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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/181

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167
THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

east, it is curious to note how rapidly the percentage of Jews decreases as we pass over into Great Russia. The governments of St. Petersburg, Novgorod, and Moscow have no greater Jewish contingent of population than has France or Italy; their Jewish problem is far less difficult than that of our own country is bound to be in the future. This clearly defined eastern boundary of Judenthum is also the product of prohibitive legislation. The Jews are by law confined within certain provinces. A rigid law of settlement, intended to circumscribe their area of density closely, yields only to the persuasion of bribery. Not Russia, then, but southwestern Russia alone, is deeply concerned over the actual presence of this alien population. And it is the Jewish element in this small section of the country which constitutes such an industrial and social menace to the neighboring empires of Germany and Austria. In the latter country the Jews seem to be increasing in numbers almost four times as rapidly as the native population. The more elastic boundaries of Jewish density on the southeast, on the other hand, are indicative of the legislative tolerance which the Israelites there enjoy. Wherever the bars are lowered, there does this migratory human element at once expand.

The peculiar problems of Jewish distribution are only half realized until it is understood that, always and everywhere, the Israelites constitute pre-eminently the town populations.[1] They are not widely disseminated among the agricultural districts, but congregate in the commercial centers. It is an unalterable characteristic of this peculiar people. The Jew betrays an inherent dislike for hard manual or outdoor labor, as for physical exercise or exertion in any form. He prefers to live by brain, not brawn. Leroy-Beaulieu seems to consider this as an acquired characteristic due to mediæval prohibition of land ownership or to confinement within the Ghetto. To us it appears to be too constant a trait the world over to justify such a hypothesis. Fully to appreciate, therefore, what the Jewish question is in Polish Russia, we must always bear this fact in mind. The result is that in many parts of Poland the Jews form an actual majority of the population in the towns. This is the danger for Germany also. Thus it is Berlin, not Prussia at large, which is threatened with an overload of Jews from the country on the east. This aggregation in urban centers becomes the more marked as the relative frequency for the whole country lessens. Thus in Saxony, which, being industrial, is not a favorite Jewish center, four fifths of all the Jewish residents are found in Dresden and Leipsic alone.[2] This is probably also the reason for the lessened frequency of Jews


  1. This is clearly shown by Schimmer in Statistische Monatsschrift, vii, pp. 489 et seq.
  2. See also map in Kettler, 1880.