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[Pages 525-526]


The Cultural Life


Characters and Personalities

by Dr. Zeev Pinot-Finkelstein

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker

Edited by Karen Leon



During the entire 19th century, and up to the outbreak of the Second World War, a Jewish aristocracy had formed at Lwów. This aristocracy distanced itself from the extensive Jewish masses and withdrew to its own quarters. Jewish aristocracy was attained by three means. There were old families that had resided at Lwów for hundreds of years. There were families with lineage related to rabbis and to great Torah scholars, and there were families of Jewish magnates that had accumulated great wealth, especially from the grain trade, in the free town Brody and Tarnopol. However, once Brody's status of a free town was rescinded, they moved to Lwów.

Among the first category were the families that came to Poland from Germany and Italy and settled at Lwów after lengthy wanderings. These included the families of Rappoport, Löwenherz, Blumenfeld, Sokal, Reizes [Reices], Parnas, Tenner, Schönfeld, Aszkenazy, Ehrenpreis, Rokach and others.

Among the second category were the families of Horowitz, Löwenstein, Landau, Chajes [Chajut], Margulies, Braude, Natansohn and others.

The third category included the families of Mieses, Schaff, Byk, Kolischer, Garfein, Trachtenberg, Rohatyn, Lilien, Kimmelman, Diamand, Buber and others.

Dr. Bernard Tenner, Dr. Jakub Horowitz, Dr. Emil Byk, Dr. Natan Löwenstein, Dr. Emil and Józef Parnas, Dr. Tobiasz Aszkenazy and others were among some of the renowned advocates among this group. Dr. Aszkenazy was also Lwów's deputy-Mayor.

Dr. Inländer, from one of Lwów's old families, was greatly respected, and his son, Adolf Władysław, was a renowned journalist in Poland.

The Mieses family that consisted of bankers and grain merchants, held a special place in Jewish life. The family had close contact with Count Gołuchowski, and the banker, Rachmiel Mieses, was able to obtain important political information from his close contact with the Austrian Minister of Finance. Consequently, Rachmiel was held in high regard by the members of Lwów's stock market. In the 1860s, Jozue Mieses, was the branch manager of Lwów's Mortgage Bank. Hermann Mieses, another son, was elected to the Austrian Parliament by the district of Drohobycz. Although his Polish rival gained most of the votes, the latter's election was annulled after the voting procedure was investigated. Mieses received the mandate with no further elections (an unheard of incident in the history of the Austrian Parliament). Hermann Mieses held this post until 1879. After losing his entire fortune, he went into newspaper publishing, where his comprehensive knowledge brought him great success. Emil Mieses, served for years as vice-chairman of Lwów's community committee.

Included among the elite Jewish aristocracy was the Rappoport family, whose status derive from its lineage of renowned rabbis, and not from wealth or public engagement. There were two Rappoport families: the priests [Cohanim], and those who were not priests. The priestsly family arrived at Lwów as far back as the 17th century, and filled key roles in the community. The family's significance increased during the life of the great scholar [Gaon] R' Chaim Rappoport. The community did not like him, and disputes broke out between the community and himself that even came to the attention of the authorities. Nevertheless, his scholarship and especially his participation in the 1759 debate with the “Frankists,” increased his prestige amongst both Jews and Christians. The grandson of his brother, R' Benjamin who was rabbi at Oleśnica [Oels], was the renowned Lwów physician, Dr. Jakubka Rappaport, one of the founders of the Temple. A Rappoport descendant, R' Simche Rappoport was known for having established a brewery on Janowska Street, and for being among the largest of the estate lessees in eastern Galicia. His son, R' Majer, was a prodigy in his youth as a pupil of Rabbi Ehlenberg and R' Jüttes. He clandestinely studied secular subjects and acquired extensive knowledge of Greek and Latin, attaining a fluency in classical literature and the ability to recite Homer and Virgil. His father's fierce objection and concern with the family's honour, made him forgo his desire to study at university. R' Majer participated, as a “self-taught”

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(autodidact) in Austrian Law, and chose to follow an unusual profession. He “bought” cases of unsuccessful lawsuits, and appealed them at the Vienna Upper Law-court. He appeared in court without an advocate, but with his knowledge of jurisprudence, he succeeded in winning most of the cases. The Vienna Upper Law-court's chairman once asked him, “Where do you have your knowledge from?” R' Majer replied, dank dem Talmud (thanks to the Talmud and to sophistry). While R' Majer had not fulfilled his desire to study at a university, the son of his brother R' Izak, Dr. Artur Rapaport, did achieve a university education and was appointed lecturer in Classical Languages at Lwów University.

The brother of Salomon Jehudah Rappoport (Shir), R' Jakub Samuel Rappoport, also lived at Lwów, and opposed the election of Abraham Kohn as preacher. In a letter to his brother Shir, who by then was a Rabbi in Prague, he asked for his influence with Lwów's Maskilim [Enlightened] to avoid electing the preacher. His son, Dawid, a great scholar and a Maskilwho published poetry and articles, held a different view.

Among the Rappoport family members who were not priests, was the wealthy iron merchant, the Chassid R' Salomon Rappoport. He had a large family. One of his sons fled to Brody, the “Jerusalem of Galicia,” where he studied at the gymnasium. He was Dr. Samuel Rappoport, one of Galicia's early members of the Zionist Movement, known as a renowned scholar in Jewish Folklore studies.


Jan Skarbek-Kruszewski: Caricatures of Lwów's Jewish Characters


Among the “distinguished” was the Kolischer family, that originated from Kalisz. At the end of the 18th century they moved to Lwów, and in 1785 the family adopted the name Kaliszer (later altered to Kolischer). They were known as merchants, as well as house and plot owners. The first of them to “be Enlightened” was Leo. He concluded his university studies as a Doctor of Law and numbered among the renowned advocates. He was a founding member of the Temple and a leading community committee member, for decades. He was also an active member on the committee of Szomer Izrael.

Other scions of this family included, the very wealthy Natan and Ignacy Kolischer, Dr. Józef Kolischer, who was Branch Manager of Lwów's National Bank, and also member of the municipality, and Dr. Juliusz Kolischer, the community chairman in 1876.

Dr. Heinrich Kolischer, a well known personality, was a delegate to the Austrian Parliament, and to the Galician and Polish Sejm (1907-1919). He was among the wealthiest men in Galicia, owner of a paper mill at Czerlany [Tscherljany], near Lwów, a renowned economist and a trade and industry expert. Due to his special talents, he headed the Organisation of Galician Industries, at a young age. While he was considered among the renowned economists in the Polish club of the Austrian Parliament, he was not elected minister because he was Jewish. As a realist and a businessman, he considered his political rise only in relation to the Polish nobles, irrespective of whether its effect on the Jewish masses was positive or negative. The Zionists fought him vigorously, and he received no thanks from the Jewish masses, either. Because he held no clear view about Polish independence, he also angered the Poles during the war years. Consequently, he did not settle in Warsaw, but chose to spend his later years in Vienna, in his magnificent palace on Reisnerstrasse. His palace turned into the committee house for the Austrian-Polish nobility, and his nobly spirited wife, from the houses of Klärmann and Mieses, hosted the invited guests.

Among the typical Kolischer family members were the brother of Dr. Leo Kolischer, Janek and his wife Babte-Breindel, and their sons Hermann, an executive officer at the Mortgage Bank, and Friedrich, known in town by his name “Fredzio.” He studied medicine in Vienna, but did not have the time to conclude his studies. He spent most of his days at Café Wien engaged in reading Neue Freie Presse, and was living on the income from their house on Breite Gasse. His son Janek, who was also not interested in studying, went to Vienna, appeared in Cabarets and made a name for himself as a comic actor. The Kolischer coterie also included the wealthy families of Leiblinger and Mohrenberg.

Leora, the daughter of Janek and Babte Kolischer, was married to Dr. Wilhelm Holzer.

The Löwenherz family that owned estates and mills around Krystynopol [Kristianopol], Sokal and Brody, was among the privileged families that moved to Lwów in the mid-19th century.

