Translated by Myra Yael Ecker
Edited by Ingrid Rockberger
|The changes to Lwów and the Jews. Napoleon I's Eretz Israel plan. Napoleon's victory celebrations. Jewish immigration from the conquered territories and its effect. The accommodation issues and difficulties. The authorities' regulations. The 1812 Census. The Joseph Schwamberg Affair. The taxlessees' takeover of the community. The community elections of 1817. Failure of the opposition's appeal. The economic state according to the 1820 census. Demands to alleviate the tax burden. Issues with improvements to the way of life. Menachem Schneier's proposals. The issue of traditional Jewish clothing.|
Early in the nineteenth century, Galicia experienced many political changes which also affected the life development process of Lwów's Jews. In 1796, the Austrians conquered Krakow, where they remained till 1815. During 18151816, Krakow and its environs functioned as an independent republic. In 1809, Lwów was temporarily conquered by the Russians, Napoleon's allies. During 17961809, the land between the Vistula [Wisla] and the Bug, which included Lublin, Zamosc [Zamość] and Sandomierz, was also attached to Galicia. During 18091815, the Russians also ruled over the Tarnopol region, and till 1848, Bukowina too was linked to Galicia.
During Galicia's transition years, the town of Lwów was ruled by multiple authorities. On the one hand were the Austrian authorities with an administrative organization of Czechs and Germans, and on the other, the Polish population sympathized with the national movement led by Kosciuszko and the legionnaires. At the clubs established by the lawyers Jablonski, Nowakowski and Adrian Dzydoscicki, help agencies for the legionnaires, organized and recruited volunteers to the battalions of Napoleon whom they considered Poland's saviour.
Among the Jews of Lwów some were also attracted by Napoleon who, in 1799, had published a proclamation to the Jews promising them that were they to assist him, he would reestablish a Jewish State in Eretz Israel. The Jews of Lwów were influenced by him, and one of the newspapers stated explicitly A written proposal (Napoleon's Pronouncement) disseminated throughout the world and encourages the Jews to return to Jerusalem, has already much influenced the Jews of Lwów. They frequent restaurants a great deal to read newspapers, and one sees them huddle together, whisper and consult over their travel to Jerusalem.[i]
It is hard to imagine, however, that the political events stirred up the Jews of Lwów. They were still far removed from any public interaction especially with strangers. In 1809, just when the polish army victoriously entered Lwów under the command of Prince Jozef Poniatowski after conquering Zamosc, the Jews welcomed him, not so much with genuine enthusiasm as from resentment towards the Austrian authorities.[ii] The community of Lwów sent food and spirits to the Polish encampment and collected funds for the army.
The Polish army organized, amongst other things, a national rule which included a department for Jewish affairs managed by Jan Tarnowski. One of the Polish government's early acts was to collect half of the 1809 tax from the Christian as well as the Jewish population.[iii] They were unable to complete that act, however, when on 15th June 1809 an Austrian army brigade entered Lwów to the enthusiastic welcome of the German citizens. They were followed by the Russians who at the time were Napoleon's allies, and remained at Lwów till the Austrians captured it again on 14th December 1809.
Under the Austrian rule life returned to normal and the Jews, together with all the empire's nations, were pleased with Napoleon's defeat (1814), and according to Mayor Lorenz, they participated in the celebration of that victory on 29th June 1814. They lit up the windows of their homes in celebration, and under the community's initiative a song of praise in German was published, entitled The sentiments of Lwów's Jewish congregation on 29th June 1814 (Die Gefühle der Israelitischen Gemeinde in Lemberg am 29 Juni 1814). In the evening, a celebratory prayer was said at the synagogue, and Rabbi Jakob Ornstein delivered a sermon which was published in the addendum to Shir Hilulim [Song of Praise] which the school choir also sang in German.
With the emergence of a new policy, the composition of Lwów's Jewish population underwent changes due to the increased number of Jews from the new territories whose economic situation there was quite difficult. By moving to Galicia's capital, they had hoped to improve their economic as well as their socialcultural situation. A large number of young people in particular, came to Lwów hoping for the opportunity to study.
That population movement affected the social and cultural integration of Lwów's Jewish circles. To begin with, the new elements adversely affected community life, especially in respect of accommodation, income and the way of life.
