Useful Jew

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The term useful Jew was used in various historical contexts, typically describing a Jew useful in implementing an official authority's policy, sometimes by oppressing other Jews.

  • In 1744, Frederick II of Prussia introduced the practice of limiting Jewish population to a small number of the most wealthy families, known as "protected Jews" (Schutzjuden).[1] The first-born son in such families inherited this privilege; other children were considered useless by the authorities and had the choice of either abstaining from marriage or leaving.[2]
  • Following the establishment of the Pale of Settlement by Imperial Russia, only "useful Jews" (Russian: полезные евреи) were allowed to live outside the Pale; these included Jews such as wealthy first-rung merchants (Russian: купцы первой гильдии), persons who had received higher education, cantonists (after serving their full term in the army), and some other categories.[3][4]
  • In the Soviet Union, Jewish members of the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public were colloquially known as "useful Jews" or "pocket Jews" (Russian: карманные евреи), implying their corruption by high positions in the state hierarchy.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Certificate Confirming Payment of Protection Money (Schutzgeld) for a Jewish Resident (1833)
  2. ^ Dubnow, Simon. The Newest History of the Jewish People, 1789–1914.[full citation needed]
  3. ^ Marks, Steven G. How Russia Shaped the Modern World: From Art to Anti-Semitism, Ballet to Bolshevism. p. 142. ISBN 0-691-11845-0.
  4. ^ Russia Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine at Institute for Jewish Policy Research
  5. ^ (in Russian) The infamous AZCSP (in Russian) Prepared by Moscow Bureau for human rights. Contains excerpts from June 6, 1983 AZSCP press-conference from the press-center of Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (