Translated from the German by
Charles E. Weber, Ph.D.
The August-September 1983 issue of Liberty Bell contains my translation of and introduction to an article by the German geneticist, Baron Otmar von Verschuer, in which its author describes the genetically determined morphological, pathological and psychological differences between Jews and northern Europeans. This article was taken from the third volume of the series, Forschungen fur Judenfrage, published by the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt in Hamburg in 1938. The following article by Eugen Fischer immediately precedes von Verschuor’s article.
The peculiar, almost unique advantage of the Forschungen zur Judenfage lies in the fact that in them distinguished scholars and scientists examined various aspects of the Jewish question from a non-Jewish point of view. Of the more than thirty scholars and scientists who contributed to the series, perhaps none was more famous than the anthropologist Eugen Fischer, the author of the article presented below in English translation. Fischer (1874-1967) held academic posts in Würzburg (where Röntgen had discovered X-Rays in 1895), Freiburg and Berlin. He was also a director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Genetics and Eugenics.
In 1913 Fischer published a study, Die Rehobother Bastaards und das Bastardierungsproblem beim Menschen (The Rehoboth Bastaards and the Problem of Cross-Breeding in Man). The subjects of this study were the persons of mixed racial descent (European men and Hottentot women) in the vicinity of Rehoboth, a locality in the interior of German South-West Africa east of Walfis Bay. The great significance of this study lay in the fact that for the first time proof was furnished that human racial characteristics are inherited in accordance with Mendel’s genetic laws. (I am unable to find a listing of an English translation of this work.) In 1923 Fischer, together with Erwin Baur and Fritz Lenz, published their Grundriss der mensenlichen Erblichkeitslehre und Rassenhygiene. An English translation of this book was published by Macmillan in 1931 under the title, Human Heredity. Amongst Fischer’s numerous other works is a study of Jews in antiquity which was written in cooperation with Gerhard Kittel and which occupies pp.1-236 of the seventh volume of the Forschungen zur Judenfrage, published in 1943.
Fischer’s present article is addressed to the intelligent layman. His skill as an educator is manifested in his going from the known to the unknown in tackling the problem of the racial origins of the ancient Hebrews with all of its complexities. He thus makes observations on the inherited characteristics of various breeds of domestic animals with which we are all familiar and the analogies to the characteristics of various human races. He then discusses the less well-known environmental and cultural factors which have brought about the differentiation of mankind into various races, but explains why it is not easy to trace the particular origins of most specific races.
This article was originally given as a lecture, one in a series on the Jewish question given in Munich during July, 1938. The recognition of the importance of genetic factors in human affairs was by no means exclusively a feature of National Socialism. We must bear in mind that during the 1930s there was still a wide acceptance of eugenic thinking in western Europe and the United States. A number of states of the United States, for example, had laws which provided for the sterilization of persons who had defects considered to be of genetic origin, such as feeble-mindedness.
Much the opposite situation prevailed at the time in the U.S.S.R., which had been and was still killing off so many of the best components of the Russian population. (Cf. Liberty Bell of May, 1984, page 19 of the article by Paul Knutson, who points out that we should not underestimate the extent of biological change that the Bolsheviks’ wholesale slaughter brought about in the Russians and Ukrainians.) In keeping with Communist dogmas of that time, the doctrines of T. D. Lysenko (“Lysenkoism”) discounted orthodox genetic science and emphasized environmental factors in the development of plants and animals. This abhorrence of scientific genetics is also common amongst American “liberals” down to this very day. Eugenic concepts are especially strongly abhorred in American academic circles.
The reader should be cautioned about Fischer’s use of the adjective nordisch, which I have simply rendered as Nordic, although these words night not have exactly the same semantic function in both languages, since Nordic is frequently used as a designation of Scandinavians in current English usage. Fischer uses the word nordisch in a broad sense to designate early speakers of the Indo-Germanic (Indo-European) languages. These people, to judge especially from the evidence from diachronic linguistics, developed in Europe north of the Alps, although the exact location of their original habitation is uncertain. (Cf. Liberty Bell, June, 1984, pp. 1-3.) They pushed into southern Europe and even as far as northern India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon), where they fused to some extent onto earlier populations as a dominant élite capable of imposing their language onto the population as a whole. This process took place in quite remote times, probably pre-literary times for the most part. In the cases of the Hittites (mentioned several times by Fischer), for example, this “Nordic” blood was eventually thinned considerably, even in very ancient times, as the strongly diluted Indo-Germanic components (largely grammatical features) of their language would indicate. One need only study the portraiture on the Greek coins of the fifth to the third centuries to become aware of how the racial features of “Nordics” dominated Greece proper and the early Greek colonies in western Asia Minor, Sicily and southern Italy, at least as an aesthetic ideal. On the whole, I have retained Fischer’s terminology, e.g., Indo-Germanic rather than Indo-European, the term now predominantly used in the Anglo-Saxon countries.
Even though Fischer’s article was published nearly a half century ago, even though we now have a more sophisticated knowledge of the molecular structure of the genes and even though archaeological dating techniques have improved considerably since 1938, his article is still essentially valid and interesting reading for those who wish to obtain an objective grasp of the Jewish problem, which has now largely shifted from Europe to the United States.
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I have been considering various articles in the Forschungen zur Judenfrage for future translation efforts. These include an article on Richard Wagner and Jewry, Walter Frank’s introductory address on German scholarship and the Jewish question and an article on the ascendancy of Jews in the literary life of Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933. I would be interested in expressions of preference on the part of readers of Liberty Bell. A complete list of the articles in the first six volumes of the Forschungen zur Judenfrage is given on pages 22-24 of my translation of the article by Verschuer in the August-September, 1983, issue of Liberty Bell.
Racial Origin and Earliest Racial History of the Hebrews
This lecture is not intended to contribute new anthropological material, but rather simply to present observations from the point of view of racial research concerning the biological aspect of the origin of the Hebrew people. An examination of the historical and philological original research projects had to be omitted. These are not the author’s field. For that reason source notes were omitted entirely.
