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Thread: Eastern Ashkenazi Jews and the medieval Kna'anim

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    Eastern Ashkenazi Jews and the medieval Kna'anim

    Much discussion and debate has taken place on the proximate origins of Eastern Ashkenazi Jews, and their exact connection to both the Western Ashkenazi Jews of Germany and France and the medieval eastern Kna'anim, who were the Slavic-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe. I'll go into the most up-to-date onomastic, linguistic, autosomal, Y-DNA, and mtDNA evidences to show that Eastern Ashkenazi Jews are in fact almost entirely derived from Eastern Yiddish-speaking Jews of eastern Germany/West Slavic lands, who themselves were mainly derived from Western Ashkenazi Jews.

    Onomastics:
    Dr. Alexander Beider has written extensively on the subject of Ashkenazi onomastics, that being the study of names in the Ashkenazi community. In his article Onomastic analysis of the Origins of Jews in Central Europe he goes into great detail about the origins of nearly all commonly and uncommonly used given names found among Ashkenazim. Using a combination of martyr lists, tombstones, and other historical documents, he finds that a huge majority of given names were first cited in Germany and the Czech Republic, with only a tiny minority being cited first among East Kna'anim. As many here know, Ashkenazim have a strong naming tradition of naming children after recently passed ancestors, and this tradition has been strong since at least the Rhineland massacres of 1096, as evidenced by the martyr list.

    Linguistics:
    Beider has also written extensively on the origin of Yiddish, on which he wrote a book-length work called The Origins of Yiddish Dialects. In this book, he demonstrates that both the old Rhineland theory supported by Weinreich and other theories of a Bavarian origin of Yiddish fail to account for several linguistic phenomena, and makes the huge claim that Western Yiddish and Eastern Yiddish do not descend from a common "Proto-Yiddish", but rather from different German dialects. Eastern Yiddish, he finds, is closest to what he calls Silesian German, and identifies the historical region of Silesia as the land where Eastern Yiddish was first spoken. This particular claim has been picked apart by Leyzer Burko in his review of the book, as he suggests that the lexicon of Eastern Yiddish is better explained through dialect leveling of several SE German dialects, including Bavarian, Franconian, Bohemian, and Silesian German.

    Autosomal:
    Genetic analysis of Ashkenazim from across Europe has long revealed an extremely unique population with clear signs of genetic drift, a profile that is shared by all Ashkenazim. This is clearly evident on PCAs using G25, where Western Ashkenazim from France and Germany form a short cline with Eastern Ashkenazi Jews, defined by differing levels of Slavic ancestry. See this PCA for an example. I created it using samples from here using the Vahaduo G25 Views site here.

    Y-DNA:
    Novel research from myself and other forum members have found that the vast majority of Eastern Ashkenazi Jewish Y-chromosomes derive from high medieval German and Czech Jews. This is most evident with lineages like R-Y2619, E-Y6938, J-Y5400, Q-Y2200, G-Y12975, J-L816, E-Y14891, J-Y15223, and J-L556. Together, these lineages make up almost 50% of Eastern Ashkenazi Jewish Y-chromosomes. All of these are very common among German and French Jews, and most have members with deep pedigrees to medieval French and German Rabbinical families, with the exception of E-Y6938, which was more likely connected to Czech Jewry. This connects to existing research done by the Jews of Frankfurt project, which was the first to connect these old genealogies to Y-DNA. There are many other lineages with similar connections to French and German Jews, but these nine are by far the largest.

    mtDNA:
    The 4 largest lineages among Ashkenazim as first found by Behar et al. 2006 (K1a1b1a, N1b1b1, K1a9, K2a2a1) were later found by Costa et al. 2013 to be just as-- if not more-- common among Western Ashkenazi Jews than Eastern Ashkenazi Jews. This is best seen from the point of view of K1a1b1a, which was found at a rate of 37.5% in WAJs. K1a1b1a is also the most common mtDNA lineage for almost all EAJ subgroups, only rarely beaten out by others. Smaller mtDNAs like J1c7a, L2a1l2a, and H7e are also very common among WAJs, while lineages like HV1b2 and V7a are mostly absent.

