The Thirteenth Tribe - Arthur Koestler

Section Two: The Heritage

Chapter V. Exodus

The evidence quoted in the previous pages indicates that -contrary to the traditional view held by nineteenth-century historians -the Khazars, after the defeat by the Russians in 965, lost their empire but retained their independence within narrower frontiers, and their Judaic faith, well into the thirteenth century. They even seem to have reverted to some extent to their erstwhile predatory habits. Baron comments:

In general, the reduced Khazar kingdom persevered. It waged a more or less effective defence against all foes until the middle of the thirteenth century, when it fell victim to the great Mongol invasion set in motion byjenghiz Khan. Even then it resisted stubbornly until the surrender of all its neighbours. Its population was largely absorbed by the Golden Horde which had established the centre of its empire in Khazar territory. But before and after the Mongol upheaval the Khazars sent many offshoots into the unsubdued Slavonic lands, helping ultimately to build up the great Jewish centres of eastern Europe. 1

Here, then, we have the cradle of the numerically strongest and culturally dominant part of modern Jewry. .The "offshoots" to which Baron refers were indeed branching out long before the destruction of the Khazar state by the Mongols—as the ancient Hebrew nation had started branching into the Diaspora long before the destruction of Jerusalem. Ethnically, the Semitic tribes on the waters of the Jordan and the Turko-Khazar tribes on the Volga were of course "miles apart", but they had at least two important formative factors in common. Each lived at a focal junction where the great trade routes connecting east and west, north and south intersect; a circumstance which predisposed them to become nations of traders, of enterprising travellers, or "rootless cosmopolitans" -as hostile propaganda has unaffectionately labelled them. But at the same time their exclusive religion fostered a tendency to keep to themselves and stick together, to establish their own communities with their own places of worship, schools, residential quarters and ghettoes (originally self-imposed) in whatever town or country they settled. This rare combination of wanderlust and ghetto-mentality, reinforced by Messianic hopes and chosen-race pride, both ancient Israelites and mediaeval Khazars shared -even though the latter traced their descent not to Shem but to Japheth.

This development is well illustrated by what one might call the Khazar Diaspora in Hungary. .We remember that long before the destruction of their state, several Khazar tribes, known as the Kabars, joined the Magyars and migrated to Hungary. Moreover, in the tenth century, the Hungarian Duke Taksony invited a second wave of Khazar emigrants to settle in his domains (see above, III, 9). Two centuries later John Cinnamus, the Byzantine chronicler, mentions troops observing the Jewish law, fighting with the Hungarian army in Dalmatia, AD 1154. There may have been small numbers of "real Jews" living in Hungary from Roman days, but there can be little doubt that the majority of this important portion of modern Jewry originated in the migratory waves of Kabar-Khazars who play such a dominant part in early Hungarian history. Not only was the country, as Constantine tells us, bilingual at its beginning, but it also had a form of double kingship, a variation of the Khazar system: the king sharing power with his general in command, who bore the title of Jula or Gyula (still a popular Hungarian first name). The system lasted to the end of the tenth century, when St Stephen embraced the Roman Catholic faith and defeated a rebellious Gyula—who, as one might expect, was a Khazar, "vain in the faith and refusing to become a Christian". 3

This episode put an end to the double kingship, but not to the influence of the Khazar-Jewish community in Hungary. A reflection of that influence can be found in the "Golden Bull"—the Hungarian equivalent of Magna Carta—issued AD 1222 by King Endre (Andrew) II, in which Jews were forbidden to act as mintmasters, tax collectors, and controllers of the royal salt monopoly—indicating that before the edict numerous Jews must have held these important posts. But they occupied even more exalted positions. King Endre's custodian of the Revenues of the Royal Chamber was the Chamberlain Count Teka, a Jew of Khazar origin, a rich landowner, and apparently a financial and diplomatic genius. His signature appears on various peace treaties and financial agreements, among them one guaranteeing the payment of 2000 marks by the Austrian ruler Leopold II to the King of Hungary. One is irresistibly reminded of a similar role played by the Spanish Jew Hasdai ibn Shaprut at the court of the Caliph of Cordoba. Comparing similar episodes from the Palestinian Diaspora in the west and the Khazar Diaspora in the east of Europe, makes the analogy between them appear perhaps less tenuous. .It is also worth mentioning that when King Endre was compelled by his rebellious nobles to issue, reluctantly, the Golden Bull, he kept Teka in office against the Bull's express provisions. The Royal Chamberlain held his post happily for another eleven years, until papal pressure on the King made it advisable for Teka to resign and betake himself to Austria, where he was received with open arms. However, King Endre's son Bela IV, obtained papal permission to call him back. Teka duly returned, and perished during the Mongol invasion.* [I am indebted to Mrs St G. Saunders for calling my attention to the Teka episode, which seems to have been overlooked in the literature on the Khazars.]

The Khazar origin of the numerically and socially dominant element in the Jewish population of Hungary during the Middle Ages is thus relatively well documented. It might seem that Hungary constitutes a special case, in view of the early Magyar-Khazar connection; but in fact the Khazar influx into Hungary was merely a part of the general mass-migration from the Eurasian steppes toward the West, i.e., towards Central and Eastern Europe. The Khazars were not the only nation which sent offshoots into Hungary. Thus large numbers of the self-same Pechenegs who had chased the Magyars from the Don across the Carpathians, were forced to ask for permission to settle in Hungarian territory when they in turn were chased by the Kumans; and the Kumans shared the same fate when, a century later, they fled from the Mongols, and some 40000 of them "with their slaves" were granted asylum by the Hungarian King Bela. 5

At relatively quiescent times this general westward movement of the Eurasian populations was no more than a drift; at other times it became a stampede; but the consequences of the Mongol invasion must rank on this metaphoric scale as an earthquake followed by a landslide. The warriors of Chief Tejumin, called "Jinghiz Khan", Lord of the Earth, massacred the population of whole cities as a warning to others not to resist; used prisoners as living screens in front of their advancing lines; destroyed the irrigation network of the Volga delta which had provided the Khazar lands with rice and other staple foods; and transformed the fertile steppes into the "wild fields" -dikoyeh pole -as the Russians were later to call them: an unlimited space without farmers or shepherds, through which only mercenary horsemen pass in the service of this or that rival ruler -or people escaping from such rule". 6

The Black Death of 1347-8 accelerated the progressive depopulation of the former Khazar heartland between Caucasus, Don and Volga, where the steppe-culture had reached its highest level—and the relapse into barbarism was, by contrast, more drastic than in adjoining regions. As Baron wrote: "The destruction or departure of industrious Jewish farmers, artisans and merchants left behind a void which in those regions has only recently begun to be filled." 7 Not only Khazaria was destroyed, but also the Volga Bulgar country, together with the last Caucasian strongholds of the Alans and Kumans, and the southern Russian principalities, including Kiev. During the period of disintegration of the Golden Horde, from the fourteenth century onward, the anarchy became, if possible, even worse. "In most of the European steppes emigration was the only way left open for populations who wanted to secure their lives and livelihood". 8 The migration toward safer pastures was a protracted, intermittent process which went on for several centuries. The Khazar exodus was part of the general picture.

It had been preceded, as already mentioned, by the founding of Khazar colonies and settlements in various places in the Ukraine and southern Russia. There was a flourishing Jewish community in Kiev long before and after the Rus took the town from the Khazars. Similar colonies existed in Perislavel and Chernigov. A Rabbi Mosheh of Kiev studied in France around 1160, and a Rabbi Abraham of Chernigov studied in 1181 in the Talmud School of London. The "Lay of Igor's Host" mentions a famous contemporary Russian poet called Kogan—possibly a combination of Cohen (priest) and Kagan.9 Some time after Sarkel, which the Russians called Biela Veza, was destroyed the Khazars built a town of the same name near Chernigov. 10

There is an abundance of ancient place names in the Ukraine and Poland, which derive from "Khazar" or "Zhid" (Jew): Zydowo, Kozarzewek, Kozara, Kozarzow, Zhydowska Vola, Zydaticze, and so on. They may have once been villages, or just temporary encampments of Khazar-Jewish communities on their long trek to the west. 11 Similar place-names can also be found in the Carpathian and Tatra mountains, and in the eastern provinces of Austria. Even the ancient Jewish cemeteries of Cracow and Sandomierz, both called "Kaviory", are assumed to be of Khazar-Kabar origin.

While the main route of the Khazar exodus led to the west, some groups of people were left behind, mainly in the Crimea and the Caucasus, where they formed Jewish enclaves surviving into modern times. In the ancient Khazar stronghold of Tamatarkha (Taman), facing the Crimea across the straits of Kerch, we hear of a dynasty of Jewish princes who ruled in the fifteenth century under the tutelage of the Genovese Republic, and later of the Crimean Tartars. The last of them, Prince Zakharia, conducted negotiations with the Prince of Muscovi, who invited Zakharia to come to Russia and let himself be baptized in exchange for receiving the privileges of a Russian nobleman. Zakharia refused, but Poliak has suggested that in other cases "the introduction of Khazar-Jewish elements into exalted positions in the Muscovite state may have been one of the factors which led to the appearance of the 'Jewish heresy' (Zhidovst-buyushtchik) among Russian priests and noblemen in the sixteenth century, and of the sect of Sabbath-observers (Subbotniki) which is still widespread among Cossacks and peasants". 12

Another vestige of the Khazar nation are the "Mountain Jews" in the north- eastern Caucasus, who apparently stayed behind in their original habitat when the others left. They are supposed to number around eight thousand and live in the vicinity of other tribal remnants of the olden days: Kipchaks and Oghuz. They call themselves Dagh Chufuty (Highland Jews) in the Tat language which they have adopted from another Caucasian tribe; but little else is known about them.* [The above data appear in A. H. Kniper's article Caucasus, People of in the 1973 printing of the Enc. Brit, based on recent Soviet sources. A book by George Sava, Valley of the Forgotten People (London, 1946) contains a description of a purported visit to the mountain Jews, rich in melodrama but sadly devoid of factual information.]

Other Khazar enclaves have survived in the Crimea, and no doubt elsewhere too in localities which once belonged to their empire. But these are now no more than historic curios compared to the mainstream of the Khazar migration into the Polish-Lithuanian regions -and the formidable problems it poses to historians and anthropologists.

The regions in eastern Central Europe, in which the Jewish emigrants from Khazaria found a new home and apparent safety, had only begun to assume political importance toward the end of the first millennium.

Around 962, several Slavonic tribes formed an alliance under the leadership of the strongest among them, the Polans, which became the nucleus of the Polish state. Thus the Polish rise to eminence started about the same time as the Khazar decline (Sarkel was destroyed in 965). It is significant that Jews play an important role in one of the earliest Polish legends relating to the foundation of the Polish kingdom. We are told that when the allied tribes decided to elect a king to rule them all, they chose a Jew, named Abraham Prokownik. 13 He may have been a rich and educated Khazar merchant, from whose experience the Slav backwoodsmen hoped to benefit -or just a legendary figure; but, if so, the legend indicates that Jews of his type were held in high esteem. At any rate, so the story goes on, Abraham, with unwonted modesty, resigned the crown in favour of a native peasant named Piast, who thus became the founder of the historic Piast dynasty which ruled Poland from circa 962 to 1370.

Whether Abraham Prochownik existed or not, there are plenty of indications that the Jewish immigrants from Khazaria were welcomed as a valuable asset to the country's economy and government administration. The Poles under the Piast dynasty, and their Baltic neighbours, the Lithuanians,* [The two nations became united in a series of treaties, starting in 1386, into the Kingdom of Poland. For the sake of brevity, I shall use the term "Polish Jews" to refer to both countries—regardless of the fact that at the end of the eighteenth century Poland was partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria, and its inhabitants became officially citizens of these three countries.

