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[Page 69]

Chapter 4: Misgivings over Jewish Trade and Craft

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker


The 1578 agreement. Trade of the “Franks”. The townspeople demand the restriction of Jewish trade. Lobbying by the Jews. The commission of King Sigismunt III and its actions. The Jews file a court action against the municipality. Support of the nobles. Objection of the craftsmen and the municipality's policy. The 1592 agreement. The standpoint of the Councils of the Four Lands. The compromise of 1629. Annulment of the 1634 contract. The king's regulation of the 26th October 1634. Validity of the contract until 1642. The struggle of the Jewish furriers. The intervention of the “Sejmik” at Vyshnia. The compromise with the Christian furriers' guild in 1642. The municipality signs the agreement in 1664. The Jewish trade and its extent.

In 1578, the dispute between the municipality and the Jews regarding Jewish trade, had reached its peak, and it was decided to defer the issue to the Sejm's sitting. Once the municipality realized that they would face defeat at the Sejm, they settled for a compromise which extended over eight years, that is to say, till the 20th November 1589. In the preface to the compromise document was determined: that all the regulations and privileges were temporarily deferred; that the community within the town had to draw up, annually, a list of the permanent Jewish residents; and that the Jews within the town were forbidden from forming partnerships with Jews outside the town in order to ratify their business.

In the agreement, the Jews within the town were permitted four types of trade: trading in cattle (the number of bulls was restricted to 2000 at most), buying and selling merchandise solely at the fairs, and only if packaged and in bulk weight. In towns and small towns, on the other hand, trading was permitted by the Cubit and the Pound. The Jews within the town could, at the Lwów fairs, trade in any goods imported from Turkey apart from drink, medication and spices such as: pepper, ginger and turmeric. At each fair, every trader was permitted to purchase merchandise in the value of 1,500 Gulden, that is to say, 6,000 Gulden at the four annual fairs. To supervise the transactions the purchase would be made in the presence of an interpreter, and mostly the interpreter was an Armenian from Lwów.

Jewish women were only permitted to trade in home–made goods or in pawned objects whose pledged date had elapsed. The community was permitted to order annually just 20 barrels of Kosher wine, taxed at half a Gulden per barrel. The community was responsible for any transgressors of the contract. Anyone caught, purchasing without the presence of the interpreter, or trading in retail and in illicit merchandise, or if the cost of the merchandise were greater than the fixed price, would be fined 100 Gulden.

For the compromise franchise the community was charged 50 Gulden annually, and the compromise would be cancelled were the community to fail in submitting the payment or in handing over any transgressors.

According to the compromise franchise, the Jews obtained freedom to trade in merchandise from Turkey, retail outside Lwów, and they were permitted to trade in perfume. The women were also free to trade in home–made goods. Compared to the prohibition of 1521, there was little change. The Jews were not permitted to trade in any merchandise imported from the West, restriction was removed only from trade in merchandise from the East. Indeed, retail trade outside Lwów was permitted.

Although the compromise applied only to the Jews within the town of Lwów, the Jews outside the town also started to trade in large scale. The Starosta Herburt, without considering the municipality, permitted the Jewish craftsmen to work in the area near the castle, and leased them outlying areas and warehouses.

The municipality remonstrated with the King who ruled in their favour, but the municipality was unable to carry out the verdict.

That period saw extensive development in the trade of the “Franks” and growth in the Jewish settlement. The Jews banished from western countries and Vienna came to Lwów, the number of houses increased, and houses were built nearly on every vacant plot in the Jewish Quarter. The increased population again exacerbated the relations between the townspeople and the Jews.

