Posts Tagged ‘Khazar Khanate’

Jewish Migration

June 7, 2009

From Chapter 19, “Kosher Hooks” by S.I. Fishgal

“Looking at my face, nobody has said yet that I’m a Jew. My surname is Germanic. Clearly, my father’s ancestors came from the west. But my mother’s maiden name is Russian-sounding. During the war, I spent some time in Kazakhstan. An old Kazakh called me a Jewish Kazakh. My maternal grandpa was there too. I found he resembled the locals as well. Our history books start the Russian history mainly from Kiev’s principality. Yet, Pushkin wrote that Kiev’s duke Oleg fought Khazars.”
“What verse?”
“A sorcerer warned that Oleg’s favorite horse would cause his death. That’s why the duke never rode that animal again. When horse died of the old age, the duke went to see the remains. He stamped upon the skull. A poisonous snake crawled out and fatally bit his foot.”
“Yes, I remember that.”
“The Great Soviet Encyclopedia surprised me that the Khazar nobility adapted Judaism. My suspicion is that my mother’s ancestors were not the newcomers from the west, but settled if not here, than at least in what is now our south before the Slavs.”
“I hope you know what you’re saying.”
“Yes, Paul Danilovich. Twenty-five years in the labor camps with the strictest regime. You should know I stayed and marched triumphantly with the Red Army from the Kursk hell to Kiev’s Babi Yar bloodbath. I saw servicemen, even the wounded ones, who talked too much, disappeared. One war year counts for three in the officers’ pensioned years. If you apply that to me, then I’m more mature than I look.”
“I felt it from the very beginning.”
“May we talk on that topic, or you’re afraid, or don’t know? I’ll paddle single-handedly. You just relax and tell me anything you want about Khazars or whatever.”
“I can’t lecture the ancient history because the last time I talked about that was probably 25 years ago,” the professor said. “But as a fat gentleman, I can tell you a thousand years ago Slavic tribes occupied the central north of today European Russia. Khazars’ state lasted in her southern part from 576 to 1240.
“They were the first Turkish tribe that migrated west. Upon reaching the Kuban (the plain between the Black and Caspian Seas), they settled down in, stopped raiding, built towns, became merchants, wanted a modern religion with no political strings attached and chose Judaism. That all was the most unusual for Central Asian nomads.”
“Why Judaism, if their neighbors were Muslims and Christians?” Roma asked.
“Jewish communities existed nearby too. Perhaps, Khazars disliked the Christians-Muslims tension and the guidance or becoming the subject of Byzantine emperor, the Islamic caliph or the pope. Khazars’ King Bulan asked Muslims, Christians and Jews what other religion they would choose. Both Muslims and Christians preferred Judaism. The Jews refused to the choice. Therefore, Khazars’ nobility adopted Judaism and invited Jewish sages from the bordering countries.”
Ancient Russian chronicles referred to the Khazar kingdom as the Land of the Jews. They lived in Kiev too. The chronicles mentioned Kiev’s Gate of the Jews. Later Arabs and Slavs crippled the Khazar Khanate (kingdom), but she existed until the Mongol conquests.
“So, I got my oriental eyes from Jewish Khazars, right?” Roma guessed.
“Unlikely. Perhaps, they drove back to their eastern steppes and left behind no traces of synagogues, Turkish words in Jewish languages, books and the nomad-warrior genes. As you know, Jews are the strongest, nonviolent pacifists.”
“So, no Noble Genghis Khan then?”
“This is only one of several theories or legends that could explain your oriental eyes. The Crimean peninsula was part of the Byzantine Empire. The Jewish merchants were active in the Black Sea. The trade routes led from the Crimea to Central Asia, China and the Baltic. The Jews traded between Feodosia, Eupatoria and Constantinople. Their Karaite sect settled in Crimea near Bakhchisarai – the Crimean Tartars’ capital. The Jewish community existed there until 1925. Do you know who the Crimean Tatar ambassador to Moscow was?”
“A Jew?”
“Yes. Khozya Kokos, a second known Jew in Moscow. Ivan III asked him not to write to the tsar in the Hebrew alphabet.”
“Who was the first Jew?”
“Venetian doctor Leon staked his head to cure the Ivan III son, but lost his bet in private and his head in public. Evidently, being a physician was a dangerous occupation then.”
“I’m more interested in the Jewish settlements, not occasional Jews,” Roma said