The question of the origin of a single, particular, present-day human race involves two groups of phenomena which, in fact, are closely related to each other; for one thing, the question of the place, the time and, above all, the external circumstances of the formation of the race, and, for another thing, the question of the racial initial form and its individual stages of modification from this initial form down to the time of its present character. Since it is a matter of developments in the distant past, the initial questions concerning the environment and the actual developments can be examined only indirectly. The other questions concerning the past forms [of the race] can be answered only if a fortunate chance has preserved for us remains from the past. For this reason, in the investigation of the origin of a particular race our knowledge of the origin of races in general must be presented in order to attempt then, to apply these data to the particular race while taking into account the geographical and chronological circumstances. The significance of selection and adaptation in general and in the area of origin, in this case the prehistoric Near East, will prove to be important, not only for the time of the origin, but also for the further development. Hence, after these general considerations I would like to describe the traces of prehistorical man in Palestine. These have a bearing, in turn, on the question to what extent the population which now emerges into the light of history, as Semites and then as Hebrews, descends from that prehistorical man. Only then can a racial history of the Semites be attempted and the original racial composition of the Jews and the absorption of subsequent racial elements into the Jewish nation that had developed be described down to the time of the extinction of the Jewish state.
We have had an understanding of the origin of human races only since that time when human genetics has furnished us the absolute proof that all human racial characteristics are genetic characteristics and only such characteristics.
This proof is furnished by the investigation of racial cross-breedings, by which it was shown beyond any doubt that the characteristics in question are transmitted without exception in accordance with Mendel’s genetic laws in the first and second generations of persons of mixed breed. (Then, of course, into further generations.) These racial characteristics, like all other inherited characteristics, are thus based on individual, specific genetic predispositions which we call “factors,” the bases of which we call “genes.” In this connection it has been learned that, as in the case of all other hereditary characteristics, the hereditary predisposition permits a certain range of reaction for its realization in actual development, even in the case of racial hereditary characteristics. Within this range the environment brings about the actual development. The range of reaction is of quite varied magnitude in the case of the inherited characteristics, including racial characteristics. In the so-called blood groups, for example, this range amounts to zero, so far as we know. In the case of body height, the range is rather broad. A person, for example, does not inherit a height of 1.70 meters [=6603 inches] but rather a “tall build.” Whether he then actually attains a height of 1.66 or 1.82 meters or his 1.70 meters depends on the effects of environment. Moreover, he inherits his tendency to tallness, no matter whether he has reached Its lower or upper genetically possible height. The environmental effects, as such, are never inherited. Races are groups of people with quite specific hereditary predispositions which are purely hereditary in them and which are lacking in other races. Every race, of course, also has in addition hereditary predispositions which are also present in certain other races and ultimately such hereditary predispositions which are present in all human beings. For obvious reasons it must be especially emphasized that mental hereditary predispositions are amongst those that belong to one race exclusively as well as those which are characteristic of human beings in general. We have conclusive proof that mental and psychological characteristics are just as much based on hereditary predispositions as are physical characteristics, normal and pathological ones. (This is not to say anything about the mental and psychological aspects per se and their relation to bodily predispositions.) [The sentence in parentheses apparently refers to the correlations of body types with psychological characteristics as presented in such works as Ernst Kietschmer’s Körperbau und Charakter, 1921, and works by W. H. Sheldon. – Translator] What was said above concerning the range of reaction is just as true of mental predispositions as bodily ones. Within this range there is the effect of education and other environmental factors.
Race is thus a totality of immutable characteristics of a physical and mental-psychological kind determined by its genetic composite. Race is not simply some given body form group, nor is it simply a distinction which can be made from other such groups on the basis of a couple of external characteristics. It is an exclusive biological unit which has come about by special, orderly processes in the genetic mass, sharply differentiated genetically from other such units. The processes which led to it are known to us from the general study of genetics. It is very difficult or often impossible to survey and describe their particular development in the particular case of a quite specific race.
Our ideas about the origin of races must start out with the demonstrated reality of an originally undifferentiated human race. Just as all forms of animals living in the wild are undifferentiated and just as they exhibit, at the most, minor variations of size and color in the case of an extensive geographical range, the earliest man was an undifferentiated form. There can be no detailed discussion at this point of the proofs afforded by morphology, physiology, psychology and pathology. This human race thus also had a common stock of genetic material and, except for individual hereditary lines, a uniform stock of genetic factors. As mentioned above, the genetic factors per se are independent of the environmental factors which have an effect on the body. However, the gene is not entirely and completely immutable forever. There are changes, albeit rare, of individual genes which we call mutations. Generally, we do not know their causes. We can produce mutations artificially by means of X-rays and by means of certain poisons (in the case of plants). They are almost always pathological. In nature we occasionally see the occurrence of a mutation without any recognizable cause. In this way albinos, for example, occur (white stags, white bats, white blackbirds, and white domestic animals). In human beings, too, there are these mutations, and indeed in all races. In the case of the animals living in the wild such mutations are eliminated in the callous eradication process of nature. The only animals which are divided into numerous races, like man, are the domestic animals. The racial characteristics of these animals are just as hereditary as those of human beings, as racial crossing has demonstrated in this case also. We can not go into details at this point. The fact that all racial characteristics of our domestic animals are anatomically and genetically quite analogous to the racial characteristics of man can be seen, for example, in the color differences of blond, brunette, red, black in the hair of human races, horses, bovines, dogs, etc. Curly hair, straight hair, and stiff hair correspond to the same forms in the case of domestic animals (for example, the Angora). Dwarf build, tall build, forms of lips, forms of noses (e.g., ram’s nose), colors of eyes and all such racial differences are found in domestic animals and man. Things are similar down to the finest details of the tissue structure. The breeds of domestic animals have come into existence by virtue of the fact that mutations which have arisen “spontaneously,” i.e., for unknown reasons, have not been eliminated, for example, but have been retained artificially by the breeder. There is quite strong evidence that life in the domesticated condition causes the occurrence of numerous mutations by the change of nutritional factors, temperature maintenance and reproductive conditions, as opposed to life in the wild. The breeds of domestic animals thus came about by their selection and combination. It should be emphasized that their differences are not only of an exterior physical nature, but also of a physiological and psychological nature. This means that metabolic processes, capacities, and mental characteristics are racially clearly different in the case of individual domestic breeds. That, too, is based on mutation and its breeding.
