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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/183

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169
THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

of the Rhone-Rhine-Frankfort route. They are, no doubt, partially in the right; but the mere geographer would rather be inclined to side with Jacques.[1] He doubts whether entirely artificial causes, even mediæval persecutions, would be quite competent for so large a contract. There is certainly some truth in Harkavy's theory, so obly championed by Ikof (1884), that a goodly proportion of these Jews came into Poland by a direct route from the East. Most Jewish scholars had placed their first appearance in southern and eastern Russia, coming around the Black Sea, as early as the eighth century. Ikof, however, finds them in the Caucasus and Armenia one or two centuries before Christ. Then he follows them around, reaching Ruthenia in the tenth and eleventh centuries, arriving in Poland from the twelfth to the fourteenth. The only difficulty with this theory is, of course, that it leaves the language of the Polish Jews out of consideration. This is, in both Poland and Galicia, a corrupted form of German, which in itself would seem to indicate a western origin. On the other hand, the probabilities, judging from our graphic representation, would certainly emphasize the theory of a more general eastern immigration directly from Palestine north of the Black and Caspian Seas. The only remaining mode of accounting for the large center of gravity in Russia is to trace it to widespread conversions, as the historic one of the Khozars. Whichever one of these theories be correct—and there is probability of an equal division of truth among them all—enough has been said to lead us geographically to suspect the alleged purity of descent of the Ashkenazim Jew. Let us apply the tests of physical anthropology.

Stature.—A noted writer, speaking of the sons of Judah, observes: "It is the Ghetto which has produced the Jew and the Jewish race; the Jew is a creation of the European middle ages; he is the artificial product of hostile legislation." This statement is fully authenticated by a peculiarity of the Israelites which is everywhere noticeable. The European Jews are all undersized; not only this, they are more often absolutely stunted. In London they are about three inches shorter than the average for the city. Whether they were always so, as in the days when the Book of Numbers (xiii, 33) described them "as grasshoppers in their own sight," as compared with the Amorites, sons of Anak, we leave an open question. We are certain, however, as to the modern Jew. He betrays a marked constancy in Europe at the bodily height of about five feet four inches (1.63 metre) for adult men. This, according to the data afforded by measurements of our recruits during the civil war, is about the average of American youth between the ages of fifteen and sixteen,


  1. 1891.