“Perhaps, two and a half millennium ago, Armenian and Georgian Jews descended from either the Ten Lost Tribes or the Babylonian Exile. The first Jews might come to the country after Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586 BCE. In addition, suppressed Jews fled from the Byzantine Empire to Georgia ruled by Persians then. They tolerated them in their own country too. Baghdad was the religious center of eastern Jewry.”
Term Georgian Jews was documented in the 11th century. They did not stop there and migrated to the Crimea because many Jews lived in the Greek colonies on the Black Sea shore around Chersoneses, Sevastopol, Kerch, and others.
“So, from my maternal side I’ve got the ingenious people’s stock – not a stranger here,” Roma asserted.
“Should I tell you, the aborigine, to keep your mouth shut? Jews came to Germany before Germans. So did Indians to America. So did Australian aborigines to Australia. And what happened to them? Remember anything I didn’t say has never hurt me.”
“Your lecture will die with me.”
“I’m not so sure. The survival is the Jewish eternal trick. They live on because have been doing that for four thousands years. There were pharaohs and Jews. The first disappeared. There were Romans and Jews. The first disappeared. There were crusaders and Jews. The first disappear. There were inquisitors and Jews. The first disappeared. There were the Third Reich and Jews. The first disappeared. Now there are Arabs and Jews, McCarthyists and Jews, some others and Jews. Who’s going to disappear next?”
“Thanks, Paul Danilovich, for your optimism.”
“Not only mine. Winston Churchill said Jews and Greeks survived in spite of all that the world could do against them, and all they could do against themselves. There is one strange peculiarity about Jews. The countries that exile or destroy their own Jewry decline thereafter. That happened to Spain, Germany, Poland, Arabs and others. The countries that did not destroy, but assimilated, dissolved and absorbed their Jews, declined or stopped their development. That happened to China and Turkey where at first the Jews were advisers, owned printing works and taught making firearms and gunpowder. Russians fought Turks and hated the Jews therefore. Dimitri Gherasimov, the first known Russian anti-Semite was the ambassador to the Roman Pope and wrote in 1526 that Jews were most despicable, disgusting, loathsome and vicious people. Did not they teach Turks casting bronze cannons?”
“What are you saying, Paul Danilovich? Turkey assimilated the Jews and declined because of that?”
“That’s the strange coincidence. Even Bismarck joked that to improve the German breed, they should interbreed a Jewish stallion with a German mare.”
“Nazis did the opposite,” Roma said.
“And what happened? Germany had Nobel laureates before Hitler, but none thereafter. There are a lot of those between American Polish Jews and their descendants, but not in Poland that liberated herself from the Jews. “In 1550 Polish king Sighismund-August asked Ivan the Terrible, the second registered anti-Semite, to let a few Jewish traders staying in Moscow. He declined because of, as he put it, Zhids’ loathsome acts. He alleged they brought poisonous medicines and caused much evil.”
“My father liberated Poles from Germans.”
“Don’t worry about Poles, Rommy. Even Churchill scorned them. England guaranteed the integrity of Poland after Poles, with hyena appetite, joined Fuhrer in the pillage and destruction of Czechoslovakia. Those are his words, not mine.”
The professor said that for a thousand years, Jews lived in Poland. The German crusaders killed every available Jew because Moslems were far away, but the Jews were in the vicinity. They survived mostly due to Poland. Polish kings and nobility protected the Jews who fled to them from Germany. The Jews were cartographers, merchants, physicians, artisans and so on. Because of the strict kosher laws and medicine, epidemics spared the Jews. Most Jews are Ashkenazim, i.e., German. Sephardim, i.e., Spanish Jews are the minority. Yet, Christian vicious roots took over Poland later. Even after the Jews returned from the German death camps, the neighbors made pogroms.
“Our own Jews are completely assimilated, yet anti-Semitism blossoms. Look at me, Paul Danilovich. I have nothing Jewish, except my surname – no language, no religion, nothing.”
“Adversities befell Jews in all times and places. The worst happens when the best does nothing. If Jews become Russians, then the country will have my indifference and apathy of a drunken zombie, instead of your intellectual curiosity. ‘You’re the salt of the earth,’ Jesus told the Jews. ‘And if the salt should lose its taste, with what it can be salted?’”