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[Pages 261-264]

The History of the Jews in Kasejovice (Kassejowitz)

(Kassejowitz, Czech Republic – 49°27' 13°44')

The notes of Mgr[1] P. Jan Hille, deacon in Blatná, amplified by Jan Kára, specialist subject teacher in Blatná.

Translated from the original Czech by Jan O. Hellmann/DK.

Edited in English by Rob Pearman/UK

In 1597, a certain Jew by the name of Jakub Malý bought from the magistrate a cottage that stood below the dam of the brewery pond. He paid 30 times three-score[2] and 30 sou[3] for it, and I understand that in 1609 the same Jew sold half of the cottage to Václav Joanides for 12 times three-score.

In 1618, there were said to be four Jewish families in Kasejovice.

In 1652, Jews lived in two houses and one cottage. According to the 1654 census there were 12 adult Jews and four Jewish children in Kasejovice. They were mainly merchants and peddlers. The oldest among them were the following:

  1. Jakub Černý had a small shop and worked as a peddler in the surrounding villages. He was a Czech Jew[4].
  2. Abraham Kavka was an agent carrying messages to Prague. He had already been living here for seven years.
  3. Vít Polák peddled spices and bought feathers and pelts[5]. He was from Poland, and had recently married here.
  4. Hirscher Veger Leibl traded in wool and was a rich Jew born in Bohemia. He had two sons: Šimon, aged 18 and Jakub, aged 12.
  5. Matěj Majster served the noblemen. His son Šťastný peddled pelts. The other son Leibl was a messenger. The remaining two sons šalamoun and Natan were servants in Prague.
  6. Samuel Pferdt peddled pelts in the villages. He was a Czech Jew and moved to Kasejovice eight years ago.
  7. Samuel Unger, a Czech Jew, had a grocery shop.
  8. Marek Unger, also a Czech Jew.
  9. Volf Lazar, a Jew from Prague, lived mainly in Prague.
At this time, these Jews already had their rabbi Šalamoun, who moved here from Tejn half a year earlier[6]. He also taught the children. For sure, they also had their cemetery on Stráž Hill, above the town. According to one report, in 1669 the Jews had five of their own houses and shared accommodation with gentiles in six further houses. They also had a synagogue and cemetery.

In 1670, a separate register of the ownership of plots by Jews was established, in which all records concerning changes in Jewish ownership were kept.

 

The agreement between authorities and the Jews

On 3 May 1671, an agreement was concluded between the Kasejovice Jews and the highest authority in Lnáře[7] as follows:

  1. The Jews will pay 100 guilders each year for their protection.
  2. They will pay for each burial at the cemetery that is provided and fenced around by the authorities.
  3. They will pay taxes for each animal pelt. To be exempt from this tax, they will pay two guilders a year in two payments.
  4. They agree to buy from the authority each year 120 kg of carp at six crowns each carp.
  5. From next year, on St John's Day, they will be supplied by the authorities with 100 fathoms[8] of wood for fuel. This will be supplied to their houses and unloaded with their help. For this they will pay 30 crowns per fathom in total 50 guilders.
  6. They will buy each year 0.7 cubic meters of salt, for which they will pay 40 guilders.
  7. If, in the future, the authorities build a house or school in Kasejovice, they will pay a low annual lease or rent for it in two annual installments.
The Steward will select one Jewish leader, and a second one will be freely elected by the Jews subject to confirmation by the Steward.

If the elders of the community are not able to solve a dispute, they must pass it up to Steward for further handling. If they fail to do so, they will have to pay a penalty of one pound of saffron. If anyone tells the Steward about such concealment, he will receive one third of the said penalty. The Jews will not take other Jews into their homes or move out without informing the authorities.

 

Protection tax

In 1674, the Jews paid for each half year: 50 guilders in protection tax, 3 guilders for burial, 3 guilders for animal pelts in total 56 guilders.

 

Complaints about the Jews

In 1678, the Steward wrote to the Count of Lnáře requesting new and harsher measures against the Jews. His argument was that they were difficult, ill-humored and disobedient.

