DISCRIMINATION OF JEWS DURING MILITARY SERVICE IN THE RUSSIAN ARMY BEFORE 1917
It seemed as if the Government was intent on making a one-sided compact
with Russian Jewry: "We shall deprive you of all the elementary rights
due to you as men and citizens; we shall rob you of the right of
domicile and freedom of movement, and of the chance of making a
livelihood; we shall expose you to physical and spiritual starvation,
and shall cast you out of the community of citizens--yet you dare not
swerve an inch from the path of your civic obligations." A lurid
illustration of this unique exchange of services was provided by the
manner in which military duty was imposed upon the Jews. Russian
legislation had long since contrived to establish revolting restrictions
for the Jews also in this domain. Jews with physical defects which
rendered Christians unfit for military service, such as a lower stature
and narrower chest, were nevertheless taken into the army. In the case
of a shortage of recruits among the Jewish population even only sons,
the sole wage-earners of their families or of their widowed mothers,
were drafted, whereas the same category of conscripts among Christians
were unconditionally exempt.  Moreover, a Jew serving in the army
always remained a private and could never attain to an officer's rank.
[Footnote 1: Compare p. 201.]
As if the Government intended to make sport of the Jewish soldiers, the
latter were deprived of their right of residence in the localities
outside the Pale where they had been stationed, and as soon as their
term of service had expired, were sent back into the territory of the
Russian-Jewish ghetto. Thus, even Nicholas I, was out-Nicholased. The
discharged Jewish soldiers who had served under the old recruiting law
enjoyed, both for themselves and their families, the right of residence
throughout the Empire.  The new military statute of 1874  withdrew
from the retired Jewish soldiers this reward for faithfully performed
duty, and in 1885 the Senate sustained the disfranchisement of these
Jews who had spent years of their life in the service of their
fatherland. A Jew from Berdychev, Vilna, or Odessa, who had served five
or six years somewhere in St. Petersburg, Moscow, or Kazan, was forced
to leave these tabooed cities and return home on the very day on which
he had taken off his soldier's uniform.
[Footnote 1: See above, p. 172.]
[Footnote 2: See p. 199 et seq.]
Yet, despite this curious encouragement of Jewish patriotism, the
Government had the audacity to charge the Jews continually with the
"evasion of their military duty." That a tendency towards such evasion
was in vogue among the Jews admits of no doubt. It would have been
contrary to human nature if people who were subject to assaults from
above and kicks from below, whose right of residence was limited to
one-twentieth of the territory of their fatherland, who were robbed of
shelter, air, and bread, and deprived of the hope to place themselves,
even by means of military service, on an equal footing with the lowest
Russian moujik, should have felt a profound need of sacrificing
themselves for their country, and should not have shirked this heaviest
of civil obligations to a larger extent than the privileged Russian
population, in which cases of evasion were by no means infrequent. In
reality, however, the complaints about the shortage of Jewish recruits
were vastly exaggerated. Subsequent statistical investigations brought
out the fact that, owing to irregular apportionment, the Government
demanded annually from the Jews a larger quota of recruits than was
justified by their numerical relation to the general population in the
Pale of Settlement. On an average, the Jews furnished twelve per cent of
the total number of recruits in the Pale, whereas the Jewish population
of the Pale formed but eleven per cent of the total population. The
Government further refused to consider the fact that, owing to
inaccurate registration, the conscription lists often carried the names
of persons who had long since died, or who had left the country to
emigrate abroad. In fact, the annual emigration of Jews from Russia, the
result of uninterrupted persecutions, reduced the number of young men of
conscription age. But the Russian authorities were of the opinion that
the Jews who remained behind should serve in the Russian army instead of
those of their brethren who had become citizens of the free American
Republic. The "evasion of military duty" and the annual shortage of a
few hundred recruits, as against the many thousands of those enlisted,
was charged as a grave crime against that very people towards which the
Government on its part failed to fulfil even its most elementary
obligations. Reams of paper were covered with all kinds of official
devices to "cut short" this evasion of military duty by the Jews. On one
beautiful April morning of 1886, the Government came out with the
The family of a Jew guilty of evading military service is liable to
a fine of three hundred rubles ($150). The collection of the fine
shall be decreed by the respective recruiting station and carried
out by the police. It shall not be substituted by imprisonment in
the case of destitute persons liable to that fine.
In addition, a military reward was promised for the seizure of a Jew who
had failed to present himself to the recruiting authorities.