    With all these evidences taken together, it is evident that Eastern Ashkenazi Jews are mainly derived from medieval German and Czech Jews. However, there is real potential for a small East Kna'anic component. Evidences for this include:
    1) The existence of male and female given names that derive from East Slavic and/or older Jewish names that were cited first in East Slavic-speaking lands.
    2) The existence of unique dialect words for religious concepts or items that do not derive from Eastern Yiddish or from East Slavic words.
    3) The existence of Y-DNA and mtDNA lineages that are not found at all or only rarely among WAJs, are tied in some way to an eastern route by way of a late divergence or unique connection to a group from Eastern Europe/West Asia, but are also not evidence of Slavic conversion to Judaism. Examples of these include I-Y23115, R-FGC13211, G-FGC1093, HV1b2, and M33c2.

    However, these evidences together do not total to a significant portion of EAJ's ancestry. At maximum, I believe East Kna'anic ancestry could only be around 10%. For the vast majority of EAJs, it will be under 5%, probably ending up to be similar to the % of ancestry derived from late Sephardic migrants who joined Ashkenazi communities after the 1391 and 1492 expulsions from Spain.

    The main evidence (or really, logic) cited against a majority WAJ-derived ancestry for EAJs is the so-called "demographic miracle," where some simply cannot believe that Jews from German and West Slavic lands could be mathematically grown their population to the extent of the known population of EAJs in the early modern period. While I do acknowledge the huge growth that must have occurred at this time, I also believe that demographic estimates of historical populations are extremely difficult to make and are often overturned when new, outside evidence is found, just as few of us believe the myth of all Ashkenazim deriving from only 350 people living in the high-to-late medieval period. Relative to these historical demographic estimates, the above evidences can actually be trusted insofar as they show the actual relative sizes of these ancestral components of EAJs.

    I would love to hear any argument against these evidences or my conclusion, and I'd also would appreciate any other evidences in favor of my conclusions that I didn't mention here. Hoping for a fun and substantive debate that (hopefully) won't devolve into a Khazarian mess. Cheers!
    Last edited by leorcooper19; 06-09-2021 at 03:11 PM. Reason: typos
     
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    As the counsel of the KNAAN YEVAN SEPARATIST MOVEMENT, how do you defend your Ashkenazi colonialism against EAJ preferring East Slavic references, even when East Asian is in the model?
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

    Other potential and/or likely recent lineages: R-A11720, J-FGC21085, E-FGC56023

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    Quote Originally Posted by StillWater View Post
    As the counsel of the KNAAN YEVAN SEPARATIST MOVEMENT, how do you defend your Ashkenazi colonialism against EAJ preferring East Slavic references, even when East Asian is in the model?


    Well, I think this can be explained as the combination of a few different sources:
    1) West Slavs and East Slavs simply do not differ significantly. See this PCA and these distances:
    Distance to: Polish
    0.01028002 Ukrainian
    0.01717779 Russian_Voronez
    0.01832130 Russian_Orel
    0.01881539 Sorb_Niederlausitz
    0.01998054 Cossack_Ukrainian
    0.02090743 Russian_Smolensk
    0.02138159 Belarusian
    0.02260559 Russian_Kursk
    0.02287775 Slovakian
    0.02486398 Czech
    0.02698305 Lithuanian_PA
    0.02699186 Moldovan_o
    0.03107363 Lithuanian_VA
    0.03131693 Russian_Tver
    0.03185404 German_East

    2) Similarly, some migration era and early medieval samples from Moravia- a site of particular importance to early EAJs- had profiles similar to Slavs across the Slavic world, including even Slavs with Baltic-associated genetic drift.

