This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #general

Bruce Drake <BDrake@...>

One of the dark periods for Jewish communities in the Russian Pale of
Settlement in the 19th century began in 1827 when Czar Nikolai issued
the Cantonist Decree requiring them to provide recruits for military
service. Under the order, the Jewish communities had to fill the debt
of military service with people, and not with money as had been the
practice. The term of service was 25 years, which began at age 18. But
"the most bitter of the cruel laws" imposed by Nikolai was to take Jews
aged 12 to 25 with the aim of forcing religious conversions to
Christianity by sending the younger ones to Cantonist institutions-
"small, weak, trembling children [stolen] >from their mothers. In 1856,
Aleksander II repealed the edict permitting the taking of children up
to 18 as soldiers.


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

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