(Chapter XII, section 20)


The brachycephalized Jews:
Asia and Central Europe
162


Our study of the Alpine peoples and their mixed derivatives leads directly to that of the European and central Asiatic Jews, for their racial history is an intimate part of the problem of Central European brachycephaly, and deserves treatment in that connection. At the same time, the Jews cannot be treated as a geographical unit; they are ubiquitous within certain economic and cultural horizons. Their distribution is definitely limited, but its limits are not fundamentally spatial. For this reason their racial character has been affected more by social and economic considerations than by latitude and longitude.

In Chapter XI, section 7, we have already surveyed the racial position of the Sephardic Jews, i.e., the descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal in 1492, as well as of the Oriental Jews who live in the stretch of racial territory extending from Morocco to Iran. By means of this survey we have established the existence of a definite and very constant Jewish racial entity, variable within itself but varying equally in all geographical groups. This Jewish racial entity is almost purely Mediterranean, and is the result of the combining of several Mediterranean types in Palestine and elsewhere during the courses of Jewish history. Having established what appears to be the basic Jewish racial entity, our next step is to discover what alterations this entity has undergone in the course of the complex history of the Ashkenazic Jews in Europe and of the Oriental Jews living in parts of Asia other than those already studied.

Let us first study the Jews of Turkestan, who are descended from offshoots of the ancient Persian colony, and who were isolated from the rest of the Jewish world for several centuries before the Russian occupation of the central Asiatic khanates. These Jews have been made the subjects of an especially thorough study and merit detailed attention.163

In the first place, the Jews of Bokhara and Samakand are the same, and seem in turn to be identical with those living in Herat in Afghanistan. Thus these northeastern and eastern Jewish peoples who speak a Persian dialect form a single racial unit. They are of moderate stature, 166 cm., nearly the same as the Tajiks among whom they (the Bokharan Jews) have lived for over a millennium. They are narrower-shouldered than the Tajiks, shorter-trunked, and longer-legged; their bodily proportions preserve more of a Mediterranean racial character. Their heads are absolutely short, with a mean length of 180 mm.; narrower than those of the Tajiks, with a mean breadth of 153 mm., but fully brachycephalic, with a mean cephalic index of 85. Despite this brachycephalization they preserve distinctive traits in the diameters of the face; their minimum frontal mean is 104 mm., their bizygomatic, 139 mm., and bigonial, 104 mm. Thus they are definitely narrower in all three dimensions than their non-Jewish neighbors, are not much wider in the essential facial diameters than long-headed Jews. Their interorbital (31.3 mm.) and biorbital diameters (90.9 mm.) diameters are narrower than those of other central Asiatic peoples; they have thus also preserved the original Jewish narrowness between the eyes. Their faces, with a mean length of 125.4 mm. are 2 mm. longer than those of their neighbors; their noses, with a mean length of 57 mm., also 2 mm. longer. Their facial index of 90.5 is leptoprosopic, their nasal index, 62, 3 to 4 points lower than those of the narrowest noses of the other peoples of Turkestan with whom they are in contact.

Metrically, therefore, it would be wrong to infer from the cephalic index alone that the Bokharan Jews were simply Judaized Tajiks, or Sarts, or Judaized Turkestan people in general; what they actually are is brachycephalized Jews, who have preserved their Mediterranean facial characters almost intact.

They are almost all brunet-white in skin color, lighter than the Tajiks as a whole; in eye color, 57 per cent are purely brunet, and mostly light brown, while of the mixed eyes, the great majority are dark-mixed. Fifty per cent have black head hair; 40 per cent, dark brown; and another 10 per cent, brown to blond. In their general pigment character they are approximately the same as the mountain Tajiks, but somewhat lighter than those of the oases. They are, however, as heavily bearded as the Tajiks, and as abundantly supplied with body hair.