Best known among the heads of the family was Józef Noah, a handsome man who behaved like a Polish nobleman. Noah Löwenherz played a prominent role in the agriculture of Galicia. He was one of the first to assimilate and was a Polish sympathiser. In 1848, he worked with the Polish revolutionaries and in 1863, he joined the Polish uprising.

He established a rebels' centre on his Ohladow estate, where

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they kept stores of weapons and food. As the Austrian authorities trusted him, he was able to support the revolt without endangering himself. The National Polish government in Warsaw, fully appreciated his assistance and his name was sometimes mentioned in the headquarters' commands.

His brother, Jona, also joined in the battles. Noah Löwenherz moved to Lwów and was publicly involved in the assimilation movement. However his grandsons, Dr. Henryk and Dr. Józef Löwenherz, followed different paths. They joined the Zionist Movement while still at secondary school.



Among Brody's wealthy residents, who moved to Lwów after its status of a free town was abolished, was the Reices [Reizes/Reitzes] family. They claimed to be descended from Spanish survivors, but this claim is historically unproven. The family was not descended from the Reices brothers who died as martyrs in 1728.

They were wholesalers and were involved in leasing at Lwów. The head of one branch of the family, Kasriel Reizes, was among the founders of the Temple and donated generously towards its building.

The branch of the family headed by Jan Reices, moved


Dr. Leon Reich


to Vienna in the 1870s and was successful in banking. They purchased the majority shares in Vienna's horse-drawn tram-company [Wiener Pferdetramway], and made a large fortune. Kaiser Franz Joseph I granted the title of Baron to Jan Reices, for the improvement to the urban transport system.

His son Maximilian married an Austrian aristocrat, Maria Korper von Marienwert.

Apart from families that arrived from provincial towns, were also the families of Blumenfeld, descendants of the martyred Reices; Schönfeld, in-laws of the Löwenherz family; Tenner, Margulies, Landau and Sokal, relatives of the Reizes family.

The Parnas family, originally from southern Russia where their name was Rafałowicz, carved out its own special. They held important posts in Russia's financial economy and assisted the Russian treasury.

One branch of the family settled at Dubna, and excelled in managing the community, which gave rise to the origin of their name, Parnas [community-leader], Marszałkiewicz in Polish. At the end of the 18th century they moved to Tarnopol, where they were engaged in leasing estates. Like other Jewish families of estate lessees, they were wary of peasants' riots and chose to leave Podolia and move to Lwów. The Parnas family members attended university and worked in the State Attorney's Office. Dr. Emil Parnas and Dr. Józef Parnas, among the leading assimilated, played a pivotal role in the community. In time, they took a positive approach to the establishment of Eretz Israel, and joined the “Extended Jewish Agency,” and were also involved with Keren Hayesod.

The Byk family was from Podolia. They had been engaged in the export of grain and in leasing estates, and joined the wave of wealthy families that moved to Lwów. After the 1846 peasant revolts in the villages, they preferred to leave Podolia and move to the Land's capital. At Lwów they engaged in export-trade.

The younger generation became “Enlightened” in the years 1840-1860, and favoured German assimilation. Dr. Emil Byk received a German eduction at home. After his studies he led the Jewish intelligentsia which supported Austrian centralisation.

After a while he changed his view, and joined the circle of Polish sympathisers.

He was, by nature, stubborn regarding political issues that affected him personally. His ambition led him to a lifetime, key position in the leadership of Galicia's Jews.

He fought his opponents ferociously. In fighting elections, Byk did not recoil from any means, including bribery, harassment by the authorities etc. Memorable struggles took place between Dr. Byk and Dr. Józef Bloch over the 1885 elections to the Austrian Parliament, and over the 1906 elections against the Zionist candidate Adolf Stand.

His right-hand man in this strategy was Samuel Horowitz. Samuel's father, R' Ozjasz Arie Horowitz, and his mother, Rivke of the Aszkenazy family, owned a bank in Lwów. Samuel Horowitz received a complete religious education in his father's home. In his youth he was known for being a religious fanatic, and he led demonstrators against the Maskilim and the Enlightened. By and by, however, he abandoned the customs of

[Pages 531-532]

Chassidism, and began to learn secular studies and languages, and his occupation at the bank, and in trade led him to joined the faction of the Enlightened. He had an outstanding financial business-acumen and was known in banking circles. While still young, he was offered the job of managing the Mortgage Bank. He declined as his father stopped him from wearing European style clothes.

From 1875, he managed his father's Bank and expanded the business. Besides the Brody estates, he also established industries.

Under the influence of Dr. Byk, he publicly supported assimilation and was a leading figure in the fight against the


Dr. G. Blatt


Zionist Movement. While he led the community in the years 1887-1897, he suppressed all Zionist influence. He exploited his status as the community president, even to the detriment of the interest of the Jewish community.

He was prominent among the privileged strata of Lwów. He was stubborn and politically uncompromising. As leader of the assimilated, he fought all his life for the concept of Jewish-Polish integration, and was instrumental in all of Galicia's Jewish undertakings. He never denied his Jewishness, but did wish to loyally merge it with the Polish culture. Despite his vigorous fight against Zionism, he openly donated a large sum of money to the Jewish gymnasium in Jerusalem, and he supported the crafts school named after Korkis.

He also paved the way for the political stance of his son-in-law, Dr. Natan Löwenstein, son of the preacher, Bernard Löwenstein. Natan inherited his father's talent for public speaking, and with his father-in-law's assistance, he joined Lwów's Jewish aristocracy. When he was appointed delegate to the Austrian parliament in 1907, he became known as one of its illustrious speakers. Dr. Löwenstein was a realistic and critical statesman. As a young man he had already joined the circle of his assimilated brother-in-law, Bernard Goldman, that aimed to integrate the Jews into Polish culture. He stood for the Polish Party in the Austrian parliament and only supported Jewish interests when they advanced Polish Nationalism. Löwenstein considered Zionism his arch-enemy, injurious both to Galicia's aim for Polish nationalism, to which he was devoted, and to his political standing. Nevertheless, he knew how to maintain his influence among the Jewish masses that elected him to the Austrian parliament. In 1911, he submitted his candidacy for the Drohobycz district, and his election led to bloodshed in which several Jews of the nationalistic faction were killed.

Löwenstein dared to attack Polish chauvinism only one time, and that was during the trial of [Stanisław] Steiger. Dr. Löwenstein defended him together with the advocates Dr. Lajb Landau, Dr. Michał Ringel and Lwów's eldest Polish defence advocate, Dr. Grek.

Dr. Löwenstein attempted to bolster the assimilation movement among the youth too, but with little success. Only a few individuals among the younger generation were involved in the Polish Movements.

From 1880, Dr. Stanisław Ruff and Wiktor Chajes, were active in the Polish underground movements. In 1897, when Professor Michał Bobrzyński, chairman of Galicia's educational committee, introduced the compulsory wearing of a uniform to students at secondary schools, Gymnasiums and Realschule, the Polish students decided to wear the national headgear, Batorówka [-magierka; named after King Stefan Batory], to accentuate the uniform's national character. Wiktor Chajes, who was part of the organising committee, was consequently expelled from school.

During 1902-1904, Maksymilian Landau of Brody organised a Polish underground organisation. The organisation published an illegal magazine titled Wolne polskie słowo (Free Polish Word). In 1892, when Kaiser Franz Joseph visited Lwów, Landau and his underground cell defaced the town-governor's posters calling on the townspeople to welcome the Kaiser. Landau was arrested by the police.

Many young assimilated Jews, led by Chajes, participated in all the actions of the underground organisations such as Promień [Ray] and Teka [Portfolio]. And from 1905 onwards, also in the defence organisations Sokół [Falcon], Drużyny Bartoszowe [Bartosze Troops], Kużnią [Forge], Zjet and others, that managed underground actions for national freedom.