    3) Some EAJs do have some small amount of relatively recent convert ancestry from West and East Slavs, as evidenced by several mtDNA lineages that are both nested in Slavic diversity and are only found among EAJs. It could simply be a matter of a founder effect, where the Slavic women who did convert to Judaism were just barely more east-shifted than average and that relatively small difference compounded into the pretty consistent pattern we see with the preference of East Slavic over West Slavic.

    4) The difference of fit simply isn't significant either. See:

    Target: EAJ
    Distance: 0.7220% / 0.00721992
    88.2 French_Jew
    10.6 Polish
    1.2 Han_Sichuan

    Target: EAJ
    Distance: 0.7062% / 0.00706214
    89.0 French_Jew
    9.8 Russian_Smolensk
    1.2 Han_Sichuan


    So Ashkenazi colonialism will have to stay for now
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillWater View Post
    As the counsel of the KNAAN YEVAN SEPARATIST MOVEMENT, how do you defend your Ashkenazi colonialism against EAJ preferring East Slavic references, even when East Asian is in the model?
    What and WAJ don't?

    Screen Shot 2021-06-09 at 12.32.26 AM.png
    And the fact that their closest viking match in models comes from all the way over here doesn't ring any alarm bells? Maybe the issue is deeper than EAJ vs WAJ?
    23andMe 5.9:
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    East_Med 44
    West_Med 19.15
    North_Atlantic 15.63
    West_Asian 8.15
    Baltic 4.47
    Red_Sea 4.12
    East_Asian 1.31
    Sub-Saharan 1.23
    South Asian 0.71
    Amerindian 0.59
    Northeast_African 0.37
    Oceanian 0.27

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    Quote Originally Posted by leorcooper19 View Post
    Well, I think this can be explained as the combination of a few different sources:
    1) West Slavs and East Slavs simply do not differ significantly. See this PCA and these distances:
    Distance to: Polish
    0.01028002 Ukrainian
    0.01717779 Russian_Voronez
    0.01832130 Russian_Orel
    0.01881539 Sorb_Niederlausitz
    0.01998054 Cossack_Ukrainian
    0.02090743 Russian_Smolensk
    0.02138159 Belarusian
    0.02260559 Russian_Kursk
    0.02287775 Slovakian
    0.02486398 Czech
    0.02698305 Lithuanian_PA
    0.02699186 Moldovan_o
    0.03107363 Lithuanian_VA
    0.03131693 Russian_Tver
    0.03185404 German_East

    2) Similarly, some migration era and early medieval samples from Moravia- a site of particular importance to early EAJs- had profiles similar to Slavs across the Slavic world, including even Slavs with Baltic-associated genetic drift.

    3) Some EAJs do have some small amount of relatively recent convert ancestry from West and East Slavs, as evidenced by several mtDNA lineages that are both nested in Slavic diversity and are only found among EAJs. It could simply be a matter of a founder effect, where the Slavic women who did convert to Judaism were just barely more east-shifted than average and that relatively small difference compounded into the pretty consistent pattern we see with the preference of East Slavic over West Slavic.

    4) The difference of fit simply isn't significant either. See:

    Target: EAJ
    Distance: 0.7220% / 0.00721992
    88.2 French_Jew
    10.6 Polish
    1.2 Han_Sichuan

    Target: EAJ
    Distance: 0.7062% / 0.00706214
    89.0 French_Jew
    9.8 Russian_Smolensk
    1.2 Han_Sichuan


    So Ashkenazi colonialism will have to stay for now
    Now, try to Ashkenazisplain away H40b in EAJ. Is it not East Slavic?
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

    Other potential and/or likely recent lineages: R-A11720, J-FGC21085, E-FGC56023

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    I'll just point you to the fact there were large scale migrations of Eastern European Jews to Central and Western Europe in the last ~4 Centuries. IF You really want to know what the historic Ashkenazi Jews of France and Germany were genetically, Archaeogenetics is your tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leorcooper19 View Post

    The main evidence (or really, logic) cited against a majority WAJ-derived ancestry for EAJs is the so-called "demographic miracle," where some simply cannot believe that Jews from German and West Slavic lands could be mathematically grown their population to the extent of the known population of EAJs in the early modern period. While I do acknowledge the huge growth that must have occurred at this time, I also believe that demographic estimates of historical populations are extremely difficult to make and are often overturned when new, outside evidence is found, just as few of us believe the myth of all Ashkenazim deriving from only 350 people living in the high-to-late medieval period. Relative to these historical demographic estimates, the above evidences can actually be trusted insofar as they show the actual relative sizes of these ancestral components of EAJs.

