Cantonists
(1,706 words)

Term for underage soldiers in the Russian Empire, among whom were many Jewish boys between 1827 and 1856 in particular. The state authorities viewed the recruitment and the term of service, which was full of deprivation, as instruments for the assimilation and modernization of the Jewish population. The involvement of the Kahal in the recruitment system contributed to its weakening. The former cantonists belonged to the first Jews who were granted settlement outside of the Pale of Settlement due to their acculturation.

From 1719 onwards, every regiment in the Russian mil…

Cite this page
Christhardt Henschel, Leipzig, “Cantonists”, in: Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online, Original German Language Edition: Enzyklopädie Jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur. Im Auftrag der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig herausgegeben von Dan Diner. © J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart/Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 2011–2017.. Consulted online on 19 September 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2468-8894_ejhc_COM_0395>
First published online: 2017
First print edition: 20170409



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