From 1794 to 1808, 998 Jewish families which numbered 2,512 souls, arrived at Lwów from elsewhere, and Lwów's Jewish population evolved between 1796 and 1826, as follows:
Year Jews 1796 12,486 1800 13,412 1810 14,979 1815 16,125 1820 17,931 1825 18,689 1826 19,277
The authorities were surprised at the rise in the number foreign Jews, and took measures to curtail the increase. The municipality also took steps, by sending memorandums to the Governor demanding that he reduce their residential zone. In the past, as previously mentioned, the municipality had already tried to dispossess the Jews of their shops and flats within the town.
Nevertheless, in 1795 the Jewish community responded that the area in which they could dwell had been extended through the legal purchase of houses. Removing the Jews to the Zolkiew and Krakow Quarters would be economically detrimental to themselves as well as to the Christian house and shop owners who would lose large sums in rent.
The dispute with the municipality over the dwelling rights continued for many years.
Under pressure from the townspeople and the Governor, the Viennese authorities gave strict orders to delay the flow of Jews into Lwów, and to forbid the marriage of men with young single women and widows from outside the town, in order to prevent an increase in the Jewish population.
In accordance with the Kaiser's order of 4th April 1805, only in exceptional circumstances were the authorities permitted to grant entry licences to teachers at the Jewish schools as well as to specialised craftsmen in essential industries, where no comparably qualified person was found in town. The order was published in a printed message that warned against the entry of foreign Jews, under threat of fines or beatings. Under those circumstances the Jews who resided in the Brody and Halicz [Halych] suburbs were obliged to move to the Zolkiew and Krakow suburbs.
In 1807, there were 14,371 Jews among the 43,614 citizens of Lwów. The prohibition of entry to Jews into the town is clear from the 1812 census: of the 3,709 Jewish families residing at Lwów, 7,237 were men and 7,736 were women, totalling 14,973 souls. During five years the Jewish population only increased by 602 souls. The number of Jews in the entire Lwów region was 4,420 families, of whom 8,764 were men and 9,288 were women, totalling 18,052 souls.
In 1811, the issue of the rise in the Jewish population was again addressed by the authorities, this time
Apart from the accommodation question on which the municipality focused, the Governor, in accordance with the Order (patent) of 17th May 1789, also picked on Jewish issues in the neighbouring small towns which had previously been under the regional offices' jurisdiction.
The municipality appealed against the Order, claiming that the issue was not its concern, and that handling such matters would place the municipality under the jurisdiction of the regional office, in contravention of the town's constitution. On 22nd June 1826, the Vienna authorities approved the Governor's decision of 13th January 1826, to centralize all of Lwów's Jewish issues in the hands of the municipality, including
Due to congestion as well as difficulties from the townspeople and the authorities, the housing conditions in the Jewish Quarters worsened daily. During the Austrian rule, Lwów turned into a town of trade and industry to which new citizens flocked from all over Galicia. The townspeople did not tolerate the invasion of Lwów by the new crowds who would endanger the citizens' trade and crafts. The authorities too were against the rise in the Jewish population, and plotted to add further restrictions which were set in the Orders (patent) of 1793, 1797.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the situation was as follows: the Jews were permitted to reside at the Krakow and Zolkiew suburbs without restrictions; those residing at any of the other neighbourhoods, had to move there. The Jews were permitted to reside within the town but they could not purchase without permission, property on Szkocka, Ruska, Serbska and Nowa Streets, or in the adjoining alleys, except for special circumstances where the houseowners owed them sums equal to the value of the house. They were permitted to keep shops on Ruska, Szkocka and Serbska Streets.
The authorities allowed for some exceptions: wholesalers who traded in foreign merchandise valued at 30,000 or 40,000 Gulden, were permitted to reside outside the Jewish Quarter,
and they had to be supervised by the municipality to ensure that a Jew whose assets were reduced, would move to the Jewish Quarter.
Jews who owned houses outside the Jewish Quarter were granted an extension till 1803 to live in them, before moving with their families to the Jewish Quarters. They remained the house owners with the proviso that they did not let the accommodations or shops to Jews.
