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COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, Monday, March 29, 1920. The committee this day met, Hon. Simeon D. Fess (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The chairman of the committee would like to make a statement to the committee and also to the witnesses that appear in the investigation of the Federal Board. There is one supreme motive in the ordering of this investigation that ought to be well defined and clearly understood by all parties who appear, not only the witnesses, but also the members of the committee with whom we have consulted fully on the matter. There is only one thing that the committee desires to do and it is extremely anxious to have that much accomplished, namely, we want all the facts concerning the work of the board which has been the basis of some charges made and which were heard by the committee in its recent meeting. We as a committee do not want mere statements. We must avoid any abuse; nothing on the order of sensation except what might be the result of actual facts. There is to be no favor nor fear in the testimony to be given; no favors either on the part of the witnesses that are appearing before the committee or members of the board which will also be witnesses. We want the facts. The committee is going to go into the whole matter with a desire singly to get all the truth and for that reason the committee has authorized the proceedings to be orderly, to follow the rules of the House. The witnesses will be sworn and the procedure is to be in the most perfect decorum that is possible for us to obtain. The charges have been made seriatim and the committee will proceed with the examination of the witnesses as submitted to us by those who make the charges. However, the chairman of the committee has learned with some grief that one of the witnesses that was not to appear at once has had a great grief in his home, the death of a child. This witness will be given an early opportunity to testify so that he may return just as soon as it is possible to do so. Is that witness present? Mr. KALISH. I am he.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you please take the witness stand and be sworn, Mr. Kalish?
(The witness, Mr. Kalish, was duly sworn by the chairman.) Mr. SEARS. Mr. Chairman, what charges are these; No. 3? Mr. BLANTON. A point of order, Mr. Chairman. If we are going to administer the oath at all, I submit it should be a legal oath, and an oath that is understood to be binding throughout the United States, and should conclude with the admonition “So help you God.” That is the oath that is usually administered, and if we are going to administer the oath at all, it ought to be a binding oath.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be followed, Mr. Blanton.
Mr. BLANTON. That was not followed in the swearing of this witness.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman object ? Mr. BLANTON. I submit, Mr. Chairman, I think it should be the form that is the legal oath in this country.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any objections to being sworn in that way?
Mr. KALISH. None, whatever.
(Thereupon the witness, Mr. Edward M. Kalish, was duly sworn pro forma by the chairman, and being examined, testified as follows:)
STATEMENT OF EDWARD M. KALISH, NEW YORK CITY.
The CHAIRMAN. Give your full name and present residence. Mr. KALISH. My full name is Edward M. Kalish; I live at 811 Columbus Avenue, New York City.
The CHAIRMAN. You may state also what your experience has been in reference to vocational training. First, you may state your service.
Mr. KALISH. My service has been: May 8, 1917, with the National Guard, Seventy-first Regiment, New York. On August 3, or about that date, I was transferred to the old Sixty-ninth Regiment, composed of the One hundred and sixty-fifth Infantry, the Rainbow Division, United States Army at Camp Mills. On October 29 we left for France. Our first engagement was on March 17, 1918. I was in Company G Second Battalion. The Third Battalion was at the front at the time going over the top and had been attacked by gas, with a loss of 600 men. I was awakened by a telephone call to the Medical Department of our regiment for aid. I, knowing little about gas had volunteered and asked for permission to go down to the front. I had been working down there for eight or nine hours when I was overcome by it and I was hit in the leg as well. I was brought back to the line--to the hospital. My case was shrapnel wounds in the leg, splinted for 24 days, and internal burns and injuries. I was removed to the base hospital No. 32 at Camp Cantrazille, and later on sent to the S. O. S. district to do light duty Such as possibly could be done in the condition that I was in. The gas came back again in August on me, I was sent to the hospital at La Rochelle, right off the coast. I contracted rheumatism at the hospital on account of the condition I was in, having been put in a tent.
Mr. BLANTON. Mr. Chairman, a point of order, please. I submit that the inquiry here is concerning the functioning of our board in this case. Beyond the fact that the witness could state that he was injured and the nature and extent of his injuries, I think that the history of his various engagements in France and various other matters are so remote that they are irrelevant and it would probably take us a month or two if we were to go into all of these details with every witness. I make a point of order that the witness should confine himself to the inquiry.
Mr. KALISH. I am confining myself to what I have been asked to state.
Mr. SEARS. By whom?
The CHAIRMAN. The witness may state the injury he suffered in order that we may get at the need of his vocational training. Thus far the gentleman has proceeded all right.
Mr. KALISH. This injury that I have just stated at the hospital is the injury which refers to the Vocational Board. I came back to this country on January 3, on crutches from that rheumatism, in fact.
The CHAIRMAN. When did you arrive here? Mr. KALISH. January 3, at Newport News January 30, I reached the base general hospital No. 9, at Lakewood, N. J., nearest- my home. From there I have been discharged. After discharge I have been asked in regard to vocational training.
The CHAIRMAN. By whom were you asked ? Mr. KALISH. By a representative of the Federal board who had been at the time at the General Hospital No. 9. I had filled out papers at the hospital. On March 17, 1919, I had a leave of absence to go to New York. I went up to the Federal board at 469 Fifth Avenue, and there stated my case. They asked me if I had made out any papers at the hospital, which I told them I did. Therefore, they told me it would take a few weeks, and they would send them down there and I did not have to make out any more papers in the case. I was not discharged at that time. But they were willing to start in working on my case at once. April 19 I was discharged. So I went up to the board in regard to my vocational training. It was pending up until the first week in January. I could not state exactly the date, but they have agreed to give me training, recommended me to an institution which is named the Helfley Institute, in Brooklyn. They have given me such slips as the Vocational Board has as an introduction.