The tension that time was spurred by the commission of forty which was in dispute with the oligarchic municipality. In 1576, headed by Jan Zajdlicz, it undertook to introduce demands, one of which was to abolish the agreement signed with the Jews in 1581. A rumour spread also among the masses that the patricians had been bribed in order to grant the Jews their rights.[1] As the 20th January 1589 approached, both sides – the Jews and the municipality – considered the compromise of 1581, annulled. And again a new chapter opened in the relations between the municipality and the Jews. The townspeople continued with their previous policy using any means to restrict the freedom of the Jews to trade in town and in its surroundings. Those who had

Synagogue “The Golden Rose”

left the town for the fairs, were barred from returning, and Jews were also stopped from leaving the town to participate in the fair. Guards were placed at the town gates. Within the town, Jews were not permitted to use the town's balances, also the interpreter and his mediators (barysznicy) were forbidden from negotiating between the Jews and the oriental merchants. The community itself also ensured that no foreign Jew settled at Lwów, to prevent escalating the competition between the Jewish traders and craftsmen. For that purpose, trustees were appointed from among the community–leaders and dignitaries – probably four as at Krakow, who supervised the balances, measures and standards, and ensured that no Jew from out of town settled within it. The trustees drew up lists of the Jewish citizens within the town, which were handed to the municipality. Only with a special license from the monthly community–leader was a foreign Jew permitted to rent himself accommodation within the Jewish Quarter in town. The authority of the monthly community–leader extended even to expelling a foreign Jew from the community boundaries.[2]

The townspeople had thus succeeded in undermining the Jewish trade in every way. The Jews were again in dire straits since they had amassed merchandise of which they were then unable to dispose, and were consequently unable to meet their business obligations which led them to the brink of bankruptcy. The Jews did not resign themselves to the situation. They sought assistance from the starosta, but in vain, they filed a suit with King Sigismund III (1587–1632) that the municipality interfered with their trade, in contravention with the privileges granted to them. In his ruling the King made the municipality wholly responsible for the results till the matter was resolved, and he recommended that they permit free trade to the Jews, but the townspeople did not obey even the King's instruction. On the 17th April 1589, Sigismund III appointed a special commission which included the Voivode of Reissen, Herburt of Felsztyn [Fulszryn], Mikolaj Herburt the Starosta of Lwów, Stanislaw Podolecki, the deputy–judge Wiktoryn Kowalski, and the Starosta of Halicz & Kolomia Stanislaw Wlodek of Hermanow. The purpose of the commission was to find out, on location, the privileges of the townspeople and of the Jews, and to submit their views to the tribunal which handled the appeals of the municipal law–court, and the granting of privileges.

At first the municipality evaded appearing in front of the commission with the excuse that the Magdeburg Law released the townspeople from such jurisdiction. Eventually the municipality agreed to submit the privileges. The Jews submitted the rulings of King Casimir Jagiello from 1453, and of Sigismund I from 1515, according to which they were permitted to trade throughout the kingdom in accordance with the ancient customs. Their representatives claimed also that restricting their trading damaged the whole of Reissen and especially the nobles. The commission recognised that the claims of the Jews were right and submitted to the King four proposals that clarified the rights of the Jews. The decision of the commission was sent in November 1590, and the municipality submitted an appeal to the law–court of the Sejm questioning the authority of the commission.

The municipality was successful that time. On the 27th January 1591, the King dismissed the commission and its decision, and transferred the entire matter to the royal law–court. Meanwhile, the Jews submitted their protests. On the 6th July 1591, the King issued a ruling limiting the trade by Jews within the town, in the spirit of the 1521 rule, while the Jews outside the town were forbidden from undertaking any trade. The townspeople were pleased to have succeeded.

But despite everything the Jews continued to trade. The municipality issued strict instructions to rigorously maintain the ban, and matters reached conflicts, attacks and arrests.

The municipality and the Jews came to the conclusion that the situation could not continue as it had, and that the only resolve was a compromise. The townspeople objected, but the city council stood fast and on the 28th October 1592 the deputy judge Wiktoryn Kowalski, and the deputy starosta Pstrokonski signed on its behalf the new compromise, which was according to its wishes.

