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Literally, Jewish quota. A restriction on the number of Jews to be admitted to schools, universities, and the professions. The first form of numerus clausus is based on special legislation, and thus is openly admitted. The second, secret type uses devious ways to achieve the same practical results. The representative country for open discrimination was Tsarist Russia, where, after 1887, Jews could make up from only 3 to 6 percent of the students at higher institutions of learning. After the 1905 Revolution the quota was abandoned in Russia, but restored in 1908. A numerus clausus based on special legislation existed in Hungary after 1920.

The secret type of numerus clausus was used in Germany prior to the revolution of 1918 to limit the number of Jewish university teachers; numerus nullus, the total exclusion of Jews, was practiced in the officer corps. Poland and Romania followed a practice similar to the Germans’. The numerus clausus practice of the Polish and Romanian authorities was largely due to the antisemitic attitude of the non-Jewish students.

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