He proves it with the following points:

  1. “They bring corpses from other villages to bury in Kasejovice at night.
  2. They import meat to Kasejovice from Jews in řezany and also sell it to gentiles, thereby competing with local butchers.
  3. When some of the aldermen are called to the office, they resist and do not come even if called in several times.
  4. There is a lot of theft, mostly by Jews. Some have recently been caught, and although they made restitution, they should nevertheless be penalized. In Rokycany other thieves admitted recently that two Jews from Kasejovice bought stolen clothes from them. However, the Jews presented just one Jew and sent word that” if anyone is looking for the other, he will have to find him”. The business of the aldermen and of that Jew have been sealed off. The Steward cannot bring in the other Jew because of insults from the Jews.
  5. It is not without reason that I had to hit one Jew with a whip. If the Jews are not limited in number, then there will always be difficulties with them.”
At the end of this he adds: ”They tried to bribe me with gifts to allow an influx of more of their people and not be so strict with them, but they were brushed off.”

At some time in the autumn of 1677, news came to the office that the Kasejovice Jews take corpses for burial at night, especially from Sedlice. The Steward called in the Jews and strictly forbade such practices. They said that they did not know that this was forbidden, and they were punished with a penalty.

Count černín then added to the Steward's report: “I do not in any way permit the burial of foreign Jews in Kasejovice. Such acts are to be penalized as they could be a way to conceal the proliferation of foreign Jews, which would damage the manor. Therefore it is only tolerated that Jews from Kasejovice are buried here”.

In 1686, the number of Jews increased to 14 couples.

In 1695, they lived in six houses and bought four more. They lived in one further house together with gentiles.

According to the ownership registration from Lnáře for the year 1695, the following Jews lived in Kasejovice:

  1. The heirs of Mentpergrof sold their house called Karasov's in 1687. This house is built on a communal plot. They sold the house that was also previously in Jewish possession to the Jew Jakub Herzkov for 40 guilders. This sale also included 28 acres of fields and a hayfield producing enough hay to fill one wagon.
  2. This Jew will be obliged to pay three guilders to the town each year and to provide the authority with six days of treadmill work during the time of harvest plus the necessary interest. In addition, he will pay to the town the usual fee for fishing in communal lakes and instead of housing soldiers he will pay one guilder and three pennies. This will be all his payments and nobody may require more.

 

Trading fee[9]

In 1717, two Jews committed themselves to pay the town each year seven books of good paper in exchange for the right to sell their goods at markets and fairs.

 

Jews in Kasejovice in 1719
  1. Marek Samuel from the line of Jakub, feather and cloth merchant, six family members.
  2. Löbl Samuel from the line of Jakub, born here, five family members.
  3. Abraham Písecký from the line of Ruben, glazier, born here, eight family members.
  4. Israel Berlík from the line of Jakub, horse dealer, four family members.
  5. Herztgy Berlík from the line of Mojžíš, horse dealer, five family members.
  6. Mojžíš Tayschl from the line of Levy, dealing in horses and feathers. Has lived in Kasejovice for 21 years.
  7. Markus Hartti from the line of Aron, born here, feather merchant.
  8. Samuel Mates, born here, three family members.
  9. Tomáš Lebl from the line of Levi, born here, feather merchant, four family members.
  10. Josef Mates, from the line of Levi, born here, feather merchant.
  11. Šťastný řezanský from the line of Benjamin, born here, pelt and cloth merchant, two family members.
  12. Jakub Markus, feather merchant, has lived here for 35 years.
  13. Heřman Leder from the line of Levi, has lived here for 23 years, two family members.
  14. Heřman Samuel, from the line of Levi, born here, feather and wool merchant, 11 family members.
  15. Herschl Mates, from the line of Isak, born here, feather merchant, three family members.
  16. Elias Herschl, born here, feather merchant, three family members.
  17. Jakub Písecký from the line of Jakub, glazier, three family members, has lived here for 40 years.
In total: 75 members.

 

Establishment of a new Jewish town

Whenever Jews lived among the gentiles, there were constant complaints about them. Among others, there was a complaint from the chaplain, Antonín Pánek. He claimed that Jews heckled him when he was on his way to a sick person.

Because of this and other complaints resulting from the mixing of gentiles and Jews, Count Clary, who was at that time the guardian of the Kuniglov children[10], decreed that the Jews shall live separately from the gentiles. He therefore sent his bookkeeper Bartoměj Wurkner together with Matěj Forstmajer, the Steward from Lnáře, to find a suitable place where Jews could live separately. The decision was to take a communal plot that stood below the brewery lake. The plot was originally 474 fathoms long and 474 fathoms wide. In my opinion, in the first place six houses were built there, and over the years that number grew to 13. The houses were made of wood, with shingle and thatch roofs.

