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II. The Hundred-Year Kehile [Organized Jewish Community]
In Former Poland (from 1673 to 1770)

The Growth of the Jewish Population in the 17th and 18th centuries;
Participation of Jews in the Taxation of the City

by Rafal Mahler

Translated by Hinda Jacobs and Renee Miller

Edited by Renee Miller

In 1674, a year after he issued the charter allowing Jews to settle in Sandz, King Michal Wisniowiecki died and Jan Sobieski was crowned king. As was usual with the Polish kings of former times, King Sobieski also did not display any consistency in status regarding rights of Jews, and rendered contradicting charters. In 1682 he confirmed the charters of King Wisniowiecki from 1673 letoyves [for the benefit of] Jews and three years later, in 1685 he confirmed the charter of 1670 of that same king for the city of Sandz, which had forbidden Jews to live and conduct commerce in that very city[1].

In the early years in the reign of King Sobieski the city council alkolponem [at all events] tried to limit the settling of Jews in Sandz: whereas in the charter of 1673 it was explicit that Jews were permitted only to build on empty sites. The city powers did everything not to permit Jews to settle beyond the empty sites and finished houses. This mishpet [judgment] of the city office took place in 1676: The Sandzer citizen Marczin Wolak, who had leased the house of the former city councilman Woyczech Radwanski, had rented an apartment to the businessman Abraham (ben Aron) and his wife and children. Although Wolak had explained that he rented an apartment to the Jew only for the Yomim Tovim [Yomim Neroim {the Days of Awe, i.e. the ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur] and Sukes [celebrated by living in booths] the office of the city council ordered him to be put in jail in the city hall until the Jewish family left the apartment, and also imposed a fine on him. When the accused Wolak protested his arrest and explained that he had rented the apartment according to what the house owner Radwanski had said, the city office ordered Radwanski himself to be put in jail. Radwanski appealed the judgment of the staroste [administrator] and explained that King Jan Sobieski had confirmed at the coronation sejm [parliament] the right of Jews to settle in Sandz. The city office did not accept this contention and confirmed the psak [verdict] about jailing Radwanski until the Jewish family would leave[2].

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This was however, the last substantial attempt to narrow the right of Jews to live in Sandz. Actually a year later, in 1677, the city powers acknowledged the act in reference to that same Radwanski and the sale of his house oyf der poylishe gas [in the Polish quarter] (later the “Jewish” quarter) to the previously mentioned businessman Abraham ben Aron[3]. Jews actually built on the still empty lots, especially since the city council itself presented them with lots on which to build without any cost. At the end of the 17th and in the first half of the 18th century several such deals were noted (1695, 1707, 1711, 1729, 1730, 1743)[4]. In one example in 1711, the Jew Yakub Yakubowicz and his wife Nekhe - (Eunucha) not only received the lot bekhinem [free], but also were explicitly freed from all city taxes “until they get settled[5]. Characteristic is the fact that this very lot was certainly not in the Polish quarter, where the minyen v'binyen [where the majority of the Jews lived] of the Sandzer Jews were concentrated, but on Shwentego Dukha, on the east side of the marketplace. Jews had also bought up lots from the mayor at a cheaper price. As, for example, it is noted in 1680 that Yoakhim (Chaim) ben Wolf bought an empty building lot with a small field for 15 zloty.[6]

The generosity of the city council in relation to Jews concerning building sites is not a remarkable thing when you take into account the reduced condition of the city at that time. Little remained after the city was khorev gemakht [destroyed] during the Cossack-Swedish “mabl” [deluge]; in the first half of the 18th century new puronyes [afflictions] in 1704,1707-1708, 1710-1712 came to the entire area of Sandz, which was completely ravaged because of the civil war between the supporters of the Saxon king August the Second, and the party of King Stanislav I Leszczynski [king of Poland in 1704-1709 and in 1733; prince of Lorraine and Bar] (“Sos un Los”). In 1709 the Russian troops went through Sandz on the way to the area Zips [an area of southern Poland until the partition of 1771, when it was given to the Austro-Hungarian Empire; in present-day Slovakia] and in 1735 they marched into Sandz area again. Natural catastrophes were added to this. In 1676 and 1710: the blizzard, and in 1712: a fire in the city in which 44 houses were destroyed. According to the municipal audit of 1711 there were 75 empty, ravished houses[7], and in 1712 the mayor established that, apart from the 44 houses destroyed by fire, there were 23 ravaged houses and 15 empty building sites[8]. The city was ravaged to such an extent that the number of artisans, members of the guilds that d added up to 40 in1680, fell in 1709 down to 24 in total, and in 1711 only 13 were counted.[9].