By virtue of this barbarous principle of collective responsibility, new
hardships were inflicted upon the Jews of Russia. Since the law provided
that the fine for evading military service be imposed upon the _family_
of the culprit, the police interpreted that term "liberally," taking it
to include parents, brothers, and near relatives. The following
procedure gradually came into vogue. In the autumn of every year, the
Russian conscription season, the names of the young Jews who have
completed their twenty-first year are called out at the recruiting
station from a prepared list. When a Jew whose name has been called has
failed to present himself on the same day, the recruiting authorities
issue an order on the spot imposing a fine on his family. The police
then appear in the house of his parents to collect the sum of three
hundred rubles. In default of cash, they attach the property of the
paupers and have it subsequently sold at public auction. In the case of
those who possess nothing that can be taken from them the police insist
on their giving a signed promise not to leave the town. Their passports
are taken from them, so that, not being able to absent themselves from
town to earn a living, they are frequently left to starve. If the
parents are dead or absent, the brothers and sisters of the culprit, and
then his grandfathers and grandmothers are held answerable with their
Thus, a large number of Jewish families were completely ruined, merely
because one of their members had emigrated abroad, or, as was frequently
the case, had surrendered his soul to God in his beloved fatherland
itself, and the relatives had failed to see to it that the dead soul was
stricken from the recruiting lists. Yet, despite all these efforts,
there still remained a considerable number of uncollected
fines--"arrears," as they were officially termed--to the profound regret
of the Russian Jew-baiters, who had to look on while the victims were
slipping unpunished from their hands.
[S. Dubnov "History" t2]
Jews in the Russian army (history) from the book [ JEWS IN RUSSIAN ARMY and Trumpeldor by Wolfgang Akunov ]
Alexei Shulman Put some dates and events on the topic " The Jews in the Russian Army." Here's what happened.
I - The reign of Nicholas the First. (1827 - 1855)
The decree from August 26, 1827
According to the decree and the statute applied to it, the Jewish people must give 10 recruits from one thousand men each year, Christian must give 7 recruits from 1 thousands of men every two years.
Jewish boys from 12 years are sent to military school of cantonists.
(That rules recruits Jews are three times higher than the normal recruits of Christians are.)
Unbaptized Jews can serve only as ordinary, non-commissioned officers and only by the personal order of the emperor (since 1850).
Resolution of the Senate from 1830
If Jewish community has debt: one additional adult recruit reduces debt for 1 thousand rubles and one additional chid recruit reduces debt for 500 rubles.
The number of Jewish soldiers increase sharply.
The decree of 10 February 1844
Do not aim the Jewish soldiers in non-combat parts. Not allow to Jews serves as a Guard.
The decree from December 27, 1850
For each missing Jewish recruits take other three recruits. For every 2,000 rubles of arrears - also one recruit must be send.
The Crimean War of 1853-1856 .
To replenish the army carried out two additional recruitments. The Christian population supplies 19 people from thousands, of Jewish - 30 people from a thousand. During the defense of Sevastopol killed more than 500 Jewish soldiers.
II - The reign of Alexander II (1855-1881), the era of liberal reforms.
Coronation Manifesto 1856
Schools and battalions of military colonists abolished .
The decree of August 26, 1856
Recruits from Jewish families follow the same standards as the recruits from Christian homes set a recruit children age 12 stops.
The order is canceled for allowing the soldiers to take undocumented Jews.
Decree of 1858
Jews are allowed to award some medals.
Decree of 1860
Jews are allowed to serve in the Guard.
Decree of 1861
Jewish soldiers generally produces a non-commissioned officers on the same basis.
Prohibited the baptism of Jewish children under the age of 14 without the consent of their parents.
Canceled the issuance of cash benefits to Jewish soldiers who took Orthodoxy.
In 1865, Jewish doctors are allowed to serve in the military establishments of the Ministry.
All the Jews who have served in the army conscription, as well as their family members are entitled to a residence outside the Pale of Settlement.
In 1874, military service was reduced to 6 years in 1878 - military service was reduced to 4 years.
III - The reign of Alexander III (1881-1894) and Nicholas II (1894-1917)
April 10, 1882
Military Order of the Minister introduced the interest rate for employees in the army of Jewish doctors and students of the Military Medical Academy ( there should be no more than 5%).
Of 1891-1892 .
Eviction from Moscow retired Jewish soldiers ( and their families) are not assigned to the Company.
Jewish soldiers on leave, is prohibited outside the Pale of Settlement.
Not allowed, both Jews and baptized Jews (and their children) in the Military Medical Academy.
According to the supplement to the rules for admission to the cadet corps, not allowed, both Jews and baptized Jews, even if their grandparents were baptized.
According to the memoirs of E. Schwarz ( famous fairy ) - mother - Russian and Orthodox, father - baptized Jew and a military doctor - to enroll in a military school was denied. According to Schwartz, - only with royal permission, he never expresses. But go, " hunter " ( lower rank ) were possible.
During World War I in the Army there were between 400,000 Jews (at the beginning of the war) up to 650,000 (by the end of 1916 ) .
February 1917 All restrictions on Jews in the army were canceled.
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