The formation of human races must also be based on the same laws, because the human genes are basically analogous. After man became man, with the beginnings of his civilization, with the use of fire and hence the great broadening of his nutritional possibilities, with tools, language and social institutions, he lived, from a biological point of view, basically in a condition which corresponds completely to that of domestic animals. In keeping with this, numerous mutations occurred. In this case arbitrary choice and caprice take over the rôle of deliberate breeding of the races of domestic animals. Selection and breeding by external factors were also not lacking at first. At the same time humanity migrated in groups from its place of origin over the whole earth. No mammal is the equal of man in that regard. The constant venturing into new environmental conditions, in some cases of a quite different kind, must have had a tremendously selective effect and wiped out unsuitable mutations. The isolating of individual groups by emigration now made possible for the first time the preservation of genetic mutations which had occurred in conjunction with the effect of [natural] selection. These ideas, which were converted into a well-founded theory on the basis of observations on domestic animals, are fully confirmed by the skeletal remains preserved for us from the early time of man. From the area of origin which the Java Man and the Peking Man indicate to us, man at the Neanderthal stage of development (that is, even before the last glacial period) spread out as far as the inhabitable northern edge, the western end and the southern part of Europe and as far as the southern tip of Africa. However, the human form, as far as we can determine, is still almost uniform [at this time]. Furthermore, this form will also encounter us on Palestinian soil. At the time of, but toward the end of the last glacial period, the next migratory wave now covers the whole world. However, the formation of rates has now commenced and the finds show us differences in the shape of the skull, facial form and tallness which we can only interpret as racial differences. From this time on, mankind is divided into races. It may probably be assumed that the differences now became fully established and strengthened during the course of the subsequent periods.
The processes which led to the development of races are thus the occurrence of mutations, the isolating of tribes by migration, the increase of the frequency of mutations by cultural influences (domestication), the change of climatic and other environmental effects through migration and by the change of climate in the glacial and post-glacial periods, adaptation by selective processes, evolution and growth or decline. Thus, the different nature of the races would seem to depend on the kind of mutations, on the one hand, and the phenomena of selection and adaptation on the other hand. Certain mental and psychological characteristics will be decisive factors in this regard even if, naturally, physical health, efficiency and adaptation of physiological developments to the environment have always been an absolute requisite for the prospering of the race in question. Only in this manner can we explain the simply remarkable adaptation of many races to their environment. I am thinking, for example, of the special adaptation of the Bushman to the life in the sand of his desert and prairie, of his sharpness of senses, of his capacity to go without food and water and to walk around in the hot sun and dryness and his lack of capacity for sedentary work or any very high mental achievement. Migratory races with certain mental talents and a simultaneous physical capacity will withdraw from desolate regions and leave them to inferior races, but they will, when caught up in the climatic change of the glacial periods, for example, become a battle-accustomed, special race of strong character in an extremely selective process under unfavorable conditions, such as along the edge of the ice, by taking up a struggle for mere existence. The Nordic race is an example of such a race. Thus, the interaction between the gene stock of a mental and physical nature provided by mutation and the environment, with its selective effect, brings about the varied nature of the individual races. In view of this, it becomes immediately clear that races from one branch can develop in an infinitely diverse manner by that force, while other races can become similar to one another without being especially close to each other in a genealogical sense. Individual characteristics of a physical and mental nature, moreover, can arise separately and independently of each other by the appropriate mutation and appropriate selection at various locations of the human race. (This can be readily demonstrated in the case of certain physical characteristics.)
This outline should show that we comprehend the origin of races quite well in a general sense, after all. The basic aspects seem well established. On the other hand, tremendous and largely insoluble problems arise at once when it is a question of tracing the origin of a single, quite specific race within the general framework. Actually, we have more or less complete information only in a single case; that is the origin of the Westphalian [Falid] type of the Nordic race from the late Paleolithic Cro-Magnon race. Here we have, indeed, the fossil records with rather few gaps down to the present-day representation in the living population. In the case of all other races the glacial and post-glacial forerunners are uncertain or completely unknown. Even the place of origin and hence the external conditions and the selective processes are, in most cases, uncertain or at most are to be assumed with some degree of probability . This is also the case with the question before us today with regard to the origin of those races which were and still are the bearers of the Semitic civilizations and hence also with regard to the origin of the Jews.
This question leads us initially not only to Palestine, as far as the area is concerned, but also to the land of the Tigris and Euphrates, from the Persian Gulf on up to the Armenian highlands and Asia Minor and thence down to Arabia and over as far as Egypt. Since we know that the Semitic peoples did not migrate into their later dwelling areas until early historical times, the skull remains of Palestine originating from the previous time are of value to us for the racial history of the immigrants only to the extent that they give us evidence concerning the possible substratum which was absorbed by the immigrating conquerors.
