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1827 September 7, CANTONIST EDICT OF NICHOLAS I (Russia)

Czar Nicholas I proclaimed his Statute of Conscription and Military Service which allowed Jewish youths between 12 and 18 to be forcibly conscripted into the army and forced to serve for 25 years. Although drafting of 18 year old's for 25 years or service had been in effect since the 17th century, this statute made military service compulsory. A quota was placed on the Jewish community. Often children were simply kidnapped, which was usually done via an agent called a "Khapper" (grabber in Yiddish), who often disregarded the official minimum age of 12 and took children as young as 8 in order to fill their quota. One of Nicholas' goals was to estrange as many children as possible from the Jewish religion, and he encouraged them to change their names and accept baptism. Approximately 70,000 Jewish soldiers converted to Christianity during the 19th century.




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