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The Jewish Club at the Austrian Parliament 1907-1911:
Dr. I. Schalit, Adolf Stand, B. Straucher, Dr. H. Gabel, Dr. Mahler, Dr. M. Braude


In 1903, the weekly Jedność [Unity], edited by Dr. Bertold Menkes-Merwin, appeared as a rival to the Zionist weekly Wschód [East]. In 1907, under the management of Jakob Herman and Emil Goetz, the first society of assimilated students, Zjednoczenie [Unification], was established to promote the assimilation and merger of the Jews into Polish culture, and to boycott Zionism. The organisation joined in the activities of the assimilated, “Jews of the Mosaic Faith,” who mingled among the Polish students as representatives of the Jews. They published the monthly magazine Zjednoczenie to rival the monthly Zionist youth magazine, Moriah. In 1912, an underground organisation of secondary-school students was established, named after [Berl] Berek Joselowicz, with the aim of attacking the Zionist students' organisation Tzeirey Zion [Young Zion].

Most prominent among the assimilated, involved in the Polish underground were: Maksymilian Landau (teacher at Brody's German gymnasium, and from 1918, Colonel in the Polish armed forces, and Commander of the officers' school at Toruń [Thorn]. He died at Katyn in 1940); Dr. Izidor Schenker; Dr. Ignacy Weinfeld (deputy Minister of Finance in 1918); Dr. Herman Diamand, leader of the Polish Socialist Party P.P.S.; Dr. Rafael Buber; Dr. Stanisław Löwenstein; Dawid Salamander; Dr. Zertbaum; Dr. Salomon Perlmutter; Karl Nacher and Kornelia Parnas (a renowned collector of Chopin memorabilia); Dr. Presser (biographer of [Stanisław] Przybyszewski, who was much admired by Lwów's Jewish circles); as well as Wiktor Chajes, chairman of the community council. Many young men from this circle joined the Polish legions as soldiers and as officers, during World War I.



Lwów's Jewry established an extensive network of charitable institutions for its poor, such as soup-kitchens, shelter-houses, hospitals and children's care homes. The institutions were established and maintained by a few philanthropists. The philanthropist Maurycy Lazarus established the Jewish hospital before World War I.

Among the many Jewish philanthropists, two charitable businessmen sacrificed their fortune and power for the town's poor, the banker Jakub Stroh, and the advocate Dr. Wilhelm Holzer. Both of them forsook their professions and immersed themselves in social activism, such as the establishment and the financing of soup-kitchens, medical clinics etc. for the poor.

Jakub Stroh was a self-made-man, and self-taught. A few successful stock-exchange transactions made him very wealthy. In his private life he was thoroughly mean. He skimped on his family but distributed his fortune among charitable institutions, soup-kitchens, shelter-houses, medical clinics and charitable welfare funds. Notwithstanding, he refused alms to beggars in the street. During the First World War, he headed the Jewish Rescue Committee. For his philanthropic undertakings he was awarded the title Kaiserlicher Berater [imperial advisor]. He left his entire fortune to charitable institutions, leaving none of it to his wife and only son.

Dr. Wilhelm Holzer was cast in the same mold. Born at Rzeszów [Resche], he married the niece of the advocate Leo Kolischer, for whom he worked, and whose practice he subsequently inherited. Dr. Holzer was not blessed

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with a normal family life. He was a warm hearted Jew interested in the circumstances of the poor, while his wife distanced herself from it. He sought solace in synagogues and charitable institutions. In his old age he also started to learn Hebrew. He was revered by Lwów's poor. From the early hours of the day, he was imposed upon by every distressed and embittered man. Queues of poor, sick, men, women and children dressed in torn and worn rags lined the doors of his office to ask for his help. The short-statured man with a top hat, was often found among the paupers as he rushed from one office to the next to settle their affairs for no financial consideration. He visited the soup-kitchens and the charitable institutions daily, to ascertain the progress of work. He also received people at the offices of the Jewish community, where he managed the department of social welfare.

He died penniless, after spending his entire fortune on social welfare institutions. Dr. Holzer was among the early proponents of the national concept. Together with Dr. Kobak, Dr. Rubin Bierer and Rohatyn, he organised Lwów's first Zionist Association, Mikra Kodesz [Mikra Kodesh].

Among Lwów's well known characters was Saul Birnbaum, an ultra-Orthodox [Charedi] Jew, a wholesale steel merchant (competitor of his neighbour, R' Salomom Rappaport), who owned the house No. 12 Brejte Gass. His account manager, R' Naftali Perlmutter, a renowned shofar blower, was another interesting person.

In the second half of the 19th century, “the lady, Mrs. Pesel Bałaban” maintained a bookshop in R' Saul Birnbaum's house. The bookshop was renowned for its Mishnayot publications that were also widely available in Lithuania.

The landlord and Mrs. Pesel fought and quarreled for years, with shouts filling the house. Pesel complained that a bookshop required silence and an appropriate atmosphere for the publication of Mishnayot, but R' Birnbaum refused to accept this. As a steel merchant he was used to laud noises and he would not take notice of a woman who uttered “women's nonsense.”

Pesel was not the only one with complaints about him. The chief inspector of the horse-drawn trams, the Jewish Bernfeld, also claimed that it was hard to pass there because of the crates and goods that blocked the thoroughfare. The struggle ceased only with the demise of R' Saul Birnbaum. His heirs were involved in litigation for scores of years, until the house collapsed.



Among Lwów's typical personalities, two Jewish scientists, Prof. Dr. Gerson Blatt (1858-1916) and Prof. Dr. Henryk Biegeleisen, need to be mentioned. Dr. Blatt, was the first Jewish lecturer in Classical and in Hindo-European linguistics at Lwów University, and he published comprehensive essays, in Latin, that laid the foundation for the science of linguistics, especially that of Sanskrit.

Dr. Blatt was born at Jarosław to a poor family. He struggled to support himself during his gymnasium studies. Even after he finished his education, he was not able to obtain a gymnasium teaching post at Lwów. He worked in Brody until 1896, at which time he went to Leipzig to study at the Institute of Linguistics. He was appointed lecturer at the University of Lwów, in 1902. During his whole life he remained a modest, reclusive scholar engaged solely in his scientific work. Blatt never denied his Jewish origin, and in his comparative study he delved into the origins of the Hebrew language.

Dr. Henryk Biegeleisen (1856-1934) was a similarly reclusive academic. His father was a physician at Tłuste [Touste], a small township in eastern Galicia, and his mother, Rozalia, was the daughter of R' Nachman Krochmal (RaNaK). He received a Polish education in his father's house, against the wishes of his mother (in 1848 his father was part of the National Guard, and in 1863, he was a physician during the Polish revolt). Although Henryk Biegeleisen always considered himself a Pole, he was proud to mention that he was the grandson of the renowned Jewish philosopher, R' Nachmman Krochmal, and he displayed his grandfather's picture in his room. He studied philosophy at Lwów University, and dedicated himself to the research of Polish literature and history. He was awarded the title of Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Leipzig. When he returned to Lwów from Leipzig, he published papers on the history of Polish literature. Adam Mickiewicz was a main subject. Readers appreciated his books, but he faced harsh criticism from Polish experts who did not forgive his democratic stance on political issues. Biegeleisen was also interested in folklore, and wrote books on this subject. He was also interested in Jewish Folklore about which he published studies in Zeitschrift für Volkskunde and was a member of the society for the research into Jewish Folklore founded by Benjamin Segel, J. Landau and Dr. Maltz. Despite his extensive knowledge, he was not accepted as a teacher at any gymnasium. At the behest of his friends, the community offered him the post of headmaster at the boys' school named after Abraham Kohn.

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The democratic Biegeleisen argued with the leading assimilators, Dr. Bernard Goldman and others, in whom he saw bourgeois leaders concerned only with their private affairs.

Dr. Goldman, a Sejm delegate, took revenge on Biegeleisen and sought to close the school. Nevertheless, Biegeleisen found many supporters in his conflict with Dr. Goldman and the unrelenting members of the community. He was triumphed, as the school was not closed down. Later, petitions from supporters led to his appointment as professor at Lwów's gymnasium.

Biegeleisen's interest in Judaism and in Eretz Israel grew out of an appreciation that he was RaNaK's grandson and that he owed loyalty to his people.