Also, during the entire time Jews were buying completed housed, mainly wooden, rarely brick. The buyers were not only citizens of the town, but often noblemen (landowners, lords), who had lived in the city. The price of the houses varied from one hundred zloty (1681) to 350 (in the same year) and even 600 zloty (1683, 1713)[10].

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It seems, however, that not all Jews who settled in Sandz had the opportunity to buy houses, not only because they lacked money but also because of the lack of completed houses Therefore, we find several cases at the end of the 17th century where Jews rented houses to live in. Rent for an entire house was extremely high: in one such case, where the Jewish man (Marek-Mordechai ben Aleksander) had obtained from the owner, the right to erect a liquor brewery; he had to pay 50 zloty per year[11]. There were also cases in those same years when Jews would beat down the price of the houses of Jewish owners. On the other hand, Jews also used to sell houses both to townspeople and landowners, at times not only without profit, but with loss: In 1682 Joachim (Chaim) ben Josef sold his wooden house on Shwentego Dukha Street to a townsman for 223 zloty; he had bought that very house three years earlier from a city councilman for 399 zloty [12].

Under these favorable legal conditions, not only were the numbers of Jews in Sandz, but also their proportion was constantly increasing. On July 2, 1687 in Sandz, an audit (a count) of houses[13] recorded 142 houses in the city proper and in the suburbs (including the derfer [villages] Golkowice and Gostwica) – 71, altogether 213 houses. Among the houses in the city proper, Jews, that is, nearly 15 percent inhabited 21. At that time, in the marketplace there was not even one house occupied by Jews. Of the 21 houses occupied by Jews, 17 were in the “Polish” (later Jewish) quarter and the remaining – 4- in the Shpitalne (later Krakower) Street. Six Jewish families lived in houses for the wealthy.

Most of the Jewish houses in the city belonged to the category of modest buildings, as is shown in the data assembled according to amount of taxes paid:

Amount of taxes
in zloty
Number of
Of these, where
Jews lived
1 ½51
Free of taxes91
Total houses21321

Three years later, in 1690, 23 Jewish houses were counted in the city.[14]

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The proportion of Jews of Sandz in comparison to the residents at large at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century is reflected, to a certain extent, in the participation of the kehile [Jewish community] in the total amount of taxes collected from the entire city. * In 1682 the proportion of Jews to the “Hiberne”** of the city amounted to more than 10 percent.[15]. In 1704 the Jews paid 15 percent of the taxes that the city had imposed on the residents for various needs.[16]. But as early as 1707 the city authorities decided that the Jews had to pay based on the calculation of tax “Groszowi”, ** a sum that amounted to20 percent of the total of the entire city.[17]

A list of the houses that the city authorities had assembled on April 18, 1711 in connection with tax “poworewe”** included 36 houses occupied by Jews.[18] In October of 1751 the city conducted a census of the squares, gardens, fields and houses in order to pay prowent** to the starosta.[19]. That list contains 27 houses owned by Jews; it seems that not all the houses had a relationship to this payment. In 1761 such a count of houses showed 60 houses occupied by Jews.[20]

The first census of Jews in Nowy Sacz occurred at the end of 1764 in exactly the way the census of that time was conducted throughout all Poland at the end of 1764 and the beginning of 1765. According to the decision of the Sejm [Polish Parliament] in 1764, the aim of the census was to determine the number of Jews so that they would pay head taxes; the Jews in all of Crown Poland paid 220,000 zloty head taxes.[21] The census had shown that in the city proper there were 609 Jewish souls, a total of the entire area of the kehile Sandz - 1361 souls.[22]

But an addition to these numbers is needed. In so far as the Jews who were obliged to pay head tax were a year old and more, the infants and babies younger than one year old in Sandz and bederekh-klal [as a rule] in all Poland, were not counted If we were to add in the number of infants initially not counted, according to the proportion of 6.35% compared to those counted[23], the number of Jews in total would be:

In the city of Sandz proper648 souls
In Grybow167 “
In the villages of the community633 “
Sandz community in Total1448 souls

* See further, in the chapter on the legal status of the Jews in Sandz. Here we are considering only those taxes, concerning which we can mashear zayn [assume], that the city calculated using the proportion of Jews compared to the city population.
** About the character of these taxes refer to the later chapter “The Legal State of the Jews in Sandz”.
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But this supplement was not sufficient. For the census, it was possible try pass off for taxation purposes a smaller amount of earnings than they actually had. We may, bekheyn [therefore] presume that also in Sandz the kehile endeavored to conceal people, especially children, from the eye of the auditor who was, according to the law mekhuyev [obliged] together with the rabbi and shames [sexton in a synagogue], to go around from house to house and count the Jews that they found. In as much as in all of Poland the number of the concealed came to 30 percent[24], we may also assume such a proportion in the Sandz kehile. The actual number of Jews in the Sandzer kehile, therefore, at the beginning of 1765 amounted to approximately the following:[25]

