Cecilia Nylev suggested that the amputation of a finger to evade
military draft might be a family joke.
It was far >from a joke. Histories of military service for Jews in the
Russian empire clearly related of the measures taken to render oneself unfit
for the draft. These measures included amputation of fingers, toes and other
mutilations. Another measure was drinking vinegar. These amputations were
obviously carried out in secret and usually without the aid of a qualified
Petah Tikvah, Israel