They are mostly ellipsoid in facial form, and have much less malar projection than the Tajiks, in fact their malars are usually compressed, in great contrast to those of the partly mongoloid Sarts and Uzbegs. In their nose form their non-mongoloid and non-Alpine character is fully expressed; 44 per cent have convex profiles, 40 per cent straight, and 9 per cent wavy, while only 7 per cent are concave, The tip is depressed in 37 per cent of cases. To match the nasal convexity and tip depression is a 17 per cent ratio of occipital flattening, and a high incidence of small, slanting ears.

The observational material confirms the metrical data; the Jews of Russian Turkestan are true Palestinian Mediterraneans who have been brachycephalized by a process of Dinaricization; the agent of brachycephalization is Alpine, and undoubtedly the same as the Alpine element among the Tajik. The Turkish and Mongol invasions of Turkestan, which brought much mongoloid blood to the general population, have left the Jews almost unaffected. One case of epicanthus observed by Vishnevsky alone provides an exception.

If the endogamy of the Bokharan Jews has been sufficient to exclude mongoloid influences almost entirely, it has also preserved a Jewish racial type since before the mongoloid arrival. The amount of Alpine infusion necessary to generate the brachycephalization of this people must have been slight. Some of it may, indeed, have been acquired in transit across northern Persia. The lesson taught by this particular study is that brachycephaly among Jews does not in itself imply the absence of a basic Palestinian racial character.

Let us continue our study of brachycephalized Oriental Jews who live in various geographical units derived from different Jewish sources. The Jews of Asia Minor are descendants of the Byzantine Jews, reënforced by many Sephardim. In Kurdistan there is a very old settlement of Aramaic-speaking Jews, who have no rabbis but who worship the tombs of prophets, and who live with the Kurds symbiotically as traders and makers of jewelry for the Kurdish women. In the Caucasus there are Jewish settlements dating back, according to local tradition, to Assyrian times, but historically these settlements were first mentioned in the fifth century A.D., and the Jews who composed them were said to have come from Persia. The main Jewish section of the Caucasus is Daghestan, in Lesghian country; the Jews here, numerous in the time of the Khazars, are now scattered in a few mountain villages, and speak the same Persian dialect as do the Tats. Another group of Jews, known as Georgian Jews, lives in Georgia, especially in Tiflis.

In the Crimea there are still settlements of Karaite Jews, who speak the Jagatai Turkish of the Khazars, as do the Krimchaks, but the latter are rabbinical whereas the Karaites are not, and the Krimchaks have absorbed Jews from Italy. Some of the Karaites are found in small colonies in Poland and Lithuania, as well as in the Crimea.

The Jews of the Caucasus164 including the mountain Jews of Daghestan, the Georgian Jews, and the Shemakha Jews who live in Azerbaijan, are highly brachycephalic. Metrically, samples of all these groups are much alike, with mean statures ranging from 163 to 166 cm., and cephalic indices of 85 and 86. They are all predominantly brunet, and have straight or convex nasal profiles. Their faces are of medium length (125 mm.), and broader than those of the Bokharan Jews (141 mm. ca.). They are, however, still extremely leptorrhine, with nasal indices of 59 to 63. The general racial character is Dinaric, with more Alpine mixed with the original Jewish Mediterranean strains than in Turkestan. It is a mistake to call them Armenoid, for their faces and noses do not approach those of the Armenians in either length or breadth. Any Armenian can distinguish with ease between a fellow Armenian and a Jew, and the distinction is substantiated metrically.

Little difference may be found between the Karaite Jews of the Crimea,165 whose relatives contributed a small but renowned element to the composition of the European Ashkenazim body, and those of the Caucasus. The mean stature of the Karaites is 164.5 cm., their mean cephalic index 85, their nasal index 60; 75 per cent of them are brunet, but 5 per cent are light or prevailingly light in complexion. Their facial dimensions are the same as those of the Caucasus Jews, and the same conclusions drawn in regard to the latter apply to the Karaites.