Jakub Bodek's handwriting


All notes in square brackets [ ] were made by the translator.
[The spelling of names was taken from publications by Dr. M. Balaban]

[Pages 539-540]

The Hebrew Printing Presses at Lwów

by Chaim Dov Friedberg

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker

Edited by Karen Leon

The Jewish community of Lwów was among the oldest and most populated, in Eastern Europe. Due to the town's location, however, its trade connections with the communities in Central Europe, was tenuous. This constituted the principal reason why Lwów did not have a Hebrew language printing house capable of satisfying the demand for Hebrew books from its residents, and from those of the neighbouring towns. As a result, book merchants and collectors were obliged to import books, including prayer books, from towns in central Poland, including Kraków and Lublin.[1]

In 1569 (5329), when Rabbi Naftali Hirz ben R' Menachem of Lwów,

the author of an interpretation of the Midrash Rabbah on the Torah and the five Megilot [Scrolls], heard that the printer R' Izak [Iccek] ben R' Aron established a new printing house in Kraków, he brought his book there to be published. This book was the first work produced by the printer, in that year.[2]

150 years later, a Hebrew printing house was established by the printer Uri Schrage Feibusch Halewy of Amsterdam, in the town of Żółkiew near Lwów, on King Jan Sobieski III estate. This printer was supported by the King, and was able to provide the community with religious texts.[3] After his demise, the printing house passed to his family who followed in his footsteps.

In 1782 (5542), the Austrian government created an office for the censorship of Hebrew books, in Lwów, the capital town of Galicia at that time. In order to make the censor's task easier, the government ordered the printers of Żółkiew to move their printing houses to Lwów, where they were subject to the censor's censorship. In addition, the government levied an annual 20 Gulden tax, on every printing press.[4]

The first censor appointed by the government was the learned Innocens Fessler,[5] who was replaced by Aron Friedenthal of Jarosław, in 1788 (5548).[6] The post was filled again in March 1789 (5549) by R' Herc [Herz] Homberg, who was permitted to print his book Neima Kdosza, (Lwów 1789). He was replaced by the learned Haan, who held the post until 1806 (5566), when the censor's bureau was moved to the royal town Vienna.[7] The censors scrutinised all aspects of the Hebrew printing presses, to ensure nothing was concealed from them.

Those who established printing presses at Lwów, were as follows:

I. R' Ze'ew Wolf Letteris, moved his press from Żółkiew, and worked until 1806. After his demise, the operation of the press passed to his son R' Gerszon, who managed it together with his mother, Mrs. Tcharna, until 1793. In that year, his mother returned to Żółkiew, where she moved her press with the government's consent. However, her son remained at Lwów for another year, before he also returned to his birth town.

II. R' Chaim Dawid ben R' Aron HaLewi Madfes, was a descendant of the founder of the Żółkiew printing press. He also established his printing press at Lwów, in 1782 (5542), and immediately published books. He was accused of producing counterfeit Russian banknotes, during his years at Lwów, but

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was exonerated,[8] and died in 1789 (5549). His son, R' Aron, then entered into partnership with Mordechaj Rubinstein,[9] and their press produced many books. In 1792 (5552), the two partners parted, and R' Aron became betrothed to Mrs. Chaja Taube. She was a capable woman, her husband's pride, and she tirelessly assisted him in his work, until he died around 1821 (5581). From then onwards, she managed the printing press alone, under her own name.

For many years, the proofreader at the press was the religious, R' Juda Leib Reiss,[10] and he was followed by R' Abraham Edel [or Edil], son of the author of the book Afike Jehuda.

Around 1848 (5608), Mrs. Chaja-Taube gave her printing press to her son, R' Abraham Józef Madfes. He improved and expanded the enterprise in accordance with the spirit of the age, in good taste and understanding, and undertook to enrich the biblical literature with literary works. In 1858/9 (5619), he planned to republish the Babylonian Talmud. After making the necessary preparations, he received consent from the renowned Rabbi Józef Saul Natansohn, to prohibit anyone else from entering into competition with him, on the work, such as the printer R' Abraham Izak Menkes. Rabbi Isaiah Schorr, head of the Rabbinical court of the Lași [Jassy] community, said in his consent: “A great Mitzvah to assist the elder, R' Abraham Józef Madfes, may his light shine. Buy the Mishnah Books from him, and anyone who purchases the great Mishnah books from any other printers, does so against the laws of the Torah.” The printing of the Talmud started in 1860 (5620), and the task was completed in all its glory, in 1868 (5628). Subsequently, he also published the four parts of the Shulchan Aruch [an abbreviated form of the Jewish ritual law] with all its early commentators, the five Books of the Torah with various commentaries, and others.

R' Abraham Józef Madfes managed his enterprise for over sixty years. I met him toward the end of his life, when he was still full of vigour. He worked with vitality until his last day.

Another wonderful man in Lwów managed a printing press named after R' Aron ben Chaim Dawid Madfes, until the start of the sixth hundredth year in our count 1840 (5600).

III. R' Juda Salomon son of the late R' Naftali Hirz, known as R' Salomon Jurisch, was later named R' Salomon Rappoport,[11] established his new printing press at Lwów, in 1784/5 (5545), where he printed diverse books. In time, he also cast German letters. In 1802 (5562), he printed booklets in German, probably without the censor's license. Consequently, he was fined 8 Gulden, and the German letters were confiscated from his printing press, by order of the prosecutor.[12]

In 1405 (5165), the printer began to print a fine edition of Maimonides's Mishneh Torah, and of the Bible in three translations, the full and the shortened version of the traditional text, Rashi's interpretation, HaMizrachi [Rabbi Elijahu Mizrachi's elucidation of Rashi's interpretation of the Torah], Gur Aryeh's annotation of Rashi's interpretation of the Torah, interpretation of RaDaK [Rabbi David Kimchi] and Rabbi [Moses] Alshech's interpretation of The Prophets, [Dawid Altschuler's] Metzudat David and Metzudat Tzion [interpretations of The Prophets and of The Chronicles]. The printer assembled Torah scholars at his house, including R' Abraham Edel, R' Aron ben R' Naftali Hirz and R' Meszulam Salman ben R' Chaim Segal, who examined the texts to ensure that the books leaving the press were completely accurate. Two books in particular were the masterpieces of the printer's production. Work on the first book, published by R' Joseph Schmelke Reischer and his two partners, was completed in 1811 (5571). The second book, concluded in 1805 (5565), was published by the printer together with his son-in-law, R' Aszer [Ascher] Lemel[13] our teacher R' Majer Dawid Schrenzel [Szrencel]. Many more books were printed under the printer's supervision until 1820 (5580). In addition, he also kept a bookshop at Lwów, near the synagogue in the Kraków suburb.

IV. Mrs. Judit, the daughter of the printer R' Aron, and who was married to R' Dawid ben R' Menachem Mann, established and managed a printing press, on her own, at Żółkiew.[14] After her husband's demise, she married R' Cwi [Tzvi] Hirsch Rosanes [Rosanisch], and moved the printing press to Lwów. Her son, R' Naftali Hirz Grossmann, was in charge of her printing business in 1782/3 (5543). He assisted his mother until 1805 (5565).[15]

The proofreaders at the press in the early period, included R' Tzadok ben R' Salomon Salman, son-in-law of R' Dawid Bardach of Lwów,

[Pages 543-544]

who was replaced by R' Gabryel HaLevy ben Naftali Goldenberg, of Zlozitz, and R' Izrael ben Isaiah of blessed memory.

V. R' Naftali Hirz Grossmann, above mentioned, began his printing business in 1793 (5553). He enriched the available Torah literature until his demise in 1826/7 (5587). After his death, the printing press passed to his widow, Mrs. Chawe, and in 1848/9 (5609) to her daughter, Mrs. Feige Grossmann. The printing press and all printing matters were managed by R' Dawid Cwi [Tzvi] Hersch Schrenzel until 1857/8 (5618).

VI. The bookseller, R' Aron Jozef HaKohn[16] printed the book Zewed Tow, in 1795 (5555). This printing business did not last long after printing only a few books.