In the city of Sandz proper775-780 souls
In Grybow200 “
In the villages of the community760 “
Sandz community in Total1735-1740 souls

The 609 souls that were counted according to the official list in the city of Sandz, divided according to gender and age:

Widowers of undetermined age --- Widows of undetermined age 5
Great-grandfathers --- Great-grandmothers 1
Grandfathers 24 Grandmothers 30
Fathers 141 Mothers 152
Sons 123 Daughters 114
Servants – men 4 Servants – girls 15
Total number of men 292  Total number of women 317

Among the widowers were: 1 grandfather, 2 fathers. Widows: 5 of unknown age, 1 great-grandmother, 7 grandmothers, 13 mothers, for a total of 26 widows.

Male servants beheskem [in keeping with] the purpose of the census were recorded only as Jews. There were 183 roshe meshpukhas [heads of families] and they belonged to such categories as:
Balebatim [proprietor, owner, therefore middle class]70
Tenants, not clear[26]11
Lodgers, men and women (widows)68
Temporary settlers, coming from Hungary[27]7
Married meshorsim [servants]2
Sons and son-in-laws af kest [room and board; offered by a family to its son-in-law {here, also sons} to enable him to continue his studies without financial worries]25
roshe meshpukhas [heads of households]183

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Vos shayekh [as for] the sons and sons-in-law af kest, [room and board offered by a family to their new son-in-law to enable him to continue his studies without financial worries] because of the understandable social custom that was widespread, there was a greater difference between proprietors and lodgers. While among the 70 proprietors there were 20 who gave kest, of the 68 lodgers only 5 sons or a son-in-law were af kest. The difference between proprietors and lodgers also appears, you understand, in regard to having servants (Jewish ones). Of the 19 menservants and maidservants, there were only 3 with the lodgers; the remaining 16 were with the proprietors.

About the size of the Jewish houses men iz mashaer zayn [it is assumed] based on the number of families in a house,

Number of Families in HouseNumber of Houses
Total number of houses in which Jews live70

More than a third of all the houses, therefore, consisted of one-family houses, approximately a third – two-family houses and nearly a third of the number of houses inhabited by 3 families and more. On the average, it amounts to 2 families in one house.

In the shtetl [small town] Grybow that belonged to the Jewish kehile in Sandz, the official count indicated 517 Jews, of them 79 men and 78 women. The data assembled according to age was:

Widowers of undetermined age-- Widows of undetermined age 2
Grandfathers-- Grandmothers 5
Fathers38 Mothers37
Sons37 Daughters31
Servants - male 4 Servants - female 3
Total men 79 Women78

The widowers included 3 fathers; widows: 2 of undetermined age, 5 grandmothers and 2 mothers. The menservants were: 1 belfer [assistant teacher in traditional heder {traditional Jewish religious school}], 3 manservants and 3 servant girls.

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The number of houses occupied by Jews in Grybow was 16, the number of families 41 (except for 1 son-in-law af kest), the average, therefore, came to two and a half families in one house. Aside from the 16 proprietors, there were 16 tenants without a specific designation and 9 lodgers.

The 595 souls dorfsyidn [village Jews] of the Sandzer kehile that the census showed, were spread over 103 derfer [villages]; they were divided by gender and age:

Grandfathers 21 Grandmothers 29
Fathers122 Mothers 122
Sons155 Daughters 123
Servants- male 21 Servants- female 2
Total men 319 Total women 276

In the above situation there was 1 widower and a grandfather and 9 widows, all of them grandmothers. The total number of families came to 138, from which there were 22 sons and sons-in-law af kest. In general, therefore, in the 103 derfer there was not much more than 1 Jewish family in a dorf (one had a third), and only in a third of the derfer where Jews were found, were there, on the average, 2 Jewish families in a dorf.