Actually the so-called Pale of Settlement within Imperial Russia, to which Jews were confined from 1792 onward, coincided with the areas annexed from Poland plus parts of the Ukraine. Only certain privileged categories of Jews were permitted to live outside the Pale; these, at the time of the 1897 census, numbered only 200000, as compared to nearly five million inside the Pale—i.e., within former Polish territory] had rapidly expanded their frontiers, and were in dire need of immigrants to colonize their territories, and to create an urban civilization. They encouraged, first, the immigration of German peasants, burghers and craftsmen, and later of migrants from the territories occupied by the Golden Horde,* [Poland and Hungary were also briefly invaded by the Mongols in 124142, but they were not occupied which made all the difference to their future history] including Armenians, southern Slavs and Khazars.

Not all these migrations were voluntary. They included large numbers of prisoners of war, such as Crimean Tartars, who were put to cultivate the estates of Lithuanian and Polish landlords in the conquered southern provinces (at the close of the fourteenth century the Lithuanian principality stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea). But in the fifteenth century the Ottoman Turks, conquerors of Byzantium, advanced northward, and the landlords transferred the people from their estates in the border areas further inland. 14

Among the populations thus forcibly transferred was a strong contingent of Karaites—the fundamentalist Jewish sect which rejected rabbinical learning. According to a tradition which has survived among Karaites into modern times, their ancestors were brought to Poland by the great Lithuanian warrior- prince Vytautas (Vitold) at the end of the fourteenth century as prisoners of war from Sulkhat in the Crimea. 15 In favour of this tradition speaks the fact that Vitold in 1388 granted a charter of rights to the Jews of Troki, and the French traveller, de Lanoi, found there "a great number of Jews" speaking a different language from the Germans and natives. 16 That language was -and still is -a Turkish dialect, in fact the nearest among living languages to the lingua cumanica, which was spoken in the former Khazar territories at the time of the Golden Horde. According to Zajaczkowski, 17 this language is still used in speech and prayer in the surviving Karaite communities in Troki, Vilna, Ponyeviez, Lutzk and Halitch. The Karaites also claim that before the Great Plague of 1710 they had some thirtytwo or thirty-seven communities in Poland and Lithuania.

They call their ancient dialect "the language of Kedar" -just as Rabbi Petachia in the twelfth century called their habitat north of the Black Sea "the land of Kedar"; and what he has to say about them—sitting in the dark through the Sabbath, ignorance of rabbinical learning—fits their sectarian attitude.

Accordingly, Zajaczkowski, the eminent contemporary Turcologist, considers the Karaites from the linguistic point of view as the purest present-day representatives of the ancient Khazars. 18 About the reasons why this sect preserved its language for about half a millennium, while the main body of Khazarjews shed it in favour of the Yiddish lingua franca, more will have to be said later.

The Polish kingdom adopted from its very beginnings under the Piast dynasty a resolutely Western orientation, together with Roman Catholicism. But compared with its western neighbours it was culturally and economically an underdeveloped country. Hence the policy of attracting immigrants—Germans from the west, Armenians and Khazarjews from the east—and giving them every possible encouragement for their enterprise, including Royal Charters detailing their duties and special privileges.

In the Charter issued by Boleslav the Pious in 1264, and confirmed by Casimir the Great in 1334, Jews were granted the right to maintain their own synagogues, schools and courts; to hold landed property, and engage in any trade or occupation they chose. Under the rule of King Stephen Bthory (1575-86) Jews were granted a Parliament of their own which met twice a year and had the power to levy taxes on their co-religionists. After the destruction of their country, Khazar Jewry had entered on a new chapter in its history.

A striking illustration for their privileged condition is given in a papal breve, issued in the second half of the thirteenth century, probably by Pope Clement IV, and addressed to an unnamed Polish prince. In this document the Pope lets it be known that the Roman authorities are well aware of the existence of a considerable number of synagogues in several Polish cities -indeed no less than five synagogues in one city alone.* [Probably Wroclaw or Cracow.] He deplores the fact that these synagogues are reported to be taller than the churches, more stately and ornamental, and roofed with colourfully painted leaden plates, making the adjacent Catholic churches look poor in comparison. (One is reminded of Masudi's gleeful remark that the minaret of the main mosque was the tallest building in Itil.) The complaints in the breve are further authenticated by a decision of the Papal legate, Cardinal Guido, dated 1267, stipulating that Jews should not be allowed more than one synagogue to a town.

We gather from these documents, which are roughly contemporaneous with the Mongol conquest of Khazaria, that already at that time there must have been considerable numbers of Khazars present in Poland if they had in several towns more than one synagogue; and that they must have been fairly prosperous to build them so "stately and ornamental". This leads us to the question of the approximate size and composition of the Khazar immigration into Poland.

Regarding the numbers involved, we have no reliable information to guide us. We remember that the Arab sources speak of Khazar armies numbering three hundred thousand men involved in the Muslim-Khazar wars (Chapter I, 7); and even if allowance is made for quite wild exaggerations, this would indicate a total Khazar population of at least half a million souls. Ibn Fadlan gave the number of tents of the Volga Bulgars as 50000, which would mean a population of 300000-400000, i.e., roughly the same order of magnitude as the Khazars'. On the other hand, the number of Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom in the seventeenth century is also estimated by modern historians at 500000 (5 per cent of the total population). 19 These figures do not fit in too badly with the known facts about a protracted Khazar migration via the Ukraine to Poland-Lithuania, starting with the destruction of Sarkel and the rise of the Piast dynasty toward the end of the first millennium, accelerating during the Mongol conquest, and being more or less completed in the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries—by which time the steppe had been emptied and the Khazars had apparently been wiped off the face of the earth.* [The last of the ancient Khazar villages on the Dnieper were destroyed in the Cossack revolt under Chmelnicky in the seventeenth century, and the survivors gave a further powerful boost to the number of Jews in the already existing settlement areas of Poland-Lithuania.] Altogether this population transfer was spread out over five or six centuries of trickle and flow. If we take into account the considerable influx of Jewish refugees from Byzantium and the Muslim world into Khazaria, and a small population increase among the Khazars themselves, it appears plausible that the tentative figures for the Khazar population at its peak in the eighth century should be comparable to that of the Jews in Poland in the seventeenth century, at least by order of magnitude—give or take a few hundred thousand as a token of our ignorance. There is irony hidden in these numbers.

According to the article "statistics" in the Jewish Encyclopaedia, in the sixteenth century the total Jewish population of the world amounted to about one million. This seems to indicate, as Poliak, Kutschera 20 and others have pointed out, that during the Middle Ages the majority of those who professed the Judaic faith were Khazars. A substantial part of this majority went to Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and the Balkans, where they founded that Eastern Jewish community which in its turn became the dominant majority of world Jewry. Even if the original core of that community was diluted and augmented by immigrants from other regions (see below), its predominantly Khazar-Turkish derivation appears to be supported by strong evidence, and should at least be regarded as a theory worth serious discussion.

Additional reasons for attributing the leading role in the growth and development of the Jewish community in Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe mainly to the Khazar element, and not to immigrants from the West, will be discussed in the chapters that follow. But it may be appropriate at this point to quote the Polish historian, Adam Vetulani (my italics):

Polish scholars agree that these oldest settlements were founded by Jewish emigres from the Khazar state and Russia, while the Jews from Southern and Western Europe began to arrive and settle only later . . . and that a certain proportion at least of the Jewish population (in earlier times, the main bulk) originated from the east, from the Khazar country, and later from Kievian Russia.

So much for size. But what do we know of the social structure and composition of the Khazar immigrant community? The first impression one gains is a striking similarity between certain privileged positions held by Khazar Jews in Hungary and in Poland in those early days. Both the Hungarian and Polish sources refer to Jews employed as mintmasters, administrators of the royal revenue, controllers of the salt monopoly, taxcollectors and "money-lenders"—i.e., bankers. This parallel suggests a common origin of those two immigrant communities; and as we can trace the origins of the bulk of Hungarian Jewry to the Magyar-Khazar nexus, the conclusion seems self-evident.

The early records reflect the part played by immigrant Jews in the two countries' budding economic life. That it was an important part is not surprising, since foreign trade and the levying of customs duties had been the Khazars' principal source of income in the past. They had the experience which their new hosts were lacking, and it was only logical that they were called in to advise and participate in the management of the finances of court and nobility. The coins minted in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries with Polish inscriptions in Hebrew lettering (see Chapter II, 1) are somewhat bizarre relics of these activities. The exact purpose they served is still something of a mystery. Some bear the name of a king (e.g., Leszek, Mieszko), others are inscribed "From the House of Abraham ben Joseph the Prince" (possibly the minter-banker himself), or show just a word of benediction: "Luck" or "Blessing". Significantly, contemporary Hungarian sources also speak of the practice of minting coins from silver provided by Jewish owners. 22

However—in constrast to Western Europe—finance and commerce were far from being the only fields of Jewish activity. Some rich emigrants became landowners in Poland as Count Teka was in Hungary; Jewish land-holdings comprising a whole village of Jewish farmers are recorded, for instance, in the vicinity of Breslau before 1203;23 and in the early days there must have been Khazar peasants in considerable numbers, as the ancient Khazar placenames seem to indicate.

A tantalizing glimpse of how some of these villages may have come into being is provided by the Karaite records mentioned before; they relate how Prince Vitold settled a group of Karaite prisoners-of-war in "Krasna", providing them with houses, orchards and land to a distance of one and a half miles. ("Krasna" has been tentatively identified with the Jewish small town Krasnoia in Podolia.) 24

But farming did not hold out a future for the Jewish community. There were several reasons for this. The rise of feudalism in the fourteenth century gradually transformed the peasants of Poland into serfs, forbidden to leave their villages, deprived of freedom of movement. At the same time, under the joint pressure of the ecclesiastic hierarchy and the feudal landlords, the Polish Parliament in 1496 forbade the acquisition of agricultural land by Jews. But the process of alienation from the soil must have started long before that.

Apart from the specific causes just mentioned—religious discrimination, combined with the degradation of the free peasants into serfs -the transformation of the predominantly agricultural nation of Khazars into a predominantly urban community reflected a common phenomenon in the history of migrations. Faced with different climatic conditions and farming methods on the one hand, and on the other with unexpected opportunities for an easier living offered by urban civilization, immigrant populations are apt to change their occupational structure within a few generations. The offspring of Abruzzi peasants in the New World became waiters and restaurateurs, the grandsons of Polish farmers may become engineers or psychoanalysts.* [The opposite process of colonists settling on virgin soil applies to migrants from more highly developed to under-developed regions.]

However, the transformation of Khazar Jewry into Polish Jewry did not entail any brutal break with the past, or loss of identity. It was a gradual, organic process of change, which—as Poliak has convincingly shown—preserved some vital traditions of Khazar communal life in their new country. This was mainly achieved through the emergence of a social structure, or way of life, found nowhere else in the world Diaspora: the Jewish small town, in Hebrew ayarah, in Yiddish shtetl, in Polish miastecko. All three designations are diminutives, which, however, do not necessarily refer to smallness in size (some were quite big small-towns) but to the limited rights of municipal selfgovernment they enjoyed.

The shtetl should not be confused with the ghetto. The latter consisted of a street or quarter in which Jews were compelled to live within the confines of a Gentile town. It was, from the second half of the sixteenth century onward, the universal habitat of Jews everywhere in the Christian, and most of the Muslim, world. The ghetto was surrounded by walls, with gates that were locked at night. It gave rise to claustrophobia and mental inbreeding, but also to a sense of relative security in times of trouble. As it could not expand in size, the houses were tall and narrow-chested, and permanent overcrowding created deplorable sanitary conditions. It took great spiritual strength for people living in such circumstances to keep their self-respect. Not all of them did.

The shtetl, on the other hand, was a quite different proposition -a type of settlement which, as already said, existed only in Poland-Lithuania and nowhere else in the world. It was a selfcontained country town with an exclusively or predominantly Jewish population. The shtetl's origins probably date back to the thirteenth century, and may represent the missing link, as it were, between the market towns of Khazaria and the Jewish settlements in Poland.