According to the 1825 census there were 25,117 inhabitants within the town, 954 of whom were Jews; the Halicz Quarter had 2,000 inhabitants, five of whom were Jews; the Krakow Quarter had 2,556 inhabitants, 1,247 of whom were Jews; the Brody Quarter had 1,256 inhabitants, five of whom were Jews; the Zolkiew Quarter had 3,033 inhabitants, 2,001 of whom were Jews.
In order to check the growth of the population foreign Jews were not permitted to move to Lwów and register with the community, after 24th July 1804. In addition, Jews of Lwów were not permitted to marry foreign Jews, and any contravention would lead to a 100 Ducat fine.
On 22nd January 1805, the mayor of Lwów Franz Anton Lorenz, published an Order imposing a 12 Ducat fine on house owners who let flats to Jews expelled from Lwów, or not permitted to reside in the Christian Quarter. Any informer on such cases, was promised a fee of 25 Florins. The Order also forbade any exchange of flats between a family at Lwów and one residing outside the town, except for exceptional cases of specialist craftsmen, printers etc. The restriction also did not apply to teachers who came to Lwów and had been employed by the Jewish schools.
Adopted children who had reached the age of majority, had to leave the town and return to the community whence they had come. (In the years 18141816, the Jews of Lwów had only adopted 14 children). The authorities considered the adoption of children a ploy to smuggle them into Lwów and increase the Jewish population. In August 1815, the Governor proposed to the Vienna authorities to permit the adoption of a Jewish child in exchange for two large families who had left Lwów. The Courtoffice refused and gave instruction to follow the existing ruling. On 16th February 1816, the Governor sent the Kaiser a special request to delay any plea for the adoption of Jewish children until the approval of the new Jewish regulations being discussed by the government. The Emperoroffice's reply stressed that in the previous two years only 14 children had been adopted, and that that could not be considered a threat of increasing Lwów's Jewish community, and that consequently there was no reason for the proposed change.
When a Jew was permitted to move to Lwów, he had to provide an exit certificate from his community and a declaration from Lwów's community committee that there was no reason to refuse his acceptance. In addition, two families from Lwów would have to forego their right of residence and would have to leave the town. The transfer of the Jew was granted only after the two families who were leaving, had provided a certificate of acceptance from the other community.
The prohibitions and restrictions also led to corruption. The community officials, especially the managers of the population register, were bribed to enter foreign Jews in the population list. The registrar Ber Chaim Modlinger in particular, grew rich from such transactions, as was demonstrated in his trial of 1817.
A further issue arose when the Maskilim [Hebrew Enlighteners], dressed in European clothes, approached the authorities with requests to allow them to reside in a nonJewish Quarter. In many cases the authorities agreed to their move, on condition that not only the head of the family but all its members, men and women, be dressed in the European fashion. In October 1815, when Joseph Schwamberg who wore European clothes requested a licence to reside in a nonJewish Quarter, the police rejected his request so long as his wife and the rest of his family did not cease wearing the Jewish traditional clothes. In March 1816 Schwamberg renewed his request, now appended by a police certificate that his entire family wore European clothes, but again his request was refused. He then appealed and provided proof that his son Izak was studying medicine at Vienna, that his second son, Karl, was working for a Vienna trading house, that his two daughters were enrolled at a Benedictine convent school, that he and his entire family had rid themselves of Jewish habits, that he was despised by the Jews and was unable to reside among them. In his business too, he was associated with trading houses outside the Jewish Quarter. In his written request he also stressed that Jews from Lwów: Johann Seligmann, Paul Mendelssohn and Zadok Hirsch Goldberg, had already been granted transfer licences. With the Governor's recommendation, the Vienna Courtoffice agreed to grant Schwamberg a licence to transfer into town.
The municipality did not approve of Jews moving to Christian Quarters. In January 1818 the townspeople complained to the authorities that Jews stayed in town, married and constituted a general danger. The authorities however rejected those accusations and demands as exaggerations. On the contrary, in September 1818 a number of Jewish merchants who excelled in cleanliness and order, who had replaced their Jewish garments and who adopted a way of life similar to the rest of the population, were granted permission to reside in town, outside of the Jewish Quarter.