VII. In 1807 (5567), the Torah sage R' Uri,[17] son of the previously mentioned R' Mordechaj Rubinstein, requested from the government a licence to establish a printing press based upon his earlier study of the art of printing and typesetting, at Breslau [Wrocław]. The printers already established in Lwów, R' Aron, Madfes and R' Naftali Herz Grossmann, submitted a complaint against R' Uri's request, stating that his assertion was fundamentally untrue, that he had never studied printing at Breslau. Nevertheless, R' Uri knew how to successfully present his petition, and the government accepted his request. On 7th February 1808 (5568), he was granted a licence. A few months later he printed tractates and other books. A year later, he realised that the location was to small, perhaps due to the competition from the other printers, and asked to move his printing press to Żółkiew. The authorities refused his request, but he was ultimately able to accomplish his move. During the short period at the end of 1809 (5569), when the town of Lwów was under Polish rule, he moved his printing press to the town of Żółkiew. His early work there consisted of printing scholarly books. He intentionally left out the location of the press from the inscription on the title page.

When Austrian armed forces returned to Lwów, they intended to prosecute R' Uri, perhaps for libel. When the rumour reached him, he quickly returned to Lwów and urgently printed there the book Lashon Limudim [on the language of the Torah], in 1810 (5570). He died before the authorities could prosecute him. After his death, a petition in his widow's name, Mrs. Chaje Rubinstein, was submitted to the government to allow the press left in her husband's estate to move to the town of Żółkiew, and be managed by her bother-in-law, her husband's brother R' Izak Rubinstein. Mrs. Chaje Rubinstein filed legal proceedings against her brother-in-law, R' Izak. She died however on 3rd January 1813 (5573), and her printing press was closed down by the government.[18]

VIII. The printing press of the religious R' Judah Leib Bałaban of Brody, was inaugurated in 1839 (5590), and passed to his son R' Pinkas Mojzesz, in 1851 (5601).[19] Twenty years later, the renowned Mrs. Pesel Bałaban was the owner of this printing press. This industrious woman very sensibly managed her printing press. She enlarged and expanded it, and over time she published a fine edition of the four parts of Shulchan Aruch [an abbreviated form of the Jewish ritual law] supplemented by many important commentaries; the Pentateuch; Chok l'Yisrael [compendium of Jewish texts for weekly study]; the six sections of the Mishnah; prayer books and many other reference books. Around 1885 (5645), the printing press was in the hands of her son, Leibusz Bałaban who followed in his parents' footsteps.

[Pages 545-546]

IX. R' Józef Schneider's printing press was established in 1844 (5604), with assistance of the letter-engraver Issachar Beck,[20] and it operated for several years, publishing a variety of books.

X. In 1850 (5610), Michał Franz Poremba opened his general printing press, and also printed Hebrew-language books from time to time. Around 1879 (5639), the entire printing press with all of its tools and appliances, in all its deferent departments, passed to A. Waydowicz and his wife Anna, who operated it at 18 Ringplatz. In 1886 (5646), Feliks [Szczęsny] Bednarski acquired the printing press together with its typographical content, and he continued to print until 1902 (5662).

The Hebrew department of this printing press was under the management of different publishers, including R' Dov Berisz Luria 1850 (5610), R' Cwi [Tzwi] Schreiber 1856 (5616), R' Cwi Hirsch Sperling 1858 (5618), R' Abraham Jozue Heschel Druker, ben R' Juda Gerson 1860 (5620), R' Abraham Nissan Süss 1861-74 (5621-5634), R' Michał Wolf[21] 1874-1879 (5634-5640) and R' Eliezer Margulies 1883 (5644).

XI. In 1840 (5610), Franz Galiński established his printing press and printed a variety of books. In 1859 (5619), R' Salman Leib Flecker, known as “R' Leibusz Madfes,” established a printing press at Żółkiew, together with R' Dov Berisz Luria, who parted from him in 1861 (5621).

XII. The printer Eduard Winiarz established his printing press in 1851/2 (5612), and for some years he greatly enriched the book market with useful compositions.

XIII. R' Dawid Cwi [Tzvi] [Hersch] Schrenzel, who previously managed Mrs. Grossmann's printing-press (see V.), established his own printing-press in 1858 (5618), after leaving Mrs. Grossmann's employ. He shared his enterprise with R' Abraham Jozue Heschel Druker and R' Abraham Nissan Süss (see X.). Both were experienced in the field of printing and publishing books, and they published many books together.

XIV. In 1858/9 (5619), the previously mentioned letter-engraver R' Issachar Beck, established a printing press together with R' Abraham Izak Menkes,[22] in order to publish a new edition of the Babylonian Talmud. In 1859/60 (5620), tractate Brachot, sequence Zeraim was prepared, and proofread by the Torah scholar R' Jakub Jona Maimon ben R' Dawid Cwi. After its completion, Beck left the partnership. Menkes continued to print all six sequences on his own, with the accreditation of R' Salomon Kluger and others of the generation's greats who supported his undertaking, until 1864/5 (5625).

In 1863 (5623), he was joined by his brother-in-law, the renowned officer R' Salomon Spercher, and by his father-in-law, R' Nissan Margulies, and they concluded the six sequences, in folio format. Meanwhile, his brother-in-law R' Salomon Spercher, together with R' Issachar Beck, printed the entire Talmud in octavo format,[23] through 1866/7 (5627). R' Abraham Izak Menkes's printing press operated until 1876/7 (5637).

XV. R' Abraham Jozue Heszel Drucker founded a printing press with Salman Leib Flecker, in 1859/60 (5620). After some time, R' Abraham Jozue Drucker parted, and R' Salman Leib Flecker continued on his own until 1861/2 (5622), and

[Pages 547-548]

then continued with other partners, Rabbi Uri Zew [Wolf] Salat, R' Szmuel Goldberg and R' Izrael Elimelech Stand. These religious partners printed countless books by Posskim [adjudicators], Responsas etc., in all the branches of Talmudic literature.

XVI. R' Berl Lejb ben R' Hersz Nechles,[24] who in 1847 (5607) was a typesetter at Mrs. Chaja Taube Madfes's printing press, established his own printing press in 1861 (5621), and published many books together with R' Szymon Jakub ben R' Mojżesz who was the proofreader. Beginning in 1891/2 (5652), his son, R' Hersz Nechles, managed his father's printing press for some years.

XVII. The printing press of the partners R' Szmuel Elazar Lejb ben R' Majer Kugel, Natan Michael Lewin[25] & Comp., was established in 1861 (5621) and was responsible for the publication of many books. Beginning in 1861/2 (5622), R' Szmuel Elazar Lejb Kugel, operated this press on his own.

XVIII. The partners R' Dov Berisch Lurie and R' Cwi Hirsch ben R' Wolf Sperling, mentioned in (X.) established a printing press in 1861 (5621), and printed a large number of books.

XIX. Rabbi Uri Zew Wolf Salat ben R' Jecheskiel, inaugurated his printing press in 1863/4 (5621). About ten years later, he shared his undertaking with the industrious bookseller R' Jakob Meschulam Nyk. They only printed Torah and Chassidic books. From 1892/3 (5653) on his widow, Mrs. Esther, managed the printing press and later, it passed to R' Jozue Wolf. In 1903/4 (5664), it was purchased by the author R' Jona Karpel, son-in-law of the printer, R' Jozef Fiszer of Kraków, who published the Hebrew newspaper, HaJom [Today], that only appeared for a few days. Later, he published different newspapers in Yiddish.

XX. The printing press of R' Izrael Elimelech Stand [26] was established in 1864/5 (5625) and functioned until around 1879/80 (5640).

XXI. In 1871/2 (5632), Karl Budweiser moved his printing press from Kraków to Lwów, where the renowned bookseller Jakob Ehrenpreis[27] printed a large number of books in its Hebrew language department.

XXII. R' Chaim Rohatyn established his printing press in 1882/3 (5643) in order to print the Charedi [ultra-orthodox] religious newspaper Machsike HaDas [Upholders of the Faith]. In 1895/6 (5656), the press passed to R' Fajbus Awner. After his demise, his sons inherited the printing press and it functioned at 23 Słoneczna Street.

XXIII. R' Izrael Dawid Süss, the son of R' Abraham Nissan Süss, continued his father's work, starting in 1894/5 (5655). He and his brother-in-law, the renowned bookseller R' Ehrenpreis, published a large number of books.