Karaites living outside of the Crimea, however, have failed to preserve their characteristic metrical position. Those settled in the Egyptian Delta166 have a mean cephalic index of 74.6 and are little different from other Egyptian Jews, while Karaites of Lithuania167 have a mean cephalic index of 81, a stature of 162 cm., and 55 per cent of fair skin color and an equal amount of mixed eye hues. Over 40 per cent have also brown or light brown hair color. Concave noses, the antithesis of a Jewish condition, are found among 50 per cent, while nasal convexity is almost entirely absent. The Lithuanian Karaites have apparently been thoroughly mixed with Neo-Danubian peoples either locally or in transit; their stature level is very low, but this may be accounted for environmentally. On the basis of available data, there is little to connect the Lithuanian Karaites with those of the Crimea, except their retention of brunet pigmentation in nearly half the group. However, further data than is now available would be needed to make this conclusion certain.

Having reviewed the racial characters of the rest of the Jews in Europe, North Africa, and Asia, insofar as available data have permitted, we are now faced with the task of studying the Ashkenazim. These modern central European Jews, concentrated in the Ukraine, White Russia, northern Rumania, Galicia, Poland in general, Lithuania, Germany, Bohemia, and Austria, have been subjected to considerable study, especially those living in Poland and Lithuania and the countries to the east.168

These studies, especially that of Fishberg, show a number of important points clearly. One is that the Jews as a whole, without regard to specific political divisions, form an ethnic community with as much statistical homogeneity as do most ethnic groups which have elsewhere been treated as units. Although varied in racial origin and varied individually, in the racial characters measured, the usual distribution pattern is an approximation to a bell-shaped curve. The Ashkenazim of eastern Europe, at least, form a biological unit. This is only to be expected when one considers the spatial mobility of the Jews in history, and, by contrast, their endogamy within the larger religious community.

Another is that stature among the Ashkenazim is environmentally and socially conditioned to a large extent, and geographically variable in a much lesser degree. Mean statures for regional groups vary from 162 cm. to 167 cm., with a general mean around the figure 164 cm. In rough way, the stature level corresponds to that of the local Gentiles, but is one or two centimeters lower in each region. in England, wher the Jews have enjoyed relatively favorable living conditions, and in America among the American born Jews, the stature rises to high levels. In Europe, indoor workers such as tailors and shoemakers have the smallest statures, professional men the tallest; the occupational range is from 160 cm. to over 170 cm. Since the mean stature of the Palestinian Jews was at least 166 cm. in the days before the Diaspora, and since the purely Jewis element in the modern Jewish body must almost everywhere be potentially as tall as that of the Gentiles among whom they live, if not taller, the short stature of eastern European Jews as a whole is, therefore, entirely a reflection of environmental and occupational forces. Their rapid size increase on American soil, in response to better living conditions and perhaps also to a relief from a constant nervous tension, may be partly interpreted as a fulfilment of their genetic possibilities and cannot necessarily be claimed as something entirely new. In the same sense, the inferior chest diameters of the East European Jews, once considered a racial character, are seen to rise to the non-Jewish standard in America.

The head form of the Ashkenazim is relatively constant within the regions of maximum Jewish concentration; in Germany the mean cephalic index for Jews is about 81, rising to 83.5 in Baden; in Galicia again it reaches the level of Baden, and in Bukovina attains 84, but elsewhere, from Austria to the Ukraine and Lithuania, it centers about the mean of 82. There is a slight tendency for the cephalic index level to vary regionally as does that of the corresponding Gentiles, but this tendency is neither strong nor wholly consistent. It is chiefly manifest in the relatively high indices in Galicia and Bukovina. Everywhere in central and eastern Europe, except in comparatively long-headed regions such as Moldavia, the Jews are less brachycephalic than the Gentiles. The central European Jews have been only partly brachycephalized, less so than the Christians, and in view of their wide geographical spread, have maintained a remarkable racial continuity in head form.

A third consideration, that of pigmentation, is found to agree in principle with stature and with head form; the Jews are mainly brunet, with about 55 per cent of dark hair and eye color combinations, and less than 10 per cent which can be construed as blond. In countries where the Gentiles are predominantly blond, or more blond than brunet, the Jews are relatively dark; in countries such as Rumania where the Gentiles are prevailingly brunet, the Jews are blonder than the Gentiles. The Jews have, therefore, struck a pigment balance which is as constant as their balance in head form.