The community leaders did not accept the restrictions and made every effort to get the authorities to ease the terms of entering and residing within the town. The community leaders appointed by those who paid the candle tax, were supporters of the candle tax lessee. He was in charge of granting certificates to the candle tax payers as well as appointing the leaders and elders. He was also in a position to issue fake certificates, and had a deciding vote in the elections in which the candidates were usually the lessees themselves. Although after each election appeals were submitted to the authorities by those opposing the lessees, those appeals remained unresolved.
Till 1817, the community leaders were Joel Rappoport, Lieber and Rosenthal. Their objectors, Leib Balaban, Kalman Berger and a number of the community members, claimed that when they had left the community before the new elections, they had taken some of the community tax money, for their own use, leaving the community indebted to the kingdom's treasury by that sum.
Those accusations enabled the tax lessees to elect their representatives with ease. In 1817, the elected communityelders were Joseph Finlisch, Gershon Kurzer, Chaim Blumengarten, Berl Schönfeld and Chaim Joschoua Glanz, four of whom were in partnership with the candle tax lessees. A group of known merchants, headed by Joseph Barach, Schmelkes, Waldberg, Goldenblum, Ahlenberg, Joel Rappoport and Leib Mendrokhowicz opposed those elected, and presented a counter list which included Hirsch Rektor, Abel Fischler, Nathan Sokal, Aron Chaim Rappoport, the father of Salomon Jehuda Rappoport who for several years had been an appraiser for the authorities, and Moses Waag.
Forgery tricks and the lessees' hoaxes led to the list's rejection. The group of merchants did not accept the situation however, and appealed to the Governor stressing that the official candidates were corrupt, informers and devoid of education. In their written appeal they pointed out that Joseph Finlisch, who headed the list, had collected 13,000 Gulden for the establishment of a Jewish agricultural settlement in 1806, funds which he did not hand over to the community, and that he faced a criminal investigation; that Gershon Kurzer was a man devoid of a conscience, rude, and a known informer who had been in jail since 1810, was nonetheless a partner of the tax lessees; that Chaim Blumengarten was a veteran bartender devoid of any education; that Berl Schönfeld was a known loanshark.
The appeal prompted the Governor to order new elections to take place in March 1818. Nevertheless, the results remained unchanged. Again, the supporters of the tax lessees were voted in by an overwhelming majority, with the opponents failing completely. Despite the population's loathing of the lessees who in 1808 requested permission to reside outside the Jewish Quarter for fear of revenge and retribution, their influence on the community's affairs increased with help from the authorities and they controlled the community until the revolution of 1848. The increased loathing of the lessees was such that in 1808 the authorities were obliged to grant them permission to reside outside the Jewish Quarter, since they were been in constant fear of their lives.
The community's powers and scope of transactions remained unchanged apart from a rise in the candle tax: in 1800, by 50%; in 1806, by another increase. The meat tax rose by 50%; in 1802 the price of 1/2 kg. Kosher meat was 19 Kreuzer; 12 Kreuzer in provincial towns; nonKosher meat cost 7 1/2 Kreuzer in Lwów, and 57 in provincial towns. Apart from the meat price and tax, the Jewish consumer also paid expenses and interest to the tax lessees.
Besides the general taxes, the Jews paid marriage tax, tolerance tax, Kosher meat tax, candle tax, Minyanim tax as well as a tax on the building of synagogues and to establish cemeteries.
The system of taxation was based on personal tax (Klassensteuer [class taxation]) which included: 1. A special tax on house and land, 2. Head of family tax, 3. Poll tax, which was subject to change. In 1802, the Jews paid 112,000 Florins which was apportioned according to family and property. In 1804, a fiveflorin tax was levied on every head of family as an overall rather than a personal amount. In 1806, an increase of 30 Kreuzer per Gulden of tax was introduced. Under the 20th July 1824 Order (Decree), however, besides income tax an overall tax was levied on all of Galicia's Jews, totalling 836,000 Florins.
Besides tax collecting, the community was also responsible for the upkeep of the charitable institutions. With the authorities setting more stringent sanitary standards, 18 Jewish prisoners were employed to clean the Jewish Quarter, each at a monthly salary of six Gulden. Due to the spread of disease in the Jewish Quarter, the sanitary authorities fined the community heavily for neglect of cleanliness in the streets.
