Racial Biology of the Jews
“Jewry was and is a religion; but never a race” is the final conclusion at which the Jew M. Fishberg arrives in his book, Die Rassenmerkmale der Juden (The Racial Characteristics of Jews), Munich, 1913. A large number of similar opinions of Jewish authors could be quoted additionally. Among the opinions of Jewish authors, however, there are also opposing ones. Thus, we find in the book by F.A. Theilhaber, Der Untergang der deutschen Juden (The Decline of the German Jews), Munich, 1911, the remarkable passage:
“Inbreeding guarantees the only objective Jewish identification and maintains the racial nature of Jews, while the adherence to the Jewish religion represents the subjective aspect of belonging to the Jewish group.”
Thus, within the Jews’ own ranks there is not only to be found denial but also recognition of the racial aspect as their own identification and differentiation from their host populations.
Much confusion has been caused by the improper formulation of the question, “Are Jews a race?” The term”race,” a scientific anthropology, cannot immediately be aplied to Jews. As we heard in the lecture by Professor Fischer (Rassenentstehung und älteste Rassengeschichte der Hebräer” (Racial Origin and Earliest Racial History of the Hebrews), Forschungen zur Judenfrage, Vol. III, pp. 121-136), the Jews have developed from various racial roots.
They consist of a number of races which are contrasted as a foreign element to the races of our nation. By means of this simple formulation we have not yet sufficiently grasped the racial-biological problem of the Jews as we encounter it today. The racial history of the Jews during the past 2,000 years must be taken into consideration. The inherently astonishing phenomenon that an ethnic group could presever itself so long without a territory (The Teutons lost their ethnic identity in southeastern Europe and northern Africa within centuries (The Nordic racial admixture which the Teutons imparted to those countries can be noticed even today)) has been explained too unilaterally simply by the racial characteristics of Jews and their genetic isolation. The community of religion, the special education through the Talmud and the idea of being a chosen people have maintained themselves with such force that during the course of history individuals and even groups of people could be absorbed into Jewry by marriage and conversion without their being any change in the characteristics of Jews. Taken as a whole, the Jews have remained racially isolated within the other nations.
Quite the contrary conclusions have been drawn from the history of the Jews for the judging of the racial question: Some emphasize the preservation of the original racial character while others speak of an “adaptation” of the Jews to the racial characteristics of their host populations. The attempt is made to substantiate this by individual pictures of “Nordic,” “Ethiopian,” “Indian” of even “Mongolian” Jews. Even the strictest laws cannot erect any absolute barriers between human beings when they live together, “Border crssings’ cannot be avoided forever and the occurance of persons of mixed races is the result. (I am grateful to Karl Georg Kuhn for pointing out that in some cases it also could be a matter of missionized Jews)
In order not to encumber the invtestigation of the racial biology of modern Jews with any hypotheses, I shall first give a description of the jews simlly confined to those living in central Europe. The purpsoe of this description shall be to separate the genetic from the non-genetic characteristics in order to reach th eobjective of recognizing the genetic differences between Germans (i.e., persons of German extractin; “of German or racially related heritage.” [Translator’s note: The phrase “deutschen order artverwandten Blutes” is a formulation taken from the German racial laws of 1935]) and Jews. From this position of hereditary biological m akeup, which has its foundation in laws of nature that are generally recognized today, it will be easier to arrive at a clear insight into th racial-biologicla problem of the Jewish question.
If two groups of human beings are compared with one another, it must first be observed that every characteristic within a group has a certain more or less wide-ranging variatinal latitude. A distinguishing difference in a characteristic is then present f the variational latitude of th eone group does not overlap with that of the other group, i.e., charactreistics of one group do not occur in the other group.
The observation of such a characteristic then clearly establishes the membership of a human being. Such characteristics that are absolutely typical of a race are, for example, the black skin color of the Negro races, the “fil-fil” or peppercorn hair of th eBushmen and the slanitng upper eylid fold of the Mongolians. These characteristics do not occur among person of German extraction. By such characteristics one would immediately be able to recognize the strain of a foreign race. Such an individual characteristic by which Jew could be recognized with absolute certainty is not known.
All individual characteristics of the German racial groups are also found in individual Jews and characteristics typical of Jews do not prove with certainty a Jewish strain in the ancestry of a person of German extraction when they occur isolated in him. The racial characteristics of the Jews (preponderantly Near Eastern-Oriental) can also have come to us- through non-Jews in individual cases. Obviously, those are rare exceptions; as a rule we are correct in our racial diagnosis, which, however, is always based on the observation of typical combinations of characteristics.
Between a group of Germans and a group of Jews the differences can easily be observed because the distribution curve in many characteristics is a clearly different one. The mean values are different as well as characteristic types which occur with greatest frequency. Nevertheless the curves of distribution of characteristics overlap. It is thus a question of gradual differences as they are, in most cases, expressed in frequency differences. A decision from the characteristic as to the membership in one group or the other can then be made only with greater or lesser probability. .
After these general preliminary remarks, we are going to discuss the characteristics, one by one, by which the Jews are differentiated from the persons of German extraction. As the first group of characteristics we shall observe the normal physical features, the racial characteristics in the narrower sense of the word. Thereafter the sicknesses and the psychological characteristic will undergo a discussion.
As the medium height of the Jews, values between 161 cm and 164 cm [2.54 cm=l inch] are found for the male sex. If we compare this measurement with the anthropological data which are recorded in Deutsche Rassenkunde ("German Anthropology"), published by Eugen Fischer and now comprising 16 volumes, we find that all German comparative groups have a higher average height, between 166 cm ana 173 cm. Height of the body is, aside from certain environmental variations, a preponderantly genetically determined characteristic.
During the course of growth, differences occur by virtue of the fact that rather generally sexual maturity begins earlier in the case of the Jews. The beginning of menstruation in the case of Jewesses occurs l/2 to .1 year earlier than in groups in comparable climatic and social circumstances. Even if the onset of puberty is changed by external influences such as climate, urban life and occupational activity, racial differences manifest themselves. The early maturity of Jewish children is manifested in the physical as well as psychological areas.
In the growth ratios of the body the Jew is characterized as follows: In relation to the length of the torso the length of the legs is not as great, frequently resulting in the impression of a squat build. The arms are also relatively short. Hands and feet are often narrow. On the legs, which are frequently crooked, a weak calf musculature is often quite noticeable. The musculature and connective tissue exhibit a flabbiness which is caused in part by a lack of use and bodily exercise, but also in part by a hereditary tendency. As a result of these factors, one often observes a flat chest, a round back, a limp posture and the so frequent tendency to flat feet. According to Salaman, among the enlisted men of the English army during the war flat feet were found in a frequency of 1 to 40 the English soldiers and in a frequency of 1 to 6 in the Jewish soldiers. Of course, these body ratios have an effect on the gait, which is described as soft or slinking, or ,as groping, dragging or shuffling.
The head of the Jew is of medium size. In the majority of cases it is short to medium. The comparable German groups show in part larger measurements, and some groups also narrower heads in the length-breadth ratio without the differences being particularly noticeable.
Pronounced differences can be seen in the soft parts of the