Dr Saul Issroff presents this information about Jewish enrollment in the Russian army followed by a translation of the certificate of his grandfather Yudel Isroff's enrollment in Ligum in Nov. 1878.
Prof John Klier (University College, London) notes that after the
Military reforms of 1874 in the
Russian Empire all male citizens of whatever class were eligible for the
draft of a seven-year term of service. There were some reductions of the
period for those with education. There were a number of exemptions for
various categories: only sons, second sons of families with a son
already in service, support of widows, etc. The call-up affected 21 year
olds (but there were exceptions).
Yudel almost certainly never served in the army, but the document was
probably kept because the family would have been required to show that
they had no family members eligible for military service when they
My grandfather, Yudel Isroff, enrolled in the army in Legum in Nov.
1878. The family was supposedly from Linkuva/ Pamusha, but do not appear
on many records there.
This is a translation of the certificate of my grandfather's Russian Military conscription and exemption. (Somewhere I have a scan of it!!)
CERTIFICATE of ATTENDANCE for CONSCRIPTION
Urban artisan Class (meshchantsvo) citizen of Ligumiai Jewish Society,
Siauliai District Kovno province.
ISEROV YUDEL LIPMANOVICH
Has attended the military conscription for 1888 and has been enlisted as
Class 1 Ratnik
Issued by Pavelsk district Authority Military Commission on 22 Noember,
1888, number 2578
Signed Commission's Chairman
The Jew's particulars: Yudel Lipmanovich ISEROV
Height: 165.6 cm
Chest size: 81.7 cm
Face: Clean ( means no beard)
Special features: -
Visible illnesses: -
Signed: Chairman of the local Military Commission Siauliai district.
Article 154. Upon completion of the recruitment for active Military
Service, the district, area or town authorities undertake a medical
check-up of all other persons due for conscription in accordance with
article 116, except those persons eligible for Class 1 benefits due to
their Family Status. Those accepted as fit for military service will be
enlisted by the authority for Class 1 Reserve service, all others,
including those eligible for benefits and the rest, except for those
whose physical appearance renders them unfit for carrying arms, will be
enlisted as Class 2 Reserve.
Note: Persons eligible for Class 1 benefits in accordance with their
family status shall, if or when their family statues alters, be
transferred to Class 1 reserve service, provided their state of health
renders them fit for Military Service.
Art. 303: Persons enlisted in the Reserve Service are called "Ratniks"
and are divided into two classes. The first one incorporates the reserve
forces and the regular ones, which, when depleted will make use of
persons under the age of 43, enlisted into that class of the reserve
service (Art. 154) and persons remanded in the reserve forces, when
discharged from the active Service in the army and navy. Class 2,
applied only within the reserve, incorporates persons enlisted into that
class when drafted. The junior four ages of Class 1 Reserve, i.e.
persons enlisted in that class at the last four drafts, shall come under
the regulations, adopted by the mutual consent of the Defence and
Interior Ministers, and, by His Majesty's permission may be called up
for military manoeuvres, but no more than twice within the first four
years after being enlisted for Class 2, and each time for no more than 6
Art. 364. The non-appearance on time for military manoeuvres with no
legal reason behind it will incur, for those found guilty (including the
reserve lower ranks and Class 1 Ratniks) such punishment as is
stipulated for avoiding conscription as per art. 140 of the Military
Code for Punishment (Military regulations, Book XXII)