  1. Teki [portfolio, folder, files] Schneidera [of Schneider] 1160, from Num. 3222, to 1777. Return

  2. Archiwum Panstwowe m Krakorie, Kseiga przywilejow m, Nowego Sacza, Akta Depozytowe 128, p. 39-41, 46-47, (Records accessioned by the Archive in Krakow on Nowy Sacz. In future the abbreviation A.D. will be used Return

  3. A.D. 129, p. 191-194 Return

  4. A.D. 132, p. 93-94; A. D. 154, p. 615-616; A.D. 136, p. 77; A.D. 138, P. 12, p. 339-340, 485-7, 488-500; A.D.140, p.586-8, 602-5. Return

  5. A.D. 136, p. 77 Return

  6. A.D. 128, p. 270-271 Return

  7. J. Syganski, op. cit., Przewodnik n.i.l. T. 27, p. 172-176 Return

  8. op. cit., ibid, p. 1009 Return

  9. op. cit. ibid, p. 1005-1008 Return

  10. A.D. 129, p. 587-9, 609-613, 614-615; A.D. 129, p. 629-631, 635-636; A.D. 130, p. 55-59; A.D. 136, p. 321-323 Return

  11. A.D. 125, p. 1060-1061 Return

  12. A.D. 129, p. 435-437, 458-459; A.D. 126, p. 1070; A.D. 129, p. 697-700 Return

  13. Rewizja Domow w miescie Nowym Saczu, 8 July 1687 (copy, Feb. 1777) – Teki Schneidera [Files of Schneider] 1161 Return

  14. J. Syganski, op. cit., Przewodnik [Guide] n.i.l. Return

  15. A.D. 556, p. 4-5 Return

  16. A.D. 555, p. 7 Return

  17. A.D. 134, p.600 Return

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  18. A.D. 575, p. 55-62 Return

  19. A.D. 563, p. 3-6 Return

  20. A.D. 565, p. 2-4 Return

  21. Compare to R. Mahler, Jews in Former Poland in Light of Numbers, Warsaw, 1958, p. 9-27 Return

  22. Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych, Akta bylego Skarbu Koronnego oddzial 65 B: Akta szczegolowe dotyczace poglownego od Zydow No. 26a (Inwentarz); Taryfa [tariff] poflownego Zydowskiego No. 27a. Return

  23. Compare to R. Mahler dz”v [the cited work = op. cit.], p. 31-36 Return

  24. There [the cited work] p. 33 Return

  25. The noted data assembled by age we were able to assemble based on the ascribed children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mimeyle [as a matter of course] we have to assume that in reality the number of great-grandfathers, great-grandmothers and grandparents was either greater, or the number of parents in the same proportion was smaller than appears in the table above. Return

  26. They were listed according to the families of a portion of the proprietors with the introductory word “tamze” “used for ibid.” Return

  27. Przychodni z Wegier do miasta na mieszkanie Return

Economic Relations

A) Commerce

One of the main pursuits of Jews in Sandz was miskher [trade]; this was not a remarkable thing, since this was the function that was expected when permitting them to settle in a city. Actually, in the first years of their permitted residence, Jews who are involved in commerce are mentioned: in 1675: Aron benYoyne[1], Abraham ben Aron[2], Marek (Mordchai) ben Wolf[3]; two of them are designated as businessmen*. In 1682 we also find the designation “ Sandzer resident and soykher” [businessman] **
compared to Yitzhok ben Tsvi ***[4]. In the same year a Jew Shmuel Ziguntovicz (ben Zishe ?) is mentioned who deals with liquor on a greater scale: of the two balebatim [proprietors, owners] of liquor, one owed the other 92 zloty[5]. The remaining Jewish businessmen mentioned at that time did business with such commodities as mead.

Dealing with mead, it seems, was widespread among Jews. If the stall representative of the voivode [province] **** felt it was important to fix the prices for mead that Jews sold, Jews were mekhayev [obliged] to sell mead cheaper than Christian mead sellers[6].


**incola, mercator, Neosandecensis


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Sometimes Sandzer Jews bought mead (or honey to produce mead)[7] from Vishnitz [Wisznic] (1680)[8], to resell to miyeshchanin [townsmen, burghers]; another time (1681) to a city councilman from Grybow[9], and again to vuid [village townsmen] from Old Sandz (1703)[10] and then later (1728) to Tarnower miyeshchanin[11]. The situation came to an end with a punishment. The buyer complained that the mead (or honey) was spoiled, sour or full of worms[12]. A barrel (288 quarts) of mead cost a great deal: in the first case a hundred and in the second case 120 zloty. Later, under the Hungarian regime, in 1771, a Sandzer Jew ordered 12 barrels of honey that a Serotsker (and Swidniker) miller had to bring to him[13].