At the end of the First World War in 1918, the HaAvoda printing press was established at No. 17 Bernstein Street. R'Altstadt established his press in 1927/8 (5688). The Alpha printing press began at No. 8 Blacharska Street. The printing press of the partners R' Jecheskiel Seif and R' Zelig Langstein, was at No. 4 Starozakonna Street.

Lwów gained worldwide recognition for the important books published there. It became the principal provider of books for the communities of the Balkan Peninsula, and its spirit affected all Jews who resided in those countries. That was the splendour of Lwów.


The following are the names of the books published by Lwów's printing presses until 1840 (5600), according to bibliographical lexicon Beit Eked Sepharim

[Pages 549-550]

Not include are the multitude of the prayer books, the Machzorim [festivals' prayerbooks], Haggadahs etc.: Pirkei Elijah (5543) 1782/3, Keshet Jonatan, Tachana Imahot (5544) 1784; Chidushei HaRabbi Shlomo ben Avraham Even Aderet al Shavuot, Amudei Shesh, P'ri HaAretz, Shulchan Aruch HaRabbi Izak ben Shlomo Lurja (5545) 1784/5; Birkat Ya'akov, Etz Chaim, Shem Tov Katan, Safa B'rura (5546) 1785/6; VeCherev Pifiyot (5546) 1786; Igerret, Bechinat Olam, Chok Le Yisroel, Noam Elimelech [Elimelech's Grace], Etz Chaim, Ketsot HaChoshen, Rimonei Zahav; Sfas Emes; Shulchan Aruch HaRabbi Izak ben Shlomo Lurja (5548) 1787/8; Arba'a Ture Even, Gevulas Benyamin, Ma'amar HaRabbi Moshe ben Jacob Corodovero, Ne'imah Kedoshah (5549) 1788/9; Beis Ya'akov, HaChochmah, LaYesharim Tehilah, Mishnat Chachamim, Nefesh David, Sha'ar HaMelech (5550) 1789/90; Chovat HaLevavot, Milot HaHegayon, Kav Hayashar, Rasa Mehemna, Sha'arei Kedusha, (5551) 1790/1; Avkat Rochel, HaGan, Ginze Yosef, Yesod Emuna, Likutei Amarim, Likutei Yekarim, Menorah Tehorah, Mitzvat HaShem, Poel Tzedek, Kitzur Shnei Luchot HaBrit (5552) 1791/2; Ahavat Dodim, Taharat Hakodesh, HaYashar, Mesilan Yesharim, Oneg Shabbat, Kehilat Moshe, Shem Tov Katan, Shearei Teshuvah (5553) 1792/3; Ohel Ya'akov, Hagadah Chelkat Benjamin, Keter Malchut, Nachlat Tzvi, Naim Zemirot Yisroel, Sha'ar HaHachanah, Sha'ar HaMelech, Tochelet Tzadikim (5554) 1793/4; Hagadah [shel Pessach Afikoman al pi] Yafeh Nof, Tzeved Tov, HaYakar, Megaleh Amukot, Pnei Yitzchak (5555) 1794/5; Brit Kehunat Olam, Darchei Tzedek, Hagadah,Taamei HaMsora, Maaseh Choshev, Mitzvat HaShem, Lev Tov, Nefesh David, Kitzur Chowat Halevavot, K'tzot HaChoshen, Tikun HaT'chuva (5556) 1795/6; Binah LeItim, D'rashot HaRaN [HaRabbi Nissim ben R' Reuven Girondi], Kulam Ahuvim, Likutei Amarim, Netivot Olam, System Shel HaYehudim, Pitchei Neda, Tzava'at HaRabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, Shivchei HaRabbi Yitzchak Lurja, Tokef HaNess (5557) 1796/7; Ya'arot D'vash, Mivchar HaP'ninim, Modaa VeOnes, Kitzur Reshit Chochmah, Shnem Asar Drashot, She'elot VeTchuvot HaRabbi Josef Colon [Trabotto], Tomer Devora, Targum Sheni (5558) 1797/8; Or HaChaim Al HaTorah, Halacha LeMoshe, Hilchot Talmud Torah, Chavat Da'at, Yefeh Enayim, Ma'avar Yabok, Pitchei Ya, Tzenah Ure'enah, Kinot LeTish'a B'Av, Sh'not Eliyahu, Tola'at Ya'akov, Talmud Torah, Tana Debi Eliyahu (5559) 1798/9; HaBrit, Zichron Yitzchak, Choker Umekubal, Yad HaKtana, Mesilot Chochmah, Reshit Chochmah, Tesha Shitot (5560) 1799/1800; Ahavat David VeYonatan, Benayot BaRama, G'vul Benyamin, Yosifon, Midrash Emanuel, Revid HaZahav, Shevilei Emunah (5561) 1800/1; HaZohar, Peri Kodesh Halulim, Iyov [Job] (5562) 1801/2; Afikei Yehudah, Midrash Rabbah, Shev Shmatta [Sheva Sugiot], Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim (5563) 1802/3; Even Pinah, Ahavat Shalom, Eldad HaDeni, Imrei Yosher, Hagadah Al Pi Hilula Depas'cha, Hachayim, Nofat Tzofim, Sipur HaChalomot, Ateret Tzvi, Pirkei Moshe, Tzenah Ure'enah, Tzel HaOlam, Kol Ya'akov, Reshit Chochmah, She'erit Israel (5564) 1803/4; Iggeret Baalei Chaim, Orach Mishor, Berech Avraham, Hagadah, Chochmat Shlomo, HaYir'ah, Mivchar HaPninim, Midrash Tanchuma, S'lichot, Itur Sofrim, Etz Chaim, She'elot Vetshuvot Bar Sheshet, Tana Debi Eliyahu (5565) 1804/5; Gan Na'ul, Mitzvat HaShem, Etz Chaim (5566) 1805/6; Hagadah, HaYashar, Midash Rabbah Al Eichah, Midrash Tanchuma, Noam Megadim, Sivuv Rabenu Peretz, Shem Shmuel, Kontres Rabbi Chaim Jona Teomim (5567) 1806/7; Beur Al HaTorah MeRav Ovadiah Sforno, Midrash Rabbah, Ma'aneh Lashon, Mishneh Torah,[28] Eyn Ya'akov, Emek B'Racha, Emek HaMelech, Akedat Yitzchak, The Bible with extensive interpretations in folio format (concluded in /5575/ 1814/5), Torat Moshe Elimelech (5568) 1807/8; Igrot HaRabbi Shlomo ben Avraham Even, Beit Ephraim, Divrei Chachamim, HaBor Yafe MehaYeshuah, Chidushei HaRabbi Yosef Halevi Iben Migash, Cheshbon HaNefesh, Melechet HaMispar, Pnei Yehoshua,[29] Rosh Ephraim, Masechet Megilah (5569) 1808/9; Binah LeItim, Beit Ephraim, Binyan Habait, Lashon Limudim, Seyag LaTorah, Peri Megadim, Kitzur Chovat HaLevavot, Takfu Kohen (5570) 1809/10; Beur Rabbi Bahya ben Asher, Midrash Rabbah, Midrash Shmuel, She'elot VeTchuvot HaRabbi Josef Even HaEzer, Shnem Asar Drashot, Toldot Adam (5571) 1810/11; Menorat HaMaor, Emek B'Racha, T'mim Deim,[30] (5572) 1811/12; LaYesharim Tehilah (5573) 1812/13; Meir Eynei Chachamim, Tiferet Tzvi, Taryag [613] Mitzvot (5574) 1813/14; Birkat David, HaYashar, Nachlat Shimon, Itur Sofrim, Masechet Beytza (5575) 1814/15; Avnei Miluim, Orach LeChaim, Binah LeItim (5576) 1815/16; Shem MeShmuel, Masechet Yevamot (5577) 1816/17; Beit Ephraim, Hagadah, Eyn Ya'akov (5578) 1817/18; Ohel Yitzchak (5579) 1818/19; Lev Arie, Nofet Tzofim, Kwutzat HaGeonim (5580) 1819/20; Meluchat Sha'ul (5582) 1821/2; Dema'ot Lezikaron Yashar (5583) 1822/3; Likutei Tzvi, Palgei Mayim, Peri Megadim, Pirkei Moshe (5584) 1823/4; Har Evel, LaYesharim Tehilah, HaMidot, Kitzur Evronot (5585) 1824/5; HaPliah, Tana Debi Eliyahu (5586) 1825/6; Eshkol Anavim, Yam HaTalmud, HaRo'eh, Shitah Mekutzevet (5587) 1826/7; Peri Megadim, Shalosh Shitot (5588) 1827/8; Afikei Yehudah, (5589) 1828/9; Michtavim Shonim, Masechet Ketuvot (5590) 1829/30; Beit Yehudah, Dover Mesharim, Segulah Nifla'ah, Kehilat Ya'akov (5591) 1830/1; Chamishah Shitot, Nishmat Chaim (5592) 1831/2; Divrei Torah, Derech Tevunot (5593) 1832/3; Beit Israel, Zichron Aharon, Chavat Da'at, Magen Giborim, Torah, Tchunat Ir Paris (5594) 1833/4; Hagadah, Mivchar HaPninim, HaNefesh, Netivot HaMishpat, Kol Ya'akov (5595) 1834/5; Beit Meir, Nachlat Shivah, Sidreh Taharah, Ateret Tzvi, Shevet Yehudah (5596) 1835/6; Ginat Veradim, Zichron Avraham, Chidushei Rabbi Meir Ben Ya'akov Shiff, Chovot HaLevavot, Levushei Srad, Rav Pninim, Shitah Mekuvetzet, Masechen Baba Kama (5597) 1836/7; Ohel Yitzchak, Givat Pinchas, Mesilat Yesharim, Ma'aneh Lashon, Netivot LeShabbat, Shev Shmatta (5598) 1837/8; Darchei Yesharim (5599) 1838/9; Or Pnei Moshe, Urim VeTumim, Gaon Tzvi, Haggadah, Ma'ayane Yeshuot, Ateret Tzvi, Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer (5600) 1839/40.