The economic and social function of these semi-rural, semiurban agglomerations seems to have been similar in both countries. In Khazaria, as later in Poland, they provided a network of trading posts or market towns which mediated between the needs of the big towns and the countryside. They had regular fairs at which sheep and cattle, alongside the goods manufactured in the towns and the products of the rural cottage industries were sold or bartered; at the same time they were the centres where artisans plied their crafts, from wheelwrights to blacksmiths, silversmiths, tailors, Kosher butchers, millers, bakers and candlestick-makers. There were also letter-writers for the illiterate, synagogues for the faithful, inns for travellers, and a heder- Hebrew for "room", which served as a school. There were itinerant story-tellers and folk bards (some of their names, such as Velvel Zbarzher, have been preserved)25 travelling from shtetl to shtetl in Poland—and no doubt earlier on in Khazaria, if one is to judge by the survival of story-tellers among Oriental people to our day.

Some particular trades became virtually a Jewish monopoly in Poland. One was dealing in timber—which reminds one that timber was the chief building material and an important export in Khazaria; another was transport. "The dense net of shtetls," writes Poliak, 26 "made it possible to distribute manufactured goods over the whole country by means of the superbly built Jewish type of horse cart. The preponderance of this kind of transport, especially in the east of the country, was so marked amounting to a virtual monopoly—that the Hebrew word for carter, ba'al agalah * [Literally " master of the cart".] was incorporated into the Russian language as balagula. Only the development of the railway in the second half of the nineteenth century led to a decline in this trade."

Now this specialization in coach-building and cartering could certainly not have developed in the closed ghettoes of Western Jewry; it unmistakably points to a Khazar origin. The people of the ghettoes were sedentary; while the Khazars, like other semi-nomadic people, used horseor ox-drawn carts to transport their tents, goods and chattel—including royal tents the size of a circus, fit to accommodate several hundred people. They certainly had the know-how to negotiate the roughest tracks in their new country.

Other specifically Jewish occupations were inn-keeping, the running of flour mills and trading in furs -none of them found in the ghettoes of Western Europe.

Such, in broad outlines, was the structure of the Jewish shtetl in Poland. Some of its features could be found in old market towns in any country; others show a more specific affinity with what we know—little though it is—about the townships of Khazaria, which were probably the prototypes of the Polish shtetl.

To these specific features should be added the "pagoda-style" of the oldest surviving wooden shtetl synagogues dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which is totally different from both the native style of architecture and from the building style adopted by Western Jews and replicated later on in the ghettoes of Poland. The interior decoration of the oldest shtetl synagogues is also quite different from the style of the Western ghetto; the walls of the shtetl synagogue were covered with Moorish arabesques, and with animal figures characteristic of the Persian influence found in Magyar-Khazar artefacts 1 ' 13 and in the decorative style brought to Poland by Armenian immigrants. 27

The traditional garb of Polish Jewry is also of unmistakably Eastern origin. The typical long silk kaftan may have been an imitation of the coat worn by the Polish nobility, which itself was copied from the outfit of the Mongols in the Golden Horde -fashions travel across political divisions; but we know that kaftans were worn long before that by the nomads of the steppes. The skull-cap (yarmolka) is worn to this day by orthodox Jews -and by the Uzbeks and other Turkish people in the Soviet Union. On top of the skull-cap men wore the streimel, an elaborate round hat rimmed with fox-fur, which the Khazars copied from the Khasaks -or vice versa. As already mentioned, the trade in fox and sable furs, which had been flourishing in Khazaria, became another virtual Jewish monopoly in Poland. As for the women, they wore, until the middle of the nineteenth century, a tall white turban, which was an exact copy of the Jauluk worn by Khasak and Turkmen women. 28 (Nowadays orthodox Jewesses have to wear instead of a turban a wig made of their own hair, which is shaved off when they get married.)

One might also mention in this context—though somewhat dubiously—the Polish Jews' odd passion for gefillte (stuffed) fisch, a national dish which the Polish Gentiles adopted. "Without fish", the saying went, "there is no Sabbath." Was it derived from distant memories of life on the Caspian, where fish was the staple diet?

Life in the shtetl is celebrated with much romantic nostalgia in Jewish literature and folklore. Thus we read in a modern survey of its customs 29 about the joyous way its inhabitants celebrated the Sabbath:

Wherever one is, he will try to reach home in time to greet the Sabbath with his own family. The pedlar travelling from village to village, the itinerant tailor, shoemaker, cobbler, the merchant off on a trip, all will plan, push, hurry, trying to reach home before sunset on Friday evening.

As they press homeward the shammes calls through the streets of the shtetl, "Jews to the bathhouse!" A functionary of the synagogue, the shammes is a combination of sexton and beadle. He speaks with an authority more than his own, for when he calls "Jews to the bathhouse" he is summoning them to a commandment.

The most vivid evocation of life in the shtetl is the surrealistic amalgam of fact and fantasy in the paintings and lithographs of Marc Chagall, where biblical symbols appear side by side with the bearded carter wielding his whip and wistful rabbis in kaftan and yarmolka.

It was a weird community, reflecting its weird origins. Some of the earliest small-towns were probably founded by prisoners of war—such as the Karaites of Troki—whom Polish and Lithuanian nobles were anxious to settle on their empty lands. But the majority of these settlements were products of the general migration away from the "wild fields" which were turning into deserts. "After the Mongol conquest", wrote Poliak, "when the Slav villages wandered westward, the Khazar shtetls went with them." 30 The pioneers of the new settlements were probably rich Khazar traders who constantly travelled across Poland on the much frequented trade routes into Hungary. "The Magyar and Kabar migration into Hungary blazed the trail for the growing Khazar settlements in Poland: it turned Poland into a transit area between the two countries with Jewish communities." 31 Thus the travelling merchants were familiar with conditions in the prospective areas of resettlement, and had occasion to make contact with the landowners in search of tenants. "The landlord would enter into an agreement with such rich and respected Jews" (we are reminded of Abraham Prokownik) "as would settle on his estate and bring in other settlers. They would, as a rule, choose people from the place where they had lived." 32 These colonists would be an assorted lot of farmers, artisans and craftsmen, forming a more or less self-supporting community. Thus the Khazar shtetl would be transplanted and become a Polish shtetl. Farming would gradually drop out, but by that time the adaptation to changed conditions would have been completed.

The nucleus of modern Jewry thus followed the old recipe: strike out for new horizons but stick together.

Chapter VI. Where From?

Two basic facts emerge from our survey: the disappearance of the Khazar nation from its historic habitat, and the simultaneous appearance in adjacent regions to the north-west of the greatest concentration of Jews since the beginnings of the Diaspora. Since the two are obviously connected, historians agree that immigration from Khazaria must have contributed to the growth of Polish Jewry—a conclusion supported by the evidence cited in the previous chapters. But they feel less certain about the extent of this contribution -the size of the Khazar immigration compared with the influx of Western Jews, and their respective share in the genetic make-up of the modern Jewish community.

In other words, the fact that Khazars emigrated in substantial numbers into Poland is established beyond dispute; the question is whether they provided the bulk of the new settlement, or only its hard core, as it were. To find an answer to this question, we must get some idea of the size of the immigration of "real Jews" from the West.

Tbwards the end of the first millennium, the most important settlements of Western European Jews were in France and the Rhineland.* [Not counting the Jews of Spain, who formed a category apart and did not participate in the migratory movements with which we are concerned.] Some of these communities had probably been rounded in Roman days, for, between the destruction of Jerusalem and the decline of the Roman Empire, Jews had settled in many of the greater cities under its rule, and were later on reinforced by immigrants from Italy and North Africa. Thus we have records from the ninth century onwards of Jewish communities in places all over France, from Normandy down to Provence and the Mediterranean.

One group even crossed the Channel to England in the wake of the Norman invasion, apparently invited by William the Conqueror, 1 because he needed their capital and enterprise. Their history has been summed up by Baron:

They were subsequently converted into a class of "royal usurers" whose main function was to provide credits for both political and economic ventures. After accumulating great wealth through the high rate of interest, these moneylenders were forced to disgorge it in one form or another for the benefit of the royal treasury. The prolonged well-being of many Jewish families, the splendour of their residence and attire, and their influence on public affairs blinded even experienced observers to the deep dangers lurking from the growing resentment of debtors of all classes, and the exclusive dependence of Jews on the protection of their royal masters . . . Rumblings of discontent, culminating in violent outbreaks in 1189-90, presaged the final tragedy: the expulsion of 1290. The meteoric rise, and even more rapid decline of English Jewry in the brief span of two and a quarter centuries (1066-1290) brought into sharp relief the fundamental factors shaping the destinies of all western Jewries in the crucial first half of the second millennium. 2

The English example is instructive, because it is exceptionally well documented compared to the early history of the Jewish communities on the Continent. The main lesson we derive from it is that the social-economic influence of the Jews was quite out of proportion with their small numbers. There were, apparently, no more than 2500 Jews in England at any time before their expulsion in 1290.* [According to the classic survey of Joseph Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin England, based on recorded Jewish family names and other documents. [Quoted by Baron, Vol. IV, p. 77.]] This tiny Jewish community in mediaeval England played a leading part in the country's economic Establishment—much more so than its opposite number in Poland; yet in contrast to Poland it could not rely on a network of Jewish small-towns to provide it with a mass-basis of humble craftsmen, of lower-middle-class artisans and workmen, carters and innkeepers; it had no roots in the people. On this vital issue, Angevin England epitomized developments on the Western Continent. The Jews of France and Germany faced the same predicament: their occupational stratification was lopsided and top-heavy. This led everywhere to the same, tragic sequence of events. The dreary tale always starts with a honeymoon, and ends in divorce and bloodshed. In the beginning the Jews are pampered with special charters, privileges, favours. They are personae gratae like the court alchemists, because they alone have the secret of how to keep the wheels of the economy turning. "In the 'dark ages'," wrote Cecil Roth, "the commerce of Western Europe was largely in Jewish hands, not excluding the slave trade, and in the Carolingian cartularies Jew and Merchant are used as almost interchangeable terms." 3 But with the growth of a native mercantile class, they became gradually excluded not only from most productive occupations, but also from the traditional forms of commerce, and virtually the only field left open to them was lending capital on interest. ". . . The floating wealth of the country was soaked up by the Jews, who were periodically made to disgorge into the exchequer . . ." 4 The archetype of Shylock was established long before Shakespeare's time.

In the honeymoon days, Charlemagne had sent a historic embassy in 797 to Harun alRashid in Baghdad to negotiate a treaty of friendship; the embassy was composed of the Jew Isaac and two Christian nobles. The bitter end came when, in 1306, Philip le Bel expelled the Jews from the kingdom of France. Though later some were allowed to return, they suffered further persecution, and by the end of the century the French community of Jews was virtually extinct.*! The modern community of Jews in France and England was founded by refugees from the Spanish Inquisition in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.]

If we turn to the history of German Jewry, the first fact to note is that "remarkably, we do not possess a comprehensive scholarly history of German Jewry . . . The Germanica Judaica is merely a good reference work to historic sources shedding light on individual communities up to 1238. " 5 It is a dim light, but at least it illuminates the territorial distribution of the Western-Jewish communities in Germany during the critical period when Khazar-Jewish immigration into Poland was approaching its peak. lOne of the earliest records of such a community in Germany mentions a certain Kalonymous, who, in 906, emigrated with his kinsfolk from Lucca in Italy to Mavence. About the same time we hear of Jews in Spires and Worms, and somewhat later in other places -Trves, Metz, Strasbourg, Cologne -all of them situated in a narrow strip in Alsace and along the Rhine valley. The Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela (see above, II, 8) visited the region in the middle of the twelfth century and wrote: "In these cities there are many Israelites, wise men and rich." 6 But how many are "many"? In fact veryfew, as will be seen.