In Palestine the oldest finds of human remains extend chronologically before the beginning of the last glacial period. They are the famous, so-called Galilee skull from Tabona on the Sea of Chinnereth and perhaps also a find from Mount Carmel. It is a human being from the group of the Neanderthal man, the form of development which preceded present-day humanity. Even if there are only these sparse finds, numerous flint tools originating at this time in various localities of the country show that this human being permeated the whole country. This find is not geographically isolated. We may assume that all of the Near East and North Africa and Europe shared that form of human being. Proceeding from Palestine, the nearest finds are certain finds of teeth from Malta and, further to the west, the Neanderthal skull from Rome. To the north, the Palestine find is connected with a skull find from Podkumok north of the Caucasus. From there the finds go in a westward direction to Moravia, Croatia, central Europe and western Europe. But this type of human being might not have been absorbed into the later Near Eastern population, or at least we have no reason for such an assumption. Such a human type perhaps died out or emigrated and might have been replaced by later types during the course of the following glacial period. However, we know nothing about these later forms. During the glacial period which now came about, when the Cro-Magnon man and other races were living in Europe (and not only in Europe, because the Cro-Magnon races also entered northern Africa and even eastern Africa), during this period when Europe was covered with ice except for a narrow central belt and its southern peninsulas, there was neither a Sahara nor the deserts of Arabia and the Near East. These were all fertile land under the southern rain climate dependent on the ice cover. Thus, there were tremendously large areas where tribes that had immigrated could form races. Moreover, during the course of, let us say, forty thousand years, this region underwent a worsening of the climate which was not even, but with periodic declines of heat. There took place a slow drying up down to the time of the present forming of deserts. It was only the very most recent reshapings of the land, such as the formation of the fertile land subject to inundation along the lower valley of the Tigris and Euphrates and the final sanding up of many Arabian rivers that are retained in the memory of the first men recorded in history. These reshapings were recorded in the writings of the Sumerians, the later Babylonians, the Hebrews, etc. What is interesting to us in this connection took place earlier. The finds which are chronologically closest after those on Palestinian soil mentioned above are only from the later Stone Age, when man had domestic animals along with polished stone instruments, tilled the soil and possessed the art of ceramics. As the most important find, I mention that of Gezer (situated between Jerusalem and the coast), where bodily remains of these settlers are preserved for us. These remains, unfortunately, are quite sparse. These people, as far as we may conclude from the several skeletons, were rather slight of build and dolichocephalic. In most cases cremation took place. Even in this case, cultural remains show that the settlement was widely distributed across the region. Concerning their ethnicity and language we know nothing. This might coincide chronologically with the time in which we see the first makers of Bandkeramik and Schnurkeramik [Neolithic pottery styles decorated by bands or imprints of string] coming onto the scene in central Europe. We might classify these Gezer people as members of the Mediterranean race. (This designation is better than the “Western” preferred by Günther; the two terms intend to convey the same meaning.) From present-day ethnology we know that the whole edge of northern Africa as well as southern Italy, the large Mediterranean islands and the Iberian Peninsula, and even the Atlantic coasts of southern France and England, were occupied by their race before the arrival of the Indo-Germanic people. Although it is not proved, everything can be said for and nothing against the assumption that this Mediterranean race originated in the broad zone of northern-Africa, which was quite habitable during the glacial period, as I have pointed out. This race spread out toward the west as well as toward the east, over the Near East and as far as western India. In India huge finds have come to light which might belong to this race. In this huge area particular branches might have sprung up in the lap of this race in the manner which I have described above. I assume that such a separate region was the present Arabian peninsula, an area spacially separated from the rest by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, which extended far to the north at that time. As a result of the climatic fate of this land, a special race probably developed from the same root as the Mediterranean race, which I designated as the “Oriental” race many years ago. This name is now in general use. During the course of the declining glacial period, which was a period of slowly declining rainfall and moisture in this area in transition from forested and open land to a prairie or even sandy desert, these people, whose origin from a truly glacial period we do not know, had to adapt themselves slowly to these changing conditions. Here, in this tremendous space, the climatic change of which was certainly uneven from zone to zone, inbreeding groups could form with a pronounced natural selection that favored certain mutations. That is the manner in which I postulate the origin somewhere in this region of the “Oriental” race from the lap of the proto-Mediterranean race. The “Oriental” race, with the nose form, eye form, color of the skin and hair and all the other characteristics peculiar to it, received its form in this area. And primarily amongst all these characteristics, the psychological type of this race was formed here, its adaptation to the initially poor life, the formation of mental capacities for the creation of the civilization of a sheep-raising, half nomadic grassland population.
Indeed, today we view the development in such a manner that we attribute to the game hunters or primitive hunters a certain tendency to remain in one location, the taming of animals and first attempts to sow seeds of nutritional plants at favorable places and we assume the origin of the first stages of cultivation with the hoe from these activities. The transformation of the game-rich forest into open land and then grassland its the taming of goats and sheep (the dog had already long ago been tamed). Sheep-farmers come into existence, for whom the pasturing involves a nomadic movement, but not the life of a true desert nomad. At fertile places (later oases) settlement takes place for a longer period and cultivation with the hoe is carried on. In regions of rather extensive drying out the true desert nomad might develop from this stage, as we see in the area of that “Oriental” race, a final form of a cultural specialization. On the other hand, however, the sheep-raising people who carry on some cultivation with the hoe and who have a tendency to settle, even if not permanently, will arrive at a true agricultural existence and then become city builders and city dwellers. The fact that, along with all such developments extending over millennia, a very distinctive mental-psychological type developed in every case is taken quite for granted by the biologist, but let us emphasize it. This distinctive type, once having come into being by selective breeding, will be eradicated only by an opposing, strongly selective process. In general, thus, it will exist during the coming centuries or millennia. This type is characteristic of the Oriental race.
Furthermore, the later Jewish people have preserved for themselves the recollections of those earlier stages. The tales of Abel, who was a herdsman, and Cain, who was engaged in agriculture, [along with] the tale of Abraham’s sheep trade with his brother-in-law and the migrations through the desert indicate that. Just as with these recollections, certain mental and psychological characteristics have remained and have their effects to this day.
This Oriental race is relatively pure, the basic stock of the so-called southern Semites, i.e., the present-day Arabs, who thus partly underwent the development to real desert nomads and partly, at a somewhat earlier state, probably likewise arrived at a settled existence. Furthermore, this race is the basic stock of all those Semites who spread out onto African soil in numerous thrusts in prehistoric times and who were absorbed into the Egyptian people and many other Hamitic peoples, along with a strong interbreeding with Negroes.
