The promotion of culture in medieval and modern times - Contributions to Literature - Activity in Journalism - Drama and Music - The plastic arts - Philosophy, Scholarship, Mathematics - Scientific discovery and invention - The advance of Medical Science - Exploration - The promotion of the cause of universal peaceThe intellectual products of the Jewish people created within the bosom of the community and bearing the specific impress of their origin represent but a fraction of Jewish achievements in the world of culture. The mind of the Jew was never absorbed entirely in his traditional lore: throughout the Middle Ages he co-operated in the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of science in Europe, distinguishing himself particularly in the fields of philosophy, medicine, astronomy, and exploration. The Jews gave an impetus to the progress of philosophical thought through the influence they exercised upon the Scholastic movement; they founded the medical schools of Montpellier and Salerno and produced most of the famous physicians until the sixteenth century; they discovered long before Copernicus the cause of the alternation of day and night; and they not only contributed in men and means to the voyage of Columbus but also took a prominent part in the discovery of the East Indies and explored nearly the whole of the world known in medieval times. Notable as their share in the advances of civilization had already been it became much more vigorous after their admission to the rights of citizenship and their adoption of modern education, and it steadily grew in volume and importance throughout the nineteenth century until there is now not a single sphere of intellectual effort and aspiration in which they are not active. In the fields of literature and journalism, of the drama, music, and art, philosophy and philology, mathematical science and medical research, technical invention and exploration, and in the highest sphere of human activity-the cause of peace-the Jews are now working side by side with the members of other nations, with whom they can bear comparison not only in respect of industry and capacity but also in respect of zeal and self-sacrifice, whilst in certain spheres, such as medicine, scientific invention, and exploration they have made original contributions of surpassing value. Despite the reproaches of clannishness and separatism, the Jews are devoting to the service of general culture and progress far more energy and activity than they display in the cultivation of their own national literary treasures, and in the process of time this deflection of interest is likely to extend, unless a centripetal force should arise in the form of a vigorous national settlement in Palestine. Their share in the intellectual labours of the present day is all the more striking when viewed in relation to their proportion to the world's population, and a brief survey will suffice to show that both in scope and worth it far transcends the grudging estimate of writers like Houston Chamberlain, who would deny the Jew all genius and creative power. A people which has produced four such epoch-makers as Moses, Jesus, Spinoza, and Karl Marx has amply justified its title to intellectual and spiritual originality, and a consideration of the achievements of such men as Heine, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Israels, Ehrlich, and a host of others who have won renown in various fields of human endeavour in our own time, will show in what a high degree the Jew has furthered the welfare and enhanced the ideals of mankind.
The sphere in which the Jews first began to co-operate in a conspicuous measure with their fellow-citizens in the intellectual world was that of literature. Scarcely had they learned the language of their country than they began to contribute to its literary treasury as poets and novelists, as philosophers and historians, as essayists and satirists. The creative imagination which had formerly revealed itself in passionate odes to Zion now found its inspiration nearer at hand, in the life of the surrounding people, in its national traditions, its intellectual aspirations, its political struggles. The ardour with which the Jews threw themselves into the intellectual movements of their native countries is best illustrated by the literary salons of Berlin at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, which owed their creation to Jewish women like Henriette Herz, Rahel Levin, and Dorothea and Henriette Mendelssohn, and the glory of which passed away with their charming creators. It is in Germany that the share of the Jews in the development of the national literature has been more intimate and extensive than in any other country. From the days of Moses Mendelssohn, who laid the foundations of German esthetics and literary criticism, radically influenced the Laokoon of Lessing, and introduced the leading thinkers of England and France to the German public, the Jews have contributed a succession of notable works to German literature and are represented in all its branches. Heine, the most splendid lyrist of his ungrateful country, is the brightest star in this galaxy of Jewish writers, which includes Ludwig Boerne, who stirred reactionary Prussia with his political writings, Berthold Auerbach, who delighted the people with his novels for forty years, the literary historians Karpeles and Geiger, and a score or more of eminent living writers-the poets Hofmannsthal and Mombert, the novelists Schnitzler, Georg Hermann, and Jacob Wassermann, and the prince of German humorists, Julius Stettenheim. The fecundity and originality displayed by modern Jewish authors has brought upon them the reproach that they are "judaizing" German literature and has given a new turn to Anti-Semitism, but an impartial critic like Kurt Martens actually assigns them a certain superiority over their Teutonic fellow-writers and ventures the belief that "the greatest poetic creations of our German future will some day issue from a blending of the German with the Jewish spirit." 1 In other countries the part played by Jews in the literary world is of somewhat later date, but it is none the less of high significance. Denmark has produced the greatest literary critic of the day, Georg Brandes; in Italy we meet the names of the poet Romanelli and the historian of Venice, Romanin; in France, that delightful weaver of modern romances, Catulle Mendes; in Holland, the novelists Heyermanns and Querido; in Hungary, the popular ballad-writer, Joseph Kiss; in Russia the playwrights Minski and Yushkevitch, and the novelist Dymov; and in England, apart from Benjamin Disraeli, who was brought up in Christianity from childhood, we have the novelist and playwright, Israel Zangwill; the editor of England's Dictionary of National Biography, Sidney Lee; the popularizer of Shakespearean study, Israel Gollancz; the versatile biographer, Lewis Melville; and a score of writers on various subjects. Nor can we overlook the part played by Jews in the dissemination of literature, whether as translators of great writers (Maeterlinck, Nietzsche, and Hauptmann, owing their English versions to Jews) or in the publishing trade, in which firms like S. Fischer of Berlin and Calmann Levy of Paris stand in the front rank of their respective country.
