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Jewish Experience During World War I: Conscription And Evasion

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Chapter Summary

The Jews of Kurdistan had hardly ever served in the Turkish army before World War I. Faced with harsh recruitment campaigns, urban Jews used all their skills and resources to evade the draft. Many Jews managed to find shelter in the rural and tribal Kurdish region; other Jews found different methods to evade the draft. Another harsh outcome of the war was the severe food shortage that affected the population of the Empire, civilians and soldiers alike. The power of the army to confiscate the remaining goods and animals from the civil population, made the situation even worse. The forced labor on behalf of the Empire was among the vigorous measures imposed on civilians by the Turks during the war. The hardship and anguish of wartime was engraved upon the memories of the Jewish informants.

Keywords: Jews; Kurdistan; migration; military service; World War I



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