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Jews in a Foreign Army (cont.)

Jews in uniform of the Lithuania Army

Leibl Slovo (son of Dovid) as a cavalier in the Lithuanian army, immediately after Lithuania received its independence.

Abe Friedman (son of Shlomo from Abel [Obelai]): This photo was taken in Abel by the Lithuanian Photographer Trayan, an utter anti-semite. It was said about him that during the time of the murders in the shtetl he pointed out whom to shoot.

Greinke Pores
(son of Avram-Itze)

Yitzchak Poritz From right to left: Issar Levitt (son of Moshe and Chasl-Leah) and Malka Levitt (daughter of Shimon and Chaya-Frume). The others are from Radvilishok. (4.1.1932)

The soldier Baruch Krut (son of Moshe-Ber and Dvora) and his cousin Yehuda Krut (son of Shepsl (Shabtai)) The teacher Yehuda (Yudl) Slep (son of Emmanuel and Chaya-Tzipe) (on the extrme left) “in company with friends, in full military uniform – June 5th, 1937” Efraim (Froyke)) Zeligson (on the right) and Dov Levitt (Berke, son of Moshe and Chasl-Leah) in the uniform of the Lithuanian army. Yaacov Charit: Efraim Zeligson was the first victim to fall at the hands of the Lithuanian Nazis. May their memory be blotted out.

Document stating that Ruf Bun, aged 21, from Dusiat,
fell on October 21, 1920 in Gadrovitch (Giedraiciai)
[1] (from the Dusiat Archive, YIVO)


  1. In one of the battles against the Polish army under the command of General Zeligowski who captured Vilna (Vilnius) Return

[Page 71]

“Beyond the Pale”…

By Yeshayahu (Shayke) Glick

Translated by Judy Grossman

From the press:

“General Von Der Golz, the organizer of the Lithuanian army from its inception, and Commander Amerman arrived in Kovno (Kaunas). The number of German soldiers in the Lithuanian army is larger than all the number of soldiers in the Lithuanian army.” (“Haaretz” - a Hebrew Newspaper, 16.12.1920)

Every young man had to report for the Lithuanian army when he turned twenty-one. A government Draft Board would meet once a year – in our district it met in Zarasai – and all the men eligible for the draft appeared before it.
For the Gentiles it was perhaps a pleasant duty to serve their homeland, and enlistment day was a holiday for them, with debauchery and drunkenness, but in a Jewish family it was a frightening day.

There were several reasons for this, the main one being the problem of kashrut [keeping kosher]. A young Jewish man who was drafted would live off the packages that were sent him from home, and this went on for years. It was not easy for the soldier, and certainly not for his family, especially financially, to bear this burden for such a long period. A bitter taste with regard to military service also remained as a result of service in the Tsar's army.

Consequently, it was no surprise that when they appeared before the Board, the young men were not ashamed of revealing all their defects “in public”. On that day all kinds of “defects” showed up, some of which later made their way into the folklore.

In this way I remember a naïve young man whose parents told him to complain to the draft board that he suffered from an illness called “beyond the pale”. When he was asked what he suffered from and he told them the name “beyond the pale”' the doctor asked him whether this disease cause him pain, and in what part of his body. He immediately answered: “in my legs…” The Doctor, perhaps innocently and perhaps because he was a Jewish doctor and understood the meaning of “beyond the pale”' asked: “Do you suffer from the pains every day?” And the “clever” fellow answered:

“Only on the Sabbath”…

One of the ways to evade being drafted into the army was to hastily immigrate to Eretz Yisrael, but how did you obtain a certificate?

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