In the dimensions of the head and face, the Jews have likewise developed certain consistencies which operate regardless of geography. The head length is always, except in socially selected groups, less than 190 mm., and often less than 185 mm. The bizygomatic is less than 140 mm., with the same exceptions, and usually stands at the level of 135 mm. or 136 mm., and the nose breadth mean ranges usually between 34 and 36 mm. The vertical diameters of the face and nose are, in existing material, seldom reliable, but there is reason to believe that the upper face height is relatively long in reference to the total face height, which is a Mediterranean racial character. Convexity of the nose, a popular diagnostic of Jews, is usually found in far fewer than 50 per cent; straight noses are in all regional Jewish groups the commonest of profile forms, while, in southern Russia, concave profiles are more frequent than convex.

The physical composition of the central European Jewish body has not been difficult to determine. The Ashkenazim are a reasonably uniform people in a statistical sense; furthermore, many of their metrical characters, as far as we know them, are not markedly different from those of their Mediterranean Jewish ancestors. The facial diameters, for example, relate them closely to the Mediterranean prototype, in strong contrast to the broader faces of the Alpines and Neo-Danubians among whom most of them live. The head form, on the other hand, shows a partial brachycephalization which must be due to the absorption of Gentile blood. At the same time the presence of a strong minority with mixed or light pigmentation makes such an absorption necessary. The Jews are not simply Judaized central Europeans; they are central-Europeanized Jews.

It has been remarked by some anthropologists that the Jews look "Armenoid," and that this Armenoid appearance must be due either to Hittite admixture or to a sojourn in Asia Minor before their arrival in Europe. This remark implies a misunderstanding of Jewish history as well as of the nature of the Armenoid race. Many Ashkenazic Jews, it is true, possess the combination of a brachycephalic head with a narrow face and convex nose, but there is not enough Alpine in the Jewish body to make this Dinaricization prevalent or standard. It is found among blond as well as brunet Jews, and is an individual rather than a group phenomenon.

Individual central European Jews vary greatly in facial and cranial appearance. Among them may be picked out without trouble apparently pure Palestinian types; the convex-nosed, long-faced sub-type, which is frequently found among Sephardim, and is especially known to the world through the faces of Disraeli and Lord Reading in England, is on the whole rare among Ashkenazim; the straight-nosed, more typically Mediterranean form, such as is represented by the actors Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor, is much commoner. Leon Trotsky represents a brachycephalic, Dinaricized Jewish type, and Albert Einstein is a good example of another.

Among Russian Jews it is not difficult to select individuals with large malars, broad, snubbed noses, and high alveolar segments of the upper face, who are as nearly mongoloid as many Volga Finns. Among German Jews may be found individuals who are to all purposes Nordic, and others who belong to the Borreby race, which is the most numerous single type among Gentiles in Germany. Alpine Jews are commoner than the incidence of Alpines in central and eastern Europe would perhaps warrant, and some of their Alpinism must have been derived from their sojourn in France and in the Rhinelands before their march eastward across central Europe.

On historical grounds it is very likely that the ancestors of the Ashkenazim mixed more with Gentiles in western Europe, before the time of the first Crusade, than their more recent forebears have in Slavic countries. The heavy beard growth, the abundance of the body hair, and the wavy hair form of many brachycephalic Jews imply a French or German Alpine infusion rather than any racial increment which they could have assimilated in Slavic countries. The racial contribution of the western Jews to the Ashkenazic body seems to have been far greater than that of their Byzantine and Crimean colleagues.