The activity displayed in the realm of journalism is even more extensive than in that of literature. It comprises the founding of the leading international news agencies, the ownership and editorship of some of the leading Continental newspapers, and collaboration on a countless host of papers in all parts of the world. The first great news agency that established a systematic service of correspondence in all parts of the world was that created by Baron Reuter, whilst the agencies of Wolff and Hirsch are of not less importance on the Continent. The Berliner Tageblatt, Frankfurter Zeitung, Neue Freie Presse, and Pester Lloyd, four of the leading organs in Central Europe, are both owned and edited by Jews, but these do not exhaust the list of periodicals that are under their entire or partial control, as there are many other journals that are both owned and edited by Jews; or owned by Jews and edited by non-Jews, or owned by non-Jews and edited by Jews.2 Thus, the Prager Tageblatt, which so valiantly defends the interests of the German element in Bohemia, has a Christian proprietor, but its editorial staff is mostly made up of Jews. In America the New York World was first raised to a position of influence by Joseph Pulitzer, and the New York Times and Globe are also under Jewish control. As for Jewish collaboration on the world's press, whether as members of the editorial staff, external contributors, or foreign correspondents, their name is indeed legion, and many of them during the last quarter of a century have played an important part in the political world. Suffice it to mention such names3 as Lucien Wolf in England, Bernard Lazare and Jean Finot (Finkelstein) in France, Friedrich Dernburg, Maximilian Harden, and Theodor Wolf in Germany, Siegmund Münz and Heinrich Friedjung in Austria, and Max Nordau, the Paris correspondent of the Vossische Zeitung and the Neue Freie Presse. The great part played by the Jews in the newspaper world has in recent years formed the ground of bitter agitation on the part of the Anti-Semites, who complained that they use their position to further specific Jewish interests, without regard to the welfare of their own country. But repeatedly as this allegation has been made, not a shred of evidence has yet been offered in its support. Such papers as the Berliner Tageblatt and the Frankfurter Zeitung are the best edited organs of Radical opinion in Germany, but they foster Jewish interests only in so far as they advocate the general cause of political progress in Germany - a policy that is regarded as "anti-national" only by the Prussian Junker party. The fact is that Jewish journalists are almost wholly absorbed in the politics of their respective country, are generally identified with a particular party, and frequently find themselves in opposing camps the one cause that unites them is the cause of peace which certainly nobody can characterize as anti-patriotic. Moreover, a good portion of their activity is devoted to writings of a non-political nature among which they have cultivated with conspicuous success the fine art of the feuilleton.