This list indicates that book printing in Lwów almost ceased twice. Both times resulted in a considerable rupture in production. The first interruption

[Pages 551-552]

was due to Napoleon's journey across Poland on his way to Russia from 1812 (5572), to 1813/4 (5574).[31] The second pause occurred during the Cholera epidemic of 1830-32 (5591-92) that spread throughout Poland. After 1832/3 (5593), however, Lwów's printing presses were active again. Output surpassed that of other countries, and Lwów attained worldwide recognition for its publishing.

The following are the names of the typesetters and printers (pressenzieher) who worked at the printing presses of Lwów:


The Typesetters:

R' Elijahu Menachem ben Abraham and his son, R' Mordechaj Tempelsman; R' Menachem Cwi [Tzvi] ben R' Jozef (5543-5569) 1782-1808; R' Juda Leib ben Menachem Mendel (5546-5550) 1785-1790; R' Majer ben R' Becalel Arie (5548) 1787/8; R' Szalom Zelik ben R' Chaim Katz (5551-5565) 1790-1805; R' Majer ben Mordechaj (5551- 5556) 1790-1796; R' Abraham Dov ben R' Jozef Mojzesz Katz[32]; R' Abraham Izak ben Aszer[33] Zelik; R' Szlomo ben R' Majer Katz (5555) 1795 and later; R' Izak ben R' Cwi Hirsch (5555-5568) 1794-1808; R' Szymszon Cwi Hirsch ben Izak (5555-5556) 1794-1796; R' Pinkas ben Cwi Hirsz (5555-5563) 1794-1803; R' Becalel Naftali Hirz [Herz] ben Salomon Jungerer (5557-5575) 1796-1815; R' Mordechaj Elimelech ben Szmarie (5559) 1798/9; R' Izrael ben Izak (5559-5562) 1798-1802; R' Naftali Hirz ben R' Jozef Margulies (5559-5561) 1798-1801; R' Azriel Juda ben R' Cwi; R' Chaim Simcha ben R' Szmuel Katz (5568-5569) 1807-1809; R' Zew Wolf ben R' Dov Ber; R' Izrael ben Chanoch Hennig (5569) 1808/9; R' Mordechaj Szmuel ben Izak Iccik of Lubartów, R' Chaim ben Eliezer of Józefów (5570-5607) 1809-1847; R' Mojzesz ben R' Izak (5594) 1833/4; R' Eljakim Götzel ben Majer; R' Alter ben Boruch Katz; R' Abraham ben Izak Fränkel; R' Berl Leib ben Cwi [Tzvi] Hirsch (5607) 1846/7; R' Izrael Nachman ben Majer and R' Simcha Eljakim ben Chaim Juda (5620) 1859/60.



R' Joel ben Abraham Segal Horowitz; R'Mojzesz Cwi Hirsch Margulies (5545-5550) 1784-1790; R' Szymon ben R' Juda Judel (5548) 1787/8; R' Jechiel Michael ben Abraham; R' Jakob ben Cwi [Tzvi] Hirsch; R' Mojzesz Pinkas ben Szalom Friedel (5551) 1790- onwards; R' Nissan ben Mordechaj (5551) 1790- onwards; R' Ruben ben Szymon (5552-5553) 1791-1793; R' Aszer Anszel son of the holy R' Eljakim (5551) 1791-onwards; R' Abraham ben R' Aszer (5548-5556) 1787-1796; R' Jozef ben R' Jozef Katz Grünberg (5552-) 1791/2 onwards; R' Abi Ezra ben Juda ( 5552-) 1791- onwards; R' Aleksander Sander ben Izak; R' Majer ben Szmuel Zeinwel (5552-5553) 1791-1793; R' Jozef ben Josue Heszel (5557-) 1796-onwards; R' Dawid ben R' Cwi Hirsch (5557-) 1796-onwards; R' Mojzesz Jakob ben Zew Wolf (5555-) 1794-onwards; R' Majer ben Juda (5558-) 1797-onwards; Szymon Segal (5563-) 1802-onwards; R' Cwi Hirsch ben Szmuel (5564-) 1803-onwards; R' Boruch Juda ben Jozef Segal (5568-9) 1807-9; R' Jakob ben Baruch (5569) 1808-onwards; R' Jakob Isser ben Izak; R' Salomon ben Isser (5575) 1814/5; R' Menachem Mendel (5588) 1827/8; R' Mojzesz ben Juda Leb; R' Izak ben Jozef; R' Mojzesz ben R' Izak; R' Izrael ben R' Jerucham (5594) 1833/4; R' Jakob ben Arie Hilel; R' Chaim ben Elijahu Zew (5608) 1847/8; R' Jakob ben Chaim Mojzesz; R' Jakob Leb ben Dawid Cwi and R' Jakob Salomon ben Mojzesz Abraham (5611) 1850/51.

All notes in square brackets [ ] were made by the translator. [The spelling of names and titles in this chapter was partly taken from publications of the period, and partly translated phonetically.]