According to the compromise, which was also set for eight years – until the 28th September 1600 – Jews were not permitted to undertake retail sale. However, a new clause was introduced permitting Jews to sell specific merchandise at all times, but solely to townspeople at Lwów. Merchandise in which Jews were not permitted to trade, if they had purchased those from townspeople of Lwów, they could resell them within the town and even at other fairs.

Regarding the import–trade from countries to the South and East, the permit was expanded to include silk merchandise from Italy, Turkey and Wallachia up to 1,500 Florins per quarter year. It was permitted to sell such merchandise to townspeople at Lwów, throughout the year, and to foreigners during the fairs at which it was permitted to trade in any merchandise except for that from Austria, lead, brass, steel and rivets. It was not determined whether the Jews were permitted to trade in foodstuffs.

The compromise included a further condition, that merchandise which Jews had purchased and which was not sold during the fair, had to be removed from Lwów immediately after the fair, to another fair, or be sold wholesale to the townspeople of Lwów. It was forbidden to set warehouses in small towns and to sell inside Lwów other than during the fairs. Trade in milk was permitted, and the trade in Kosher wine was increased to 30 barrels. Three further reservations were set: the Jews were not permitted to interfere while a townsperson made their purchase; goods put into storage could be purchased by Jews only a week later; any partnership with Jews outside the town was forbidden. For the compromise–right the community had to pay 50 Gulden annually. Any breach of contract would see the merchandise confiscated, and a serious breach carried a fine of up to 30 Gulden. That compromise turned the Jew into a fairs' trader and pedlar, and stripped him of his status of a serious resident–trader.

The Jew turned into a supplier of specific goods to the townspeople, while all competition in foreign trade was banned. The Jewish merchant faced dangers, damages and bankruptcy, which began to spread among the Jews of Lwów as well as at other towns as a result of limiting the commercial activities. According to the ruling of the Council of the Four Lands, in 1626,[3] and later in 1632, 1634, 1638 and 1642, the “acts of escapees” (label for bankrupts) – had reached such proportions that the committee was obliged to proclaim severe resolutions to stop acts of fraud and crime that slandered the Jews.

Once the period of the compromise had come to an end on the 28th September 1600, the Jews asked to have it extended. The municipality, however, was not eager to renew it since the commission of forty objected, the wealthy commission members, such as Marcin Kampian.

Once the period of the compromise had come to an end on the 28th September 1600, Pawel Boim, Andrzej Dabrowski etc., who had lent funds to the municipality, had not suffered due to the Jewish trade. The middling traders, however, and especially the Armenians who had taken over the trade with the East, were hostile towards the Jewish merchants who, according to the compromise, were entitled to trade in eastern merchandise. Even in 1597, nearly two years after the compromise had been signed, all the craftsmen's guilds submitted a protest against the municipality which, of its own accord, had dared sign with the Jews a contract in which, to the detriment of the townspeople, it had granted them any trade not just at Lwów but in the whole of Reissen.[4] The nobles viewed the compromise from a different angle. They needed the Jewish mediator and so ignored the monopoly demanded by the townspeople. In addition, it was convenient for a squire to use a Jewish tradesman who was agile and sold cheaper than the non–Jewish trader in town.

The municipality did not give in to the opposition headed by Alembek, who numbered among the wealthy. On the contrary, on the 26th November 1601, the advisor Andrzej Dabrowski informed the opposition that: “Today we shall sign an agreement with the Jews, as it is in our power, and we shall not continue to ask you.”

The very same day a third contract was signed, which included no new clauses but instead extended the compromise of 1592. In 1604 however, the municipality and the commission of forty had reached an agreement, and the matter was removed from the agenda.

The situation of the Jews continued to worsen. Apart from that there were other events which hit the community, such as: the trial with the Jesuits,

“Eliyahu's Seat”

the fire in area of the community outside the town, destruction by the Tatars and Polish soldiers.

