By: Joseph Jacobs
Until quite recent times the Jews were debarred from all professional occupations except that of medicine. Till entrance to the university was fully granted them, only a comparatively small number of Jews could enter the professions, which were mainly recruited from the universities. But since academic careers have been opened to them, Jews have crowded into the professions to so great an extent that the anti-Semites have vociferously protested that the Jews were monopolizing them. The proportion of Jews in the professions is often larger than that of the general population, but it must be remembered that professional careers are chiefly adopted by town-dwellers. Jews being almost invariably of this class, their proportion in the professions should be compared only with that of dwellers in cities.
Of the professions generally there are few statistical details. In Prussia, in 1861, 3.55 per cent of adult Jews were professional men, as against 2.15 among the rest of the population; in Italy, in the same year, the proportions were 8.7 among Jews as against 3.7 among non-Jews. What modifications these figures would receive if the fact that Jews mostly live in towns was taken into consideration it is difficult to say. In Berlin, in 1895, there were 2,763 Jews engaged in professional occupations out of a total number of 72,848—that is, 3.8 per cent ("Statistik des Deutschen Reichs"). In 1861 8.7 per cent of Berlin Jews followed the professions as against 8.1 in the general population, while for Vienna, in 1871, the proportions were 5.08 and 5.32 respectively; this seems to imply that in the seventies the Jews in Vienna did not apply themselves to the learned professions more than their neighbors. During the winter semester of 1899-1900 the Jewish students at the Prussian universities numbered 8.11 of the whole—8.67 in the law faculties, 14.6 in the medical, and 7.16 in the philosophical. These proportions show a slight decrease from those of 1891, when the Jewish medical students numbered as many as 8.98 per cent of the whole number. Similarly, at the Hungarian universities the proportions of Jewish students in the different faculties were as follows:
|Technical high schools||37.89||40.60|
In 1869 there were 33 Jewish advocates in Vienna, and the proportion of Jewish lawyers was 0.59 as against 0.33 among Gentiles. At the Austrian universities 11 per cent of the law students in 1870 were Jews, but in 1878 the proportion had risen to 16 per cent. In 1882 Jacobs calculated that there were 27 barristers and 47 solicitors among the Jews of London—about the natural proportion.
In Berlin, in 1871, the proportion of Jews in the medical profession (2.9) was about four times as great as among the rest of the population (0.8). It is stated that half of the 22 professors at the medical faculty were at that time Jews ("Der Talmud," p. 47); and in Vienna, in 1869, the proportion was 1.31 as against 0.73. About the same time Servi calculated that in Italy there was one physician among every 385 Jews, as against 1 in 1,150 among Italians in general ("Gli Israeliti," p. 300). In 1880 there were said to be in Vienna 374 Jewish physicians out of a total number of 1,097 ("Der Talmud," p. 29). In 1869 Jeiteles enumerated 287. The specialists were almost entirely Jews—38 out of 40 in Vienna in 1880 being of that race. While in 1851 Jews constituted 16.1 per cent of the medical students in the Austrian universities, in 1880 their number had risen to 28 per cent; and in 1877 of 3,207 physicians in Hungary 1,031 were Jews.
The following table is given by Jacobs ("Jewish Statistics," p. 44) as to the proportion of clergy in each denomination for various countries and years, cantors not being included:
|Country.||Year.||Number of Laymen to Each Clergyman Among|
In Vienna, in 1869, 124 Jews followed literature as a profession, forming 0.45 per cent of the adult workers in that field as against 0.13 following literature in the general population. These figures in reality refer to the number engaged in the press, for of these 124 no less than 119 were editors or journalists (see Jeiteles, "Die Cultusgemeinde der Israeliten in Wien," p. 74).
At the same date the percentage of the Jews of Vienna who gained their living through art was slightly less than the percentage of the general population engaged in the same field, being 0.64 against 0.73. Their numbers were as follows:
- Jacobs, Studies in Jewish Statistics, pp. 41-48;
- G. Ruppin, Die Juden der Gegenwart, pp. 204-212.