These boys were between the ages of 12 and 18 and were forced to serve for 25 years!During their army service, every effort was made to convert them to Christianity.
It's not to hard to imagine the turmoil caused by forcing community leaders to decide which boys had to go and which boys could stay.
If that wasn't bad enough, there was the government-sponsored anti-Semitism.
These laws were called the May Laws and they included such prohibitions as: "Expulsions, deportations, arrests, and beatings became the daily lot of the Jews, not only of their lower class, but even of the middle class and the Jewish intelligentsia.
The government of Alexander III waged a campaign of war against its Jewish inhabitants...
The Cantonist Decrees raise the level of pressure on the Jewish community to new extremes.
Each Jewish community was responsible to produce a certain number of boys for the army and the community leadership was held responsible for failure to meet this quota.The Jews were driven and hounded, and emigration appeared to be the only escape from the terrible tyranny of the Romanovs." It did not help matters any that during the reign of Alexander III a terrible famine struck Russia in which 400,000 peasants died.Those who survived were bitter and their resentments grew (which would erupt eventually in an aborted revolution in 1905 and the successful Russian Revolution which ushered in Communist rule in 1917.) When Alexander III died, he was succeeded by Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs whose incompetence and inflexibility helped bring about the Russian Revolution.It is arguable which of the Russian Czars was the worst to the Jews.We'll start with Czar Nicholas I (who ruled from 1825 to 1855) as one of the prime contenders and work our way down.Despite the fact that the Protocols are a proven forgery whose allegations are completely ridiculous, an expression of the worst kind of anti-Semitism, the Protocols continue to sell briskly today and are carried by such huge bookstore chains as Barnes and Noble and in the name of freedom of speech.