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Jewish Roots of Poland


Ogien 6 | 245
1 Jan 2010  #1
As many of you know, Poland used to have the largest Jewish population in the world. Poland was pretty much the "Israel" of the middle ages. Many Jewish concepts were developed in Poland such as the Hasidic movement. My question is, how likely is it that the average Pole has had at least one Jewish ancestor? Have there been any significant genealogical studies on this?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
2 Jan 2010  #2
Have there been any significant genealogical studies on this?

I have no idea. but i've met a couple of people (younger folk) who feel that their family history, religion, is not what they've been told.
BrutalButcher - | 391
2 Jan 2010  #3
The odds are high. Considering 3/4 of the world's jewish population used to live in Poland , I dare to say that most Poles could have some Jewish heritage.
Ksysia 25 | 430
2 Jan 2010  #4
I have a Jewish family history - my Mother's Father was son of a slippermaker who lived in Lodz, in the part of town later surrounded by fence to form a ghetto under Nazi German occupation. He married a Polish factory worker, and they had my Mom, a Process Engineer, who married a crested man from Lublin, also a Process Engineer.

When I think about my roots, I can't believe that anyone even bothers to call Poles Anti-Semitic. Do Nobles marry half-Jews in France or Spain?
vetala - | 382
2 Jan 2010  #5
how likely is it that the average Pole has had at least one Jewish ancestor?

At least one? In that case all Poles do. I'd laugh if a Pole tried to convince me that they have not a single Jewish ancestor.

Have there been any significant genealogical studies on this?

Simple math - in 1790 around 30.000 Jews converted following the teachings of Jacob Frank. Assuming that every each one of them had only 2 kids and a generation counts as 30 years that gives the number of 7 680 000 of their descendants in the year 2000. All of them resulting from a SINGLE event.
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
2 Jan 2010  #6
With all the conversions and the story of Esterke, it could be, at one time, it was expected, boys born to Jewish mothers and Catholic fathers would grow to be Catholic while the girls would grow to be Jewish mothers. So there ya have it. Lots of Catholic men with Jewish mothers.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
2 Jan 2010  #7
I dare to say that most Poles could have some Jewish heritage.

Nonsense.
BrutalButcher - | 391
2 Jan 2010  #8
Would it be bad if you yourself had Jewish ancestors?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #9
There was a topic some times back telling the same about Germany....

According to some people 90 percent of Europe MUST be some kind of jewish....really astounding if you look at such a tiny people repeatedly kicked out and harassed over the centuries.

And totally crap too, especially as most Jews prefered to keep "pure" to keep their religion and heritage alive and lived mostly voluntarily in their sthetls/ghettoes most of the time anyhow!

After all a Jew is only a Jew if his mother is jewish, right? And I doubt there were many christian women ready to convert to Judaism before...at least not in such huge piles as it would had been necessary.
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
2 Jan 2010  #10
And totally crap too, especially as most Jews prefered to keep "pure" to keep their religion and heritage alive and lived mostly voluntarily in their sthetls/ghettoes most of the time anyhow!

Are you sure it's always been that way, or just until recently? What about the story of Esterke?

There was a time when certain Jews mingled with Europe's royalty.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #11
Are you sure it's always been that way, or just until recently? What about the story of Esterke?

There were always exceptions of the rule (what only shows the rule). Of course the situation changed after WWII but then there weren't that many Jews to intermarry with left...

After all IF the Jews had integrated into the christian majority in that way as it would need to seed their genes that much there wouldn't had been a jewish culture to speak of for centuries anymore.

They needed their isolation to survive as culture...

And on the other hand, the other foreign, wandering culture in Europe are the Zigeuner (Sinti and Roma), next one will say the most Europeans have actually Zigeuner roots??? ;)
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
2 Jan 2010  #12
The Jewish culture was left intact because the girls were left Jewish while the sons were given to the church.
A jewish woman can marry anyone and all her children will be Jewish.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #13
A jewish woman can marry anyone and all her children will be Jewish.

But that would then only be "half-jews", wouldn't they? ;)

The race laws work here also...there are always big discussions between the rabbis, even today "who is a jew"? Intermarriage with non-Jews seen as biggest danger to world jewry!

Fact is, had the Jews intermingled with the native Europeans that much they would had stopped to be Jews.

judaism.about.com/od/interfaithfamilies/a/intermarr_jew_2.htm

...
In the past, Jewish intermarriage was rare.
It generally occurred when a Jew deliberately rejected his/her religion and heritage and sought to assimilate into Christian society.
In response to this rejection, the Jewish community disowned intermarried Jews. It was common for Jewish parents to sit shiva (Jewish mourning ritual) for children who intermarried.

It wasn't for nothing that even after many centuries of living side by side, even experiencing times of nearly full assimilation, accepted integration, Hitler was able to pluck most of them out of the native Germans at the first try...
Rogalski 5 | 94
2 Jan 2010  #14
there are always big discussions between the rabbis, even today "who is a jew"? Intermarriage with non-Jews seen as biggest danger to world jewry!

