“Soliloquy of a C.O. Upon Beginning His Third Year in a Mental Hospital”
Excerpt from “Soliloquy of a C.O. Upon Beginning His Third Year in a Mental Hospital,” by Arthur Jost.
“Two years—of my lifetime—spent! What have I accomplished? It’s true that I have learned what an ‘insane asylum’ is; It’s true that I have overcome the aversions that first possessed me when I saw the disgusting tasks that exist on the ward for the incontinent. Of course, there was always the worker patients that were glad to do these jobs for me, but I couldn’t ask them to do what I would not. But what have I done for the patients? I know that a few of the patients I helped on the receiving ward have gone home on parole, but I have spent most of my time on the custodial wards. The little things that I have done—keeping the patients clean, keeping their toe nails trimmed, speaking as kindly as possible—yet—I have done that, but is that all that is required? Am I doing my best? Yes, I am taking every opportunity to learn the how of better treatment, but this is a strange business—taking care of those who perhaps will never contribute anything to society.”
--Taken from Mennonite Central Committee Bulletin. Vol. 3, No. 14. February 8, 1945. In "Publications, MCC Bulletin, later CPS Bulletin. Vol. 1-6, 1942-1947," folder 6/12, series IX-13-1. MCC Records Collection, Akron, PA.