From these 25 expressions of the criminal argot, 2 are
German, 2 of Gypsy origin, 1 Italian and 18 -- Hebrew or
Already, in the Liber vagatorum (appeared in 1510)
one finds an enormous number of Jewish words, even as in various still
older documents. These uncontestable facts demonstrate in the clearest
fashion that the Gaunersprache [criminal argot] arose under the
decisive influence of Jewry.
Dr. Martin Luther already
determined this, and in his opening remarks to Bericht von der falschen
Betler-Büberei [Report on the false Beggar-Knavery], printed in
the year 1567, wrote the following(1): "Such a thieves'
language indeed comes from the Jews, for there are many Hebrew words in
it. . ."
Thus it remained also in the next centuries. For example,
in 1823 the Criminal Councilor F. A. Wennmohs writes the following in his
book Über Gauner und über das zweckmäßigste, vielleicht einzige Mittel
zur Vertilgung dieses Übels [Concerning Swindlers and the most
expedient single means for exterminating this evil](1): "Robbery is called
perkoch (more correct: bekauch) handeln [i.e., to
steal bekauch] by the swindlers, it is also called
Chasnegehen [= going chasne], theft by night by breaking-in,
climbing into apartments and other buildings, closets, etc., is called
betuch handeln [to steal beruch] and zierlich handeln
[to steal with finesse]. Handeln [The actual meaning of this German
word is: to do, act, deal with, etc.] is by far the most usual expression
for stealing. The word bekauch signifies the Latin vi [by
violence], the word betuch -- the Latin clam [secretly,
suureptitiously]. So the Gentile thief uses the latter word, but the Jew
actually does not make use of it because he, as a Hebrew, knows better,
that betuch actually does not mean secretly, but rather surely and
certainly, and would still better suit robbery, and he pronounces
betuch and bekauch [as] betuach and
Highly noteworthy is the claim of Wennmohs that in
the Jewish Gaunersprache, in the Rotwelsch [German word
meaning criminal lingo], "handeln" can be accepted as the customary
expression for stealing. The inclination of the Jews for  dealing [i.e., Handel -- trading,
dealing] thereby finds a novel interpretation. For them, there is no
essential distinction between a "Geschäft" [=business] and a crime.
When they "handeln" [= deal], then they are stealing, and when they
are stealing, then they "handeln" [= deal]. Business is thievery
and thievery is business.
Still more striking is the fact, likewise
communicated by Wennmohs, that the large crowbar, the most important tool
for breaking and enetering, bears the terrific name "Rebbmosche,"
i.e., Rabbi Moses. With the Rebbmosche in hand, breaking and
entering is committed. The leader of the burglary likewise -- as is not
otherwise to be expected -- bears a Hebrew name; he is the "Baal
Yet the corrupting influence of the language of
the Jews is still more far-reaching than one might believe. Without its
being noticed, numerous Jewish words and expressions have flowed into the
German language -- or, better said, have been smuggled into it. Many a
word that is thoroughly familar to us originates in the "Kochemer
Loschen." Some examples may suffice. "Baldowern" [crook, rogue]
comes from "Baal" (lord, master) and "dabar" (thing),
"Kassiber" [secret note] is the rabbinic "Kathiba" (piece of
writing, document), "Pleite" [bankruptcy] is the Hebrew
"peleta" (flight, escape), "verschütt gehen" [to be run in,
taken in] conceals in itself the Hebrew "schuth" (fix, set), while
"Knast" [jail] is nothing other than the Hebrew "knass"
(punishment). Also Jewish are "Schlamassel" [dilemma, mess]
("massel" = luck), Dalles [poverty], etc.
