Product Description The Cantonist era was a terrifying episode in Jewish history, and one that is etched in the collective memory of the Jewish people. Tsar Nicholas of Russia conscripted thousands of Jewish children – some as young as 6 years old – into his army for up to 25 years! The Tsar's declared goal was nothing less than to convert these children to Christianity; for him, their baptism was of the highest priority. This book reveals the struggle of these youngsters to maintain their Judaism against impossible odds. Many failed. But some, like Golda Meir's grandfather, succeeded in reclaiming their heritage and reconnecting the chain of Jewish tradition. Today, thousands of Jews are descendants of those stalwart Cantonists.