The term useful Jew was used in various historical contexts, typically describing a Jewish person useful in implementing an official authorities' 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.[1] The first-born son in such families inherited this privilege; other children were considered useless by the authorities and had an alternative to "either abstain from marriage or leave."[2]
  • After the establishment of the Pale of Settlement in Imperial Russia, only useful Jews (Russian: полезные евреи), such as wealthy first guild merchants (Russian: купцы первой гильдии), persons who received higher education, cantonists after serving in the army the full term (25 years), as well as some other categories, were allowed to live outside the Pale.[3][4]
  • During the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe, the Jews who helped implement the Final Solution, such as members of Judenrat or the Jewish Police, were considered "valuable Jews" (German: Wertvolle Juden). They, and sometimes members of their families as well, were immune from deportation for extermination so long as they served the Nazis' purposes. Also, Jews who had helped plan the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin were considered "useful" and were spared deportation.


  1. Certificate Confirming Payment of Protection Money (Schutzgeld) for a Jewish Resident (1833)
  2. Simon Dubnow: The newest history of the Jewish people, 1789–1914
  3. How Russia Shaped the Modern World: From Art to Anti-Semitism, Ballet to Bolshevism by Steven G. Marks, p.142 ISBN 0691118450
  4. Russia at Institute for Jewish Policy Research
  5. (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. (

See also

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