Commerce in wine by Sandzer Jews is not mentioned in the records of the city court, but the geographic situation itself with Sandz being not far from the Hungarian border was favorable even then for trade, just as it was later in the 19th and 20th centuries. We do find Sandz mentioned among the kehiles that traded in wine in the lists of the Vaad Ha'Arba Artzos of the eighteen-twenties.[14]. [Council of the Four Lands; a conference of rabbis and kehile leaders of four provinces formerly in Poland. It was the central body of Jewish autonomy in Poland for nearly two centuries—from the middle of the sixteenth to that of the eighteenth. Jewish Encyclopedia.com]. In 1722 the Vaad Ha'Arba Artzos listed the sum of 14-15 thousand zloty wine tax that had been set for the kehiles where Jews dealt in wine[15] 2083 zloty were imposed on the Cracower and Sandomierz voivodes. The Vaad of Krakow-Sandomierz area divided this sum as follows: 800 to all the kehiles in the area and 1283 zloty to several kehiles as follows:

Dukla400 zloty
Sandz200   “
Rymanow283   “
A Jew Yakow Pazowski
    and his brother-in-law
400   “
Total1283 zloty

In 1724 the division of the wine tax money was made in the same area but to different kehiles as follows:

Rymanow500 zloty
Rzmigrod200   “
Dukla350   “
Wisznic300   “
Sandz200   “
Total1550 zloty
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In light of this distribution of the wine tax money, it appears that the wine business of Jews in Sandz was as large as in Rzmigrod, although 40 years later the [Jewish] population of Sandz had not reached size of that city. * However, the wine business of Jews in Sandz was about two times smaller that Dukla, and one and a half times smaller than in Rymanow or in Wisznic. Concerning Wisznic, however, we have to take into account that on one hand that city was much farther away from the Hungarian border than Sandz, but the Jewish population even 40 years later the Jewish population was still one and a half times larger than Sandz. **

In a notice from 1772, that is, already under Austrian rule, we can infer that Sandzer Jews also brought copper from Hungary. On the 13th of May 1772, Yudka Shmulewicz (ben Shmuel) stated: “Af nemones [on trust, in good faith]” before the court that on the 2nd of September, 1771 he sold 97 pounds of copper to a well-born provincial record keeper from the Tarnower business community “afn gebroykh [for the use] to be used in the treasury of the handsome duke”,[16] calculated as a tsentner [Pol. hundred weight] 12 royte gildn [10 Polish zloty] and ten Polish zloty.

Regarding business with fashion merchants there is information from as early as the 17th century. In 1686, using a letter of obligation, the Jew Dovid ben Yitzhok, bought from a Sandzer townsmen five shtik [pieces]*** fine linen and a pair of red Turkish shoes for the sum of 92 zloty[17]. In 1699 the wife of Moyshe (Moyzeszowa) took a Silesian fabric of cotton and was punished for it.[18] At the end of the first third of the 18th century alkoponem [at any rate] the clothing trade in Sandz was completely in the hands of Jewish merchants. This document is a clear witness to this: May 5, 1733 the count of Cracow, Teodor Hawalewik, perhaps as a representative of the provincial governor or the lieutenant governor, set the price of various goods in Sandz. Regarding the clothing trade, he ruled that the measure of aylin [cubits] must be stamped according to the true Cracower measurement, and he concludes: “Whereas here in Sandz there are none among the Christians who are in trade, only Jews, we therefore retain the cubit that is stamped for the very mighty lord vice-governor by the mayor****of the Sandzer kehile[19].

Jewish commerce in furs is mentioned in the years 1705-1706: luks***** [lynx] white fur and lynx.[20]

*In 1765 the official count was 683 Jews, Sandz only 609

**In 1765 they counted 979 Jews in Wizsnic

***One shtik – postaw [Pol.]– 32 aylin [cubits]

****In former Poland, they used to call the rosh hakehile [leader of the Jewish community] by this title, Jewish mayor

*****Rys (Polish)
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In the situation mentioned, a Hungarian Christian merchant had made a purchase from the Sandzer Jew Yakob ben Wolf “the Krakover”. It appears that Jewish merchants dealt in leather and demanded money from shoemakers “for goods”: In 1727 Abraham ben Marek (Mordechai) demanded 117 timpf [see translator's note below] from two master shoemakers for goods that they bought from him; and in 1761 Yitzhol ben Wolf demanded 118 timpf and 24 groszy from three master shoemakers for goods.[21] On the basis of his dealings in leather, Yakob ben Wolf Krakowski, the above-mentioned pelt-merchant managed to have an influence on Sandzer shoemaker's guild. This can be inferred from a judicial document: “On March 12, 1715 Yakob Krakowski, was accused before the Sandzer city court by two Zaklicziner shoemakers about this business: they said that the Jew Yakob had seriously subjugated the Sandzer shoemaker's guild and with that same subjugation he had “coaxed and ordered” the elders of the guild to “oppress and abuse the two shoemakers over their work” and because of this they had suffered great loss. The two accusers even reserved the right to issue a prison sentence should be considered necessary”.[22]

Why was the merchant Yakob “Der Krakower” interested that the two Zaklicziner shoemakers should be under the control of the Sandzer guild? One can make several assumptions about this: either he wanted to force them to buy leather directly from him or he wanted to prevent them from coming to Sandz with shoes from the fairs, in order to prevent competition by the Sandzer shoemakers who bought leather from him.

