National Geographic : 1918 Dec
502 THE NATIONAL GEC The Jewish Year Book reckons there are to day about 10,000,000 in Europe, 3,000,000 in the United States, and I,ooo,ooo in the rest of the world. It reckons Ioo,ooo in France, io6,ooo in the Netherlands, 230,000 in Rumania, 257, oao in the United Kingdom, 615,000 in Germany, 1,300,000 in what was formerly Austria-Hun gary, and 7,000,000 in Russia. In Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, and Spain there are comparatively few. The great number in Russia largely trace back to Casimir the Great, a Polish king. His favorite, Esther, a devoted Jewess like her namesake in the Bible, persuaded Casimir to offer the Jews a home in Poland. The Jews had multiplied, especially in that part of Poland which Russia secured in the three partitions and which, with constantly changing bound aries, constituted the Russian Pale. When Casimir died, in 1370, Polish toleration ended. Instead there was often the ferocious shout, "Hep, Hep !" with which the pogrom began. A pogrom is an organized massacre and "Hep" is supposedly derived from the initials of "Hierosolyma est perdita." The fires through which the Jews have passed only ,intensified their remarkable do mestic and racial devotion. There is no posi tion of honor or confidence where one does not now find a Jew. There is no height or distinction-political, diplomatic, financial, dra matic, artistic, literary-which the sons and daughters of Israel have not attained. THE GYPSIES The Gypsies are first found in the Greek islands and continental Greece early in the fourteenth century. No tradition exists as to how they arrived or whence they came. After ward, they wandered through the Balkan Pen insula, settling nowhere except as the greater number were seized along the way and made serfs or slaves. In 1417 they appeared in western Europe, showing a peculiar pass or safe-conduct wherein they were called Tsigani. This pass, signed by Sigismund, king of Hungary and German emperor, granted permission to go wherever they pleased in the king's dominions, ordered his subjects to show them kindness and protection, and forbade interference with them of any sort. A little later their roving bands reached Italy, France, and the British Islands. Believed to have come from Egypt, their English name was Gypsies. The French, how ever, called them Bohemians, thinking they had originated in Bohemia. They called themselves Rom, supposed to mean man. This term was possibly picked up in passage through south eastern Europe. Among their many other names were Hagarenes, children of Hagar, Saracens, as from Arabia, and Athingani, or "Touch-me-nots," from a heretical sect in Asia Minor. Restrictive laws have hampered and some times entirely curtailed their former vagrancy. )GRAPHIC MAGAZINE Most Gypsies now live in houses, though still retaining their restless propensities. Existing in every country, they have been accurately counted nowhere. There are probably not over 700,000 in Europe, of whom three-fourths are located in Hungary, Rumania, and the Balkan Peninsula, where they enjoy the same civil rights'as the other inhabitants. Without coun try or traditions or religion of their own, they readily profess whatever is nearest. The Gypsies are of wiry figure, with black, often silky, hair; large, shining, black eyes; perfect teeth, regular and white, and a glow ing rich complexion, which early becomes tawny. Their young women often possess a brilliant but soon fading beauty. In music and dance, the untrammeled freedom of the race finds full expression. Liszt ascribes to the Gypsies "the origin of Hungarian national music." Many of the most popular Rumanian, Serbian, and Bulgarian ballads and tunes are derived from the Gypsies. Our chief interest in the Gypsy is his lan guage. Toward the end of the eighteenth cen tury three scholars, working apart and un known to one another, discovered that his 'jargon" is a primitive Indo-European lan guage, now spoken nowhere else and contained in no manuscript or book. Corrupted and de based, yet radically the same, it has been pre served through uncounted years and unknown wanderings on the lips of this mysterious peo ple. An eminent Oriental investigator, Dr. Pas pati, believed that the Romany was an ancient sister of the Sanscrit and that the Gypsy is the most ancient Indo-European in Europe. THE GERMANS The name German during these last years has been so blackened and befouled by its own children that it can never regain its former place in the respect and esteem of men. But, before militarism destroyed idealism, before the Prussian virus poisoned the German soul, there was no department of research, art, or literature which the Germans did not distin guish. Obscured from the world's thought to day by an interposing pall are the thinkers, poets, philosophers, and reformers of Ger many's great past. The main body of Germans has occupied the same territory from a period antedating the Christian era. Though absorbing many Slavic elements, they are as a people less composite than the Italians or the French. The number of inhabitants of the German Empire at the last census, inclusive of 1,870,000 persons in Alsace-Lorraine and of 1,260,000 * See also, in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, "Peasant Life in the Black Forest," by Karl Frederick Geiser (September, 1908) ; "A Corner of Old Wurttemberg," by B. H. Bux ton (October, 1911); "The German Nation" (September, 1914) ; "Hildesheim, the Town of Many Gables," by Florence Craig Albrecht (February, 1915).