Earlier on, there lived in Mayence a certain Rabbi Gershom ben Yehuda (circa 960-1030) whose great learning earned him the title "Light of the Diaspora" and the position of spiritual head of the French and Rhenish-German community. At some date around 1020 Gershom convened a Rabbinical Council in Worms, which issued various edicts, including one that put a legal stop to polygamy (which had anyway been in abeyance for a long time). To these edicts a codicil was added, which provided that in case of urgency any regulation could be revoked "by an assembly of a hundred delegates from the countries Burgundy, Normandy, France, and the towns of Mayence, Spires and Worms". In other rabbinical documents too, dating from the same period, only these three towns are named, and we can only conclude that the other Jewish communities in the Rhineland were at the beginning of the eleventh century still too insignificant to be mentioned. 7 By the end of the same century, the Jewish communities of Germany narrowly escaped complete extermination in the outbursts of mob-hysteria accompanying the First Crusade, AD 1096. F. Barker has conveyed the crusader's mentality with a dramatic force rarely encountered in the columns of the Encyclopaedia Britannica: 8

He might butcher all, till he waded ankle-deep in blood, and then at nightfall kneel, sobbing for very joy, at the altar of the Sepulchre—for was he not red from the winepress of the Lord?

The Jews of the Rhineland were caught in that winepress, which nearly squeezed them to death. Moreover, they themselves became affected by a different type of mass hysteria: a morbid yearning for martyrdom. According to the Hebrew chronicler Solomon bar Simon, considered as generally reliable, 9 the Jews of Mayence, faced with the alternative between baptism or death at the hands of the mob, gave the example to other communities by deciding on collective suicide:

Imitating on a grand scale Abraham's readiness to sacrifice Isaac, fathers slaughtered their children and husbands their wives. These acts of unspeakable horror and heroism were performed in the ritualistic form of slaughter with sacrificial knives sharpened in accordance with Jewish law. At times the leading sages of the community, supervising the mass immolation, were the last to part with life at their own hands . . . In the mass hysteria, sanctified by the glow of religious martyrdom and compensated by the confident expectation of heavenly rewards, nothing seemed to matter but to end life before one fell into the hands of the implacable foes and had to face the inescapable alternative of death at the enemy's hand or conversion to Christianity.

Turning from gore to sober statistics, we get a rough idea of the size of the Jewish communities in Germany. The Hebrew sources agree on 800 victims (by slaughter or suicide) in Worms, and vary between 900 and 1300 for Mayence. Of course there must have been many who preferred baptism to death, and the sources do not indicate the number of survivors; nor can we be sure that they do not exaggerate the number of martyrs. At any rate, Baron concludes from his calculations that "the total Jewish population of either community had hardly exceeded the figures here given for the dead alone". 11 So the survivors in Worms or in Mayence could only have numbered a few hundred in each case. Yet these two towns (with Spires as a third) were the only ones important enough to be included in Rabbi Gershom's edict earlier on.

Thus we are made to realize that the Jewish community in the German Rhineland was numerically small, even before the First Crusade, and had shrunk to even smaller proportions after having gone through the winepress of the Lord. Yet cast of the Rhine, in central and northern Germany, there were as yet no Jewish communities at all, and none for a long time to come. The traditional conception of Jewish historians that the Crusade of 1096 swept like a broom a mass-migration of German Jews into Poland is simply a legend—or rather an ad hoc hypothesis invented because, as they knew little of Khazar history, they could see no other way to account for the emergence, out of nowhere, of this unprecedented concentration of Jews in Eastern Europe. Yet there is not a single mention in the contemporary sources of any migration, large or small, from the Rhineland further east into Germany, not to mention distant Poland. .Thus Simon Dubnov, one of the historians of the older school: "The first crusade which set the Christian masses in motion towards the Asiatic east, drove at the same time the Jewish masses towards the cast of Europe." 12 However, a few lines further down he has to admit: "About the circumstances of this emigration movement which was so important to Jewish history we possess no close information." Yet we do possess abundant information of what these battered Jewish communities did during the first and subsequent crusades. Some died by their own hands; others tried to offer resistance and were lynched; while those who survived owed their good fortune to the fact that they were given shelter for the duration of the emergency in the fortified castle of the Bishop or Burgrave who, at least theoretically, was responsible for their legal protection. Frequently this measure was not enough to prevent a massacre; but the survivors, once the crusading hordes had passed, invariably returned to their ransacked homes and synagogues to make a fresh start.

We find this pattern repeatedly in chronicles: in Treves, in Metz, and many other places. By the time of the second and later crusades, it had become almost a routine: "At the beginning of the agitation for a new crusade many Jews of Mayence, Worms, Spires, Strasbourg, Wrzburg and other cities, escaped to neighbouring castles, leaving their books and precious possessions in the custody of friendly burghers." 14 One of the main sources is the Book of Remembrance by Ephraim bar Jacob, who himself, at the age of thirteen, had been among the refugees from Cologne in the castle of Wolkenburg. 15 Solomon bar Simon reports that during the second crusade the survivors of the Mayence Jews found protection in Spires, then returned to their native city and built a new synagogue. 16 This is the leitmotif of the Chronicles; to repeat it once more, there is not a word about Jewish communities emigrating toward eastern Germany, which, in the words of Mieses, 17 was still Judenrein -clean of Jews and was to remain so for several centuries.

The thirteenth century was a period of partial recovery. We hear for the first time of Jews in regions adjacent to the Rhineland: the Palatinate (AD 1225); Freiburg (1230), Ulm (1243), Heidelberg (1255), etc. 18 But it was to be only a short respite, for the fourteenth century brought new disasters to Franco-German Jewry.

The first catastrophe was the expulsion of all Jews from the royal domains of Philip le Bel. France had been suffering from an economic crisis, to the usual accompaniments of debased currency and social unrest. Philip tried to remedy it by the habitual method of soaking the Jews. He exacted from them payments of 100000 livres in 1292, 215000 livres in 1295, 1299, 1302 and 1305, then decided on a radical remedy for his ailing finances. On June 21, 1306, he signed a secret order to arrest all Jews in his kingdom on a given day, confiscate their property and expel them from the country. The arrests were carried out on July 22, and the expulsion a few weeks later. The refugees emigrated into regions of France outside the King's domain: Provence, Burgundy, Aquitaine, and a few other frudal fiefs. But, according to Mieses, "there are no historical records whatsoever to indicate that German Jewry increased its numbers through the sufferings of the Jewish community in France in the decisive period of its destruction". 19 And no historian has ever suggested that French Jews trekked across Germany into Poland, either on that occasion or at any other time. lUnder Philip's successors there were some partial recalls of Jews (in 1315 and 1350), but they could not undo the damage, nor prevent renewed outbursts of mob persecution. By the end of the fourteenth century, France, like England, was virtually Judenrein.

The second catastrophe of that disastrous century was the Black Death, which, between 1348 and 1350, killed off a third of Europe's population, and in some regions even twothirds. It came from east Asia via Turkestan, and the way it was let loose on Europe, and what it did there, is symbolic of the lunacy of man. A Tartar leader named Janibeg in 1347 was besieging the town of Kaffa (now Feodosia) in the Crimea, then a Genoese trading port. The plague was rampant in Janibeg's army, so he catapulted the corpses of infected victims into the town, whose population became infected in its turn. Genoese ships carried the rats and their deadly fleas westward into the Mediterranean ports, from where they spread inland.

The bacilli of Pasteurella pestis were not supposed to make a distinction between the various denominations, yet Jews were nevertheless singled out for special treatment. After being accused earlier on of the ritual slaughter of Christian children, they were now accused of poisoning the wells to spread the Black Death. The legend travelled faster even than the rats, and the consequence was the burning of Jews en masse all over Europe. Once more suicide by mutual self-immolation became a common expedient, to avoid being burned alive.

The decimated population of Western Europe did not reach again its pre-plague level until the sixteenth century. As for its Jews, who had been exposed to the twofold attack of rats and men. only a fraction survived. As Kutschera wrote:

The populace avenged on them the cruel blows of destiny and set upon those whom the plague had spared with fire and sword. When the epidemics receded, Germany, according to contemporary historians, was left virtually without Jews. We are led to conclude that in Germany itself the Jews could not prosper, and were never able to establish large and populous communities. How, then, in these circumstances, should they have been able to lay the foundations in Poland of a mass population so dense that at present [AD 1909] it outnumbers the Jews of Germany at the rate often to one? It is indeed difficult to understand how the idea ever gained ground that the eastern Jews represent immigrants from the West, and especially from Germany.

Yet, next to the first crusade, the Black Death is most frequently invoked by historians as the deus ex machina which created Eastern Jewry. And, just as in the case of the crusades, there is not a shred of evidence for this imaginary exodus. On the contrary, the indications are that the Jews' only hope of survival on this, as on that earlier occasions, was to stick together and seek shelter in some fortified place or less hostile surroundings in the vicinity. There is only one case of an emigration in the Black Death period mentioned by Mieses: Jews from Spires took refuge from persecution in Heidelberg -about ten miles away.

After the virtual extermination of the old Jewish communities in France and Germany in the wake of the Black Death, Western Europe remained Judenrein for a couple of centuries, with only a few enclaves vegetating on -except in Spain. It was an entirely different stock of Jews who founded the modern communities of England, France and Holland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries -the Sephardim (Spanish Jews), forced to flee from Spain where they had been resident for more than a millennium. Their history—and the history of modern European Jewry—lies outside the scope of this book.

We may safely conclude that the traditional idea of a mass-exodus of Western Jewry from the Rhineland to Poland all across Germany -a hostile, Jewless glacis -is historically untenable. It is incompatible with the small size of the Rhenish Communities, their reluctance to branch out from the Rhine valley towards the east, their stereotyped behaviour in adversity, and the absence of references to migratory movements in contemporary chronicles. Further evidence for this view is provided by linguistics, to be discussed in Chapter VII.

Chapter VII: Cross-Currents

ON the evidence quoted in previous chapters, one can easily understand why Polish historians—who are, after all, closest to the sources—are in agreement that "in earlier times, the main bulk of the Jewish population originated from the Khazar country". 1 One might even be tempted to overstate the case by claiming—as Kutschera does—that Eastern Jewry was a hundred per cent of Khazar origin. Such a claim might be tenable if the ill-fated Franco-Rhenish community were the only rival in the search for paternity. But in the later Middle Ages things become more complicated by the rise and fall of Jewish settlements all over the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and the Balkans. Thus not only Vienna and Prague had a considerable Jewish population, but there are no less than five places called Judendorf, "Jew-village", in the Carinthian Alps, and more Judenburgs and Judenstadts in the mountains of Styria. By the end of the fifteenth century, the Jews were expelled from both provinces, and went to Italy, Poland and Hungary; but where did they originally come from? Certainly not from the West. As Mieses put it in his survey of these scattered communities:

During the high Middle Ages we thus find in the east a chain of settlements stretching from Bavaria to Persia, the Causcasus, Asia Minor and Byzantium. [But] westward from Bavaria there is a gap through the whole length of Germany . . . Just how this immigration of Jews into the Alpine regions came about we do not know, but without doubt the three great reservoirs of Jews from late antiquity played their part: Italy, Byzantium and Persia. 2

The missing link in this enumeration is, once again, Khazaria, which, as we have seen earlier on, served as a receptacle and transit-station for Jews emigrating from Byzantium and the Caliphate. Mieses has acquired great merit in refuting the legend of the Rhenish origin of Eastern Jewry, but he, too, knew little of Khazar history, and was unaware of its demographic importance. However, he may have been right in suggesting an Italian component among the immigrants to Austria. Italy was not only quasi-saturated with Jews since Roman times, but, like Khazaria, also received its share of immigrants from Byzantium. So here we might have a trickle of "genuine" Jews of Semitic origin into Eastern Europe; yet it could not have been more than a trickle, for there is no trace in the records of any substantial immigration of Italian Jews into Austria, whereas there is plenty of evidence of a reverse migration of Jews into Italy after their expulsion from the Alpine provinces at the end of the fifteenth century. Details like this tend to blur the picture, and make one wish that the Jews had gone to Poland on board the Mayflower, with all the records neatly kept.

