Zam, Zvi Herz

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ZAM, ZVI HERZ (1835–1915), Russian soldier; the only Jewish officer in the czarist army in the 19th century. Born in Goren grod, Zam was taken from his home when he was 12 and trained at the *Cantonist military institute at Tomsk. He was posted to an infantry regiment, and, following the introduction of national conscription in 1874, was permitted to enter the cadets' school. He rose to become vice captain (shtabskapitan) but was placed in command of the worst company in his regiment at the orders of the war minister, who expressed surprise that a Jew who had remained faithful to his religion should serve as an officer. Within a year Zam had made his company the best in the regiment, but not until 1893, just before his retirement after 41 years in the czarist army, was he promoted to full captain. Zam took an active part in Jewish affairs and was instrumental in providing synagogue facilities for Jewish soldiers.


Zam, in: Voskhod (Nov. 21, 1903).

[Mordechai Kaplan]