The later, so-called northern Semites (Assyrians, Babylonians, Aramaeans, Phoenicians, and others) likewise developed from this same race. However, they spread out from the original area and encountered other racial elements with whom they mixed in close contact, with some elements more, with others less. These contacts caused them to be different from the southern Semites. Amongst these northern Semites naturally, are the Hebrews we are considering.
As mentioned above, during the later Stone Age, that is, many thousands of years later than the time of the origin of races and the geological revolutions, there were located in Syria and Palestine those people whom we call Gezer Man on the basis of the place where their remains were found. Around this time and further to the north, i.e., in the upper Tigris and Euphrates country, in all of Asia Minor, in the highlands of Iran and as far as Hindu Kush, another race must have been settled. We simply designate this race as the “Near Eastern” race (von Luschan’s Armenids). We have no finds which prove its existence from such a remote time. We presume the existence of this race, which will later be demonstrated. We do not believe that this race even originated in the aforementioned area, but we do not know its origin. It seems most logical to think of central Asia. We have ideas concerning the shape of its skull from burial finds of approximately the fourth millennium [B.C.] and from the distribution of certain racial elements. This conclusion seems to me to be sufficiently established.
One can see that these conclusions, which are based purely on prehistoric finds of skulls and tools, and the results of geological, climatic and general biological considerations furnish a certain basis, but nothing else. Let us now turn to other sources of information.
In the case of prehistoric finds, mention must be made of another circumstance. Still other people must have entered the Palestinian area toward the end of the later Stone Age. They erected large stone monuments, prominent single rocks, gigantic tables, etc. One speaks of the Palestinian megalith culture. Even the Old Testament mentions this already. Megalith graves can be traced from southern Scandinavia across the whole Atlantic coast of Europe, over the entire northern edge of Africa and the southern edge of Europe, across the Balkan area, across the Crimea and as far as the Caucasus. It cannot be determined if a single ethnic group spread them about or if the custom of this ethnic group as such was transplanted. As for myself, I imagine that bold migrations of people of the Cro-Magnon race from northwestern and western Europe set up and left their prominent monuments here. I consider these bold migrations to be the first ones, which were followed by numerous others before and during the second millennium (see below). I do not believe that their blood was mixed into that of the native population in appreciable quantities at the places involved. They came as militarily organized conquerors (“Vikings”!) erected their monuments and then went away. This phenomenon is mentioned here just for the sake of completeness.
If one attempts to ascertain the racial history of the “Semites,” one is dependent, for one thing, on the data which archaeology furnishes us from the wonderful excavation discoveries of temples and palaces, of pictorial works and utensils, and data concerning the rise and fall of civilizations and their migrations. One is further dependent on the research of linguists which reveals to us ancient origins and relationships from the vocabulary of the individual ethnic groups or at least from language remnants of their proper names or the like. [An American analogy is the retention of Indian words in place names such as Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi, etc. – Translator] Finally, anthropological investigation of present-day inhabitants of the areas which we may think of as “retreat areas” of ancient population strata furnishes us an indication of earlier [conditions]. Such retreat areas are remote mountain valleys and the least fertile parts of the land, but also, in a figurative sense of the word, membership in religious sects and circles of nobility and other social isolation. In Asia Minor and the Armenian highlands we have many of such retreat areas. The anthropological study of these retreat areas by von Luschan helped to throw a powerful light on the question we are examining. Finally, racial history has as a basis the actual finds of skulls or other human remains from early historical times. These finds have been increasing during the past few years to a pleasing and astonishing extent. In addition to these skulls, there are also portrayals of the people created by themselves and their kind. Quite honest criticism, cautious evaluation and a knowledge of the art work in question and its history are necessary for an attempt at an anthropological interpretation on the basis of the excavated portrayal of the human countenance. With regard to such interpretation, I usually say that one must consider what the artist in question “could,” “was permitted” and “intended.” However, by means of this criticism one can actually obtain a realistic picture from the heads which Sumerians and Subarians, the Hittites, Babylonians, and Egyptians have passed down to us. All these sources together permit us to construct the following approximate outline.
Prior to the fourth millennium, as previously mentioned, the Near Eastern race might have been spread out in the entire area to the north and to the east of Palestine, which is of interest to us. We know this race, in terms of its bodily characteristics, primarily from von Luschan’s investigations of the small ethnic and sect groups, such as the Ansarijeh, Tachtadshi, Kyzylbash, and others, as well as those amongst the Lycians, Druzes, Maronites, etc. Hauschild and Wagenseil have confirmed to a considerable extent the occurrence of these types by investigations in the Turkish army during the [First World] War. Moreover, this racial picture corresponds quite well to the relief portraits which were formerly known by the name Hittite, from Sendshirli, for example, and which are now called Subarian. Accordingly, the Near Eastern race (also called Armenoid or proto-Armenian) was of medium stature and had a coarse bodily structure, dark hair and dark eyes. However, as quite distinctive features this race had a very short, high skull with a quite flat occiput, which von Luschan described “as if hacked off.” The coarse face with a perpendicular forehead is dominated by an extraordinarily large, coarse, strongly projecting hooked nose. As shown by the well-known sculptures of Sendshirli and other places, this race was the bearer of the so-called Hittite civilization, or more precisely, the Subarian civilization.
However, one must not imagine that this Near Eastern race was the only one in the area or that it filled up the entire area. It perhaps simply moved in as the dominant one. The strong impression made by von Luschan’s survey and brilliant portrayal of this race has hitherto caused the investigators to assume tacitly that really only this race and the previously described Orientalid race should be taken into consideration at all. In fact, nothing of the sort can be concluded from von Luschan’s descriptions. Only in remnants and in the most remote places did he find them still extant. At all other places, that is, in a very great part of the countries involved, a population is present which cannot be traced back to the Orientalid race. Now, new finds have clearly demonstrated the presence of the Mediterranean race. Such finds, for example, are the quite splendid ones from Alisar in northeastern Asia Minor dating from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. If the Neolithic Gezer group were really also Mediterranean, the conclusion is suggested that the Mediterranean race was once the dominant one before the invasion of the Orientalid race from the south and the Near Eastern race from the north. The Mediterranean race was then absorbed as a basic component into all the later populations. This race also witnessed the mighty displacement of land and water in that area, the formation of the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates, the coastal shift of the Persian Gulf and the mighty flood periods, the memory of which is in the Biblical Deluge, which the Jews took over from the Sumerians almost word for word.
