Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania


In the classic 1918 work by Professor Simon Dubnow, "History of the Jews in Russia and Poland", he goes into detail about this subject in Volume 2, pages 18-19, 23-24, 29, and 146-149. The horrific Military Draft laws that were in effect from 1827 through 1852 allowed the Russian Empire to conscript any male children - ages 12 to 25 - from a Jewish family, except the eldest son, and keep them in the military for 25 to 31 years ! Every Jewish community had a yearly quota to make. If local community elders did not meet the quota, they could be seized, themselves. To avoid this, community elders frequently employed "hunters" whose job it was to capture boys attempting to flee and hide from the Draft. Kidnappings were common, as were midnight raids on households. Children as young as 8 would be caught and presented at the Recruiting Station as 12-year-olds. Once in the military, these boys would be deliberately shipped far away from their village or town; most never returned. Many were then forcefully converted to Christianity during the early years of their service. It was not uncommon for families to go into mourning when a son was conscripted into the Army. Young married men would frequently offer their wife a divorce, allowing them to remarry and thus be taken care of, rather than be abandoned. Name changing to be viewed as a Draft-exempt first-born son was a common and desperate attempt to avoid what was effectively a life sentence of service in the Russian Army.

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