Letter: Jews and the army

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Where did your correspondent Helen Womack get the idea that "In Tsarist times, Jews were not allowed to serve in the army" (Samotechny Lane, 8 September)? Many, including my great-grandfather, were pressed into the army whether they liked it or not.

Some fought with conspicuous gallantry. Others deserted, preferring to take their chances as prisoners of the Turks after experiencing the brutality and anti-Semitism of the Tsarist officers and NCOs.

My own great- grandfather, landing on these shores (on Tyneside) saw a dinner advertised for Crimean war veterans, and went along, getting his name in the local paper as the "War Veteran from the Other Side".

CHARLES POTTINS

London NW10

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