From 1801, the Jewish community kept a Jewish hospital with a doctor, two surgeons, a midwife and several medics. The hospital also kept two bathhouses which were let out. The hospital's management was appointed by the community and the expenses were paid for from the
bathhouses' leasing fees as well as from donations from the meat tax lessees and from individuals.
Ten police inspectors (Polizeirevisoren): five Christian and five Jewish were employed to maintain order within the Jewish Quarter. According to Lwów's management report, the Jewish inspectors fulfilled useful and successful services, not only in Jewish affairs but also in other matters. As a result, in 1824 their annual salary was raised from 200 to 300 Florins.
One of the community's special enterprises was the collection of funds for Eretz Israel. The dispatch of funds to Eretz Israel was closely monitored by the authorities who forced Lwów's elders and its rabbi, Rabbi Izak Ornstein, to submit a detailed report on each dispatch.
In May 1818, the communityelders submitted a complaint against the elder Ber Chaim Modlinger, known for his employ as registrar of the citizens' census, who collected funds for the Jews of Eretz Israel. It is not known what the authorities did about that complaint, nevertheless, during the inquiry it was revealed that the funds were collected by one Kolikower. who had used receipts signed by Rabbi Jakob Meschulam Ornstein, and by Lwów's community secretary, Ber Chaim Modlinger. According to Abraham Kahana's report to the authorities, Modlinger had pressured him and three other Jews to emigrate to Eretz Israel, and to collect funds for that purpose. An anonymous report was also submitted claiming that Ber Chaim Modlinger and Rabbi Meschulam Ornstein engaged in collecting funds for Eretz Israel, but the inquiry was repealed due to lack of evidence.
The economic composition of Lwów's Jews had not undergone great change. In town, the shopkeepers and the pedlars, who were particularly active during the fairs (Kontracts) which took place annually during May and October, were still there. The fairs kept going till the arrival of the railway and communication with the West.
The 1820 census contains interesting facts about the Jews of Lwów, their occupations and professions. The entire town population numbered 45,162, of which 17,932 (38.7%) were Jewish. Of the 2,140 who were engaged in trade and industry, 1,308 were Christian, 832 were Jewish. The percentage of Jews engaged in trade was 55.2%, and in crafts 24.5%. Among the 262 merchants, 200 were Jews, and among the 290 shopkeepers, 265 were Jews. Out of the 381 bartenders, restaurant and coffee house owners, 58 were Jewish. Next to the restaurants were also hotels and simple hostelries where impoverished nobles, and Jewish merchants stayed during their stay at Lwów in the winter months, for the Kontracts season.
Among the occupations of Jews one notes salaried employees, servants, coachmen and porters who were known for their agility and honesty. Lazar Zucker and Izak Heilpern were known coachingcontractors for the route LwówOlmütz [Olomouc]Vienna.
Among the 745 Jewish craftsmen, 249 were tailors, 22 glaziers, 51 bakers, 133 furriers, 34 silversmiths, 28 twiners, 19 bookbinders, 9 carpenters, 9 belt makers, 8 candle makers, 1 watchmaker, 28 goldsmiths (jewellers), 7 mead distillers, 3 weavers, 13 whitewashers, 3 blacksmiths, 3 cottonwool processors, 8 upholsterers, 5 wax pourers, 1 printer, 3 brickmakers, 1 sockmaker, 2 mirror polishers, 3 hatters, 2 engravers, 1 shoemaker, 99 were engaged in other occupations such as: butchers, liquor distillers, soap makers, coppersmiths, carvers, woodcutters, painters [decorators], tanners, beer brewers, hairdressers.
The wholesale trade from Vienna to Russia was in the hands of Jews. A number of Jewish wholesale traders from Lwów frequented the fairs at Leipzig. By and by, however, they were displaced by Jews from Brody who in time represented Galicia at the fairs. In 1829 for example, of the 226 merchants representing Galicia at the Leipzig fair, all were Jews from Brody.
Among the wholesalers one knows of Moses Pinkas who was in charge of most of eastern Galicia's timber trade, which he transported to Danzig by rafts along the Vistula [Wisla]. Lwów's Jewish timber merchants kept large warehouses at Józefów and Krystynopol [Czerwonogród] and supplied goods to Moses Pinkas and Joseph Mendel of Krakow, and to Izak Hirsch of Brody.