The CHAIRMAN. How soon after your discharge, April 19, did you go to the board ? Mr. Kalish. I had been there on the same day. The CHAIRMAN. On the same day? Mr. KALISH. On the same day. My papers had been made out fully before I had been discharged at the hospital, which I stated was about a month before I was discharged; my papers had all been made out by a representative of the board at the hospital who was there for that purpose.
The CHAIRMAN. You say they were pending until July ?
Mr. KALISH. They were pending until July. I have had a few examinations, etc., and they claimed everything was 0. K., and they gavo me that introduction to go up there and see the superintendent, which I did the next day. There was a double sheet, one of which was the superintendent's copy and one went back to the Vocational Board to show that I had been there. When I arrived there I had spoken to the superintendent and he had explained to me everything and told me just how long it would take and come in within three or four days, or as soon as I heard from the board. The next day I went back to the board and explained I was there and why they received no answer, and they said yes, everything was 0. K., but not to come back until three or four days because they said they would call me as soon as the papers are there, as they would have to go all the way to New York from Washington. Well, they are still on their way up to the present date.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you had any training ?
Mr. KALISH. I have received no training. I have received notices to appear before a doctor again, which I did in October and December. In December when I went there some doctor, whose name I could not get, has examined me and his statement was that I was much better at the present time—this was December; he does not see why I should get vocational training with pay, as they promised, No. 1 and No. 2. So I explained to him that I did not see why they should wait 10 or 12 months to tell a person to wait that long, to wait until he could get better, and then tell him he is not entitled to vocational training, which they promised me I would get in July
The CHAIRMAN. Do I understand in your appearance before the board that you are now decreed not subject to training?
Mr. KALISH, Sir?
The CHAIRMAN. Is it the board's decision, according to your understanding, that you are not a subject that demands training and will therefore be omitted from the list ?
Mr. Kalish. No; I would not say that it is from the board. I am just trying to find out where it is from. I do not know where, what, or when, or who it is that is doing this, but I want to know where I stand at the present time. Why a doctor should give me such a statement as that there are a lot of other men worse off than you, and have done more than you have, and are not getting half as much as you, want compensation, I did not come up here for anything like that. I went up to the board because they called for me.
Mr. BLANTON. A point of order.
Mr. BLANTON. If the doctor's report is in writing then, as to what that report contains, the written report will be the best evidence of what it contains if the gentleman has a copy of it. If what he has attempted to detail from the doctor is a matter of verbal statement to him by the doctor then, of course, his evidence is in order, but I think we ought to be shown whether or not that is in writing or verbal.
The CHAIRMAN. That is true, according to the rules of evidence. It is a question whether the members of the committee want to be as exacting as to refuse the witness's testimony in case he does not present a writing that is in existence. Regarding his statement of the letter from the doctor, have you a letter from the doctor?
Mr. KALISH. In regard to what?
The CHAIRMAN. In regard to his statement as to your condition as you just testified a moment ago.
Mr. KALISH. The Vocational Board does not give anything in writing. They simply keep a record of it themselves. They will not give anybody å statement; it does not furnish the names. Supposing I came over here and asked for the name of the doctor that had looked after my case in order to present his name at this meeting
Mr. BLANTON. I withdraw the point of order.
The CHAIRMAN. What kind of training, Mr. Kalish, are you seeking now?
Mr. KALISH. At the present time I have been seeking a little English and business, such as commercial business, which would take me 10 months, as the superintendent of the institution told me, and which the board has promised me. I would sit around and it was in the time of Mr. Griffin, who was there at that time.
The CHAIRMAN. What were your educational facilities before you went into the service? Did you have a good schooling?
Mr. KALISH. I went to the public schools.
The CHAIRMAN. What additional training in English were you seeking!
Mr. KALISH. Such as business arithmetic. I have been attempting to do a little at the hospital; they had such a thing out there; and the doctors would give me an hour's time every day; providing that I would take their vocational training they are willing to give me an hour every time, while still convalescing, so that when I do go to school I will be able to pick up much faster.
The CHAIRMAN. What had been your work before you went into the service?
Mr. KALISH. Salesman.
The CHAIRMAN. Your plan was to take up a different kind of work to fit yourself?
Mr. Kalish. To fit myself for salesmanship again.
Mr. Towner. What was your position, Mr. Kalish, before you went into the service?
Mr. KALISH. I was with my brother, Harry Kalish, 31 West Thirty-eighth Street, millinery business. I was doing selling and a little inside work for him, mainly inside work, and which I can not do at the present time any more, on account of my condition.
Mr. TOWNER. Did you go before the War Risk Insurance Board and show your disability rating? What was your disability rating?
Mr. KALISH. When I went up to the disability board at the General Hospital No. 9, they asked me, “Would you like to get into training ?” and I explained the same thing to him what I am explaining to you, commercial business, and I explained why and how, and they explained to me that that would be very nice, and they would gladly help me out in it. My disability was about 30 to 40 per cent.
Mr. TOWNER. Your disability rating was fixed by the War Risk Insurance Bureau at 30 to 40 per cent ?
Mr. Kalish. I was receiving $18.45 on the old scale.
Mr. KALISH. Yes, sir. Near the beginning of this month they just sent me notice, because I was up again before the board after this thing happened. They told me to come up before the War Risk. I did, and they have reduced that.
Mr. TOWNER. How?
Mr. KALISH. They have reduced it on the new scale, which should have been $36.90, which the Sweet bill made. Now, it is going to be, from March 1, $13.50. Mr.. TOWNER. It will be $13.50 under the new rating? Mr. KALISH. Beginning this month. Mr. TOWNER. Are you now engaged, or are you now employed ? Mr. Kalish. I have a little which I do for my brother. Mr. TOWNER. Your brother gives you employment? Mr. KALISH. Yes.