The present century has also witnessed an increasing participation by Jews in the many-sided activity of the dramatic world on both sides of the Atlantic, whether as playrights, actors, or stage managers. There is not a single cultured country in which one cannot in the course of the winter season see some drama that has either been written by a Jew, or in which a leading part is played by a Jew, or which is under Jewish stage-management. Alfred Sutro and Israel Zangwill in England, David Belasco in America, Henri Bernstein in France, Ludwig Fulda and Oscar Blumenthal in Germany, Arthur Schnitzler in Austria, Herman Heyermanns in Holland, and Henry Nathansen in Denmark - these are among the best known and most popular playrights of the present day, and they do not by any means exhaust the roll of living Jewish dramatists. As directors and managers of theatres the Jews are numerously represented in Germany and Austria, and the most famous of them, Max Reinhardt, has created an artistic revolution in the production of plays. To the stage, for which the Jew is particularly fitted by temperament, Jewry has presented such notable figures as Rachel Felix, the most thrilling interpreter of Corneille and Racine, Adolf von Sonnenthal, the greatest actor of Austria, and Ludwig Barnay, acclaimed by German critics as a histrionic genius; and from its midst has sprung the greatest actress of the present day, Sarah Bernhardt, as well as a host of actors and actresses of eminent rank. In the allied world of music we also encounter a number of illustrious names, belonging partly to a former generation and partly to this, and sufficing to rebut the charge of Wagner that Jews were devoid of musical gem us. Among eminent composers are Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Goldmark, Bruch, Fromenthal Halevy, and Frederic Cowen; whilst the famous instrumentalists of the present generation include Joseph Joachim, Mark Hambourg, Mischa Elman, and Ephraim Zimbalist, whose performances have entranced crowded and critical audiences throughout the globe. Jews are also munificent patrons of the opera and the concert-hall and generously befriend the struggling genius. The light comic opera; which is now so much in vogue, has been cultivated with conspicuous success by Oscar Straus, Leo Fall, Jean Gilbert (Max Winterfeld), and the music-hall or variety theatre is also recruiting its artists in an increasing measure from the Jewish fold, which likewise provides a great number of theatrical agents and impresarios.
The plastic arts form a comparatively new field of activity for the Jew, but he has already achieved enough to win the world's recognition of his genius therein. It had, indeed, long been maintained that the Jew had no capacity for the plastic arts, and the anti-Semite Dühring maintained that the religious prohibition of artistic representation was designed to conceal an inborn incompetence. But this reproach has long been rolled away by the magnificent work of Jewish painters and sculptors displayed during the last half-century in the leading art galleries of the world. Josef Israels was acknowledged to be the greatest representative of modern Dutch art; Marc Antokolski was the most eminent sculptor of Russia; Max Liebermann is modern Germany's most original and distinctive painter; Solomon J. Solomon is among the leading artists of England ; whilst in France Camille Pissaro, in Austria Leopold Horowitz, in Italy Leopold Pollak, and in Poland Leopold Pilichowski, have all given proof of the capacity of the Jew to shine in the plastic arts if only he is allowed the opportunity. One of the most brilliant sculptors of America is Moses Ezekiel, whose works are also to be seen in London and Paris, in Berlin and Rome; whilst another original sculptor, Jacob Epstein, is the author of the striking monument to Heine in the cemetery of Montmartre. The sons of Israel have also achieved fame in other branches of art: Hermann Struck as an etcher, Henry Ospovat as a bold caricattirist,4 and Leon Bakst as a brilliant designer of scenery and costumes for the theatre.
The versatility of the Jewish mind is illustrated by its distinction in philosophy and philology, archeology and law, mathematics and chess. The Jews have made good use of the right to study at the universities, which was originally denied to them, for they now occupy professorial chairs in almost all subjects, in most of the great seats of learning in Europe and America, and have advanced the bounds of human knowledge in countless directions. The metaphysical world is now dominated by Henri Bergson's idea of creative evolution, which has exercised as profound an influence as the teachings of Kant,5 whilst the development of philosophical thought in the nineteenth century received a notable impetus from Hermann Cohen, who moulded the minds of Germany's Radical thinkers at the Marburg University, and from Hermann Steinthal, who founded the science of racial psychology. The history of philological science is studded with Jewish names: Graziadio Ascoli opened out new paths in the study of comparative philology and the science of phonology; Arminius Vambery traced the origin of the Magyar tongue and mastered all the languages and dialects of Central Asia; Michel Breal wrote an annotated translation of Bopp's epoch-making Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European languages, which is regarded as superior to the original; James Darmesteter translated the Avesta into both English and French and added to our knowledge of the Persian and Afghan tongues, and his brother Arsene, with Adolphe Hatzfeld, compiled a French dictionary that superseded the work of Littre; Joseph and Hartwig Derenbourg have thrown light upon the Himyaritic and Sabean inscriptions; and Ignaz Goldziher was the first to give a critical history of Arabic traditions. In the study of archeology Jules Oppert was the first who definitely identified the site of ancient Babylon and led the way in the interpretation of its contract tablets; Salomon Reinach has made important researches in Roman and Greek archeology; and Charles Waldstein has conducted excavations on the site of ancient Platea. In the field of jurisprudence Tobias Asser in Holland and Josef Unger in Austria have made masterly and enduring contributions to the theory and practice of international law. From the formidable list of eminent mathematicians it must suffice to mention Georg Cantor, who invented the theory of transfinite numbers, and Karl Jacobi, who made epoch-making discoveries in the field of elliptical functions; Minkowski, who is a leading authority on the theory of numbers, and Weingarten, whose authority is supreme on the theory of surfaces; Schwarzschild, the director of the Potsdam Observatory, and Slonimski, the inventor of a counting-machine; Hadamard, the author of "Hadamard's theorem," and James Sylvester, who discovered the proof and extension of Newton's theorem on the imaginary roots of equations and shared with his collaborator Cayley the leadership in pure mathematics in England in the nineteenth century. The genius of the Jew for pure mathematics explains his supremacy in the game of chess, the champions of which - Zuckertort, Steinitz, Lasker - have all sprung from the Jewish fold.
