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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/182

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168
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

all through the Alpine highlands, especially in the Tyrol. These districts are so essentially agricultural that few footholds for the Jew are to be found.

A small secondary center of Jewish aggregation appears upon our map to be manifested about Frankfort. It has a peculiar significance. The Hebrew settlers in the Rhenish cities date from the third century at least, having come there over the early trade routes from the Mediterranean. Germany being divided politically, and Russia interdicting them from 1110, a specific center was established, especially in Franconia, Frankfort being the focus of attraction. Then came the fearful persecutions all over Europe, attendant upon the religious fervor of the Crusades. The Polish kings, desiring to encourage the growth of their city populations, offered the rights of citizenship to all who would come, and an exodus in mass took place. They seem to have been welcomed, till the proportions of the movement became so great as to excite alarm. Its results appear upon our map. Thus we know that many of the Jews of Poland came to Russia as a troublesome legacy on the division of that kingdom. At the end of the sixteenth century but three German cities remained open to them—namely, Frankfort, Worms, and Furth.[1] Yet it was obviously impossible to uproot them entirely. To their persistence in this part of Germany is probably due the small secondary center of Jewish distribution, which we have mentioned, indicated by the darker tint about Frankfort, and including Alsace-Lorraine. Here is a relative frequency, not even exceeded by Posen, although we generally conceive of this former Polish province as especially saturated with Jews. It is the only vestige remaining to indicate what was at one time the main focus of Jewish population in Europe. It affords us a striking example of what legislation may accomplish ethnically, when supplemented, or rather aggravated, by religious and economic motives.

Does it accord with geographical probability to derive our large dark area of present Jewish aggregation entirely from the small secondary one about Frankfort, which, as we have just said, is the relic of a mediæval center of gravity? The question is a crucial one for the alleged purity of the Russian Jew; for the longer his migrations over the face of the map, the greater his chance of ethnic intermixture. A moot point among Jewish scholars is, as to the extent of this exodus from Germany into Poland. Bershadski has done much to show its real proportions in history. Talko-Hryncewicz[2] and Weissenberg,[3] among anthropologists, seem to be inclined to derive this great body of Polish Jews from Palestine by way


  1. J. C. Majer (1862) ascribes the shortness of stature in Furth to this Jewish influence,
  2. 1892.
  3. 1895, p. 577.