled with coarse gravel. In consequence prisoners get sore and festered heels, but they have to go on walking barefoot. No food is provided during the examination period, so if they bring none of their own, they go hungry until they are finally assigned to barracks. One of punishments consists of transferring to punishment barracks where degenerates are detained. If a Polish woman talks to a Jewess, she is punished with 42 days in a dark cell. There is one month of quarantine on entrance to the camp. There are no books. At the end of the month they are set to work. Kitchen work starts at 4:00 a.m. and includes the carrying of heavy sacks of food from the lorries. They (the women) are used in building houses for German prisoners, carrying bricks, lime and stones.

This is only the description of one camp, and I should not think it would tend to make the conquered people love their conquerors. The Nazi psychology is a strange one, because fear and suffering do not create love and loyalty.

Today I am going to an exhibition at one of the branches of the New York Public Library and later to a tea given for Mrs. Flora Johnson, who is to run as Congress woman-at-large in Mrs. O'Day's place on the Democratic ticket in New York State this fall.