Yet the broad outlines of the migratory process are nevertheless discernible. The Alpine settlements were in all likelihood westerly offshoots of the general Khazar migration toward Poland, which was spread over several centuries and followed several different routes through the Ukraine, the Slavonic regions north of Hungary, perhaps also through the Balkans. A Rumanian legend tells of an invasion -the date unknown -of armed Jews into that country. 3

There is another, very curious legend relating to the history of Austrian Jewry. It was launched by Christian chroniclers in the Middle Ages, but was repeated in all seriousness by historians as late as the beginning of the eighteenth century. In pre-Christian days, so the legend goes, the Austrian provinces were ruled by a succession of Jewish princes. The Austrian Chronicle, compiled by a Viennese scribe in the reign of Albert 111(1350-95) contains a list of no less than twenty-two such Jewish princes, who are said to have succeeded each other. The list gives not only their alleged names, some of which have a distinctly Ural-Altaian ring, but also the length of their rule and the place where they are buried; thus: "Sennan, ruled 45 years, buried at the Stubentor in Vienna; Zippan, 43 years, buried in Tulln"; and so on, including names like Lapton, Ma'alon, Raptan, Rabon, Effra, Sameck, etc. After these Jews came five pagan princes, followed by Christian rulers. The legend is repeated, with some variations, in the Latin histories of Austria by Henricus Gundelfingus, 1474, and by several others, the last one being Anselmus Schram's Flores Chronicorum Austriae, 1702 (who still seems to have believed in its authenticity). 4 .How could this fantastic tale have originated?

Let us listen to Mieses again: "The very fact that such a legend could develop and stubbornly maintain itself through several centuries, indicates that deep in the national consciousness of ancient Austria dim memories persisted of a Jewish presence in the lands on the upper Danube in bygone days. Who knows whether the tidal waves emanating from the Khazar dominions in Eastern Europe once swept into the foothills of the Alps -which would explain the Turanian flavour of the names of those princes. The confabulations of mediaeval chroniclers could evoke a popular echo only if they were supported by collective recollections, however vague."

As already mentioned, Mieses is rather inclined to underestimate the Khazar contribution to Jewish history, but even so he hit on the only plausible hypothesis which could explain the origin of the persistent legend. One may even venture to be a little more specific. For more than half a century—up to AD 955—Austria, as far west as the river Enns, was under Hungarian domination. The Magyars had arrived in their new country in 896, together with the KabarKhazar tribes who were influential in the nation. The Hungarians at the time were not yet converted to Christianity (that happened only a century later, AD 1000) and the only monotheistic religion familiar to them was Khazar Judaism. There may have been one or more tribal chieftains among them who practised a Judaism of sorts—we remember the Byzantine chronicler, John Cinnamus, mentioning Jewish troops fighting in the Hungarian army.*[See above, V, 2.] Thus there may have been some substance to the legend—particularly if we remember that the Hungarians were still in their savage raiding period, the scourge of Europe. To be under their dominion was certainly a traumatic experience which the Austrians were unlikely to forget. It all fits rather nicely.

Further evidence against the supposedly Franco-Rhenish origin of Eastern Jewry is provided by the structure of Yiddish, the popular language of the Jewish masses, spoken by millions before the holocaust, and still surviving among traditionalist minorities in the Soviet Union and the United States.

Yiddish is a curious amalgam of Hebrew, mediaeval German, Slavonic and other elements, written in Hebrew characters. Now that it is dying out, it has become a subject of much academic research in the United States and Israel, but until well into the twentieth century it was considered by Western linguists as merely an odd jargon, hardly worth serious study. As H. Smith remarked:

"Little attention has been paid to Yiddish by scholars. Apart from a few articles in periodicals, the first really scientific study of the language was Mieses' s Historical Grammar published in 1924. It is significant that the latest edition of the standard historical grammar of German, which treats German from the point of view of its dialects, dismisses Yiddish in twelve lines."

At first glance the prevalence of German loanwords in Yiddish seems to contradict our main thesis on the origins of Eastern Jewry; we shall see presently that the opposite is true, but the argument involves several steps. The first is to inquire what particular kind of regional German dialect went into the Yiddish vocabulary. Nobody before Mieses seems to have paid serious attention to this question; it is to his lasting merit to have done so, and to have come up with a conclusive answer. Based on the study of the vocabulary, phonetics and syntax of Yiddish as compared with the main German dialects in the Middle Ages, he concludes:

Wo linguistic components derived from the parts of Germany bordering on France are found in the Yiddish language. Not a single word from the entire list of specifically Moselle-Franconian origin compiled by J. A. Ballas (Beitrge zur Kunntnis derTrierischen Volkssprache, 1903, 28ff.) has found its way into the Yiddish vocabulary. Even the more central regions of Western Germany, around Frankfurt, have not contributed to the Yiddish language. . .. 7 Insofar as the origins of Yiddish are concerned, Western Germany can be written off. . .. 8 Could it be that the generally accepted view, according to which the German Jews once upon a time immigrated from France across the Rhine, is misconceived? The history of the German Jews, of Ashkenazi* [For " Ashkenazi" see below, VIII, I] Jewry, must be revised. The errors of history are often rectified by linguistic research. The conventional view of the erstwhile immigration of Ashkenazi Jews from France belongs to the category of historic errors which are awaiting correction.

He then quotes, among other examples of historic fallacies, the case of the Gypsies, who were regarded as an offshoot from Egypt, "until linguistics showed that they come from India".

Having disposed of the alleged Western origin of the Germanic element in Yiddish, Mieses went on to show that the dominant influence in it are the so-called "East-Middle German" dialects which were spoken in the Alpine regions of Austria and Bavaria roughly up to the fifteenth century. In other words, the German component which went into the hybrid Jewish language originated in the eastern regions of Germany, adjacent to the Slavonic belt of Eastern Europe.

Thus the evidence from linguistics supports the historical record in refuting the misconception of the Franco-Rhenish origins of Eastern Jewry. But this negative evidence does not answer the question how an East-Middle German dialect combined with Hebrew and Slavonic elements became the common language of that Eastern Jewry, the majority of which we assume to have been of Khazar origin.

In attempting to answer this question, several factors have to be taken into consideration. First, the evolution of Yiddish was a long and complex process, which presumably started in the fifteenth century or even earlier; yet it remained for a long time a spoken language, a kind of lingua franca, and appears in print only in the nineteenth century. Before that, it had no established grammar, and "it was left to the individual to introduce foreign words as he desires. There is no established form of pronunciation or spelling . . . The chaos in spelling maybe illustrated by the rules laid down by the Judische Volks- Bibliothek:

(1) Write as you speak;

(2) write so that both Polish and Lithuanian Jews may understand you, and;

(3) spell differently words of the same sound which have a different signification."

Thus Yiddish grew, through the centuries, by a kind of untrammelled proliferation, avidly absorbing from its social environments such words, phrases, idiomatic expressions as best served its purpose as a lingua franca. But the culturally and socially dominant element in the environment of mediaeval Poland were the Germans. They alone, among the immigrant populations, were economically and intellectually more influential than the Jews. We have seen that from the early days of the Piast dynasty, and particularly under Casimir the Great, everything was done to attract immigrants to colonize the land and build "modern" cities. Casimir was said to have "found a country of wood and left a country of stone". But these new cities of stone, such as Krakau (Cracow) or Lemberg (Lwow) were built and ruled by German immigrants, living under the so-called Magdeburg law, i.e., enjoying a high degree or municipal selfgovernment. Altogether not less than four million Germans are said to have immigrated into Poland, 12 providing it with an urban middleclass that it had not possessed before. As Poliak has put it, comparing the German to the Khazar immigration into Poland: "the rulers of the country imported these masses of much-needed enterprising foreigners, and facilitated their settling down according to the way of life they had been used to in their countries of origin: the German town and the Jewish shtetl". (However, this tidy separation became blurred when later Jewish arrivals from the West also settled in the towns and formed urban ghettoes.) .Not only the educated bourgeoisie, but the clergy too, was predominantly German—a natural consequence of Poland opting for Roman Catholicism and turning toward Western civilization, just as the Russian clergy after Vladimir's conversion to Greek orthodoxy was predominantly Byzantine. Secular culture followed along the same lines, in the footsteps of the older Western neighbour. The first Polish university was founded in 1364 in Cracow, then a predominantly German city*[0ne of its students in the next century was Nicolaus Copernicus or Mikolaj Koppernigk whom both Polish and German patriots later claimed as their national.] As Kutschera, the Austrian, has put it, rather smugly:

The German colonists were at first regarded by the people with suspicion and distrust; yet they succeeded in gaining an increasingly firm foothold, and even in introducing the German educational system. The Poles learnt to appreciate the advantages of the higher culture introduced by the Germans and to imitate their foreign ways. The Polish aristocracy, too, grew fond of German customs and found beauty and pleasure in whatever came from Germany 13

Not exactly modest, but essentially true. One remembers the high esteem for German Kultur among nineteenth-century Russian intellectuals.

It is easy to see why Khazar immigrants pouring into mediaeval Poland had to learn German if they wanted to get on. Those who had close dealings with the native populace no doubt also had to learn some pidgin Polish (or Lithuanian, or Ukrainian or Slovene); German, however, was a prime necessity in any contact with the towns. But there was also the synagogue and the study of the Hebrew thorah. One can visualize a shtetl craftsman, a cobbler perhaps, or a timber merchant, speaking broken German to his clients, broken Polish to the serfs on the estate next door; and at home mixing the most expressive bits of both with Hebrew into a kind of intimate private language. How this hotchpotch became communalized and standardized to the extent to which it did, is any linguist's guess; but at least one can discern some further factors which facilitated the process.

Among the later immigrants to Poland there were also, as we have seen, a certain number of "real" Jews from the Alpine countries, Bohemia and eastern Germany. Even if their number was relatively small, these German-speaking Jews were superior in culture and learning to the Khazars, just as the German Gentiles were culturally superior to the Poles. And just as the Catholic clergy was German, so the Jewish rabbis from the West were a powerful factor in the Germanization of the Khazars, whose Judaism was fervent but primitive. To quote Poliak again:

Those German Jews who reached the kingdom of Poland-Lithuania had an enormous influence on their brethren from the east. The reason why the [Khazar] Jews were so strongly attracted to them was that they admired their religious learning and their efficiency in doing business with the predominantly German cities. . . . The language spoken at the Heder, the school for religious teaching, and at the house of the Ghevir [notable, rich man] would influence the language of the whole community.

A rabbinical tract from seventeenth-century Poland contains the pious wish:

"May God will that the country be filled with wisdom and that all Jews speak German."

Characteristically, the only sector among the Khazarian Jews in Poland which resisted both the spiritual and worldly temptations offered by the German language were the Karaites, who rejected both rabbinical learning and material enrichment. Thus they never took to Yiddish. According to the first all-Russian census in 1897, there were 12894 Karaite Jews living in the Tsarist Empire (which, of course, included Poland). Of these 9666 gave Turkish as their mother tongue (i.e., presumably their original Khazar dialect), 2632 spoke Russian, and only 383 spoke Yiddish.

The Karaite sect, however, represents the exception rather than the rule. In general, immigrant populations settling in a new country tend to shed their original language within two or three generations and adopt the language of their new country* [This does not, of course, apply to conquerors and colonizers, who impose their own language on the natives.] The American grandchildren of immigrants from Eastern Europe never learn to speak Polish or Ukrainian, and find the jabber-wocky of their grandparents rather comic. It is difficult to see how historians could ignore the evidence for the Khazar migration into Poland on the grounds that more than half a millennium later they speak a different language.

Incidentally, the descendants of the biblical Tribes are the classic example of linguistic adaptability. First they spoke Hebrew; in the Babylonian exile, Chaldean; at the time of Jesus, Aramaic; in Alexandria, Greek; in Spain, Arabic, but later Ladino—a Spanish-Hebrew mixture, written in Hebrew characters, the Sephardi equivalent of Yiddish; and so it goes on. They preserved their religious identity, but changed languages at their convenience. The Khazars were not descended from the Tribes, but, as we have seen, they shared a certain cosmopolitanism and other social characteristics with their co-religionists.