Perhaps the picture is now becoming even somewhat more complicated. Certain observations on the Alisar find argue that in addition to (previous to?) the short-skulled Near Eastern race the round-skulled central European Alpine race (Günther calls them ostisch [=Eastern], a term I consider misleading) was established in Asia Minor. In Neolithic times, their area of distribution extended certainly to Spain in the west, while the Near East was their eastern extent. That would correspond well with certain conclusions of linguistic research about the connections of the Basque languages with the languages of the Caucasus and Asia Minor. With regard to the Sumerian question, too, the key could lie here from an anthropological point of view.
Let us turn from the races to the historically recorded nations. In the southern part of Mesopotamia we do indeed find the nation of the Sumerians as the oldest known settlers. This nation is a puzzle to us with regard to origin and race. The achievement in the construction of gigantic temples and the production of art works that it attained is astonishing. It was established there certainly toward the end of the fifth millennium. The wonderful excavations in Ur and Kish have crowned our knowledge of this civilization. As mentioned, the racial origin [of the Sumerians] is uncertain. In certain documents they are called “black heads.” Some of the skulls that have been found are reputed to exhibit a long, narrow form (?). The portraits are round-headed with pointed, short little noses. The physiques are represented as stocky. Their language was not Indo-Germanic and not Semitic. Some linguists conjecture Turan (agglutinating) languages, but they were certainly not Mongolids. Other linguists find a linguistic connection with the Caucasus and pre-Indo-Germanic southern Europe. From an anthropological point of view, one can first conjecture the Alpine race on the basis of the portraits. This would be in keeping with the remarks above. But one must also think of the Mediterranean race if one hears that they came from the east and previously honored their gods on mountains. One could conjecture a reverse wave of the Mediterranean race out of India.
In any event, the Sumerians settled in lower Mesopotamia, namely as builders of villages and cities. They were constantly disturbed and as early as the fourth millennium they had constant fights with roaming hoards. Bedouins, as we would call them today, attacked them repeatedly, took parts of their land and then were overcome and probably also assimilated by them. I imagine that in these early times, in the case of very many “tribes,” no definite cultural forms had taken shape as yet and that they only created their later forms, of course. Thus, there were probably migratory groups which exhibited all possible stages of economic forms, in some cases people beginning to settle and looking for fertile land for cultivation with the hoe, in some cases half-sedentary sheep nomads, while in other cases true desert nomads. The struggle between all such forms lasted for centuries until the immigration from the south became ever stronger and the government and ethnic identity of the Sumerians broke up under their pressure. Semitic cultures took their place.
Beginning with the fourth millennium, as mentioned, the Orientalid race moved from the south to the north from its previously described places of origin. Here, there took place the transition from the sheep raiser and settler cultivating with the hoe to the true village dweller and farmer to, finally, the urban civilization. This development certainly repeatedly involved a strong selective process in a certain direction. The legends and literary monuments of the Sumerians and later of the Babylonians, Assyrians and Hebrews inform us in agreement about the struggles lasting thousands of years between such invading groups and groups in the process of becoming settled on the one hand and on the other hand settled Mediterranean groups and groups of the Near Eastern race invading in the opposite direction from the north. Thus, in the origin of the Semitic peoples of the Near East (northern Semites) three races can be discerned. Of these three, one, the Orientalid race, might be the main element which brought with it the actual Semitic language and civilization and the mind of the sheep-tending nomads of the plains. This race penetrated the “Near Eastern” race, furnished it physical and mental characteristics and finally penetrated the Mediterranean race, which was established there as the old population and was absorbed into all Semitic peoples (Babylonians and Assyrians) by way of the Sumerians.
However, the picture is not yet complete at this point. From historical sources we learn also about invasions of conquerors of another origin. And that is also of particular anthropological interest to us and it is of no small importance in the origin of the final racial composition of the Hebrew nation.
There was a great astonishment at the time when it could be proved beyond question that the Hittite language is an Indo-Germanic language. Hence, a conqueror speaking an Indo-Germanic language must have entered the Suberian civilization at one time. [It was] probably only a thin dominant stratum which imposed its language on the population. In this process native linguistic elements were fused into it in large quantities. Now we know, of course, that the creators of the Indo-Germanic language group were the Nordic race. Elements of this race were thus unquestionably involved in that invasion, which began before the outset of the second millennium. However, we must not imagine the arriving people as exclusively blond and blue-eyed or simply purely Nordic. The route from the original homeland to the Near East was far and must have been covered over long periods of time, with long halts and conquests at other places. By that time only a dominant element might have possessed the remnants of the Nordic race. A migration of these conquerors so far away is perhaps not quite so unique. A thousand years later we see immigrations; of people with the names Thracians and Phrygians, likewise dominated and influenced by Nordics, invading Asia Minor. Around a thousand years before these, invasions back from India seem to have taken place into upper Mesopotamia by people known as Mithanni or Manda, who likewise brought with them Indo-Germanic linguistic material. From these Hittites came a quite considerable component into that Semitic branch also, which we later find in the form of Israel. The Amurites of the Bible also belong to this movement from the north that was subject to Indo-Germanic influences. The Amurites also had Nordic elements, at least as an upper stratum.
If this picture represents in broad outlines the movements of races and nations during the fourth to second millennia in the Near Eastern area, the origin of the Hebrew nation in particular must now be further characterized.
