Intermarriage Among Soviet JewsAccording to a World Jewish Congress study, nearly one of every two marriages among the Jewish population in the Soviet Union involved a non-Jewish partner.

This finding is contained in a report released here by the research arm of the WJC, the Institute of Jewish Affairs. The study, based on official Soviet statistics from the 1960’s until the mid-1970’s, examined marriage patterns in four Soviet republics and three cities. The quantity and spread of the data make it possible to estimate the general rate of mixed marriages, the report noted.

In the regions under study, the percentage of mixed marriages ranged from a high of 76.7 percent in the Ukraine to 27.7 percent in the city of Makhachkala bordering the Caspian Sea. After calculating the weighted average of these percentages, the study concludes that the rate of mixed marriages in every 100 marriages in which at least one partner was Jewish ranged between 40 and 50.

At the same time, the data also suggests a greater tendency among Jews to marry within their own ethnic group than was the case among other national minorities in the Soviet Union. As the report states, “this strengthens the supposition that the Jews, more than other ethnic groups, choose their marriage partners within their own fold; this does not, however, decrease the extent of exogamous marriages among them.” The WJC study also finds that the tendency among Jewish males to “marry out” is much higher than among Jewish females.

A Common Occurrence Noted

The incidence of marriages between persons belonging to different nationalities is quite common in the Soviet Union, the statistics reveal. In the case of Jews these instances have added significance since, as the report notes, “the overwhelming majority of the children of mixed unions do not identify themselves as Jews when applying for their identity documents and do not, in their majority consider themselves as part of the Jewish people.”

The WJC’ study was prepared for the Institute by Dr. Mordechai Altshuler. His findings appear in the most recent issue of “Soviet Jewish Affairs,” the Institute’s journal on Jewish problems in the USSR and Eastern Europe.

An earlier study reported on by the World Jewish Congress demonstrated how statistics on intermarriage bear on the question of Soviet Jewish emigration. That study indicated a strong correlation between the ethnic make-up of the marriage and the likelihood of aliya to Israel.