Poliak has proposed an additional hypothesis concerning the early origins of Yiddish, which deserves to be mentioned, though it is rather problematical. He thinks that the "shape of early Yiddish emerged in the Gothic regions of the Khazar Crimea. In those regions the conditions of life were bound to bring about a combination of Germanic and Hebrew elements hundreds of years before the foundation of the settlements in the Kingdoms of Poland and Lithuania." 16

Poliak quotes as indirect evidence a certain Joseph Barbara of Venice, who lived in Tana (an Italian merchant colony on the Don estuary) from 1436 to 1452, and who wrote that his German servant could converse with a Goth from the Crimea just as a Florentine could understand the language of an Italian from Genoa. As a matter of fact, the Gothic language survived in the Crimea (and apparently nowhere else) at least to the middle of the sixteenth century. At that time the Habsburg ambassador in Constantinople, Ghiselin de Busbeck, met people from the Crimea, and made a list of words from the Gothic that they spoke. (This Busbeck must have been a remarkable man, for it was he who first introduced the lilac and tulip from the Levant to Europe.) Poliak considers this vocabulary to be close to the Middle High German elements found in Yiddish. He thinks the Crimean Goths kept contact with other Germanic tribes and that their language was influenced by them. Whatever one may think of it, it is a hypothesis worth the linguist's attention.

"In a sense," wrote Cecil Roth, "the Jewish dark ages may be said to begin with the Renaissance." 17 .Earlier on, there had been massacres and other forms of persecution during the crusades, the Black Death, and under other pretexts; but these had been lawless outbreaks of massviolence, actively opposed or passively tolerated by the authorities. From the beginnings of the Counter-Reformation, however, the Jews were legally degraded to not-quitehuman status, in many respects comparable to the Untouchables in the Hindu caste system.

"The few communities suffered to remain in Western Europe—i.e., in Italy, Germany, and the papal possessions in southern France—were subjected at last to all the restrictions which earlier ages had usually allowed to remain an ideal" 18—i.e., which had existed on ecclesiastical and other decrees, but had remained on paper (as, for instance, in Hungary, see above, V, 2). Now, however, these "ideal" ordinances were ruthlessly enforced: residential segregation, sexual apartheid, exclusion from all respected positions and occupations; wearing of distinctive clothes: yellow badge and conical headgear. In 1555 Pope Paul IV in his bull cum nimis absurdum insisted on the strict and consistent enforcement of earlier edicts, confining Jews to closed ghettoes. A year later the Jews of Rome were forcibly transferred. All Catholic countries, where Jews still enjoyed relative freedom of movement, had to follow the example.

In Poland, the honeymoon period inaugurated by Casimirthe Great had lasted longer than elsewhere, but by the end of the sixteenth century it had run its course. The Jewish communities, now confined to shtetl and ghetto, became overcrowded, and the refugees from the Cossack massacres in the Ukrainian villages under Chmelnicky (see above, V, 5) led to a rapid deterioration of the housing situation and economic conditions. The result was a new wave of massive emigration into Hungary, Bohemia, "Rumania and Germany, where the Jews who had all but vanished with the Black Death were still thinly spread. .Thus the great trek to the West was resumed. It was to continue through nearly three centuries until the Second World War, and became the principal source of the existing Jewish communities in Europe, the United States and Israel. When its rate of flow slackened, the pogroms of the nineteenth century provided a new impetus. "The second Western movement," writes Roth (dating the first from the destruction of Jerusalem), "which continued into the twentieth century, may be said to begin with the deadly Chmelnicky massacres of 164849 in Poland." 19

The evidence quoted in previous chapters adds up to a strong case in favour of those modern historians—whether Austrian, Israeli or Polish who, independently from each other, have argued that the bulk of modern Jewry is not of Palestinian, but of Caucasian origin. The mainstream of Jewish migrations did not flow from the Mediterranean across France and Germany to the east and then back again. The stream moved in a consistently westerly direction, from the Caucasus through the Ukraine into Poland and thence into Central Europe. When that unprecedented mass-settlement in Poland came into beng, there were simply not enough Jews around in the west to account for it; while in the east a whole nation was on the move to new frontiers. .It would of course be foolish to deny that Jews of different origin also contributed to the existing Jewish world-community. The numerical ratio of the Khazar to the Semitic and other contributions is impossible to establish. But the cumulative evidence makes one inclined to agree with the concensus of Polish historians that "in earlier times the main bulk originated from the Khazar country"; and that, accordingly, the Khazar contribution to the genetic make-up of the Jews must be substantial, and in all likelihood dominant.

Chapter VIII: Race and Myth

THE Jews of our times fall into two main divisions: Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The Sephardim are descendants of the Jews who since antiquity had lived in Spain (in Hebrew Sepharad) until they were expelled at the end of the fifteenth century and settled in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and to a lesser extent in Western Europe. They spoke a Spanish-Hebrew dialect, Ladino (see VII, 3), and preserved their own traditions and religious rites. In the 1960s, the number of Sephardim was estimated at 500000.

The Ashkenazim, at the same period, numbered about eleven million. Thus, in common parlance, Jew is practically synonymous with Ashkenazi Jew. But the term is misleading, for the Hebrew word Ashkenaz was, in mediaeval rabbinical literature, applied to Germany -thus contributing to the legend that modern Jewry originated on the Rhine. There is, however, no other term to refer to the non-Sephardic majority of contemporaryj ewry.

For the sake of piquantry it should be mentioned that the Ashkenaz of the Bible refers to a people living somewhere in the vicinity of Mount Ararat and Armenia. The name occurs in Genesis 10, 3 and I Chronciles 1, 6, as one of the sons of Gomer, who was a son of Japheth. Ashkenaz is also a brother of Togarmah (and a nephew of Magog) whom the Khazars, according to King Joseph, claimed as their ancestor (see above II, 5) But worse was to come. For Ashkenaz is also named in Jeremiah 51, 27, where the prophet calls his people and their allies to rise and destroy Babylon:

"Call thee upon the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz."

This passage was interpreted by the famous Saadiah Gaon, spiritual leader of Oriental Jewry in the tenth century, as a prophecy relating to his own times: Babylon symbolized the Caliphate of Baghdad, and the Ashkenaz who were to attack it were either the Khazars themselves or some allied tribe. Accordingly, says Poliak, 1 some learned Khazarjews, who heard of the Gaon's ingenious arguments, called themselves Ashkenazim when they emigrated to Poland. It does not prove anything, but it adds to the confusion.

Q umming up a very old and bitter controversy in a laconic paragraph, Raphael Patai wrote:

The findings of physical anthropology show that, contrary to popular view, there is no Jewish race. Anthropometric measurements of Jewish groups in many parts of the world indicate that they differ greatly from one another with respect to all the important physical characteristics—stature, weight, skin colour, cephalic index, facial index, blood groups, etc.

This indeed is the accepted view today among anthropologists and historians. Moreover, there is general agreement that comparisons of cranial indices, blood types, etc., show a greater similarity between Jews and their Gentile host-nation than between Jews living in different countries.

Yet, paradoxically, the popular belief that Jews, or at least certain types of Jews, can be instantly recognized as such, must not be dismissed out of hand—for the simple reason that it has a factual basis in every-day existence. The anthropologists' evidence seems to be at loggerheads with common observation.

However, before attempting to tackle the apparent contradiction, it will be useful to look at a few samples of the data on which the anthropologists' denial of a Jewish race is based. To start with, here is a quotation from the excellent series of booklets on The Race Question in Modern Science published by UNESCO. The author, Professor Juan Comas, draws the following conclusion from the statistical material (his italics):

Thus despite the view usually held, the Jewish people is racially heterogeneous; its constant migrations and its relations—voluntary or otherwise—with the widest variety of nations and peoples have brought about such a degree of crossbreeding that the spoiled people of Israel can produce examples of traits typical of every people . For proof it will suffice to compare the rubicund, sturdy, heavily-built Rotterdam Jew with his co-religionist, say, in Salonika with gleaming eyes in a sickly face and skinny, high-strung physique. Hence, so far as our knowledge goes, we can assert that Jews as a whole display as great a degree of morphological disparity among themselves as could be found between members of two or more different races. 3

Next, we must glance at some of the physical characteristics which anthropologists use as criteria, and on which Comas's conclusions are based.

One of the simplest—and as it turned out, most naive—of these criteria was bodily stature. In The Races of Europe, a monumental work published in 1900, William Ripley wrote:

"The European Jews are all undersized; not only this, they are more often absolutely stunted." 4

He was up to a point right at the time, and he produced ample statistics to prove it. But he was shrewd enough to surmise that this deficiency in height might somehow be influenced by environmental factors. 5 Eleven years later, Maurice Fishberg published The Jews -A Study of Race and Environment, the first anthropological survey of its kind in English. It revealed the surprising fact that the children of East European Jewish immigrants to the USA grew to an average height of 167.9 cm. compared to the 164.2 cm. averaged by their parents—a gain of nearly an inch and a half in a single generation. 6 Since then it has become a commonplace that the descendants of immigrant populations -whether Jews, Italians or Japanese -are considerably taller than their parents, no doubt owing to their improved diet and other environmental factors.

Fishberg then collected statistics comparing the average height of Jews and Gentiles in Poland, Austria, Rumania, Hungary, and so on. The result again was a surprise. In general it was found that the stature of the Jews varied with the stature of the non Jewish population among which they lived. They were relatively tall where the indigenous population is tall, and vice versa. Moreover, within the same nation, and even within the same town (Warsaw) the bodily height of Jews and Gentiles was found to vary according to the degree of prosperity of the district. 7 All this does not mean that heredity has no influence on height; but it is overlayed and modified by environmental influences, and is unfit as a criterion of race.

We may now turn to cranial measurements—which were once the great fashion among anthropologists, but are now considered rather outdated. Here we meet again with the same type of conclusion derived from the data:

"A comparison of the cephalic indices of Jewish and nonjewish populations in various countries reveals a marked similarity between the Jewish and nonJewish indices in many countries, while showing very wide variations when the cephalic indices of Jewish populations inhabiting different countries are compared. Thus one is driven to the conclusion that this feature, its plasticity not withstanding, points to a racial diversity of the Jews." 8

This diversity, it should be noted, is most pronounced between Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews. By and large, the Sephardim are dolichocephalic (long-headed), the Ashkenazim brachycephalic (broad-headed). Kutschera saw in this difference a further proof of the separate racial origin of Khazar-Ashkenazi and Semitic-Sephardi Jews. But we have just seen that the indices of shortor long-headedness are co-variant with the host-nations'—which to some extent invalidates the argument.

The statistics relating to other physical features also speak against racial unity. Generally, Jews are dark-haired and darkeyed. But how general is "generally", when, according to Comas, 49 per cent of Polish Jews were light-haired, 9 and 54 per cent of Jewish schoolchildren in Austria had blue eyes ? 10 It is true that Virchov 11 found "only" 32 per cent of blond Jewish schoolchildren in Germany, whereas the proportion of blond Gentiles was larger; but that merely shows that the co-variance is not absolute—as one would expect.

The hardest evidence to date comes from classification by blood groups. A great amount of work has recently been done in this field, but it will be sufficient to quote a single example with a particularly sensitive indicator. In Patai's words:

With regard to blood type, Jewish groups show considerable differences among themselves and marked similarities to the Gentile environment. The Hirszfeld "biochemical index"


(B+AB) can be used most conveniently to express this. A few typical examples are: German Jews 2.74, German Gentiles 2.63; Rumanian Jews 1.54, Rumanian Gentiles 1.55; Polish Jews 1.94, Polish Gentiles 1.55; Moroccan Jews 1.63,


Moroccan Gentiles 1.63; Iraqi Jews 1.22, Iraqi Gentiles 1.37; Turkistan Jews 0.97,Turkistan Gentiles 0.99.12

One might sum up this situation in two mathematical formulae:

Ga-J a


Ga-Gb = Ja—J b

That is to say that, broadly speaking, the difference in respect of anthropological criteria between Gentiles (G a ) and Jews (J a) in a given country (a) is smaller than the difference between Jews in different countries (a and b); and the difference between Gentiles in countries a and b is similar to the difference between Jews in a and b.