The distress had reached its peak on the 24th June 1627 when, in the name of the municipality, it was announced in the synagogue and the Jewish Quarter: “Take note that the advisors, with the permission of the Lwów residents, inform and announce that all the contracts which were signed with the Jews are terminated and have definitely ceased. The trade in merchandise that was permitted on the basis of those contracts, will be forbidden in the future, and those who dare trade in them, after the publication of this announcement, will be arrested by the town gentlemen in accordance with the statutes and rights of this town”.[5]

Salver of a Sandek [the man who holds the baby during the ritual circumcision ceremony]

That announcement ruined the Jewish trade, and in effect allowed the townspeople to treat the Jews as they wished, which started with attacks on the Jews. The Jews turned to the nobles, who preferred the Jewish to the Christian merchant, and they turned to the King with the grievance of the high cost of goods, and the difficulties of purchasing.

Under such pressure, on the 4th December 1627, King Sigismund III turned to the municipality with the recommendation to reach a compromise with the Jews taking into account, the demands of the nobles, and the fact that the Jews were obliged to participate, at the time, in the expenses of the realm. On the 29th August 1629, under the influence of the nobles and the King, the municipality had reached a compromise with the Jews and signed a third contract, valid for ten years. The clauses in that contract were no different from those in the contract of 1592, apart from quantities of the permitted goods which had increased. Thus the value of the goods from Turkey had increased from 1,000 to 2,000 Gulden; from Moldavia, from 1,500 to 2,000 Gulden, although the Jews were warned not to harm the retail trade at Lwów. Instead of the 50 Gulden, the community was charged 200 Gulden annually. The Jews were permitted to purchase merchandise from foreign traders already on the sixth day after their arrival at Lwów.

The trade in fur and leather was also restricted: the Jews were permitted to purchase those only in a raw state, and if already prepared, only from Christian furriers, and to sell them solely to townspeople and nobles. Since the fur trade was one of the most important of the Jewish trades, the Jews endeavoured to join the furriers' guild, but its management objected.

The Jews approached the municipality as well as the King, but in vain. On the 20th July 1629, King Sigismund III determined that due to religious grounds the Jews could not become members of craftsmen's guilds.

In 1634, the heir of Sigismund III, his son, young King Wladyslaw IV, spent time at Lwów and was interested in the state of the town. He was a lawyer and made efforts to learn the ropes.

The members of the commission of forty took advantage of the opportunity and obtained a decision from the King that the council was neither authorised nor qualified to sign contracts with the Jews without the consent of all the bodies which made up the municipality. With that decision, the contract of 1629 which, as said, was valid until 1636, was thus annulled.

That decision meant victory for the opposition in the municipality under the leadership of Wojciech Ostrogorski–Scharfenberg, and it was handed the controlling power. It then started to oppress the Jews and to conduct severe supervision over their trading, but it did not dare to fully abolish the 1636 contract.

But the Jews did not rest. They pursued every effort to obtain another King's regulation. Eventually, on the 26th October 1634, they succeeded and were granted a determination by the King which recommended that the municipality, in agreement with town's classes, sign a new contract within two years. Consequently, the 1629 contract could not be terminated. However, the inspection of merchandise which continued, led to conflicts between the Jews, the municipality and the craftsmen's guilds, especially the furriers'. Although in a special regulation of the 27th July 1635 the King had warned not to violate the rights of the Jews, it was to no avail. The Jews filed lawsuits and complaints without achieving any improvement in their condition. The townspeople again remonstrated with the King: “No trader or craftsman will be able to perform his trade due to the delays caused by the evil, heathen Jewish people. They already have control over almost 3/4 of the town of Lwów, and the Christians are left crowded in the fourth quarter of the town.[6]

As 1636 got nearer, the Jews demanded from the municipality to extend the contract. The council refused the request, as it did not want to act unilaterally.

Indeed, they accused the Jews, especially the wholesalers, of controlling the entire foreign trade through their connections with Jews in Wallachia and Turkey; and that they had depleted the town so far that its standing might have descended completely, were it not for the meagre income they could gain from restaurants and the armed forces.