But most rabbinical authorities accept that according to various criteria a non-Jew can convert to Judaism and then the marriage is kosher. The 'threat' (as you term it) is when the Jew gives up Judaism in order to marry a non-Jew. I believe the Catholic Church has a similar standpoint when it comes to marriage ...
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
2 Jan 2010  #15
But that would then only be "half-jews", wouldn't they? ;)

Not according to Orthodox Jews. As long as the mother is Jewish, the children are Jewish. The mother is central in handing down the culture. She knows what to eat, how to set the table, etc. Food is a big part of being Jewish.
Rogalski 5 | 94
2 Jan 2010  #16
Well Jewish fathers can have Jewish knowledge too and bring their children up accordingly. The major Jewish movement in America and the Liberal movement in the UK accepts the children of Jewish men as Jewish if indeed they have been brought up as such. In the Orthodox community, the mother would have to convert to Orthodox Judaism in order to marry the Jewish father - but her children would still be considered 100% Jewish if the conversion was carried out according to their regulations.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #17
Not according the Orthodox Jews.

Well, their funny interpretions aside...if two different parts get a child together it will always have both sides in their heritage, if they like that fact or not! ;)

Another common fact is that always the smaller group assimilates into the bigger group (besides examples if the smaller group has and uses means to totally over come the majority in some way OR the smaller group isolates itself from the majority)

The Jews paid a high price all their time in Europe for not assimilating...
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
2 Jan 2010  #18
Well, their funny interpretions aside...if two different parts get a child together it will always have both sides in their heritage, if they like that fact or not! ;)

The Jewish mother celebrates the Jewish holidays at the table, buys Kosher food, make sure it stays Kosher when it's served. That's why it's handed down thru the mom. She raises the kids to be "Jewish".

It does get confusing...are we talking genetics...are we talking religion. Aren't Polish Jews genetically similar to Eastern European non Jews? Ah, more proof they are related and share common ancestors!
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #19
Food is a big part of being Jewish.

The topic was about genetics, ja?

If you point at culture and food and traditions then there is even less reason to say that most of the Poles (or Germans for that matter) have jewish heritage today...

That would also mean that all those jewish kids who grew up as non-jews to save them from the Nazis are still lost to the jewish tribe..
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
2 Jan 2010  #20
The topic was about genetics, ja?

Genetically, the Polish Jews are similar to other eastern Europeans, which supports the claim even further...with empirical evidence :D
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #21
You are losing me here Plastic,
You just talked about jewish traditions as the core of being jewish, not genetics!

And didn't JoeP say that the eastern Jews ARE actually from the East (Khazars) and not from the ME in the first place???
Rogalski 5 | 94
2 Jan 2010  #22
are we talking genetics...are we talking religion

Judaism is a religion, based on ethnoconfessional separateness, not a race. Other groups such as the Latgalians in Latvia and the Setu in Estonia have a similar ethnoconfessional concept.
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
2 Jan 2010  #23
And didn't JoeP say that the eastern Jews ARE actually from the East (Khazars) and not from the ME in the first place???

We don't know for sure, but chances are, these converted Jews, at the very least, married orthodox Jews. That would be mixing things up even more.
jonni 16 | 2,485
2 Jan 2010  #24
And didn't JoeP say that the eastern Jews ARE actually from the East (Khazars)

Except they aren't. That theory (about Khazars) that @joepilsudski rattles on about was proved to be nonsense as soon as DNA tests were invented.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #25
DNA tests were invented.

Well, till now no DNA tests on european populations found a significant "jewish gene" in them, so we can scratch that theory too! ;)
jonni 16 | 2,485
2 Jan 2010  #26
Bratwurst Boy

There's such a theory?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #27
There's such a theory?

Points to thread topic
jonni 16 | 2,485
2 Jan 2010  #28
A rather daft theory in that case.

It presupposes too much about the meaning of the concept of 'roots'. Through marriage and adultery over centuries, there must be plenty of Jewish DNA in the Polish genepool - whether that means anything today is a different matter.

There must also be strong cultural influence, in cuisine, music, literature, folk culture, ideas. Aren't these the real roots, much more than bits of ancestry?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,742
2 Jan 2010  #29
there must be plenty of Jewish DNA in the Polish genepool

Well...it goes both ways jonni.
Who do you think dilutes it's genepool more? The overwhelming majority or a tiny minority???
Easy math here...not the tiny minority will imprint itself on the majority but to the contrary, they will become assimilated into the majority (if they don't isolate themself).

Aren't these the real roots, much more than bits of ancestry?

Well, if that one is rarely existent in a society (besides some exotic restaurants) can you then still speak of "important part of the roots and heritage"?
vetala - | 382
2 Jan 2010  #30
Current DNA tests are crap. They only test mtdna and ydna - the first one can be passed SOLELY by women and the second one SOLELY by men. So a mixed couple will have daughters with no trace of father's dna and sons with no trace of mother's dna.

WTF are you fighting over, guys? The thread was about how many Poles may have at least ONE Jewish ancestor, not about how much Jewish blood Poles have. It's kind of obvious that having one Jewish ancestor 300 years earlier won't change your genotype much.


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