The achievements of the Jew in the world of science are even more striking, for to him are due some of the most wonderful discoveries and inventions of the last hundred years.6 It was Ferdinand Cohn and Nathaniel Pringsheim who revolutionized the study of botany by their discoveries concerning the sexuality of plants and who created the first institutes for botanical physiology in Germany. It was Josef Oesterreicher who discovered Glauber salts, Aaron Aaronsohn who discovered primitive wild wheat in Palestine, Hermann Goldschmidt who discovered several minor planets, Gabriel Lippman who discovered the process of colour photography, Josef Popper who discovered the transmission of power by electricity, Albert Michelson who determined the velocity of light, and Heinrich Hertz who, by his researches in the production of electro-magnetic waves, paved the way for wireless telegraphy. The electro-thermometer owes its invention to Peter Ries, the microphone and gramophone were invented by Emil Berliner, the Graetzin light owes its name to Leo Graetz (son of the Jewish historian, Heinrich Graetz), and the discovery and preparation of petroleum for lighting purposes were made by Abraham Schreiner, a Galician tradesman, in 1853, a year before its discovery in America. Moreover, there are four important inventions that were anticipated by Jews, but which, owing to lack of means and the caprice of fate, they were unable to perfect and put upon the market. Thus, the first electric automobile was created by M. Davidsohn in 1854, the first benzine automobile by Siegfried Marcus in 1875, the first electric telephone by Philipp Reis in 1860 (seventeen years before the improved invention by Graham Bell), and the first rigid airship by David Schwarz in 1892. The fate of Schwarz, who struggled for years to secure the acceptance of his invention, was particularly sad, for after futile negotiations with the Austrian and Russian Governments he approached the German Government, and when at last, on 13th January 1897, a telegram from the German War Office, summoning him to Berlin for a trial flight, reached him in the street, he was 50 overwhelmed with joy that he fell dead on the spot. It was not until after the ascent of Schwarz's vessel, which took place in the presence of Count Zeppelin, that the latter proceeded to construct his first airship, for which he obtained the aluminium and propellers from the same works as Schwarz.7
Equally impressive is the record of Jewish achievement in the manifold advance of medical science, which from the earliest time has numbered Jews among its ablest and most zealous practitioners. The most remark-able discovery of our day, salvarsan, is due to the Jew Paul Ehrlich, the value of whose specific in suppressing the most maleficent disease of mankind was unanimously acknowledged at the last International Medical Congress in London (August 1913); and, to the same branch of therapeutics belongs the test discovered by August von Wasserman, from whom it has received its name. The researches and discoveries of Jewish physicians in other branches of medical science are also of commanding importance. Albert Neisser, in 1879, at the age of twenty-four discovered the bacillus of gonorrhea, and introduce the method of local treatment which has since been universally adopted. Albert Fränkel was the first to expound the theory of the micrococci of pneumonia; Ludwig Traube was one of the greatest specialists of his day in experimental pathology and wrote many epoch-making monographs on digitalis, fever, and diseases of the lungs, heart, and kidneys; Benedikt Stilling was the first surgeon to introduce ovariotomy into Germany (1837), and his works on the central organs of the nervous system were crowned by the French Institute; Salomon Stricker made important discoveries in the histology of the cornea and the mechanism of lymphatic secretion ; Sir Felix Semon is the leading English specialist in throat diseases and was physician extraordinary to King Edward; Waldemar Haffkine, who was commissioned by the Government of India to inquire into the bacteriology of the plague in that country discovered a method of inoculaton by which he reduced the mortality nearly 90 per cent, and founded the Government Plague Research Laboratory which issues thousands of doses to various tropical countries; Friedrich Gustav Henle wrote standard works embodying notable discoveries concerning the cuticular root-sheath of the hair, the microscopical structure of the cornea, and the "loops of Henle" in the kidneys; Ludwig Jacobson, in 1809, discovered a hitherto unknown absorptive organ in the human nose, which was named "the Jacobsonian organ," and invented several surgical appliances; Cesare Lombroso discovered the cause of pellagra, wrote epoch-making works on genius and crime, and "effected a revolution in the mode of viewing both the criminal and the crime which has found expression in the newer penal codes" 8; Alexander Marmorek discovered an antidote for tuberculosis; and David Nabarro co-operated in the discovery of the origin of sleeping sickness.
