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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14Focusing on Jews in the Polish Borderlands$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774693

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774693.001.0001

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Jewish Rights of Residence in Cieszyn Silesia, 1742–1848

Jewish Rights of Residence in Cieszyn Silesia, 1742–1848

Jewish Rights of Residence in Cieszyn Silesia, 1742–1848
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14

Spyra Janusz

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores Jewish rights of residence in Cieszyn Silesia. Cieszyn Silesia, which encompasses the southern part of Silesia, is a historical area based on the Duchy of Cieszyn. In 1920, Cieszyn Silesia was divided between Poland and Czechoslovakia along the River Olza. Before Jewish emancipation in the second half of the nineteenth century, a limited number of Jews were tolerated in the province in exchange for certain services. From 1742 to 1848 the number of Jews and their rights were determined by complicated legislation called the Jewish incolate. The Silesian estates, unlike those of Moravia and Bohemia, ignored the ban; still, before the mid-seventeenth century Jews resided in the area of Cieszyn Silesia only sporadically. This changed during the Thirty Years War, when the impoverished rulers were constantly in need of money. Emperor Ferdinand II relaxed the legislation concerning Jews, and leasing tolls, customs tariffs, taxes, and the right to produce and sell alcohol, above all spirits, to Jews became a vital source of cash for the feudal lords.

Keywords:   Cieszyn Silesia, rights of residence, Jewish incolate, Silesian estates, Jewish toleration

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