Sandzer Jewish trade in tobacco is mentioned several times in the legal deeds of the 18th century: 1717, 1737, 1736 1760.[23]. There were different quantities of tobacco traded: in 1727 twelve pouches* of tobacco were stolen from a cellar that belonged to two Jews Tsadek ben Moyshe and Yakob Yakubowicz; in 1734 the court, upon the complaint of Lewek (Levi, Leybush?) (author's parenthesis) ben Shmuel enforced a local court order of twelve bails of tobacco totaling a thousand pounds, that he, Lewek bought from a townsman of Lubowle in the Zips, Stanislaw Prokopowicz, by implication: Hungarian tobacco. The court determined that of the twelve bails, the tobacco was rotten in four of them.

* In papuzie that is papcie that is identical to kapciuchy. c. f. A. Bruckner, Slownik Etymologiczny Jezyka Polskiego [Etymological Dictionary of the Polish Language]
Translator's note: a timpf is a coin of base silver (not sterling) first issued in 1663 under Saxony rule as well as in other areas under the control of German rulers. It is equal to 18 groszy, Albert Frey, Dictionary of Numismatic Names, 1917.

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The local court order showed that it was necessary in 1736, for the Lubowle merchant to make an accusation in court over a debt of 227 Hungarian gildn, that is, higher than 4000 Polish gidln. * Here we have therefore, a very large wholesaler who dealt in Hungarian tobacco probably not only for Sandz, but supplied other cities with tobacco. The announcement from 1760 states that Jews in Sandz had sold tobacco retail: here Sipora Rachwalawicz (the daughter of Rafal), the wife of Yakob accused the blacksmith Walenty Bus that he hit her in the face and hands with a little iron hammer, because she did not want to give him any tobacco “without any payment…”

Regarding Jews who dealt in horses, we find two notices, both from 1695: one, Josef ben Yitzhok, the arendar [lease holder] of the Sandzer mills; and in the second case – the hoyf-mekler [business broker] Jeszy Pawel Lubomirski, Count of Wisznic and Sandzer staroste [admimistrator] Yoyne ben Shloyme.[24] In both cases the Sandzer customers complained to the town leaders that they had been fooled: the first complaint, the horse was sick with a running nose; ** he brought witnesses who saw how the seller put white powder on the horse's teeth, it seems, to make him look younger.

From the 17th century on, we also find among the Jewish merchants in Sandz those who traded in kolaminim [all kinds of] merchandise at the same time. Marek (Mordechai) Wolfowicz “der hendler” [“the dealer”] was officially called in to appraise merchandise in court: in 1677 he appraised silver vases, buttons and pretty objects for Zotlen, ***[25] in 1678 he was mentioned as a jeweler and appraised along with a Polish goldsmith, yerushe zakhn [items from an inheritance];[26] in 1861 he bought a barrel of mead (honey?) (author's parenthesis) for one hundred zloty:[27] in 1690 he stood before the court in connection with besomim [spices] that he had bought;[28] in 1695 he had a trial about a woman's coat that he had bought for 90 zloty.[29] In 1704, the same versatile merchant and jeweler, Marek Wolfowicz was accused in court as the “gleytn”****that he bought from the “broker of Cracower merchants” through the go-between, Kalman ben Yakob was forged and he had been swindled.[30].

In 1692 among others, the Jews Yoakhim (Chaim) ben Wolf and Marek (Mordechai) ben Shmuel were also called as “taksorn” [appraisers] of clothing and house wares.[31] [Page 56]

*Counting 18 Polish zloty for one Hungarian gildn. c.f. Marjan Gumowski, Monety Polskie, Warzawa 1924, pp. 40-43 [Polish Coins, Warsaw 1924]
**nosacizna [medical: glanders; a contagious disease of horses]]

***guzy i rzedziki

****gleyt: a letter (of introduction), a very important paper, also a kind of passport, also used to have the significance of a letter of moratorium from the court in connection with loans
[Page 57]

Yoyne ben Shloyme, the previously mentioned factor of the Count of Wisznic, the Sandzer administrator, was mentioned in 1695 as either the seller of a horse to the Sandzer city councilman Uzowski, or as the seller of two tin plates, it seems for a metal vest*, to the same customer, for 160 zloty.[32] In 1704 Yakub ben Wolf Krakowski, who is known to us as a merchant of furs and leather,[33] accused a Hungarian merchant Kasper Keller: he bought two barrels of salted fish, that should also have included pike and he found only leshtses [bream; a European freshwater fish related to the carp].[34] We note a fire that broke out in Sandz on the 23 of April 1769 in a shop that carried various items: a peasant from the village, Paszyn was accused by a ”townsmen of the Sandzer synagogue” Yochimova (the wife of Chaim), that during the fire he stole a tin item, silk and needles from her.[35]

