Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/271

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267
THE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT

It is noteworthy that the percentage of illegitimacy among the Jews increases as we proceed from east to west of Europe. It is very low in Russia, about one-half of one per cent, higher in Bavaria, 2.5 per cent., and reaches over three per cent, in Prussia, while in Berlin it is even 5.55 per cent. This indicates that where the Jews are not affected by modern civilized conditions, the chastity of the women is much superior, the family ties are much stronger, and the girls only rarely go wrong. In the small towns of Russia, Poland and Galicia, one only rarely hears of a Jewish child born out of wedlock. Unmarried women seldom associate, even socially, with men before marriage. The absence of alcoholism, particularly among Jewesses who never drink, is another factor in keeping the sexes apart. But in the large cities in eastern Europe, where the separation of the sexes is not so strict, illegitimacy is encountered. In western Europe it is more frequent for the same reason. It was shown by Ruppin that in Germany illegitimacy is rarer among the Jews in eastern Prussia (Posen, Pomerania, East and West Prussia) where they adhere strictly to their orthodox religion, while in the large cities, where they have adopted many of the habits and customs of their christian neighbors, the percentage of illegitimacy is much higher, though still smaller than among non-Jews. In Russia also it is rare in Lithuania, only 0.02 per cent, in the province of Wilna, 0.24 per cent, in Minsk, 0.19 in Kovno, etc., while in the southern provinces it occurs more often, reaching 1.57 per cent, in Bessarabia and 1.19 per cent, in Ekaterinoslav.

It is well known that illegitimate births are very rare among women living with their parents, while agricultural servants, domestics, factory hands, etc., show the highest percentage of births out of wedlock. The Jewish women in eastern Europe only rarely live away from their parents or relatives, comparatively few are engaged in domestic service, and practically none are agricultural servants. In the small town a Jewish girl rarely works outside of her home. In western Europe social conditions of the Jews are nearer those of the christians among whom they live, and illegitimacy is more frequent than in the east. But inasmuch as the economic condition of the Jews in western Europe is superior to the average non-Jewish, the women being taken better care of, illegitimacy is rarer than among Gentiles.