The Introduction

In 1898, Mordechi Jacobovitch, a twenty-one year old Jewish bookbinder frow Warsaw, was conscripted into the 9th Rifleman’s Brigade of the Czar’s Army. On June 26th 1900, Mordechi and his comrades were informed that they were to travel to Manchuria, as part of the Russian invasion of Manchuria that coincided with the Boxer Rebellion. During their ten month campaign they would travel over 8,700 miles through Russia into Manchuria and then return back; primarily by sea.

Mordechai and his family

Mordecai Jacobovitch in America, circa 1911, with wife Fryda and sons Shaya (standing) and Samuel

Mordechi and his fellow Jewish soldiers from Poland and Russia were both celebrated and cheated by their fellow Jews in various villages along the way. They spent Rosh Hashanah sailing the Amur River and left Harbin for the site of their first incursion into contested land in Manchuria on Yom Kippur. They recognized fellow Jews in Singapore by the matzah crumbs in their beards during Pesach, endured scurvy and sea sickness and had many other adventures throughout the campaign.

This website is based on a translation of Mordecai’s diary or memoir of these events.