It is not the task of the anthropologist to do that; I am simply going to point out things and present material which is already known. Of the Semitic immigrants, many groups became settled founders of cities while being fused with the previous population and while absorbing foreign elements, as described above. Amongst these were the Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians and even others. However, other groups remained migratory herdsmen for a rather long time, as were the Aramaeans, sheep nomads in the highlands of northern Mesopotamia and the Jordan highlands, and in the same area the Hebrews, who pastured their sheep in the eastern part of the Jordan valley. They and the Moabites, Edomites and others thus moved through the whole land of Jordan and the region south of the Dead Sea and on northward as far as Syria around 1400 B.C. (“Abraham” came from Ur in Chaldaea!) The Aramaeans went over to a settled formation of government at the beginning of the second millennium in Syria. At first the Hebrews remained sheep herders. That was the time of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Times of particular dryness caused some of the sheep-herding tribes (probably not all of them) to retreat to the southwest and to seek better pastures in the upper delta region of the Nile. Seti I received them there in his border region. That, then, is the oppression in Egyptian captivity described in the Bible, probably until Moses led them over the sea of bulrushes to the oasis of Kadesh in the Sinai peninsula, perhaps before 1250 B.C. Here these tribes might have fused together as a race during the approximately sixty-year sojourn under Moses’ rule. In two thrusts they then moved into the eastern Jordan region (they have been estimated at 25,000 souls) and from there they pushed into Palestine proper. They fused with the people who remained there and who were pressing into Palestine from the northeast. Here they interposed themselves amongst the Canaanite settlers who were present. As nomads they were inferior to the peasants in many ways, but they were mentally capable of finally gaining the upper hand and becoming settled themselves.
Their spirit is demonstrated in the promise, “A land of wheat and barley, of the grape vine, the fig and pomegranate, etc., with large and bountiful cities which you have not built, houses full of all sorts of good things which you have not filled, wells that have been dug, but not by you, vineyards and olive trees which you have not planted.” (According to Auerbach.) But little by little they acquired all those things.
The son of the plain pressed into all of that and he knew how to adapt himself. Of course, there were centuries of bitter war, actual military wars and, in an extended sense, economic wars and wars against climate and events of nature. Thus, the nation evolved. In this connection, from a racial point of view, the imposing of a stratum on an already settled population, which was the Orientalid-Mediterranean-Near Eastern race, by a race which had not yet been settled, a race which was at first purely Orientalid, is of interest. What the quantitative ratio was in this mixture of blood cannot be determined. However, even still other foreign admixtures must now be emphasized. To the north lay the kingdom of the Hittites; their racial basis was described above. Their blood entered abundantly into the northern tribes of Israel. Furthermore, the Amurites were present and played a leading rôle. The land of the Amuri is known from cuneiform inscriptions. According to pictures, especially from Egyptian representations, [they were] bearded people with long faces and long heads with stout but not hooked noses. To judge from a number of intellectual traits, these people were also Indo-Germanic, at least as an upper stratum, that is, they were racially Nordic. The constant admonitions and interdictions of the Jews’ prophets and lawgivers alone prove that a mixing of blood with all these non-Semitic elements was constantly taking place. The Horites, who were mentioned in the Bible and known from other sources might have had the same origin, perhaps separated off the movement which brought the Aryans to India. They were later established south of the Hebrews in Palestine. The Philistines became the most important political question for the young Hebrew kingdom. The Philistines arrived in Palestine, perhaps at the same time when the last movements of the immigrating Hebrews were taking place. They had previously been located on Crete and perhaps along the coast of Asia Minor. Their language is Semitic, but all sorts of individual traits of their civilization point to the Indo-Germanic origin of an earlier dominant stratum. Schuchardt and Macalister point to the graves reminiscent of the battles around Troy and the helmet of the “giant” Goliath, to his inclination to single combat, as well as to their military organization and many traits of their civilization that clearly suggest an Indo-Germanic background. The Philistines landed, thus, and created the Palestinian State, which projected like a wedge from as far as the Jordon and which divided the Hebrews into two parts, a northern one and a southern one. The battles with these people lasted for two centuries. At times one of the peoples was the victor, while at other times the other people were the victors or the vanquished. There was a fusion. It was not until the reign of King Saul and especially King David that a final independence was established for a long time, the kingdom composed of the southern state of Juda and the northern state of Israel, approximately around 1000 B.C. “Under David the Israelite nation grew from the fusion of the two main ethnic groups of Palestine” (Auerbach), Hebrews and Canaanites, [who were] basically similar to each other as far as race was concerned.
One nation is now present with a racial composition that can be explained from the history of its origin; the Orientalid race as the main component, the Mediterranean race as an admixture, the Near Eastern race as a strong second component and Nordic elements mixed in now and then. The fact that the Nordic element was repeatedly mentioned in this presentation must not give the impression that this admixture was especially large! The Nordic race had (and still has!) a tremendous migratory strength and rôle as a conqueror, but the dominant strata in question were very thin, and the Nordic blood migrating to the south was very quickly and thoroughly eliminated because it was much less adapted to the climate than all others. Only traces of their culture remained, the language and other things, as evidences of their intellect.
In the discussion of the original racial elements of the later Jewish people there always comes up the question of a Negroid admixture. There is no doubt about its presence amongst the present-day Jews. Occasionally one sees Negroid hair, lips and even subdued Negroid nostrils. The explanation of this is difficult. It is not very likely that a rather strong Negroid component came into the Hebrews by way of the Egyptians. Further, remains of a Negritic population in the prehistoric and historic Near East have been conjectured which are alleged to be connected with the Negritic strata of India (i.e., not African Negroes). These people would have been of a small build, dark, strongly curly-haired and with fleshy, thick upper lips. Traces [of these people] are found even today in Baluchistan and southern Persia. Even this explanation is not satisfactory. At the most, one may think of numerous Negro slaves whom the Jews had in the Diaspora, of proselytization and a mixture of the two races. (see, for example, Kittel’s brilliant presentation.) [Presumably, this refers to Gerhard Kittel’s article on the connubium with non-Jews in the second volume of the Forschungen zur Judenfrage, pp.30-62. – Translator]
For the race as a whole, this question is not of all too much importance.