    I would love to hear any argument against these evidences or my conclusion, and I'd also would appreciate any other evidences in favor of my conclusions that I didn't mention here. Hoping for a fun and substantive debate that (hopefully) won't devolve into a Khazarian mess. Cheers!
    Excellent post and thread ! I'll add my additional inputs later on, but will just add that as for the "demographic miracle" often pointed out as being impossible without some shady mysterious pre-existing substantial East European Jewish community which has been "Ashkenazied" by West European Ashkenazim, it's actually turned out to not be so impossible. I suggest to read the following study “The Chosen Many: Population Growth and Jewish Childcare in Central-Eastern Europe, 1500-1930” by Botticini, Eckstein and Vaturi, 2016.

    It really goes to great details on precisely how this took place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Israelite_Wolfman View Post
    I'll just point you to the fact there were large scale migrations of Eastern European Jews to Central and Western Europe in the last ~4 Centuries. IF You really want to know what the historic Ashkenazi Jews of France and Germany were genetically, Archaeogenetics is your tool.
    a) The backmigration of EAJ east -> west was certainly impactful, but not to the extent of the original Ashkenazi migration to the East. A very large number of Ashkenazi migrants absorbing a relatively tiny East Knanic population is not the same as a steady flow of EAJ who assimilated into WAJ communities to some degree. The population of WAJ Jews was still much larger than the number of EAJ Jews migrating west, so a distinct WAJ genetic profile is still distinguishable for most of the individuals we have. We also have Alsatian Jewish samples now, which you can see the coordinates for in the Jewish populations G25 thread, and as the Alsatian Jewish community was relatively isolated from this EAJ backmigration, we now have a good idea of the genetic profile of WAJs without significant recent EAJ admixture. Finally, this backmigration does not negate the evidence that before it took place Ashkenazim migrated east of Poland and nearly totally displaced East Knanim, reply I mentioned here:

    Quote Originally Posted by jkotl0327 View Post
    Your implication is not supported by historical and genetic evidence. Firstly, the historical.

    Attachment 45097

    1569 is around when larger-scale Ashkenazi migration to regions east of Poland began. This gives the population of 4 major regions where Ukrainian Jews lived. You yourself mention 10,000 Jews in Lithuania. I wasn't able to find anything on Roth's numbers but perhaps you can link it. 230,000 as the pre-Ashkenazi population of Eastern European Jewry in 1500 seems like a massive stretch, especially since you then go on to say that there were 5000 "pre-Ashkenazim" in Poland and 10,000 in Lithuania around the same time. Considering there was no mass casualty or migration event for Eastern European Jewry during the 1400s on the scale that would be required to go from a population of 230,000 to a few tens of thousands, and that most historical sources favor the smaller figure, I don't think we should seriously consider this 230,000 figure for an East Knanic population (or East Knanim and others considering there were also relatively few "others" at that time). Most sources, including the one I attached, suggest a large population increase during the 1600s fueled by migration from Ashkenazim in the West. The population could not have increased so rapidly barring massive Ashkenazi migration, completely overwhelming the few remaining East Knanim culturally and genetically. I am well aware that East Knanim speaking slavic languages are attested to in the early 1600s, but that is precisely because by then they were becoming a rarity.