Indeed the Jewish wholesalers managed a significant portion of the foreign trade which they exported to the fairs of Torun, Gdansk [Danzig], Königsberg. To Gdansk they sold wood products, potash and oxen, and from Gdansk they imported to Poland colonial products; from Germany they imported iron goods from Nürnberg [Nuremberg].

The scope of the Jewish trade was curbed by the municipality, which wavered from negotiating a new contract due to the objection of the commission of forty, the Armenians and the Ruthenians, who also claimed to suffer from competition by the Jews.

The attempts by the Jews were supported also by the Voivode and the Starosta, but in vain. By the end of 1636, the municipality sent a warning to the Jewish community not to dare trade or sell, and to act within the guidelines set in the rulings of previous kings, until the King's decision. Before submitting a legal claim the representative Mojzesz ben Abraham made another attempt – to request the municipality to sign a new contract. The municipality responded that it was agreeable, but the commission of forty did not permit it and hindered it.

Since the agreement of 1629 had expired, the Jews had no alternative but to negotiate

Clothes worn by Jews in the 17th century

with the commission of forty, and the “nations” (the Armenians and the Ruthenians). The conditions they set were tough and included demands such as a new, ten years' contract solely for the Jews within the town; confiscation of all the forbidden merchandise to the benefit of the town; for that contract the Jews were expected to pay 4,000 Zloty, since the craftsmen and the “nations” were willing to pay 2,000 Zloty if the municipality did not sign a contract with the Jews. According to those conditions the Jewish traders had to make use of the “emporium” of Lwów; and lastly appeared the severest clause of all, that the Jews commit themselves that at the end of the ten years they would never again demand new contracts.

The Jews responded in the negative, and that they did not wish to enter into negotiation on that basis. They would continue trading to their hearts' content and would approach the King straightaway.

The King dispatched commissaries, but they too were unsuccessful in convincing the municipality. Then they began to confiscate the goods of the Jews, not only from shops and warehouses but also on the roads, which led to serious conflicts.

The Jews approached the municipality to enquire on what legal basis their merchandise had been confiscated, but in vain. Quite the reverse, at once the commission of forty organized an auction. They received 2,191 Florins for the goods, out of which the senator Walenty Stancel received 1,810 Gulden, and Doctor Jakob Gidzielczyk 300 Florins for travel expenses to Warsaw in order to represent the town. Jakob Gombrycht, Izak Markowicz, the lobbyists Zelik and Szymon ben Saul travelled on behalf of the Jews.

On the 13th February 1637, the King issued an order to return the goods to the Jews, it was too late however as those had been sold at auction. Negotiations began at Warsaw, and with his authority the King extended the contract of 1929 for another 15 years, that is to say until 1652, with a single change. Now, the Jews had to pay 2,000 Gulden rather than 1,000 Gulden annually, in two instalments. At the end of the period of 15 years both sides would have to sign a contract, and if they would not agree, the King would again renew the existing contract. The King imposed on the municipality to return the goods, and were that not possible – to reimburse the Jews in lieu.

For the first time the King issued a regulation regardless of the town's rights and statutes, and created a dangerous precedent for the town. On that occasion, the King's intervention settled the matter with a win for the Jews.

During that period the Jews took hold of a new branch, the fur trade. The Jews ordered their merchandise from Russia, and competed with the Christian furriers' guild, who were both craftsmen and traders. Apart from fur merchants Jews were also furrier–craftsmen who worked to commissions from Jewish merchants as well as from nobles. The fur trade spread especially in the town's suburb, since the nobles who came to Lwów resided in hostelries in the suburbs, and preferred to buy from Jews who sold inexpensively. The Christian furriers' guild refused to tolerate the situation and began to chase Jews and confiscate the furs they had in their hands. The Jews claimed that they were permitted to sell furs which had not been produced at Lwów. On the other hand, the Christian furriers demanded to forbid the Jews from all trade in leather or furs. At the time there were 50 furriers at Lwów, according to whom the Jews undermined their trade and caused their economic impoverishment. The furriers were supported by the Armenians and the Greeks who blamed the Jews for their economic decline. In contrast with the townspeople who lived in austerity, the Jews wander about in “silk, costly furs of ermine (sable); they conduct sumptuous weddings and parties; in town they ride carriages drawn by six–horses in the manner of the nobles, accompanied by servants. Their parties are accompanied by orchestral music and great splendour, every trade and business is in their hands and the Christian are left only with poverty and depletion and they have to pay taxes.”[7]