In this way the Jewish town came into being in the year 1726. At that time, 25 Jewish males lived there.

In order to promote religiosity, devotion and the education of children, the Jewish community decided in 1763 to build a synagogue and to decorate it internally with beautiful paintings and lamps. They also decided to hire at their own cost a cantor or rabbi, and to build for him at the synagogue a communal house for him to live in and for the religious and secular education of the children.

 

Names of Jews in Kasejovice in the period 1815 1820
  1. Jakub Sabbath
  2. Kateřina Bayer
  3. Isak Rudinger
  4. Abraham Levy
  5. Isak Schwager
  6. Michl Lederer
  7. Israel Levy
  8. Juditha Pinkas
  9. Nathan Adler
  10. Abraham Stern
  11. Synagogue
  12. Markus Feldman
  13. Franziska Rosenfeld
  14. Zachariáš Hersig
  15. Isaiáš Lewy
  16. Michel Orlik
  17. Joachim Sonnenschein
  18. Eliáš Ohrenstiel
  19. Seligman Ohrenstiel

 

The Jewish ball

There is an interesting record of 1799 concerning a ball, which took place on Good Friday in Kasejovice. It was contrary to the court decree of 5 March 1796 and against the police decree of 15 February 1799.

The ball took place in the house of the Jew Jakub Baš at house no. XVII and included both music and dance, because in that year the Purim Holiday was at the same time as the Eastern Holiday[11].

The owner of the house pleaded that he did not know about the decrees and that he has already paid out large amounts for taxes and contributions. The court took no notice of his pleas and passed the following judgment on 4 May 1799:

“The house owner Jakub Baš is sentenced to a penalty of 10 imperial thalers, Isák Freund and Ezechiel Ohrenstiel to four thalers each (in total 8 thalers to be paid to the local poorhouse), the servant Gabriel Neuman is sentenced to10 lashes, and the Rabbi to three days of house arrest. Other participants at the ball, namely Jakub Finta, Izrael Löwy, Izrael Bayer, Abraham Stern and the servant Gabriel Neuman, who knew about the decree and danced regardless of it, each received a penalty of seven guilders and 30 pennies plus two imperial thalers for the poor house.

The representative of the town gave as his excuse that he was not at home on the day, and police commissioner Jan Jedlička was reprimanded for not reporting the event. The court threatened that he would lose his job if there was any repetition.

Furthermore, the five musicians who played at the ball were each sentenced to 12 hours imprisonment.

The legal changes in 1848[12] made Jews fully equal to the gentiles. Before this year, the following Jews lived in the Jewish town in Kasejovice[13]:

  1. Jakub Bajer
  2. Aron Bajer
  3. Izák Rudinger and Izák Freund
  4. Filip Gotlieb and the heirs of Mojžíš Levy
  5. Josef Švager
  6. Bernard Lederer and Jakub Lederer
  7. Šimon Freund
  8. Vilém Pinkas and Abraham Lederer
  9. Samson Adler
  10. Herman Teichlinger
  11. Synagogue
  12. Markus Feldman
  13. Israel Rosenfeld, Markus Rosenfeld and Alexander Levy
  14. Zachariáš Herzig
  15. Isaiáš Levy
  16. Samuel Orlík
  17. Aron Basch with his mother, Marie Basch
  18. Jakub Ohrenstiel
  19. Israel Ohrenstiel
As well as these Jews, the following lived here: Julius Levy, Šimon Rosenfeld, Israel Beneš, Karel Glücksman, Šimon Stolberger, Herman Kohn.

 

The Jewish Reeves[14]

At the head of the Jewish community were the Jewish reeves, among whose duties was the collection of the Jewish taxes.

We know the following:

Lajbl had already been reeve for 18 years in 1676. In 1679, there was an election of reeves; in 1691, Šmul Lajbl was the reeve; in 1697, Jakub řesanský and Lajbl Šmul senior; in 1763, Volk Markus; in 1763, Josef Samuel Skákalík; in 1783, Josef Moses; in 1790, Salmek and Josef Samuel; in 1795, Jakub Wass Salamon; in 1814, Michael Orlík chairman of the Jewish community; from 1818 to1830, Seligman Ohrenstiel, senior reeve; from 1836 to1837, Aron Basch. ,p> Jewish records have been kept since 1788.

