Berlin (Feb. 18)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)
The centenary of the Czaristic Ukase is the occasion of the publication by the “Schild”, the organ of the Federation of Jewish ex-soldiers in Germany, of an article in which it traces the history of the Jews as soldiers.
“Between 1900 and 1909,” the article states, “170,244 Jews served in the Russian army. According to official figures there were at the outbreak of the Great War 400,000 Jews who had served in the Russian army and the general mobilization brought the figure up to 600,000 about 16 per cent of the total Jewish population. In Germany there were over 100,000 Jews in the Army during the War, in Austria 300,000, and in the rest of Europe and in Turkey about 200,000, so that without counting those Jews who had fought in the American army, there were a quarter of a million Jews on active service.
“As for the ability of the Jewish soldiers, Czar Nicholas I, himself, had acknowledged that the Jews served him, in 1812, loyally and faced death bravely. The article concludes that from all the evidence available the Jews had in all times and in all countries proved themselves good and loyal soldiers.”
A hundred years ago, Czar Nicholas I issued his famous Ukase by which the Jews of Russia, who until 1827 had paid a specified sum for relief from conscription, as was done also by the Russian merchant class, were called upon to serve in the Russian army. Boys of twelve were taken at night out of their beds and compelled to serve in the army till the age of 37. Children were torn by force from the arms of their mothers in broad daylight by the “catchers.” This was done for lack of able-bodied men to supply the demands of the authorities for Jewish conscripts, and besides children, cripples, invalids and old men were seized and placed in auxiliary companies.