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Jews in Poland and Russia: A Short History$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764395

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764395.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

The Polish–Lithuanian Background

The Polish–Lithuanian Background

(p.3) One The Polish–Lithuanian Background
Jews in Poland and Russia: A Short History

Antony Polonsky

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the emergence and rapid expansion of the Jewish community of Poland–Lithuania. By the middle of the seventeenth century, the Jewish community of Poland–Lithuania was the largest in the world, the result of the establishment of a new geography of the Jewish world that had started at the end of the thirteenth century. This was primarily a consequence of the worsening situation of the Jews in the countries of western and central Europe. At the same time, new opportunities opened up for Jews in the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The situation of Jews in pre-modern Poland–Lithuania had a paradoxical character. On the one hand, they were the representatives of a despised minority whose religious beliefs were regarded not only as false, but as harmful to the society around them. On the other hand, they occupied a position in Polish–Lithuanian society that was recognized by law and that gave them a certain amount of economic leverage and security.

Keywords:   Jewish community, Poland–Lithuania, Jewish world, Jews, Kingdom of Poland, Lithuania, religious beliefs, Polish–Lithuanian society

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