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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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The Jewish Community in the Grand Duchy of Poznań under Prussian Rule, 1815–1848

The Jewish Community in the Grand Duchy of Poznań under Prussian Rule, 1815–1848

(p.49) The Jewish Community in the Grand Duchy of Poznań under Prussian Rule, 1815–1848
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14

Sophia Kemlein

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the effects of Prussian legal and administrative practices on the Jewish communities in the Grand Duchy of Poznań, and how these communities responded to the changing situation. The question of the autonomy of the communities seems especially instructive, since in pre-emancipation times autonomy had generally been considered a guarantor of the continuance of Jewish life in the Diaspora. In the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, autonomy had been developed through countrywide institutions with claims for political representation. After briefly outlining the situation before Prussian rule, the chapter describes the legal status of the Jewish communities with particular attention to the regulations for South Prussia and New East Prussia, since they constitute stages leading to the formulation of legal norms after 1815. It then explores the practical implementation of these laws and the tense relationship between state supervision and the concept of a legal unit on the one hand and traditional Jewish autonomy on the other. Finally, the chapter briefly describes the ways in which the Jewish communities in the Grand Duchy dealt with the realities of Prussian rule, with its pressures for integration and assimilation.

Keywords:   Poznań, Prussian rule, political representation, Jewish autonomy, South Prussia, new East Prussia, legal norms, state supervision, assimilation

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