Regarding the confiscation of merchandise by the furriers, a certain Jew stood trial and was punished by an appeals court where the King's verdict stated that he should lose his merchandise. The verdict condemned Jews for transgressing the contract with the town.

That verdict encouraged the furriers' guild to supervise with rigour the Jewish trade which had already been so suppressed that the Jews could no longer sell neither at Lwów nor at fairs that remained empty, since the sole remaining furriers demanded too high prices. The nobles who had been used to get the merchandise from Jews at low prices, opposed it. As a result the “Sejmik” which convened at Vyshnia [Wisznia] in 1640, imposed on its delegates to lobby the Sejm to cancel all the restrictions on the Jewish trade.

In response to the nobles' demands, the King ordered in a ruling of the 28th January 1642, that the municipality should try and bring the furriers to an agreement with the Jews. The municipality made great effort to respond to the King's order but with no success. Eventually the King sent a special commission to formulate proposals, and on the 24th December 1642 he issued a regulation, valid for ten years, which obliged the Jews to pass all the sewing of furs to the Christian furriers' guild. The Jews were permitted to sell in town only fur from abroad, but not in the suburbs, except when a noble specifically invited the Jewish merchant there. Among that type of merchant would be included, in a restricted number, Jews solely from within the town, and in accordance to a special list edited by mutual agreement. The Jews were permitted to purchase merchandise from foreign traders, ten days after they had arrived at Lwów, and to sell the merchandise solely to nobles and townspeople. The Jews had to pay the Christian furriers' guild 300 Gulden annually, in two instalments.

In the first year the Jews made a profit of 150 Florins, however the furriers demanded alterations to two clauses in the King's regulation, which even resulted in clashes in the town square. And again, the court cases started.

On the 30th December 1643, the King sent a warning to the municipality and demanded that it resolve the matter. With help from the municipality an agreement was reached in which the guild approved of 50 Jewish furriers. When the Jews gave the municipality a list of 50 names, the guild demanded to meet them in person for fear that they were fur merchants. The Jews did not respond to the demand and continued their trade in fur, and even engaged Christians apprentices, and despite the prohibition they traded in wolf, fox, rabbit and sheep skins. Their agents and middlemen milled about in the suburbs. When the municipality realized that the struggle could not continue, it agreed to sign a contract with the Jews on the 21st March 1654, valid for 15 years.

That was the fourth contract and its content repeated that of the 1629 contract, with the single exception that it now included also a clause that promised free trade in fur, as it had been determined in the King's order.

According to the new contract the Jews were levied by the municipality an annual payment of 1450 Gulden, besides the payment of 300 Gulden to the Christian furriers' guild.

That brought to an end the conflict between the Jewish and the Christian merchants, which had lasted for over 150 years.

The Jewish trade expanded both in its type and the scope of merchandise: the majority of trade was in perfume, peppercorns, cinnamon, salt from the King's mines at Drohobych and Wieliczka, anise, fabrics, textiles, potash, dates and honey, grains, wood, leather, bulls – merchandise marketed not only at Lwów but dispatched also to Breslau, Königsberg, Danzig, Brunsberg [Braniewo]. In particular, the wholesale trade in grain, cattle and bulls at those towns, was concentrated in their hands. The transportation of the cargo was undertaken by Jewish coachmen who were also responsible for the cargo in their charge. The safety conditions en route were precarious and open to attacks by bandits, among whom were also Jews, and much of the cargo was robbed with many people killed and murdered on such occasions. The import to Poland of eastern goods from Turkey was in the hands of Jews, mostly of Turkish origin.[8] Around 12 wholesalers [9] are known, who at the time kept trade–agencies at Lwów. Many of them lived at Lwów or Zamosc, and most of them left Lwów after the death of the kanzler Zamojski.