Josef Mizys managed wholesale trade in wax, and Gabriel Reizes, in fur.
A number of Jews engaged in brokerage and in the maintenance of warehouses. Zadok Balaban and Gezl were known as largescale shop owners who supplied fashion items to Polish nobles of Galicia and Poland. There were also Jews who supplied the armed forces, among whom one knows of IzakZe'ev Rappoport, a wholesaler in tobacco, grains and salt. The authorities valued his economic operations, and backed him when Chaim Hainisch of Lwów reported him, and they proved that the denouncements against him were untrue, and that the Jewish merchants of Lwów benefitted the country as suppliers, wholesalers and industrialists. At the time, several of Lwów's Jews took part in the development of industry, establishing workshops and the first factories, including the liquor factories of Leib Mimels and Fischel Dobs, Baceles and Margulies, and a beer brewery of Bruner from Lwów. Large flour mills were also established by Jews.
The economic standing of the [Jewish] population was so depleted that the community requested a reduction in taxes. Even high government officers submitted reports stressing that the tax burden levied on the Jews was too heavy, and was considerably greater than the taxes levied on the rest of the population.
In October 1816, the Lwów community requested that the Governor consider the situation of the Jews, and ease their tax burden. The memorandum highlighted that as an outcome of the wars the value of money bills had fallen and the assets of the wealthy had shrunk due to the restrictions barring them from the purchase of properties and estates, which had kept their value. Jewish trade plummeted when the relationship with Russia, the major buyers' market, was cut off by the Russians. The war had ruined the fundamental existence of Lwów's Jewish population and consequently it was unable to meet the tax burden.
Governor Hauer took no account of the community's arguments however, and rejected its request. That refusal to ease the taxes prevented any improvement in the economic situation of Lwów's Jews. Their standing was reduced year by year to such an extent that, according to the community commission, by 18171822 the number of those able to pay tax had fallen from 1800 to 900.
In its request the community pointed out to Kaiser Franz I, the grim reality that a large number of heads of families who had previously paid taxes, could hardly support themselves while they and their families suffered hunger.
In 1821, the community's Jewish tax debt amounted to 39,419 Florins, and the general taxes debt amounted to 60,000 Florins. Even then, the authorities rejected the request to ease their tax burden.
The general economic reality of Galicia weighed heavily on the Jews' circumstances, especially due to the devaluation of the currency. The 20th December 1811 decree, reduced the value of banknotes (Bankzettel) by 20%.
The reduced credit and investment of funds was especially felt in the grain and timber trades, and it became difficult to export them to Danzig.
On numerous occasions in its messages to the Vienna authorities, the Galician Sejm pointed out the difficult economic situation. Prince [von] Metternich who due to his sudden illness spent an extended period at Lwów, also wrote to his wife that Galicia was a fertile country rich in natural resources, but that the lack of funds and transportation hindered export and led to an excessive reduction in the price of goods. The commissioner Prince [von] Lobkowitz, who became Governor in 1826, tried nonetheless to amend the economic situation by improvements, and he also recognized the injustice done to the Jews.
After years even the authorities had to recognized the reality, and enlightened officers awakened the central offices' attention to the reduced situation of the Jews of Galicia and of Lwów. By and by even the Vienna authorities took note that the policy of taxing the Jews to destruction had to stop. In 1830, the Courtcabinet (Hofkanzlei) proposed to abolish all the taxation on Jews, and place them financially on a par with the rest of the population, but the proposal was not approved by the Emperor, saying that the time had not yet come for such changes. Most of the administrative staff considered the reduced state of the Jews, not due to external conditions economic circumstances, taxation etc. but due to their internal way of life.
The central authorities also debated the restrictions of habitation within Lwów and asked the Governor the following questions: 1. Should one continue to restrict the habitation of Lwów's Jews? 2. Should one annul the prohibition on acquiring houses and plots? and 3. Should one allow Jews to purchase houses in the Jewish Quarter from Christians?
The Governor replied in the positive to questions 2. and 3. only, stating that as for question 1., each case had to be considered on its own merits.