Thus, the Hebrew nation arose from the fusion of the Orientalid race with the Near Eastern and Mediterranean races, with an admixture of Nordic elements. The crossings which lead to the formation of such a race do not have a quite uniform result from a physical and mental point of view. We know that the physical traits of two or more interbreeding races are passed on in the hereditary process independently of each other and are then encountered in all possible combinations, thus giving the mixed race its variegated appearance. If the interbreeding components are numerically unequal and if the mixing is not uniform throughout the whole ethnic group, but is varied by strata, as is always the case with masters and subjugated people, then the one kind of traits in the total gene pool will naturally be numerically far more common than others. However, as far as the appearance in life, that is, the image of the nation in question, is concerned, it is not just a question of these numerical differences in the gene pool, but of the hereditary process of the individual traits, that is, specifically whether they are inherited in a dominant or recessive manner, in other words, in an apparent or concealed manner. The traits which are inherited in a concealed manner actually make an appearance in a racial mixture only in a manner which cannot be eliminated (unless special selective conditions intervene). In the Jewish people, for example, we see simultaneously the Orientalid and the Near Eastern nasal forms and all intermediate forms. However, the Mediterranean and once in a while the Negroid forms are present, as well as the Nordic form. It must be assumed that there was occasional blondness even in the ancient Jews, not just the present-day ones. It can be explained by that which was said above. In the case of hereditary traits of a mental and psychological nature the hereditary process is naturally basically the same. However, the effect will be a quite different one because in this case parts of different origin cannot be juxtaposed without a mutual influence. Physically, a Negroid lip can be accompanied by a Nordic nose and blond hair by a Near Eastern skull. The psychological personality, however, demonstrates by its accomplishments and activities a combination of the effects of character, imagination, intelligence, temperament, etc. Then, too, one trait can characterize human beings mentally and psychologically and dominate the other traits! Considering the race as a whole, certain traits will become dominant here which are the inherent chief components of the racial mixture. Hence, even in the early history of the Jewish people are seen the emotion, the hatred and the cruelty often developing into bloodlust on the part of the sheep raiser of the Orientalid race along with the skill, adaptability, cunning and desire to dominate of the city founder of the Near Eastern race. In this regard one must not forget the fanatic aspect of the monotheistic belief in Jehovah and the concept of being the chosen people, conceived and retained fanatically by desert nomads. These aspects have made possible in the first place the isolation of the Jew amongst all his host populations. It would be logical to point out the tendency to unbridled fanaticism, particularly in the religious area, of the Islamic culture, which was borne originally by the same Mediterranean race!
Only an extremely strong selective process following racial interbreeding can again eliminate the genetic components of a race from the mixture, then, if this selective process especially involves the characteristics of the one race for reasons of adaptation. Without this strong selective process the individual racial elements that went into the mixture remain extant indefinitely. I could demonstrate that as long as thirty years ago through several generations in the southern African crossbreeds. Any glance at the Jews beginning with the time of the founding of their state [in ancient times] down to today proves the same thing.
Although from the time of the founding of the state onwards the incorporation of foreign elements did not cease, as was pointed out previously, the selective process within the closed Jewish nation provided for a complete amalgamation. As is well known, after the zenith of their power, after the death of Solomon in 933 [B.C], the kingdom again divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Juda. Around 300 years later, Juda, and a bit later Israel, succumbed to the Assyrians and then to the Babylonians. And after the return of the Jews from the so-called Babylonian captivity a considerable amount of intermarriage might have commenced again, but in this process no foreign races were admixed, only similar ones.
This selective process in a special direction thus stamped a whole, particular race with quite specific racial traits of a physical as well as mental-psychological kind. There is an incorrect premise when one says that the Jews are not a race, but rather a racial mixture and for that reason have no racial characteristics peculiar to them. That is incorrect.
An ethnic group has a strong mental-psychological unity even if it consists of a number of races that have been fusing together with one another for many centuries if they harmonize together. The Jewish ethnic group has undergone this fusion during its long prehistory and history and the extremely strong selective process brought about by its fate has shaped irretrievably the characteristics of the Jewish intellect, of the Jewish psyche and of the Jewish body. To examine these in detail is no longer the task of this presentation. I can neither describe the physical traits of the resultant nation of Israel nor those of the present-day Jews. (The following lecture [on the racial biology of the Jews by Otmar von Verschuer] will have the latter as its theme.) To an even slighter extent can I describe here their psychology or even just their psychic style, (to use Clauss’ words). That would be a task in itself, and indeed a very large and important one.
The history of the racial origin was really completed long ago with the Babylonian captivity and the partial return from it as far as a people leading a political existence is concerned. Now there would no longer have to follow the description of the Hebrews or of the nation of Israel but rather the history of the Jews in the Diaspora, again a large task and perhaps the most difficult one.
My own intention was just the description of the origin itself. I hope that I have shown the racial origin. And if I may make a pronouncement as a systemitizer of races, it is the following: The European peoples also originated after military conquest, but in this instance the conquest by the Nordic race of other races. They thus developed into a racial entity by fusion. However, their racial elements are different ones. Originally, the Orientalid race was not present in any European nation, nor the Near Eastern race in any European nation.
These races are foreign to the European races and are of a different nature. Moreover, the Semitic Arabs are not the same as the Jews, because they have no Near Eastern Components. If Arabian blood lives on in Spain it is racially not the same as Jewish blood. However, the Jews, the race amalgamated from Orientalid and Near Eastern components, are of a foreign nature to us Europeans. They are different in body and above all psyche. They are most foreign and distinct from the Nordic race, however, whose origins took place under conditions which were just the opposite. Even today we sense that instinctively.
 Krogman, Cranial types from Alisar Hüyück, Orient. Inst. Publ. V.30.
 Noted while reviewing: As a matter of fact, Lenz (Natur. Vers., Stuttgart) demonstrates that blondness came about primarily in the Diaspora.
SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, August 1984