In the first half of the seventeenth century we know only of two Jewish wholesalers from Turkey who had agencies at Lwów, Samuel Czelebi who resided at Lwów in the years 1621–1635, and traded in merchandise from the East; and Szmaje Skampis, who bought a house at Lwów and lived in it during the seventeen forties.[10] Apart from them a Jewish wholesaler from Italy, Abraham Szkatulnik, also resided at Lwów. As they did not know Polish, they employed the municipal translator, Lukaszewicz.

The trade by the Jews of Lwów extended as far as Wallachia, Moldova, Hungary and reached even Moscow, from where they imported leather and furs. The trade in religious books, in Greek and Slav languages and published by the Ruthenian publisher (Stawropygija) of Lwów, was also in their hands. Within Poland the Jews of Lwów regularly traded with Poznan, Lublin, Krakow, Jaroslaw, Krotoszyn, and the Ruthenian towns where they purchased cattle, horses and timber which they sold to eastern countries or to Germany.

The Jews of Lwów leased whole estates for that purpose, where they cultivated crops, timber and cattle. During that period one knows of Israel Zloczowski, Abraham ben Mojzesz, who burnt potash in the forests and sold a large quantity of his produce abroad. On their estates, the Jews established also distilleries of wine and liquor.

To develop that large scale import–export trade the merchants required large sums of money. Such sums were offered to clients by special middlemen who found sources, raised the funds, arranged loans in promissory notes and took care of settling the loans. At Lwów, the lobbyist Mardochaj ben Israel, is known to have engaged in that trade.

Apart from trade Jews were also employed in handcrafts. In the seventeenth century almost all the handcrafts were in the hands of Jews: the butchers and the tailors were organized in craftsmen's guilds. Of course, the craftsmen faced great misgivings since the Christian craftsmen's guilds guarded their interests and did not hesitate, as mentioned above in the conflict of the furriers, from using any means to crush the Jewish competitor.

Unlike the Christian guilds, the Jewish craftsmen had no structured organizations except for the tailors and the butchers.

In 1627 the Jewish tailors' guild still existed, headed by Szymon, a Jew from the suburb. The Jewish tailors employed also Christian apprentices, and paid them better salaries than the Christian tailors did. The butchers too had their own guild. Most of them resided in the suburbs and were the sole protectors of the Jewish residents in the event of attacks and riots, and they cast fear in the Christian marauders.

Among the other craftsmen one needs to mention tanners, shoemakers, furriers, silversmiths [11] who were also traders, twiners, buttoners, who had been granted a privilege by King Wladislaw to engage in their trade, in 1634. There were also Jews engaged in casting metal and tin.

The Jewish craftsmen faced a permanent difficult struggle with the Christian craftsmen who missed no opportunity to undermine the

The Lane of the “Golden Columns” Synagogue

existence of their opponents whom they considered their toughest rivals. The Christian customers of all classes of society preferred the Jewish craftsmen due to their low wages and the price of their products.

The craftsmen maintained synagogues and specific societies: synagogue of tailors, of bakers (“Beth–Lechem” [house–of–bread]), porters (shoulder–bearers). The synagogues were managed by the head of the craftsmen's associations, where they prayed and studied.

Even in the large synagogues – within the town and in the suburb – there were specific rooms including prayer–houses for the craftsmen.

Within the Jewish Quarter there was also an orchestra, but its members were not professional musicians. Most of them worked as craftsmen. At the beginning of the 17th century there was a 13–members orchestra at Lwów. They played at Jewish weddings. There was at Lwów a Christian musicians' guild with a religious character, which played in churches and was forbidden from playing at Jewish weddings. Conversely, they agreed that the Jewish orchestra play at Christian weddings and parties. For that agreement the Jewish musicians paid 10 Gulden annually to the Christian guild and two Gulden to the municipality's coffers. The municipality held the right to prohibit the admittance of new members without its approval. To that end, the Jewish orchestra submitted the list of its members [12] to the municipality.