Wanderers as the Jews have always been against their will, they have also travelled in the interests of science and brought light into unknown regions in various parts of the earth. Arminius Vambery was the first European who, at the peril of his life and in the disguise of a Sunnite dervish, penetrated through the Great Salt Desert to Samarcand and Herat. Emin Pasha, whose real name was Eduard Schnitzer, explored the Lakes Victoria and Albert Nyanza and was killed by a band of semi-Arabs. Hermann Burchardt explored the interior of Asia Minor and the Yemen and was murdered on the road from Mokha to Sanaa, and Eduard Glaser explored the whole of South Arabia with results that have revolutionized the study of its ancient monuments and of the history and geography of ancient Arabia. Marc Aurel Stein has made remarkable archeological discoveries in Chinese Turkestan; Max von Oppenheim has unearthed the long-buried capital of a Hittite Empire in Central Mesopotamia; Waldemar Jochelson has roamed through Northern Siberia and discovered among the aborigines two Yukaghir dialects hitherto considered extinct; and Angelo Heilprin scaled the heights of Orizaba and Popocatepetl and led the Peary Relief Expedition to Greenland. Even Nansen is a grandson of a Russian Jew named Nathansohn, and Sven Hedin is likewise the grandson of a Jew, so that it should not surprise us to learn that Columbus was also of Jewish descent.
In addition to the foregoing spheres of activity in which Jews have contributed so much to the enlightenment and betterment of mankind, to the increase of know-ledge and the decrease of suffering, they have also laboured in other directions upon a broad cosmopolitan plane for the promotion of the welfare of humanity. Imre Kiralfy has organized international exhibitions; David Lubin founded the International Agricultural Institute at Rome; Ludwig Zamenhof created the most popular of international tongues, Esperanto; Felix Adler has striven to banish religious strife by the propagation of ethical culture; Ivan Blioch preached the futility of modern war long before Norman Angell and inspired the convening of the Hague Conferences; and Alfred Fried is the most assiduous apostle of the gospel of peace.9
Such, in brief, is the record of Jewish achievement in the various spheres of intellectual and idealist effort. It represents but a partial picture, however, of the labours of Jewry, for it contains the names only of those who have attained to more than local eminence; but t41ere are thousands and tens of thousands who, if endowed with less genius, are working with equal zeal and industry in the various arts of civilization. This mere outline, however, attests an immense and impressive contribution to the advancement of the culture and progress of humanity, and yet it is the product only of the smaller half of Jewry, the half that has had the good fortune to enjoy the blessings of freedom and education. Who can say, when the cloud of oppression that still enwraps the greater half has passed away and the slumbering talents of nameless myriads have been quickened into play, what further conquests in the realm of science, what further creations in the realm of fancy, will yet be added by Jewish genius to the enrichment of mankind?
1 Kurt Martens, Literatur in Deutschland (Berlin, 1910), p.161.
2 The Vossische Zeitung, after a career of more than two hundred years, has also recently been acquired by a Jewish firm, Ullstein & Co., the owners of the popular Berlin midday paper (Berliner Zeitung am Mittag) and other journals.
3 Henri de Blowitz, the famous Paris correspondent of the Times, vigorously denied that he was of Jewish birth (My Memoirs. London: Edward Arnold, 1906).
4 The Work of Henry Ospovat. With an appreciation by Oliver Onions (London: St. Catherine Press, 1911).
5 Bergson is the first Jew to he elected to the French Academy.
6 For a fuller account of Jewish achievements in scientific invention as well as in medical research, see Juden als Erfinder und Entdecker, by Ernst Heppner ("Welt" Verlag, Berlin, 1913).
7 The pioneer of flying in Germany was also a Jew, Otto Lilienthal, to whom a public monument has just been unveiled (17th June 1914) near Berlin, on the spot on which, in 1896, he met his death while experimenting.
8 Dr. Max Nordau in the Jewish Encyclopedia, viii. p.155.
9 In 1911 the Nobel Prize for the preservation of peace was
divided between Alfred Fried and the late Tobias Asser. In 1907 the Nobel
Prize for physics was awarded to Professor Albert Michelson, and in 1908
the prize for physics was awarded to Gabriel Lippman, and that for medicine
to Professor Paul Ehrlich. In 1910 the Nobel Prize for literature was awarded
to Paul Heyse, who had a Jewish mother.