Although all of the racial types enumerated above, and, in fact, every racial type known in Europe, may be picked out of the Jewish body, most of the Jews represent a blend in one way or other of several of them, and most of them, for one reason or another, look Jewish.169 There can be no doubt that the original Mediterranean blend of Palestine is the most important. If one were to hazard a guess, one might suggest that it actually accounted for more than half of the whole; that it is strongest in Poland, and weakest in Germany. As with the Bokharan Jews, its most persistent metrical features in mixture are to be found in the facial dimensions. A careful study of the soft parts of the nose might reveal further persistences, but there are apparently no corresponding peculiarities of the facial skeleton.170

The central European Jews have lived in central Europe since the beginning of the period when the Germans and Slavs began to grow brachycephalic. Their recent racial history has, therefore, run parallel in time to that of their Gentile neighbors, in comparison with whom they must have remained relatively constant. The racial character of the South Germans, of the Poles, and of the Russians, has changed much more during the last millennium than has that of the Jews. The modifications which the latter have undergone in one generation in America are as great in some respects as those which have affected their ancestors in twenty.171


 


Notes:

162 Here as in Chapter II, section 7, I wish to express my gratitude to Professor Harry Wolfson for elucidating the historical and cultural aspects of the Jewish racial problem.

163 Weissenberg, S., MAGW, vol. 43, 1914, pp. 257—272.
Vishnevsky, B. N., ACIA, 3me sess., 1927, pp. 234—248.
Professor Vishnevsky has given me permission to use the detailed data of his Turkestan Jewish series, along with those of his Tajik series.

164 Chantre, E., Récherches anthropologiques dans l'Asie Occidentale.
Dzhavakhov, A. N., RAJ, vol. 8, 1912, pp. 57-75.
Weissenberg, S., AFA, ns. vol. 10, 1911, pp. 233—239,

165 Weissenberg, S., AFA, vol. 34, 1907, PP. 219—220.

166 Weissenberg, S., MAGW, vol. 42, 1912, pp. 85—102.

167 Talko-Hryncewicz, J., MAAE, vol. 7, 1904, pp. 44—100.

168 Fishberg, M., ANYA, vol. 16, part 2, 1905, pp. 155—297 is the most exhaustive single treatise, and contains a bibliography of previous works.

Other works used in the present study include:

Beddoe, J., TESL, vol. 1, part 2, 1861, pp. 222—237.
Davenport, C., and Love, A., Army Anthropometry.
Deckert, E., ZFE, vol. 9, 1877, PP. 39—41.
Dubowski, W., Résumé in AFA, vol. 14, 1883, pp. 61—71.
Fligier, C., MAGW, vol. 9, 1880, pp. 155—157.
Guthe, C., AJPA, vol. 1, 1918, pp. 213—223.
Himmel, H., MAGW, vol. 18, 1888, pp. 83—84.
Hrdli&a, A., The Old Americans.
Jacobs, J., JRAI, vol. 15, 1886, pp. 23—62.
Lempertowna, G., Kosmos, vol. 52, 1927, pp. 782—819.
Lipiec, M., MAGW, vol. 42, 1912, pp. 115—195; ACIA, 2me sess., 1926.
Kossovitch, N., and Benoit, F., RDAP, vol. 42, 1932, pp. 99—125.
Majer, J., and Kopernicki, I., ZWAK, vol. 9, 1885, pp. 1—92.
Pantuchow, J. J., PRAO, vol. 1, 1888, pp. 26—30; Résumé in AFA, vol. 26, 1899, pp. 211—213.
Pittard, E., Les Peuples des Balkans.
Rutkowski, L., MAAE, vol. 2, 1910, pp. 65—121.
Sailer, K., ZFMA, vol. 32, 1933, pp. 125—131.
Talko-Hryncewicz, J., ZWAK, vol. 16, 1892; Résumé in MAGW, vol. 21, 1891, p.63.
Weissenberg, S., AFA, vol. 23, 1894—95, pp. 347—423, 531—579; ZFE, vol. 44, 1912, pp.269—274.
Wiazemsky, Prince, Anth, vol. 22, 1911, pp. 197—201.

169 See Chapter XI, section 7, pp. 441—442.

170 Matiegka, J., AnthPr, vol. 4, 1926, pp. 163—219.

171 For the question of changes in American Jews, see Boas, F., ZFE, vol. 45, 1913, pp. 1—22, and also, Morant, G. M., and Samson, O., Biometrika, vol. 28, 1936, pp. 1—31.