    We also cannot ignore the Khmelnitsky massacres of 1648. in Ukraine, where a large proportion of the remaining East Knanim lived, all Jewish communities east of the Dnieper River where destroyed. In the regions of Podolia, Bessarabia and Kiev, there was almost no continuity either. These easternmost regions of Ukraine would've been the most highly concentrated with East Knanim at the time. All of this points to a relatively minor contribution from the few remaining East Knanim post-Khmelnytsky to Eastern Ashkenazi populations, as opposed to Western Ashkenazim, who migrated east of Poland in rather massive numbers all the way until 1750.

    Now to the genetics. mot many people believe 350 Ashkenazim gave birth to all European Jews because the Ashkenazi population was probably never that low. All Ashkenazim, western and eastern share uniparentals at frequencies that no other Jewish groups are known to. The most prominent case of this is the "big 4" mtDNAs, K1a1b1a, N1b1b, K2a2a, and K1a9. Autosomally both groups are incredibly similar as well. All the evidence points against a large East Knani component in Eastern Ashkenazim. Western and Eastern Ashkenazi Jews are part of the same Jewish sub-culture and sub-ethnicity, so it's fair to refer to both as Ashkenazi.

    Quote Originally Posted by jkotl0327 View Post
    I asked for a link because I couldn't find it, not looking for citations. think I may have realized what's going on here. Has it occurred to you that Cecil Roth may have been including Poland in his population estimates for Eastern European Jews? Poland was in fact accepting Jews in decent numbers since the 1200s, in any case by 1500 Poland, or more accurately what is today modern Poland sans Galicia, would've been Ashkenazi over East Knanic by a large majority. These happen to be Bernard Weinryb, not Dubnov's numbers, but similar numbers are provided by almost every mainstream Jewish historian worth his salt. There is no clear link between any small Jewish communities during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and modern Eastern European Jews. It is unlikely that Khazars or other Byzantine Jews pre-1500 make up a large proportion of Eastern Ashkenazi ancestry because by the time Ashkenazim arrived on the scene, they would have lost their distinct identity and all been East Knanim, who as I already explained, make up a very small percentage of Eastern Ashkenazi ancestry. Eastern European Jews did not give up our "real history" for a "quality seal," ignoring the historic and genetic evidence that Eastern Ashkenazim originate largely from Western Ashkenazim doesn't make that the case. The continuity you're thinking of simply isn't there. Your oversimplification of Ashkenazi history notwithstanding, since as you say that's not what the topic is about, any "Southern Russian" component in Ashkenazim is incredibly minor, putting that phrase in as a highlight in a one sentence history of Eastern Ashkenazim is not warranted. @moderator since there's a thread for this subject now can my post be moved there? Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by jkotl0327 View Post
    The situations clearly did not have the same outcome. There are a variety of reasons for this. For one, East Knanim were the earlier population of Jews there. They didn't have the experience of migrating and all settling in a few relatively defined areas, they lived in small, disparate communities throughout Eastern Europe. Secondly, we can go back to the religious prestige point, or as you called it, "quality seal". Just as Sefardim were viewed as the religiously prestigious population, so were Ashkenazim, East Knanim had no reason not to assimilate into the greater Ashkenazi population unlike the case with Sefardim and Mizrachim, the difference is that the East Knanim were a much, much smaller population than the Ashkenazim which was not the case for Mizrachim. Thirdly, the Khmelnytsky massacres played a role. A lot of the communities that were likely majority Knanic were destroyed in the massacres, and places with both Ashkenazi and Knanic populations possibly living in distinct communities were uprooted. The situation created tens of thousands of refugees, and saw a massive reorganization of communities, as well as more large-scale migration from Ashkenazim West -> East in the decades afterwards. This shared experience of communal disruption for those Ashkenazim and Knanim greatly killed off already dying cultural distinctions between the two. The refugees from Ukraine not only resettled there in reorganized communities, but formed entirely new communities in the North (Belarus and Lithuania) where there was no evidence post-1648 of such cultural distinctions, as well as Ottoman Turkey and Western Ashkenaz (Germany/Poland), we certainly don't here of distinct Knanic communities there. You're trying to compare two situations that have aren't at all analogous to one another, shaped by widely differing circumstances.
    23andMe 5.9:
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    Eurogenes K13:
    East_Med 44
    West_Med 19.15
    North_Atlantic 15.63
    West_Asian 8.15
    Baltic 4.47
    Red_Sea 4.12
    East_Asian 1.31
    Sub-Saharan 1.23
    South Asian 0.71
    Amerindian 0.59
    Northeast_African 0.37
    Oceanian 0.27

