New ideas on Origins of E. Eur. Jews
- There is a fascinating article in the current
issue of Avotaynu by Alexander Beider, probably the
world's leading expert on Eastern European Jewish names.
<br><br>He claims that the origins of Polish Jewry (and thus
Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Belorussian Jewry) are from
migrants from Czech lands (Bohemia and Moravia), not
German lands (the Rhineland) as conventionally presumed.
<br><br>This doesn't mean that there wasn't German influence,
just that the vast majority of the grass-roots Jews
came from Czech lands rather than German lands. He
bases this new interpretation on given-name studies of
Jewish tombstones from old cemeteries. He observes that
the first names of nearly all the Jews of Eastern
Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries are of Slavic
construction and are NOT a match with those in the Rhineland
during the same era. He claims that the Jews of Moravia
and Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic) are of very
ancient descent. They spoke a Slavic dialect before
adopting Yiddish. He claims that Yiddish was imposed on
them as the language of commerce and by the end of
16th century, Yiddish had superceded their native
Slavic dialect. Maybe a minority of intelligencia
(Rabbis and rich businessmen) came from the Rhineland at
this time and took over leadership of the indigenous
Eastern European Jewish communities. Yiddish then became
the language of culture and commerce. This sort of
matches what we know about the Yiddish language - that it
was a High German dialect frozen in time from about
that era.<br><br>Anyway, if what Beider deduces is
true, it is a major revelation on what we know about
Jewish history from that era, very different than what
previous scholars had assumed.
- I am looking for the surnames ZILBERMAN, KARP and EPSTEIN of
Yarburg, Lithuania and JUDKOWSKY of Serednik, Lithuania.
--- In email@example.com, jeffreyrstern wrote:
> I have just begun to research my European roots.
> Have learned that my maternal grandfather was from
> Yurburg, Lithuania. The family name was eithrn Arnstein or
> Arshtein. Looking for any possible relatives....