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Home » Clara Wilhelmina Emily Lewandoske Hoke

"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)
»Complete Interview  (110 min.)
»Photo Album (3 photos)
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 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) 
Home » Clara Wilhelmina Emily Lewandoske Hoke
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  October 26, 2011
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