History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, Volume 1
Simon Markovich Dubnow
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Original year of publication: 1916
It is not my intention to expatiate in these prefatory remarks on the present work and its author. A History of the Jews in Russia and Poland from the pen of S. M. Dubnow needs neither justification nor recommendation. The want of a work of this kind has long been keenly felt by those interested in Jewish life or Jewish letters, never more keenly than to-day when the flare of the world conflagration has thrown into ghastly relief the tragic plight of the largest Jewry of the Diaspora. As for the author, his power of grasping and presenting the broad aspects of general Jewish history and his lifelong, painstaking labors in the particular field of Russian- Jewish history fit him in singular measure to cope with the task to which this work is dedicated.
In what follows I merely wish to render account of the English translation and of the form of the original which it has endeavored to reproduce.
The translation is based upon a work in Russian which was especially prepared by Mr. Dubnow for THE JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY OF AMERICA. Those acquainted with modern Jewish literature in the Russian language know that the author of our book has treated the same subject in his general history of the Jewish people, in three volumes, and in a number of special studies published by him in the periodical Yevreyskaya Starina (“Jewish Antiquity”). Upon this material Mr. Dubnow has freely drawn for the present work, after subjecting it to a careful revision, and so supplementing and co-ordinating it that to all intents and purposes the book issued herewith is a new and independent publication. Moreover, the history of Russian Jewry after 1881, comprising the gruesome era of pogroms and expulsions, has been written by Mr. Dubnow entirely anew, and will appear for the first time as part of this work. The present publication may thus properly claim to give the first comprehensive and systematic account of the history of Russo-Polish Jewry.
The work is divided into three volumes. The first volume contains the history of the Jews of Russia and Poland from its beginnings until the death of Alexander I., in 1825.
Source: Retail PDF via library. Not marked as retail because of removal of watermarks and navigation at the top of each page, but still retail quality.
the reputation of an implacable Jewbaiter, delivered a sermon in the Church of St. Barbara. As he was about to leave the pulpit, he suddenly announced to the worshipers that he had found a notice on the pulpit to this effect: “The Jews living in Cracow killed a Christian boy last night, and made sport over his blood; moreover, they threw stones at a priest who was going to visit a sick man, and was carrying a crucifix in his hands.” No sooner had these words been uttered than the people rushed
living on the estates of the nobles or in the townships owned by them. Sigismund I. had decreed that “the nobles having Jews in their towns and villages may enjoy all the advantages to be derived from them, but must also try their cases. For we [the King], not deriving any advantages from such Jews, are not obliged to secure justice for them” (1539). Sigismund Augustus now enacted similarly that the Jews living on hereditary Shlakhta estates should be liable to the jurisdiction of the “hereditary
the infidels.” 172 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA AND POLAND 6. A F RENZY OF B LOOD A CCUSATIONS The end of the seventeenth century is marked by the frequency of religious trials, the Jews being charged with ritual murder and the desecration of Church sacraments. These charges were the indigenous product of the superstition and ignorance of the Catholic masses, but they were also used for propaganda purposes by the clerical party, which sometimes even took a direct hand in arranging the setting of the
prominent during this period were the “Volhynian Synagogue,” i. e. the federation of the Kahals of Volhynia, and the “White Russian Synagogue,” composed of the federated communities of the present Government of Moghilev. The former sent its representatives to the Council of the Four Lands, while the latter was affiliated with the Waad of Lithuania. The periodic conventions of these two “synagogues” not only decided the allotment of taxes within the Kahal districts, but also took up questions of a
particularly frequent in the first part of the eighteenth century, when political anarchy in Poland reached its climax. The whole Kahal organization received a severe blow at the hands of the Polish Government in 1764. The General Confederacy which preceded the election of King Stanislav Augustus, having framed a new “constitution,” decided to change fundamentally the system of Jewish taxation. Instead of the former procedure of fixing the amount of the head-tax in toto, and leaving its allotment