In connection with their trade, Sandzer Jews also used to vayt in veg aryn [travel a long distance]. Concerning those Jews who bought tobacco, fish and wine from Hungarian merchants, it is not known if they traveled to Hungary or in the Zips to get the merchandise, or if the Hungarian merchants came to Sandz during the markets. We do have notice from 1710 of a trip from Danzig [Gdanzk] to Tarnow in six wagons, one of which belonged to Sandzer resident Abraham ben Shimon, and when they arrived in Tarnow the local gangs took a package with knives from the Jew's wagon and would not give it back.[36]

In the 17th century Jews from Wisznic would come to buy and sell: in 1678 it is noted that a Wisznicer Jew, a fur dealer, who returned from the fair in Old Sandz and a New Sandzer [Nowy Sacz] took some merchandise from him.[37] In 1681 a Wisznicer Jew finalized a contract in Sandz with a Bardiewer kesler [maker of kettles] from whom he bought a tokeray [lathe]** for 41 zloty and a kettle for 11 zloty[38].

*blachy przedpasne


B) Credit

The credit business, just as commerce, was also recorded from the first years that Jews were legally able to live in Sandz. The volume of this activity is best examined in the period of the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th centuries, in as much as we have the most information from the court record books of that time.

On February 13, 1673, two Sandzer townsmen guaranteed for the vice-townsmen, Maczey Kuczye a loan of 120 zloty that he had lent to Yoyne ben Yakob the manager of the Sandzer governor's mill.

[Page 58]

Two months later, April 12, they repeated the guarantee with the agreement that in case the loan would not be repaid on time, the malve [lender] Yoyne Yakobowicz would get the “araynfirung” * to the debtor's house in the suburb of Hamry** named for the Hungarian gate, and also the garden and orchard. On February 15th of the same year the same mill manager, received the “araynfirung” to the house from Zafie Protfierowna-Zirusowa for a debt of 72 zloty. The merchant, former councilman Wajchek Radwanski gave testimony in June of the same year that the “noble” Kiezmarker merchant Jan Wolteliny had paid the aforementioned mill manager a debt in 1672. It seems that the same debt was sold before the court on September 18, 1675: the aforementioned Radwanski had provided as witness the Jews Abraham ben Aron the merchant,and Aron Janosowicz, the mill manager's son about these details: Aron's father, the mill manager who two years before, together with his wife and children had left Sandz, lent the above mentioned Kiezmarker merchant 200 gildn to give back to Radwanski for the wine he had bought from him.[39]

The same mill manager Yoyne ben Yakob, undoubtedly the greatest moneylender in Sandz in the 1670's, returned to the city and again carried on his credit business. On January 3, 1673 the city court ordered the “araynfirung” into a part of the house of the widow Zofia Taterowa, if she did not pay the debt of 50 zloty, which she had borrowed in 1672. Four days later the office of the councilmen, at the request of the manager decided that he will receive the “araynfirung” in the designated part of the house for the period of six years.[40]

At that time, we hear mention in the court offices of smaller loans by Sandzer Jews: at the end of 1677 an understanding was arrived at between Shloyme ben Abraham and a townsmen of the city about a debt of 40 zloty that was written against the borrower's house. In the fall of 1679, for a debt of 80 zloty the khazn [cantor] and shamas [sexton in a synagogue, rabbi's personal assistant], Yakob ben Shloyme, received from the city councilman Wowdziniec Delfinowski the “araynfirung” to the little wooden house near the town gate in the neighborhood of the Krakower gate. The debt was, it seems, in the period of two years, repaid, and on September 3, 1681 Yakob the khazn bought another house on Plaza Scwjeneno Duha for 100 zloty.[41]

*In Polish wwiazanie, in Latin intromissio (Polish), intromission (English); in early Poland, this is what it was called when the immovable property [such as land] was taken over by the new owner; at that time there was a possibility that the debtor might get his property back, if he paid his debt.