The Vienna Courtcabinet concluded that the attractive sections of town should be devoid of Jews. With regard to questions 2. and 3., it agreed with the Governor. The Governor's proposals of 12th December 1828 and of 26th March 1830 regarding the reduction of Lwów's Jewish population, and the organization of the Jewish Quarters were decided in the negative, since after detailed consideration we have reached the conclusion that one need abandon the old system to turn the Jews into useful citizens through restrictions, and that it is preferable to turn them into useful citizens through religious, moral and intellectual education, and by and by eliminate the restrictions which would become redundant.
The issue of amending the way of life of Galician Jews also occupied the authorities, just as it had in earlier periods. They accepted every proposal submitted to them, hoping to arrive at the right means to implement the alterations they were after. From time to time the Vienna officials troubled the Lwów Governor with demands for
suggestions that would at least accomplish the alterations they had achieved in Bohemia and Moravia.
There were inevitably some bothersome Jews who submitted endless proposals on the issue to the Governor. One of them, Menachem Schnaier, submitted a programme in 1805 to turn the Jews into productive, happy citizens. His intention was to receive the fare to Vienna and a licence to stay there in order to submit the details of his proposal, but the Governor replied that he could submit his proposal, in person, and it would be forwarded to Vienna. Already in October 1805, his programme was in front of the Courtadvisor Reichmann, who considered it very interesting since for the first time he found a true and unflattering description of the Jews and their character.
Schnaier reported details of the children's education and its failings; he stressed specifically that the Talmud taught Jews to hate Christians; that the prayers included curses of nonJews; that the education led to savagery and to distancing from the rest of the population. Change would come about through secular education of mixed Jewish and Christian youths; dissolving of Jewish schools; teaching the Torah in the German language; abolishing the Jewish traditional dress and forbidding sidecurls [payot] and beard; appointing a national Jewish elder (Überlandesältester), a Maskil [Hebrew Enlightener] who, as a governmental officer at an annual salary of 2,000 Florins, would represent the Jews. Apart from him one had to appoint a Christian clerk. Both would appoint Jewish commissars who would organize a census with an index card for each individual. For administrative reasons, it was preferable for the municipality to have the authority over the Jews. Every community would be led by a single elder, apart from the towns of Lwów, Brody Krakow and Lublin, where two elders would be appointed.
The author of the programme, Menachem Schnaier, was a Lwów restaurant owner, who had an adventurous past. He had been accused in the past of theft and burglary, found not guilty and placed under police supervision. He tried to insinuate himself into the community's committee and become a member, but he was expelled. It is unknown whether he associated with any Enlightenment circles. From time to time he bothered the authorities with his proposals which remained filed in clerks' desks. He was one of many bothersome characters who flooded the offices with suggestions and programmes for the good of the Jews.
In 1813, talk among the clerical circles of Lwów and Vienna considered the need to improve the condition of the Jews of Galicia. The Court advisor, Johann Fidelis von Erggelet, wrote a comprehensive memorandum the principal conclusion of which was that one had to bring them [the Jews] out of their isolation, ease the harsh restrictions on them, and place their rights and obligations on a par with the rest of the population.
The officers claimed that it was impossible to give up the Jews of Galicia and expel 40,000 families from the country. Under those circumstances and despite their shortcomings, one had to treat them as fairly as the rest of the population.
Their proposals laid stress on improving the education of the youths which, except for religious studies, should be taught
at state schools. Von Erggelet's memorandum was given to the members of the Courtcommittee for their opinions, and most of them concurred with him that the Jews should be granted the same civil rights as the rest of the population if they were required to fulfill all the obligations of the state's citizens. So long as no such policy was in place, the Jews' evasion of fulfilling their duties, and their stratagem to circumvent any laws which were to their detriment, was justified. Some of them claimed that as long as rabbis who lacked any general education were leading the Jews, no improvement was possible. On the other hand, the authorities had to realize that regulations and administrative arrangements alone could not alter the character of a people, and therein lay the mistake of tackling the Jewish issue. Although radical changes could not be implemented at once, one had to strive to prepare the Jews to embrace equal rights, by and by.
First of all, by eliminating the restrictions one had to allow them an
economic living condition that would forgo their need for deception and immoral living. Despite those proposals submitted to the central authorities and to Kaiser Franz I, however, they remained deaf to any request to lighten the living conditions of the Galician Jews.
