A Jewish boy in the Czar's Army #general


My grandfather, Moshek Kamien (>from Ostrow Mazowiecka in Poland) was
drafted into the Polish/Russian Army in the late 1800s; and, being tall
and strongly-built, was put into the Cavalry--an unfortunate choice since
he was terrified of horses. Subsequently, a horse kicked him--hard--in
the leg, which became badly infected. Army doctors wanted to cut off the
bad leg but he protested vehemently and, upon being told he would die
otherwise, said well then, he would die. So he was sent home. The
local "healer" (does anyone know who that might have been? a midwife? a
rebbe? and does anyone know what this medicine man/woman was called?) had
him sit next to an anthill and placed the suppurated leg into the middle
of the anthill. The ants ate all the bad flesh and left behind uric acid--
I think it's uric acid--which promoted healing. After a whole day and a
night, or so he told me, he was taken out with a clean leg. He never even
had the slightest limp; and apparently he was in good enough shape so that
he might have to go back to his barracks. It was then that he went on the
lam, traveling by night through Germany, Holland (I think) and somehow, to
England, thence across the ocean to the US. Grandpa was born in 1876 and
left Europe probably in 1905. He sent for his wife (She was Sora Bluma
Dyber >from Lubotyn in Lomza Gubernya)and two children when my father was
four, which would have been 1907. Does anyone know where I might find a
list of ships leaving England for the US in that year? and their passenger
lists? My grandfather always told my brothers that they must *Never* go
to Poland because any male descendent of his could be forced into the
Polish Army to finish out his unfinished tour of duty (which was what?
25 years?). Does anyone know if that's true?

I'll appreciate any answers to my questions...any messages >from those who
think they might be related...and any other information about our mutual
Polish-Jewish past.

Marcia Kamien
Brooklyn, NY

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