It seems appropriate to wind up this section with another quotation from Harry Shapiro's contribution to the UNESCO series -The Jewish People: A Biological History: 13

The wide range of variation between Jewish populations in their physical characteristics and the diversity of the gene frequencies of their blood groups render any unified racial classification for them a contradiction in terms. For although modern racial theory admits some degree of polymorphism or variation within a racial group, it does not permit distinctly different groups, measured by its own criteria of race, to be identified as one. To do so would make the biological purposes of racial classification futile and the whole procedure arbitrary and meaningless. Unfortunately, this subject is rarely wholly divorced from non-biological considerations, and despite the evidence efforts continue to be made to somehow segregate the Jews as a distinct racial entity.

How did this twin-phenomenon -diversity in somatic features and conformity to the hostnation -come about? The geneticists' obvious answer is: through miscegenation combined with selective pressures. "This", writes Fishberg, "is indeed the crucial point in the anthropology of the Jews: are they of pure race, modified more or less by environmental influences, or are they a religious sect composed of racial elements acquired by proselytism and intermarriage during their migration in various parts of the world?" And he leaves his readers in no doubt about the answer:

Beginning with Biblical evidence and traditions, it appears that even in the beginning of the formation of the tribe of Israel they were already composed of various racial elements. . .. We find in Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine at that time many races—the Amorites, who were blondes, dolichocephalic, and tall; the Hittites, a dark

The prophets may thunder against "marrying daughters of a strange god", yet the promiscuous Israelites were not deterred, and their leaders were foremost in giving a bad example. Even the first patriarch, Abraham, cohabited with Hagar, an Egyptian; Joseph married Asenath, who was not only Egyptian but the daughter of a priest; Moses married a Midianite, Zipporah; Samson, the Jewish hero, was a Philistine; King David's mother was a Moabite, and he married a princess of Geshur; as for King Solomon (whose mother was a Hittite), "He loved many strange women, including the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Animonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites . . . " 15 And so the chronique scandaleuse goes on. The Bible also makes it clear that the royal example was imitated by many, high and low. Besides, the biblical prohibition of marrying Gentiles exempted female captives in times of war—and there was no shortage of them. The Babylonian exile did not improve racial purity; even members of priestly families married Gentile women. In short, at the beginning of the Diaspora, the Israelites were already a thoroughly hybridized race. So, of course, were most historic nations, and the point would not need stressing if it were not for the persistent myth of the Biblical Tribe having preserved its racial purity throughout the ages.

Another important source of interbreeding were the vast numbers of people of the most varied races converted to Judaism. Witness to the proselytizing zeal of the Jews of earlier times are the black-skinned Falasha of Abyssinia, the Chinese Jews of Kai-Feng who look like Chinese, the Yemenite Jews with their dark olive complexion, the Jewish Berber tribes of the Sahara who look like Tuaregs, and so on, down to our prime example, the Khazars.

Nearer home, Jewish proselytizing reached its peak in the Roman Empire between the fall of the Jewish state and the rise of Christianity. Many patrician families in Italy were converted, but also the royal family which ruled the province of Adiabene. Philo speaks of numerous converts in Greece; Flavius Josephus relates that a large proportion of the population of Antioch was Judaized; St Paul met with proselytes on his travels more or less everywhere from Athens to Asia Minor. "The fervour of proselytism", the Jewish historian Th. Reinach wrote: 16

Was indeed one of the most distinctive traits of Judaism during the GrecoRoman epoch—a trait which it never possessed in the same degree either before or since . . . It cannot be doubted that Judaism in this way made numerous converts during two or three centuries . . . The enormous growth of the Jewish nation in Egypt, Cyprus, and Cyrene cannot be accounted for without supposing an abundant infusion of Gentile blood. Proselytism swayed alike the upper and the lower classes of society.

The rise of Christianity slowed down the rate of miscegenation, and the ghetto put a temporary end to it; but before the ghetto-rules were strictly enforced in the sixteenth century, the process still went on. This is shown by the ever- repeated ecclesiastic interdictions of mixed marriages—e.g., by the Council of Toledo, 589; the Council of Rome, 743; the first and second Lateran Councils 1123 and 1139; or the edict of King Ladislav II of Hungary in 1092. That all these prohibitions were only partly effective is shown, for instance, by the report of the Hungarian Archbishop Robert von Grain to the Pope AD 1229, complaining that many Christian women are married to Jews, and that within a few years "many thousands of Christians" were lost in this way to the Church.

The only effective bar were the ghetto walls. When these crumbled, intermarriages started again. Their rate accelerated to such an extent that in Germany, between 1921 and 1925, out of every 100 marriages involving Jews, 42 were mixed. 18 .As for the Sephardi, or "true" Jews, their sojourn in Spain for more than a millennium left its indelible mark both on themselves and on their hosts. As Arnold Toynbee wrote:

There is every reason to believe that in Spain and Portugal today there is a strong tincture of the blood of these Jewish converts in Iberian veins, especially in the upper and middle classes. Yet the most acut psychoanalyst would find it difficult, if samples of living upper-and middle-class Spanish and Portuguese were presented to him, to detect who had Jewish ancestors. 19

The process worked both ways. After the massacres of 1391 and 1411 which swept the Peninsula, over 100000 Jews at a moderate estimate—accepted baptism. But a considerable proportion of them continued to practice Judaism in secret. These crypto-Jews, the Marranos, prospered, rose to high positions at court and in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and intermarried with the aristocracy. After the expulsion of all unrepentant Jews from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1497) the Marranos were regarded with increasing suspicion; many were burned by the Inquisition, the majority emigrated in the sixteenth century to the countries around the Mediterranean, to Holland, England and France. Once in safety, they openly reverted to their faith and, together with the 1492-7 expellees, founded the new Sephardic communities in these countries.

Thus Toynbee's remark about the hybrid ancestry of the upper strata of society in Spain also applies, mutatis mutandis, to the Sephardic communities of Western Europe. Spinoza's parents were Portuguese Marranos, who emigrated to Amsterdam. The old Jewish families of England (who arrived here long before the nineteenth-twentieth century influx from the east), the Montefiores, Lousadas, Montagues, Avigdors, Sutros, Sassoons, etc., all came out of the Iberian mixing bowl, and can claim no purer racial origin than the Ashkenazis—or the Jews named Davis, Harris, Phillips or Hart.

One distressingly recurrent type of event was miscegenation by rape. That too has a long history starting in Palestine. We are told, for example, that a certain Juda ben Ezekial opposed his son marrying a woman who was not of "the seed of Abraham", whereupon his friend U Ma remarked: "How do we know for certain that we ourselves are not descended from the heathens who violated the maidens of Zion at the siege of Jerusalem?" 20 Rape and loot (the amount of the latter often fixed in advance) was considered a natural right of a conquering army.

There is an ancient tradition, recorded by Graetz, which attributes the origin of the earliest Jewish settlements in Germany to

an episode reminiscent of the rape of the Sabine women. According to this tradition, a German unit, the Vangioni who fought with the Roman legions in Palestine, "had chosen from the vast horde of Jewish prisoners the most beautiful women, had brought them back to their stations on the shores of the Rhine and the Main, and had compelled them to minister to the satisfaction of their desires. The children thus begotten of Jewish and German parents were brought up by their mothers in the Jewish faith, their fathers not troubling themselves about them. It is these children who are said to have been the founders of the first Jewish communities between Worms and Mayence." 21

In Eastern Europe rape was even more common. To quote Fishberg again:

Such violent infusion of Gentile blood into the veins of the flock of Israel has been especially frequent in Slavonic countries. One of the favourite methods of the Cossacks to wring out money from the Jews was to take a large number of prisoners, knowing well that the Jews would ransom them. That the women thus ransomed were violated by these semi-savage tribes goes without saying. In fact, the "Council of the Four Lands", at its session in the winter of 1650, had to take cognizance of the poor women and children born to them from Cossack husbands during captivity, and thus restore order in the family and social life of the Jews. Similar outrages were . . . again perpetrated on Jewish women in Russia during the massacres in 1903-5. 22

And yet—to return to the paradox—many people, who are neither racialists nor antiSemites, are convinced that they are able to recognize a Jew at a single glance. How is this possible if Jews are such a hybrid lot as history and anthropology show them to be? Part of the answer, I think, was given by Ernest Renan in 1883: "// n'y a pas un type juif il y a des types juifs." 23 The type of Jew who can be recognized "at a glance" is one particular type among many others. But only a small fraction of fourteen million Jews belong to that particular type, and those who appear to belong to it are by no means always Jews. One of the most prominent features—literally and metaphorically- which is said to characterize that particular type is the nose, variously described as Semitic, aquiline, hooked, or resembling the beak of an eagle (bee d'aigle). But, surprisingly, among 2836 Jews in New York City, Fishberg found that only 14 per cent—i.e., one person in seven—had a hooked nose; while 57 per cent were straight-nosed, 20 per cent were snub-nosed and 6.5 per cent had "flat and broad noses". 24 Other anthropologists came up with smiilar results regarding Semitic noses in Poland and the Ukraine. 25 Moreover, among true Semites, such as pure-bred Bedoums, this form of nose does not seem to occur at all. 26 On the other hand, it is "very frequently met among the various Caucasian tribes, and also in Asia Minor. Among the indigenous races in this region, such as the Armenians, Georgians, Ossets, Lesghians, Aissors, and also the Syrians, aquiline noses are the rule. Among the people living in Mediterranean countries of Europe, as the Greeks, Italians, French, Spanish and Portuguese, the aquiline nose is also more frequently encountered than among the Jews of Eastern Europe. The North American Indians also very often have 'Jewish' noses." 27 .Thus the nose alone is not a very safe guide to identification. Only a minority—a particular type of Jew—seems to have a convex nose, and lots of other ethnic groups also have it. Yet intuition tells one that the anthropologists' statistics must be somehow wrong. An ingenious way out of this conundrum was suggested by Beddoc and Jacobs, who maintained that the "Jewish nose" need not be really convex in profile, and may yet give the impression of being "hooked", due to a peculiar "tucking up of the wings", an infolding of the nostrils.

To prove his point that it is this "nostrility" which provides the illusion of beakedness, Jacobs invites his readers "to write a figure 6 with a long tail (Fig 1); now remove the turn of the twist, as in Fig 2, and much of the Jewishness disappears; and it vanishes entirely when we draw the lower continuation horizontally, as in Fig 3". Ripley, quoting Jacobs, comments: "Behold the transformation! The Jew has turned Roman beyond a doubt. What have we proved then? That there is in reality such a phenomenon as a Jewish nose, even though it be differently constituted from our first assumption [the criterion of convexity].

But is there? Figure 1 could still represent an Italian, or Greek, or Spanish or Armenian, or Red Indian nose, "nostrility" included. That it is a Jewish, and not a Red Indian, Armenian, etc., nose we deduce—at a glance—from the context of other features, including expression, comportment, dress. It is not a process of logical analysis, but rather in the nature of the psychologist's Gestalt perception, the grasping of a configuration as a whole.

Similar considerations apply to each of the facial features considered to be typically Jewish—"sensuous lips"; dark, wavy or crinkly hair; melancholy, or cunning, or bulging or slit Mongol eyes, and so forth. Taken separately, they are common property of the most varied nations; put together, like an identikit, they combine into a prototype of—to say it once more—one particular type of Jew, of Eastern European origin, the type with which we are familiar. But our identi-kit would not fit the various other types of Jews, such as the Sephardim (including their very anglicized descendants in Britain); nor the Slavonic type of Central Europe, nor the blond Teutonic, the slit-eyed Mongoloid, or the crinkly-haired Negroid types of Jews.

Nor can we be sure to recognize with certainty even this limited prototype. The collection of portraits published by Fishberg, or Ripley, can be used for a "believe it or not" game, if you cover the caption indicating whether the portrayed person is Jew or Gentile. The same game can be played on a caf terrace anywhere near the shores of the Mediterranean. It will, of course, remain inconclusive because you cannot walk up to the experimental subject and inquire after his or her religion; but if you play the game in company, the amount of disagreement between the observers' verdicts will be a surprise. Suggestibility also plays a part. "Did you know that Harold is Jewish?" "No, but now that you mention it of course I can see it.," "Did you know that (this or that) royal family has Jewish blood?" "No, but now that you mention it . . . " Hutchinson's Races of Mankind has a picture of three Geishas with the caption: Japanese with Jewish physiognomy. Once you have read the caption you feel: "But of course. How could I have missed it?" And when you have played this game for some time, you begin to see Jewish features—or Khazar features—everywhere.