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    0.2% Coptic Egyptian
    0.2% Sudanese
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    You can't call the Eastern European Jews who preceded the Ashkenazim "tiny" (just out of POV biases) as you never bothered to study their demographics nor conducted Archaeogenetic studies on the topic. End of tale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Israelite_Wolfman View Post
    I'll just point you to the fact there were large scale migrations of Eastern European Jews to Central and Western Europe in the last ~4 Centuries.
    Yes there were indeed migration of Jews from Poland and lands east to Germany, but are you suggesting that EAJs completely demographically replaced older WAJs? If so, why:
    1) are Western Ashkenazim consistently more Sephardi-like and less Slavic-like than Eastern Ashkenazim?
    2) do Western Ashkenazim have a unique uniparental profile, which cannot be the result of genetic drift if these migrations were "large scale" enough to demographically replace the older Jews of the region?
    3) do Western Ashkenazim speak a unique dialect- Western Yiddish- that is already known from late medieval records?

    If you want to read some legit scholarship on the subject of migration of EAJs to the west during the 17th century, I recommend checking out Rescue the Surviving Souls by Adam Teller and Between Remembrance and Denial by Joel Raba. Both go into the demographic and socio-cultural aspects of this migration, and both agree that this migration was limited to Germany. Why then, might you ask, are French Jews from Alsace so similar to German Jews? Makes you wonder.

    IF You really want to know what the historic Ashkenazi Jews of France and Germany were genetically, Archaeogenetics is your tool.
    As much as I'd love high medieval samples of Jews from across Europe (and the world!), we have our own form of "archaeogenetics" that I referenced in my OP. The combination of high-coverage Y-DNA phylogeny with trusted old pedigrees of rabbinical families in Germany, France, and the Czech Republic has revealed an extremely clear set of connections that confirms several specific subclades of the large Ashkenazi Y-DNA lineages as coming from Germany and surrounding lands.

    I'll give two examples from the WIRTH (J-L556) Project, for which I am an admin at FTDNA. The pedigreed families of Weil and Bacharach have been found to be in J-Y20399 and J-Y13373 respectively.

    J-L556 makes up around 4.5% of Eastern Ashkenazi Y-chromosomes. J-Y13373 makes up around 0.6% of Eastern Ashkenazi Y-chromosomes, descending from Rabbi Isaac Bacharach of Lauchheim, who was born around 1495 CE. J-Y20399 itself is only confirmed in one a few Eastern Ashkenazi Jews so far- but- it is only one SNP downstream J-Y13511, which contains 2.5% of Eastern Ashkenazi Y-chromosomes. That means the MRCA of J-Y13511 lived only approximately a century or two before Rabbi Yaakov ben Yehuda Weil, the MRCA of J-Y20399, who was born in c. 1385 CE in Weil der Stadt, Germany.

    These totals may not seem like a lot, but there are over a dozen more example of trusted old pedigrees that have undergone Y-DNA testing and found to make up similar rates of Eastern Ashkenazim, such as:
    1) The Shapiro family in R-FGC14600
    2) The Guggenheim-Heilpronn family in G-Y12975
    3) The Oppenheim(er) family in Q-Y2200
    4) The Horowitz, Oettingen, and Goldschimdt families in R-Y2619
    5) The family of the Maharal in E-BY7521
    6) The Ginzburg and Rothschild families in J-Y15223
    7) The family of Meir of Rothenburg in R-Y19847
    8) The Luria family in E-Y32552

    ... and so on.
     
    My avatar is paleoart of a Neanderthal child by Tom Björklund, check him out: Hidden Content

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