Notes – CHAPTER 4
All notes in square brackets [ ] were made by the translator.

  1. L. Charewiczowa: Ograniczenia gospodarcze nacyj schizmatyckich i Zydow we Lwowie (kwartalnik historyczny) t. XXXIX p. 226. Return
  2. In that manner the renowned great scholar [gaon] Rabbi Majer ben Gdalia (MaHaRaM of Lublin), who had arrived at Lwów in 1599 as head of the religious law–court [Beth–Din], was made to leave it. A dispute arose between the MaHaRaM and the pupil of Falk, Rabbi Abraham Szrencels Kohen Rappoport, author of “Ethan Haezrachi”, who kept at his own expense a Yeshivah and was collector of dues as well as fund raiser who transferred the funds to the Holy Land. In 1613, the MaHaRaM attended his son's wedding. When he left his house, Rabbi Szrencels accompanied him as far as his home. The MaHaRaM was oblivious to the fact that he accompanied him, and when he got home his wife made him aware of that. The MaHaRaM retorted: Am I not worthy to be accompanied not only by him, but also by his Rabbi (Falk)? That remark angered Rabbi Szrencels, and he brought the matter to the public meeting. With his influence and the help of his relative Rabbi Mardochaj [Marek] Nachmanowicz, it was decided to dismiss the MaHaRaM from the law–court, and he was forced to depart from the town straight away. From Lwów he went to Lublin where he served as Rabbi till his death in 1616. (S. Buber, Anshei Shem [Men of Renown] pp 12–13, 133.) Return
  3. In Anshei Shem, pp. 222–224 of the Lwów Notebook, Salomon Buber published a copy from the Notebook of the Council of the Four Lands of Poland, the laws of fugitives (38 articles).. See also:
    L. Lewin, Neue Materialien zur Geschichte der Vierlaendersynode. Frankfurt a/M 1905, Nr. 4, 5, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 28.
    H. Nussbaum: Historja Zydow, t. V; pp. 204–209.
    M. Schorr: Organizacja Zydow w Polsce. Lwów, 1899. pp. 71–72. Return
  4. Dr. M. Balaban: Zydzi Lwowscy, p. 430. Return
  5. Dr. M. Balaban: Zydzi Lwowscy, p. 434. Return
  6. J. Ptasnik: Miasta i mieszczanstwo w dawnej Polsce. Krakow, 1931, pp. 355–356. Return
  7. Wladyslaw Lozinski: Patrycyat i mieszczanstwo Lwowskie w XVI i XVII wieku. Lwów, 1892. pp. 192–193. Return
  8. Rybarski: Handel Polski w XVI i XVII W. Lwów 1892. pp. 254–257. Return
  9. Mosze de Mosso Kohen: Mardochaj Kohen, Jakob Sydis, Dawid Pasay, Josef Kohen from Crete, Chaim Kohen, Ezechiel ben Juda, Abraham Gambai, Izak Zabok, Mano Batormani, Dassaro Mosci, Mojzesz Tubiej. Return
  10. Dr. M. Balaban: Zydzi Lwowscy. p. 468.
    Dr. Lucja Charewiczowa: 1.c. Kw. hist. 1925, pp. 192, 193.Return
  11. In the years 1552–1661, we know of 10 Jewish goldsmiths. They all excelled in the quality of their work and their artistic precision. see:
    Ferdynand Bostel: Przyczynki do dziejow zlotnictwa Lwowskiego w XVI i XVII wieku. Sprawozdania komisji dla historji sztuki Akademiji Um., Krakow 1891, t. V, Nr. 4, 8, 44, 50, 90. Return
  12. Dr. M. Balaban: Zydzi Lwowscy. pp. 533–534. Return

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