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"When he [President Wilson] went out of that ward, he was just white as a sheet and he couldn't continue." (Audio Interview, Part 2, 9:24)

   Clara Wilhelmina Emily Lewandoske Hoke
Image of Clara Wilhelmina Emily Lewandoske Hoke
Clara Lewandoske Hoke during World War I
War: World War, 1914-1918
Branch: Army Nurse Corps
Service Location: France
Rank: Lieutenant
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Clara Lewandoske had been a nurse for four years when the U.S. entered World War I, and she wasted little time in enlisting in the war effort. As she recalled in a 1971 self-interview, she was assigned to both field hospitals and a huge facility in Paris, where both General Pershing and President Wilson visited. At the time of Wilson's visit, she was working in the Jaw Ward, whose facially disfigured patients were a grim reminder of the effects of the war's high-powered weaponry. (In 1922, Clara married Arnold Hoke, another veteran of WWI whose collection is also in this feature.)

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (11 clips)
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Download: audio(2) (110 min.)
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»WWI
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (11 items)
Trying to join the Army after the U.S. entered the war; offered a Red Cross job stateside; reporting to Camp Custer in Battle Creek, MI; falling ill herself. (06:09) Signing up for overseas duty with her friend Ruth; social life while in training; a going-away gift from the doctors. (03:57) In New York City for six weeks before shipping out; outfitted by the Red Cross; training at the New York Armory with a wide variety of nurses; departing from Hoboken on a British liner; an evacuation drill. (04:49)
Arriving in France; staying at a plush hotel in Le Havre; eating well; on a train, stopping in a tunnel during an air raid. (04:14) Assigned to a hospital in Blois; treating badly wounded French soldiers; attending a dance with doctors; on to Paris and a big; hearing distant German shelling the night of Bastille Day (July 14); receiving patients in the days afterward. (08:35) Doing night duty with her friend Ruth, who was worried about her brother, a soldier; relationships with the patients; getting them extra treats. (03:53)
Doing night duty with her friend Ruth, who was worried about her brother, a soldier; relationships with the patients; getting them extra treats. (02:07) Working in surgery at a field hospital near Chateau Thierry; visit from General Pershing; working in the Jaw Ward with facially disfigured soldiers; visit from President Wilson, who was visibly upset after visiting her ward. (05:56) Watching an air raid from the hospital; a soldier pulling her away just before an explosion hit the spot she was in; shelling by German Big Bertha guns; denim curtain in the hospital catching fire, exploding ether cans, destroying medical instruments. (05:23)
After the Armistice, visiting the battlefield at Reims; in Paris right after the Armistice for the wild celebration; getting in trouble for going to an enlisted men's dance; distributing pajamas to soldiers unaware they were infested with bugs. (08:49) Her jaw wired after a dentist broke it during surgery for an impacted wisdom tooth; she became friendly with him; he was a married man, so there was no romance involved. (01:23) 
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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