I also have the military record book of my grandfather. In his case it
was for his service as a private in the French army in the 1890s and was
issued by the French government of the time. . I thought that he only
kept it out of nostalgia, but on further consideration, he would have
needed it to obtain a permit to leave France and settle in Germany to
marry my grandmother. She kept his jubilant telegram saying that at
last he was free!
Presumably Adrian Koifman's grandfather had to show his book to the
Russian embassy to prove that he had emigrated legally and get their
suppor. His book, too would be an official document....
I'm sure that any soldier in any country would have an official record
book of his military service. And if military service was obligatory in
his country, he would have to show that he had fulfilled that
obligation, or be subject to a court trial and a fine or prison should
he be caught by the police. ,
One of my mother's great-uncles was in fact on a police list for
avoiding Prussian military service - though he just din't return from
England to stand trial. My paternal grandfather, I believe paid money
to avoid his military obligations. A third ancestor formally
renounced his German citizenship to relieve himself of the obligation. A
great many emigrants avoided military service in one way or another,
which is why such military record books are so rare.
St Albans, UK
St Albans, UK.