Besides the principal issues, in the 1820s tradition dress surfaced again, with the aim to apply the 16th May 1781 prohibition against the traditional Jewish clothes, that the authorities had abolished in 1790 due to an inability to implement it. The authorities were greatly interested in the question of dress once certain wealthy circles and admirers of the Enlightenment had removed their traditional dress, out of their own volition.
The Maskilim of Brody were largely responsible for that. Several members of Brody's community submitted a memorandum to the authorities in which they requested that in conjunction with the new Jewish regulations a new law should be enacted to oblige the Jews of Galicia to replace their traditional dress which was a principal hindrance to their relations with the Christian population. The Maskilim requested to hasten that process even though, elderly Jews were attached to their traditional dress, whether from ancient law or from habit.
The Brody Maskilim's request encouraged the Governor to draw the
attention of the Vienna authorities to the question of clothing.
In July 1816, in a report after his voyage throughout Galicia, the commissioner Freiherr von Hauer stated with satisfaction that replacing the traditional clothing was raised among the Jews of Galicia, especially by the well to do. It was however advisable for the authorities not to get involved, so as not to arouse the zealots' wrath.
During the 18201821 debate over the new Jewish regulation, the advisor von Widmann proposed the following questions in his summary to the commissioners:
According to commissioner Hauer it was advisable to bridge the existing abyss between the Jews of Galicia and the rest of the population, specifically concerning their peculiar dress, and to bring them together as soon as possible. Considering the situation, however, justice and law should not be mixed with habits and tradition. Although it was advisable to introduce improvements to the Jews' lifestyle, it was difficult to force them to alter their habits of which dress made part just as it was impossible to force the nobles and farmers to give up their national dress. After all, till then the Jews of Galicia appeared in their traditional dress in front of the nobles, and travelled in it to the fairs of Germany where they received credit. Since Galicia had several national costumes there was no good reason to demand from the Jews in particular to wear European clothes. The argument that the change of dress would encourage the process of bringing them closer to the rest of the population and to secular Enlightenment, was fundamentally flawed and consequently he believed that it was better to start the improvement by granting them permission to engage in occupations from which they had been barred, to live outside the specified Quarters, to establish elementary schools for them and admit them to secondary schools without hindrance. Every aspect indicated that no law should be enacted to force the Jews to give up their traditional dress.
Despite his opinion, and since the Jews had not responded to the 1817 authorities' call to alter their clothes voluntarily, the Governor proposed to combine the Jewish regulation with renewal of the decree on Jewish dress, under the assumption that it would prepare the ground for general alterations to the lifestyle of Galician Jews, and that the Jews were unlikely to alter their clothes voluntarily.
The Governor was also guided by the Jews' wishes to prohibit the Jewish traditional dress which delayed the Europeanization of their people. Based on the Governor's proposals the Vienna authorities ordered that Jews replace their dress with European outfits. At Lwów, according to the Governor's instructions, the timetable for the changes was:
of the memorandum stressed the fact that traditional dress also saved on foreign currency.
The authorities made no changes, yet the number among the Jewish public wearing European dress rose under the influence of the Maskilim on the youth and on the affluent strata. That process also led to a bitter conflict within Lwów's Jewish public, the majority of whom saw in the Enlightenment a danger to Judaism.
In 1826, the central authorities also began to debate the right of citizenship of Lwów's Jews. Galicia's Sejm committee (wydział krajowy) made up of six Sejm delegates: 1. The clergy; 2. estate owners; 3. the nobility, (two from each category) and the commissioner of the town of Lwów, decided in 1828 to grant Jews the right of citizenship in the following categories: 1. Wholesale traders or industrialists; 2, Merchants who were members of the merchants' organization; 3. Artists; 4. Anæsthetists and medical doctors; 5. Craftsmen who had attained craftsmen's accreditation who excelled in patriotic and humanitarian acts or who encouraged trade, culture, industry and science.
The Governor's view was that the question of acquiring estates and the right of citizenship were not connected, and that the right to acquire estates should be granted even without the right of citizenship. The Sejm committee wholly rejected that view.
The Emperor's decision was to grant Jews citizenship in Galicia only on rare occasions, irrespective of the ownership of estates.
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