  1. In my book: The History of Hebrew Printing Presses in Poland, I demonstrated that the motivation to establish the printing houses at Kraków and Lublin, came from abroad (compare op. cit. pp. 1; 45). Return
  2. About the events triggered by the appearance of the book, compare ibid. p. 6. Return
  3. Compare [Salomon] Buber: Kirja Nisgaba [Sublime Town - Żółkiew] p. 3. Return
  4. HaMazkir [Hebraeische Bibliographie - Blätter für neuere und ältere Literatur des Judenthums. ed. M. Steinschneider], Eighth year, p. 59;
    Dr. Majer Bałaban: Soncino Blätter [Beiträge zur Kunde des jüdischen Buches], Third year, p. 18. Return
  5. [Gerson] Wolf: Kleine Historische Schriften, [Wien 1892], p. 14. Return
  6. [Majer] Bałaban: Rocznik Żydowski (1906), p.141. Return
  7. compare: [Bernhard] Wachstein: Minchas Shlomo - [Katalog der Salo Cohn'schen Schenkungen], p. 14. Return
  8. Compare: Dr. Majer Bałaban: Soncino Blätter [Beiträge zur Kunde des jüdischen Buches], Third year, p. 20. Return
  9. Compare, ibid. Clause 7. Return
  10. He was the son of R' Izrael Reiss, leader of Lwów's community (compare: Buber, Anshei Shem [Men of Renown], Section 302). Return
  11. He printed these words on the title pages of the books he published. Return
  12. Balaban, op. cit. p. 19. Return
  13. R' Aszer Lemel Schrenzel was also involved in the publishing of such books as Eyn Jakuw, that was published at Lwów in 1806 (5566), together with R' Eliezer Zew [Wolf] ben R' Cwi [Tzwi], nephew of the wealthy R' Jakob Koppel Batczisz, a Lwów money exchanger, R' Elimelech ben Jakob Chus, and R' Benjamin-Zew ben R' Pinkas Schwarz, son-in-law of Rabbi Abraham Abli Pineles. Moreover, in 1809 (5569), together with his two partners, he printed a new, folio edition, of Midrash Rabbah with interpretations.
    The Schrenzel Family was one of the old, Lwów families. (compare: Buber, Anshei Shem, Section 304. Return
  14. Compare: [Bernhard Friedberg] History of Hebrew Typography in Poland, p. 65. Return
  15. Compare: Kiryat Sefer, 17th Year, p. 96. Return
  16. In 1815, Aron Kohn of Lwów submitted an application for permission to establish a Hebrew printing press at Lwów. In June 1816, the Vienna central authorities consented, and granted the licence to him. He was authorised to print books of the Talmud. Archive of the Vienna Ministry of the Interior, IV T 7 Carton 62627, 121 ex. Juni 1816.
    For some unknown reason however, he did not make use of the licence nor did he establish the printing press (Dr. G.). Return
  17. He abbreviated Ruach Chen [Spirit of Grace], an interpretation of Chochmat Sh'lomo [Solomon's Wisdom], by R' Naftali Hirz Wiesel [Hartwig Wessely] (Lwów 1805; 5565). He also added supplements and corrections to the book [Dovev] Sifteh Jeshenim [Stimulated Drowsy Lips] by R' Shabbatai Bass) Żółkiew 1809; 5566). In (1809; 5569), he published at Lwów the book Melechet HaMispar [The Numbers' Craft] by Rabbi Elijah Mizrachi, with his supplements Limudim BeDarkei S'chok HaIskoki [Lessons in the Game of Chess].
    R' Uri had a brother, Salomon, who printed a new edition of HaFluah [HaPliah; The Wonder] (Ketubbah) at Lwów, in 1826 (5617). Return
  18. Bałaban: Soncino-Blätte, Third year, p. 20.
    Also M. Bałaban: Z historji Zydow w Polsce. Warszawa 1920, pp. 81-82. Return
  19. The Responsa Shoel veMashiv (Third Edition; Part 3, Section 160) [by Jozef Saul Natansohn] states: “In 1857 (5617), we sat in judgement here, Lwów… The printer, R' Pinkas Mojzesz Bałaban and his brother-in-law, R' Zusia, sued R' Abraham Jozef Madfes… printed the prayer book Korban Minchah [Grain Sacrifice] also in fluent foreign language, that he copied… Because they did not want to allow the previously printed Hebrew-German language, he purchased the copy, from this copier, in perpetuity.” (Till here. R' Eliyahu-Moshe Ganhovsky). Return
  20. He studied the craft of letter-engraving, in his home town Berdyczów [Barditchev], at the printing press of his brother Israel Beck, the founder of the Hebrew press in our land. In (5600) 1839/40, he took part in a publication of the Babylonian Talmud at Czerniowce [Chernowitz], but after the printing of several tractates he left the partnership and settled at Lwów. Return
  21. The renowned, learned Moses Schulbaum was his proofreader. Moreover, R' Michał Wolf advised him on the choice of books he should print.
    R' Moses Schulbaum was born at Jezierzany [Ozeryany] in 1828. He was an erudite author who published a progressive Hebrew language weekly, HaEth and Kol HaEth, in 1871/72 at Lwów. He also translated Friedrich Schiller's Die Räuber [The Robbers] and a few of his poems. In 1877, he published a translation of Aristotle's Ethics, with commentary, under the title, Sepher HaMidoth. His principal output, however, was the adaptation of [Judah Leib] Ben-Zew's Otzar HaShorashim [The Treasure of Roots], that was published at Lwów by Hirsch Schlag. In 1898, a second edition appeared. In 1904, Schulbaum published a Hebrew-German dictionary Otzar HaMilim HaKlali [The General Vocabulary; Neues, vollständiges deutsch-hebräisches Handwörterbuch], that included many renewed words. He was amongst the first to attempt to write precise and clear Hebrew, unencumbered by the declamatory style adopted by the Maskilim [Enlightened]. As a progressive, he was attacked by the Orthodox who claimed that he “laid Tefillin [phylacteries] on the head of a dog” and smoked on the Sabbath. He died at Vienna in 1918 (for further details about him, see: Jacob Knaani “Moses Schulbaum” in Leshonenu 1932/1933 (5693). Dr. G. Return
  22. His sister's son, R' Joseph Kohn-Zedek, helped publish the newspaper HaMevaser [The Messanger]. (compare: Beit Eked Sefarim [Bibliograpgical Lexicon] 2nd Edition Letter M. No. 390). Return
  23. R' Lazar [El'azar] HaLevi Horowitz, head of the Vienna community's rabbinical court, states in his approval of this edition: “We have to praise and exalt these printer rabbis for their fine enterprise, blessed be they who were privileged to honour the masses with the printing of the Talmud in a small format, which many have yearned for… And I concede herewith to their request to set a bar to stop others from making use of their formats and templates, as the great scholarly rabbis, my predecessors, have done before me.” Return
  24. The name and fame of the Nechles family was well known at Lwów (compare: Buber Anshei Shem [Men of Renown], sections 234, 258). R' Jakub Isaiah ben Aron Nechles was the community leader in 1743, and R' Józef-Josles ben Aron Nechles was one of the leaders of the community outside the town, in 1770. Return
  25. One of his grandsons is the historian in Jerusalem, Dr. Nathan Michael Gelber. Return
  26. The renowned veteran Zionist, Dr. Adolf Stand, member of Vienna's House of Representatives, was the son of R' Izrael Elimelech. Return
  27. The father of Dr. Mordechaj Ehrenpreis, who was the chief rabbi of Sweden. R' Jakob Ehrenpreis married the daughter of the printer R' Abraham Nissan Süss, mentioned above. Around 1871 (5631), he started his trade in books from his home, on the street opposite the Great Synagogue in front of the well, and most of the books published by him were printed at the press of the above mentioned Karl Budweiser. Return
  28. Printed by Joseph Schmelke of Rzeszów [Resche] and his two partners. Return
  29. Was published by the partners R' Juda Leib P”B of Lwów, R' Natan Porusch of Lwów, R' Juda Leib Adler of Sambor, R' Cwi Hirsz Sakler of Chelm and with the assistance of the wealthy R' Abraham Lieber and R' Salomon Holisch Deina of a Lwów privileged family. (Compare: Anshei Shem by R' Samuel Buber section). Return
  30. Published by R' Samuel ben R' Joel HaLevi Rotenberg, head of the Rabbinical court of Tartaków, with the assistance of R' Dov Berisz Halberthal and R' Abraham Babad. Return
  31. In 1812, Napoleon marched through Poland on the way to Russia. Like a surge of floodwater, Napoleon's armies burst onto this country's roads swamping them as they progressed, and took wherever they could lay their hands on. The country and its inhabitants were ruined and consequently, most of the printing presses closed down. Several years passed before the printers gathered the resources to redevelop their presses and restart their work. Return
  32. At the end of the book Maggid Devarav LeYa'akov, he signed his name as Catz, but in the second edition of (5556) 1795/6, he already corrected the spelling of his name, to Katz. Return
  33. At the end of the above mentioned book, this uneducated individual, a friend of the typesetter, signed his name “ben R' Aszir [Wealthy],” but at the end of the second edition of (5557) 1797, he corrected it and wrote “Aszer.” Return


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