A further source of confusion is the extreme difficulty of separating hereditary characteristics from those shaped by the social background and other factors in the environment. We have come across this problem when discussing bodily stature as an alleged racial criterion; but the influence of social factors on physiognomy, conduct, speech, gesture and costume works in subtler and more complex ways in assembling the Jewish identikit. Clothing (plus coiffure) is the most obvious of these factors. Fit out anybody with long corkscrew sidelocks, skull-cap, broad-rimmed black hat and long black kaftan, and you recognize at a glance the orthodox Jewish type; whatever his nostrility, he will look Jewish. There are other less drastic indicators among the sartorial preferences of certain types of Jews of certain social classes, combined with accents

and mannerisms of speech, gesture and social behaviour. .It may be a welcome diversion to get away for a moment from the Jews, and listen to a French writer describing how his compatriots can tell an Englishman "at a glance". Michel Leiris, apart from being an eminent writer, is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Staff Member of the Muse de I'Homme:

It is . . . absurd to talk about an English "race" or even to regard the English as being of the "Nordic" race. In point of fact, history teaches that, like all the people of Europe, the English people has become what it is through successive contributions of different peoples. England is a Celtic country, partially colonized by successive waves of Saxons, Danes and Normans from France, with some addition of Roman stock from the age of Julius Caesar onwards. Moreover, while an Englishman can be identified by his way of dressing, or even by his behaviour, it is impossible to tell that he is an Englishman merely from his physical appearance. Among the English, as among other Europeans, there are both fair people and dark, tall men and short, dolichocephalics and brachycephalics. It may be claimed that an Englishman can be readily identified from certain external characteristics which give him a "look" of his own: restraint in gesture (unlike the conventional gesticulating southerner), gait and facial expression, all expressing what is usually included under the rather vague term of "phlegm". However, anyone who made this claim would be likely to be found at fault in many instances, for by no means all the English have these characteristics, and even if they are the characteristics of the "typical Englishman", the fact would still remain that these outward characteristics are not "physique" in the true sense: bodily attitudes and motions and expressions of the face all come under the heading of behaviour; and being habits determined by the subject's social background, are cultural, not "natural". Moreover, though loosely describable as "traits", they typify not a whole nation, but a particular social group within it and thus cannot be included among the distinctive marks of race. 29

However, when Leiris says that facial expressions are not "physique" but "come under the heading of behaviour" he seems to overlook the fact that behaviour can modify the features of individuals and thus leave its stamp on their "physique". One only has to think of certain typical traits in the physiognomies of ageing ham-actors, of priests living in celibacy, of careersoldiers, convicts serving long sentences, sailors, farmers, and so on. Their way of life affects not only their facial expression but also their physical features, thus giving the mistaken impression that these traits are of hereditary or "racial" origin.* [Emenon wrote in his essay "English Traits": "Every religious sect has its physiognomy. The Methodists have acquired a face, the Quakers a face, the nuns a face. An Englishman will point out a dissenter by his manners. Trades and professions carve their own lines on faces and forms."

If I may add a personal observation I frequently met on visits to the United States Central European friends of my youth who emigrated before World War Two and whom I had not seen for some thirty of forty years. Each time I was astonished to find that they not only dressed, spoke, ate and behaved like Americans, but had acquired an American physiognomy. I am unable to describe the change, except that it has something to do with a broadening of the jaw and a certain look in and around the eyes. (An anthropologist friend attributed the former to the increased use of the jaw musculature in American enunciation, and the look as a reflection of the rat-race and the resulting propensity for duodenal ulcers.) I was pleased to discover that this was not due to my imagination playing tricks -for Fishberg, writing in 1910, made a similar observation:

". . . The cast of countenance changes very easily under a change of social environment. I have noted such a rapid change among immigrants to the United States . . . The new physiognomy is best noted when some of these immigrants return to their native homes . . . This fact offers excellent proof that the social elements in which a man moves exercise a profound influence on his physical features." 30

The proverbial melting-pot seems to be producing an American physiognomy—a more or less standardized phenotype emerging from a wide variety of genotypes. Even the pure-bred Chinese and Japanese of the States seem to be affected by the process to some extent. At any rate, one can often recognize an American face "at a glance", regardless of dress and speech, and regardless of its owner's Italian, Polish or German ancestry.

In any discussion of the biological and social inheritance of the Jews, the shadow of the ghetto must loom large. The Jews of Europe and America, and even of North Africa, are children of the ghetto, at no more than four or five generations removed. Whatever their geographical origin, within the ghetto-walls they lived everywhere in more or less the same milieu, subjected for several centuries to the same formative, or deformative, influences.

From the geneticist's point of view, we can distinguish three such major influences: inbreeding, genetic drift, selection.

Inbreeding may have played, at a different period, as large a part in Jewish racial history as its opposite, hybridization. From biblical times to the era of enforced segregation, and again in modern times, miscegenation was the dominant trend. In between, there stretched three to five centuries (according to country) of isolation and inbreeding—both in the strict sense of consanguinous marriages and in the broader sense of endogamy within a small, segregated group. Inbreeding carries the danger of bringing deleterious recessive genes together and allowing them to take effect. The high incidence of congenital idiocy among Jews has been known for a long time, 31 and was in all probability a result of protracted inbreeding—and not, as some anthropologists asserted, a Semitic racial peculiarity. Mental and physical malformations are conspicuously frequent in remote Alpine villages, where most of the tombstones in the churchyard show one of half a dozen family names. There are no Cohens or Levys amongst them. .But inbreeding may also produce champion race-horses through favourable gene combinations. Perhaps it contributed to the production of both cretins and geniuses among the children of the ghetto. It reminds one of Chaim Weizmann's dictum: "The Jews are like other people, only more so." But genetics has little information to offer in this field.

Another process which may have profoundly affected the people in the ghetto is "genetic drift" (also known as the Sewall Wright effect). It refers to the loss of hereditary traits in small, isolated populations, either because none of its founding members happened to possess the corresponding genes, or because only a few possessed them but failed to transmit them to the next generation. Genetic drift can thus produce considerable transformations in the hereditary characteristics of small communities.

The selective pressures active within the ghetto walls must have been of an intensity rarely encountered in history. For one thing, since the Jews were debarred from agriculture, they became completely urbanized, concentrated in towns or shtetls, which became increasingly overcrowded. As a result, to quote Shapiro:

"the devastating epidemics that swept mediaeval cities and towns, would in the long run have been more selective on Jewish populations than on any others, leaving them with progressively greater immunity as time went on . . . and their modern descendants would, therefore, represent the survivors of a rigorous and specific selective process." 32

This, he thinks, may account for the rarity of tuberculosis among Jews, and their relative longevity (amply illustrated by statistics collected by Fishberg).

The hostile pressures surrounding the ghetto ranged from cold contempt to sporadic acts of violence to organized pogroms. Several centuries of living in such conditions must have favoured the survival of the glibbest, the most pliant and mentally resilient; in a word, the ghetto type. Whether such psychological traits are based on hereditary dispositions on which the selective process operates, or are transmitted by social inheritance through childhood conditioning, is a question still hotly disputed among anthropologists. We do not even know to what extent a high IQ is attributable to heredity, and to what extent to milieu. Take, for instance, the Jews' once proverbial abstemiousness which some authorities on alcoholism regarded as a racial trait. 33 But one can just as well interpret it as another inheritance from the ghetto, the unconscious residue of living for centuries under precarious conditions which made it dangerous to lower one's guard; the Jew with the yellow star on his back had to remain cautious and sober, while watching with amused contempt the antics of the "drunken goy". Revulsion against alcohol and other forms of debauch was instilled from parent to child in successive generations—until the memories of the ghetto faded, and with progressive assimilation, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon countries, the alcohol intake progressively increased. Thus abstemiousness, like so many other Jewish characteristics, turned out to be, after all, a matter of social and not biological, inheritance.

Lastly, there is yet another evolutionary process—sexual selection—which may have contributed in producing the traits which we have come to regard as typically Jewish. Ripley seems to have been the first to suggest this (his italics):

"The Jew is radically mixed in the line of racial descent; he is, on the other hand, the legitimate heir to all Judaism as a matter of choice . . .. It affected every detail of their life. Why should it not also react upon their ideal of physical beauty? and why not influence their sexual preferences, as well as determine their choice in marriage? Its results thus became accentuated through heredity" 34

Ripley did not inquire into the ghetto's "ideal of physical beauty". But Fishberg did, and came up with an appealing suggestion: "To the strictly orthodox Jew in Eastern Europe, a strong muscular person is an Esau. The ideal of a son of Jacob was during the centuries before the middle of the nineteenth century, 'a silken young man'." 35 This was a delicate, anaemic, willowy youth with a wistful expression, all brains and no brawn. .But, he continues, "in Western Europe and America there is at present a strong tendency in the opposite direction. ManyJews are proud of the fact that they do not look like Jews. Considering this, it must be acknowledged that there is hardly a glowing future for the so-called 'Jewish' cast of countenance." 36

Least of all, we may add, among young Israelis.


In Part One of this book I have attempted to trace the history of the Khazar Empire based on the scant existing sources. .In Part Two, Chapters V-VII, I have compiled the historical evidence which indicates that the bulk of Eastern Jewry—and hence of world Jewry—is of Khazar-Turkish, rather than Semitic, origin.

In this last chapter I have tried to show that the evidence from anthropology concurs with history in refuting the popular belief in a Jewish race descended from the biblical tribe.

From the anthropologist's point of view, two groups of facts militate against this belief: the wide diversity of Jews with regard to physical characteristics, and their similarity to the Gentile population amidst whom they live. Both are reflected in the statistics about bodily height, cranial index, blood-groups, hair and eye colour, etc. Whichever of these anthropological criteria is taken as an indicator, it shows a greater similarity between Jews and their Gentile hostnation than between Jews living in different countries. To sum up this situaton, I have suggested the formulae:

Ga-J a < Ja-J b|


Ga-Gb =J a -J b.

The obvious biological explanation for both phenomena is miscegenation, which took different forms in different historical situations: intermarriage, large-scale proselytizing, rape as a constant (legalized or tolerated) accompaniment of war and pogrom.

The belief that, notwithstanding the statistical data, there exists a recognizable Jewish type is based largely, but not entirely on various misconceptions. It ignores the fact that features regarded as typically Jewish by comparison with nordic people cease to appear so in a Mediterranean environment; it is unaware of the impact of the social environment on physique and countenance; and it confuses biological with social inheritance.

Nevertheless, there exist certain hereditary traits which characterize a certain type of contemporary Jew. In the light of modern population-genetics, these can to a large degree be attributed to processes which operated for several centuries in the segregated conditions of the ghetto: inbreeding, genetic drift, selective pressure. The last-mentioned operated in several ways: natural selection (e.g., through epidemics), sexual selection and, more doubtfully, the selection of character-features favouring survival within the ghetto walls.

In addition to these, social heredity, through childhood conditioning, acted as a powerful formative and deformative factor.

Each of these processes contributed to the emergence of the ghetto type. In the postghetto period it became progressively diluted. As for the genetic composition and physical appearance of the pre-ghetto stock, we know next to nothing. In the view presented in this book, this "original stock" was predominantly Turkish mixed to an unknown extent with ancient Palestinian and other elements. Nor is it possible to tell which of the so-called typical features, such as the "Jewish nose", is a product of sexual selection in the ghetto, or the manifestation of a particularly "persistent" tribal gene. Since "nostrility" is frequent among Caucasian peoples, and infrequent among the Semitic Bedouins, we have one more pointer to the dominant role played by the "thirteenth tribe" in the biological history of the Jews.