**Hamry: as the Hungarian gate near the entrance to the city through Altsandzer Street was known.
[Page 59]

In the 1670's and 80's we also find records of loans that Jews made to Christian residents of the city. In 1677 the apetropsim [guardians] of the children of the deceased void [bailiff] fartreter [representative], * Sebastian Timowski, confirmed that they had received payment of the sum of one hundred zloty from merchant Abraham ben Aron that Timowski had calculated in his tsvoe [will] among the debts to be claimed. In 1683 the aforementioned liquor merchant Shmuel Zigmuntowicz protested that the Sandzer councilman Kazimierz Glinski had taken a “kubrak” ** and other things from him because he had not repaid a debt of 52 zloty. In 1690 Yakub Piatrowski proved with the oblate*** a letter of obligation from 1686 of 92 zloty taken over from Matje Srosckowski, to whom the above mentioned merchant Dovid ben Yitzhok had lent for an amount of merchandise, dehayne [namely] five pieces of thin linen and for red Turkish shoes.[42] In all three of these cases, therefore the Jewish borrowers were merchants but only in the last case the merchant took the merchandise itself oyf barg [as credit], the other merchants borrowed money that they probably needed for business.

Vos shaykh [as for] claims of Jewish malvim [moneylenders], they were also noted in the following years until the end of the 17th century. A number of the loans were quite small: 1695 Moyshe ben Shmuel dunned a Sandzer townsmen for a debt of 22 zloty; In 1697 Leon (Leyb?) ben Shmuel demanded payment of a debt owed to him from a deceased city townsman, and at his request her clothes that were left were evaluated to repay the debt. In 1700-1701 three smaller claims were noted: one from the previously noted Moyshe ben Shmuel who, in 1700 dunned 33 zloty from a couple, Sandzer townsmen and is therefore noted that this is a “clean, fluid and true debt in mezumonim in cash]”; the shamas Marek (Mordechai) ben Abraham dunned a townsmen of the city for a debt of 20 gildn.[43]

In the 1670's as well as on the edge of the 18th century there was a great moneylender in the city, the manager of the Sandzer county mill. This was the previously mentioned Yoyne ben Shloyme who was noted as early as 1697 as the chief factor of Jeszi Pawel Lubomirski, the count of Wisznic and Sandzer staroste [administrator][44]. On October 11, 1697 he was the first to present the “oblate” before the court, a letter of credit for 1500 zloty, that he had lent to a certain person whose name is not noted, in the presence of Wojczek Kolewic.


**kubrak – a man's garment, a kind of kantush [long coat]

***oblate: a notarized record in the court
[Page 60]

Two weeks later, October 25, the same void, the factor Yoyne ben Shloyme, “kvitirt” [issued a receipt], a membrane* that he had issued, and where, in Hebrew, the family and first names of the same Yoyne ben Shloyme and of the aforementioned Marek Abramowicz, “the Pedel or Szkolnik [sexton of a synagogue] of the new synagogue” were no longer recorded. According to the city this chief factor had claimed the sum of 2000 zloty. In 1699, the townsmen and city council, and city gemeynshaft** concerning the order of the staroste to pay Yoyne ben Shloyme 2000 zloty, decided to postpone the matter “until after a conversation with the illustrious lord staroste”. From a notice of the court on August 2, 1704 we learn that councilman Jan Gurski demanded payment of a debt of 290 zloty from the same gvir [wealthy man] Yoyne ben Shloyme, [45].
The city had a debt to the arendar [lease holder] of the mill, Yoysif ben Shloyme where he ground malt[46]. In 1697, he signed with his own name and the names of his brother and four women (Marianna, Regina, Marianna and Anna)***, that they refuse and forgive forever, the debt of 400 zloty that was owed to their father Shloyme “from the resident of the saintly royal miastet [town] Naysandz”[47]. The circumstances of this debt and the motives for forgiving the debt are not present.

In conclusion, we see that aside from the two rich Jewish arendarn, each unique in his generation, the credit business by Sandzer Jews in the 17th century was insignificant and included only several loans. Money lending in that period was generally not a widespread business for Jews in Poland; the major means of Jewish livelihood was trade, arenda [leasing] and tavern keeping and also a still growing profession, artisan work. In all of Poland in the 17th century the roles changed and Jews were transformed from creditors into balebatim [proprietors, bosses], borrowing capital from pritzim [lords] in order to carry out their businesses.

Such a phenomenon can be noted in Sandz in the 18th century. In 1747 (the15th of July) the Sandzer merchant Isroel ben Yoysif stood before the town court accused by the “voylgeboyrenim” [well-born] Antoni Yablzhikowski for failing to pay 89 Hungarian gildn timely as installment on the loan. The one accused was brought to the trial from prison, where he had been put at the request of the moneylender[48].

*membrana in Latin, in Hebrew mimrah – [letter of credit] that had circulated as a promissory note.

**pospolstwo [populace, the mob]the representation of simple townsmen of the city.

***It appears that these were two wives and two sisters of these townsmen.

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