Pursuit of an 'Unparalleled Opportunity'
The American YMCA and Prisoner of War Diplomacy among the Central Power Nations
during World War I, 1914-1923.
by Kenneth Steuer

Key Figures

YMCA Secretaries

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Amos A. Ebersole

See also:
Chap. 09, p22
Before World War I, Ebersole served as a YMCA College Secretary in the United States. He volunteered for War Prisoners Aid (WPA) service in Austria-Hungary and arrived in the Dual Monarchy in October 1916. He took over operations in Braunau-am-Inn in Oberösterreich (Upper Austria) and established POW relief operations in Grödig in Salzburg. In January 1917, Ebersole assumed operations in Aschbach and Marchtrenck in Oberösterreich as well. He left Austria-Hungary with most of the other American WPA Secretaries in April 1917 when the Wilson administration broke off diplomatic relations with Vienna. Ebersole returned to WPA work after the war. In December 1920, he joined Herbert Gott and Charles Seitz to set up refugee operations in Estonia to assist Russian and Central Power prisoners of war during the repatriation process. This work eventually led to the establishment of the Estonian National YMCA.

J. N. Engle

This American YMCA Secretary conducted War Prisoners Aid (WPA) service for Russian prisoners of war in Germany after the Armistice. Engle worked in eight prison camps in Brandenburg, Silesia, and Saxony between November 1920 and November 1921, supporting welfare operations for Russian prisoners.

Grand Duke Ernst-Ludwig of Hesse (1868-1937)

See also:
Chap. 06, p24
A German statesman, Ernst-Ludwig was the son of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of Great Britain, and grandson of Queen Victoria. He ascended the throne in 1892 and became an active patron of the arts. Ernst-Ludwig and Prince Maximilian of Baden supported the establishment of American YMCA War Prisoners' Aid operations in Germany early in the war. His sister, Alix, married Tsarevitch Nicholas and became Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia. He abdicated his throne in November 1918 with the collapse of the imperial government, but continued to live in Hesse during the Weimar period.

Robert L. Ewing (1878-1934)

See also:
Chap. 04, p36
See also:
Chap. 12, p11
See also:
Chap. 12, p22
See also:
Chap. 15, p41
Ewing was an American YMCA Field Secretary during World War I, serving as the Senior Secretary in Great Britain. He began Association service as a Student Secretary at the University of Washington before volunteering for overseas service. From 1905 to 1913, Ewing was the General Secretary of the Madras Association in India. He then returned to the United States and worked as the General Secretary of the YMCA at the University of Nebraska. In 1915, he was a member of the first Flying Squadron sent to Europe to establish War Prisoners' Aid operations and served as the Senior American Secretary in Britain until 1919. When the United States entered the war in 1917, he supervised all of the AEF-YMCA relief work in Great Britain. From 1919 to 1930, Ewing worked in the Religious Work Department of the International Committee in New York. In 1930, he joined the staff of the New York Association.