Of the rabbis, we know only the following: in 1651, Šalamoun; and in 1733, Jakub Lazar.

Since 1784 there were regional rabbis:

Isák Sabat, qualified mohel, 1835-1853;
David Khon, 1848-1854;
Dr. Fillip Bondy, rabbi in Kasejovice, probably in 1869.

Teachers, as far as they are known

There was already a cantor here in 1766;
Jakub Her Levy, teacher, 1785;
Juda Stern, teacher 1797;
Levi Steiner, 1840;
Marek Bloch, 1842-1844.

The Jews had their own tax collectors. One of these was Hastrlín, the collector of the tax on foodstuffs in 1792; in 1799 Glückmann was the bookkeeper; from 1836 to 1837, Zachariáš Herzig was the bookkeeper.

The synagogue was refurbished in 1818 and repaired in 1825.

In 1828 a new school building was built with one floor. Until 1864, the Jewish children had to attend the gentile school on three days per week. In 1864, the Jewish school became independent with separate classes, with two teachers in addition to the rabbi.

There was a hospital for the poor and sick. The Jews also had a bath (mikvah) in their town. They also had their own physicians. From 1836 to 1838, Heřman Lewy was the physician; born in 1818, he was a qualified physician. Between 1842 and1860, he was ‘injuries physician’ in Radomyšl; he retired to Písek, where he died. Jakub Gartenzaun was surgeon from 1853/1854 to 1867.

The cemetery outside the town was extended a few times. In my opinion, the Kasejovice Jews paid 30 guilders for an extension in 1764. It was also extended in 1808 and 1836. It is not used just for Jews from Kasejovice, but also for those from surrounding places such as Lnáře, Blatná and Kadov.


Footnotes

  1. ‘Mgr’ refers to the university graduate title ‘Magister’. The author of this chapter is not Jewish. His title as deacon is a Church post usually one step below a priest. Return
  2. ‘kopa’is the Czech term for threescore (ie 60). Return
  3. ‘sou’ is one of several coins formerly used in France, worth a small amount. Other coinage mentioned in this text are: guilders (gulden originally a golden coin), crowns, pennies (pfennigs) and thalers (a silver coin whose name survives in ‘dollar’). Note that punishments can also be in valuable material goods (eg saffron, books of paper). Return
  4. ‘Czech Jew’: this means he spoke Czech. Return
  5. ‘pelt’ may be wool, fur or hair (which covers the skin of an animal). Return
  6. this refers to ‘half a year earlier’ than the description of life in 1652 above. Return
  7. Lnáře is a nearby town (it appears also later). Return
  8. ‘fathom’: though nowadays used for depth of water, it also once meant a measure of six feet (1.8 meters) in width. Return
  9. ‘trading fee’: literally a fee to be paid for the right to set up a fixed or moveable stand from which to sell (eg at a market). Return
  10. ‘Kuniglov’: it has not been possible to trace this family name, and so its relevance is not clear. Return
  11. ‘Eastern Holiday’: this is the Christian Easter. Return
  12. the law change in 1848 (the year of revolution in Europe) was one stage in the emancipation of Jews. Further law changes were to follow. Return
  13. the numbers 1-19 are assumed to be the numbers of each house as the synagogue is shown as ‘number 11’. Return
  14. ‘reeve’is a minor official of a parish or other local authority. Return

Synagogue (exterior)

 

 
Jakub Lederer
 
Edward Rüdinger

 

Cemetery (old section)

 

 
 
Rb. Dr. Michael Wolf
 
Synagogue (interior)
 
Moritz Berka

 

 
 
 
Alexander Baum
 
Edward Löwy
 
Adolf Löwy
 
Friedrich Flusser

 

 
 
 
Moritz Löwy
 
Josef Porges
 
Dr. Eugen Löwy
 
Josef Feigel

 

 
 
 
Rb. Dr. Moric Müller
 
Arnost Berker
 
L. Schleißner
 
Dr. Isidor Fleischer

 

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