Many a word
is so well camouflaged that one can no longer see its Jewish
"Dufte" [crafty] has nothing to do with
"Duft" [scent, aroma], but comes from "tob," "Kluft"
[the primary and original German meaning is "abyss," "chasm'" etc.; its
secondary meaning is slang for "clothes," "duds"] is a transmutation of
the rabbinic "Killuph" (peel, skin, shell), "Moos" [primary
Germany meaning is "moss," secondary and slang meaning is "lettuce,"
"cash"] in the sense of "money" is likewise a rabbinic word (maoth
= coins). When we hear anyone claim that he "schmuse" [from
schmusen: to flatter, to cuddle, fawn upon], is speaking
"Kohl" [primary meaning is "cabbage," slang is twaddle, nonsense],
or is a "Kaffer" [blockhead], so we are using purely Hebrew words
"schemua" (speak), "kol" (speech) and "Kafar"
(Gewrman Dorf, village) -- for the Jews, the village dweller, the
peasant, is always despised as the fool, the dumb guy, but is valued as a
source of gain. "Schmiere stehen" [slang meaning "to stand watch"]
has nothing in common with "schmierig" [oily, greasy], but is a
derivation of the Hebrew "schemira" (watch, guard), and an
"ausgekochter" fellow is not someone who has been cooked [German
kochen = to cook; auskochen = boil], but rather a
"Kochem," [sly fellow -- see p. 13], a 'Chochem," one who is
totally cunning. "Abhauen" (actually, "abbauen") comes from
the Hebrew "bo" (to come), and when we want to "verkohlen"
[primary German word meaning is "to carbonize" which originates in the
German word, die Kohle, coal -- but the slang meaning --
originating from the Hebrew "kol," is: to hoax, bamboozle] someone,
so we are using, without knowing it, the Jewish "kol" (foolish
speech). Even such a traditional-sounding expression as "Wo Bartels den
Most holt" [apparently literally: "Where Bartholemew gets [his] cider"
-- i.e., to know one's way around, know the ropes, etc.] contains two
Hebrew words: "barzel" (crowbar) and "Moos" (money, coins)
and originally meant  "Where one can get
money for himself by means of breaking in." And when someone "Schwein
hat" [literally, "has a hog/swine"], that actually means that he holds
the trumps in his hand, for in the Gaunersprache, a trump is
designated by the Jewish word "Chasir" (swine, luck). Also of
Jewish origin are: "kess" [pert, saucy] (from kassas = to
rub, grind), "türmen" [the primary German meaning is: to pile up,
to tower up -- from der Turm = tower; but the slang,
non-German-derived meaning is: to run off, make tracks, etc.] (from
tharam = to leave), "Pinke" [money, cash] (from
Pinka, money bowl). And should we be surprised that "mogeln"
[to cheat] is Jewish?
The number of linguistic examples could be
extended at will -- they prove that substantially, the leading
class of the criminal element has always consisted of Jews.
lecture concerning the criminality of Jewry, constructed from rich source
material from the 18th and 19th centuries, Dr. v. Leers(1) gives a wealth of
convincing examples regarding Jewish robbery bands and gangs receiving
stolen goods, which made the German lands unsafe to a degree unimaginable
today. It was often entire Jewish criminal clans and criminal towns which
served as centers of complex criminal organizations. The switch of Jewry
from violent gangs for larceny, robbery and murder to less violent methods
ensued gradually at first, in natural adjustment to the given modern
conditions. From the Jewish hold-up man, the Jewish swindler developed,
from the Baal Massematte, the leader of a "financial
In 1831, a band consisting of eleven Jews was
arrested, which worked under the leadership of a certain Joseph Adolf
Rosenthal. this Jew was simultaneously a trusted agent and vigilant
of the police -- a worthy precursor, perhaps a model of the notorrious
Jewish Ochrana informer Asev. Rosenthal confessed to more than two hundred
thefts and burglaries, among them thirty-six robberies of public
treasuries, in which over five hundred persons participated and indeed,
they were predominantly Jews. The threads led back to the small town of
Betsche, in the district of Posen. Here and in the surrounding area
eighty-one Jews were ultimately caught. Following this, the Magdeburg area
was cleaned up, which resulted in a total of one hundred eighty-seven
religtious Jews and three baptized Jews falling into the hands of the
Jews have ever been the leaders of the Underworld. What do modern
The answer is as unambiguous as possible. The
number of investigations concerning the Jewish element in the criminal
world is sufficiently large, and they all lead to the same
 In such a manner did W.
study the German criminal statistics from the years 1882-89 and was able
to reach significant conclusions.
He took the number of Jews
convicted per 100,000 and divided this number by that of the number of
non-Jews convicted per 100,000. He obtained the following