§02 History and Geography

By Levi Clancy for לוי on
updated

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CHRONOLOGY OF THE JEWS IN EUROPE

325Jews in Cologne
325Christian Church formulates its policy toward the Jews: for the sake of Christianity, they must continue to exist in isolation and humiliation
339Constantine II prohibits marriage between jews and Christians and possession of Christian slaves by Jews
340Christianity made state religion in Roman Empire
553Justinian interferes in Jewish worship. Bulls of Pope Gregory I fix church attitude toward Jews of Europe
612, 633, 638Persecutions of Jews in Visigothic Spain
628Expulsion of Jews from the Frankish Kingdom
1012Expulsion of Jews from Mainz
1073Jews first settle in England
1096Crusaders massacre Jews of the Rhineland
1100Freedom of movement for the Jews of England
1144Blood libel in Norwich
1171Blois community destroyed
1182Expulsion of Jews from France
1189-1190Edicts against Jews in England; Massacre of Jews of York
1195-1196Anti-Jewish riots in Speyer and Boppard
1235Blood libel in Fulda
1222Council of Oxford proclaims discriminatory measures
1236Persecutions in Western France; Frederick II introduces concept of "servi camerae"
1241"Parliament of Jews" meets in Worcester
1242Burning of Talmud in Paris
1244Frederick II, Duke of Austria, grants charter
1255Blood libel in Lincoln
1263Disputation of Barcelona
1285Munich community destroyed
1275Moneylending forbidden to Jews of England
1288Jews of Troyes burned at the stake
1290Expulsion of Jews from England
1298-1299Rindfleisch persecutions in Germany
1306Expulsion of Jews from France
1315Jews recalled to France
1320-1321Pastureaux and lepers persecutions in France and Spain
1322Expulsion of Jews from France
1342Louis IX introduces poll tax in Germany
1348Black Death massacres in Spain, Portugal, France and Germany; Jews of Italy granted charter by Clement VI; 1348-1349 Immigration from Germany to Poland
1354Council of Jewish commmunities of Aragon
1356Charles IV of Germany allows Electors to tax Jews
1359Jews of France recalled
1367Expulsion of Jews from Hungary
1388Witold of Lithuania grants charter to Jews of Brest-Litovsk
1389Massacre of Jews of Prague
1391Massacres and conversions in Spanish Jewish communities
1394Expulsion of Jews from France (3rd time)
1399Blood libel in Poznan
1415Benedict XIII orders censorship of Talmud
1420Expulsion of Jews from Mainz
1421Expulsion of Jews from Austria
1426Expulsion of Jews from Cologne
1427Papal edict prohibits transporting of Jews to Erez Israel in ships from Venice and Ancona
1435Massacres and conversion of Jews of Majorca

From "Encyclopedia of Jewish History"


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1439Expulsion of Jews from Augsburg
1450Invention of printing
1453Buring of Jews in Breslau and expulsions
1454Privileges revoked in Poland and riots in Cracow
1473Marranos of Cordoba and Valladolid massacred
1474Marranos of Segovia massacred
1475Beginning of Hebrew printing; Blood libel in Trent
1475-1494Preaching against Jews; Jews expelled from several towns in Italy; Columbus sails west
1483Expulsion of Jews from Warsaw; Torquemada appointed to head Inquisition
1490Blood libel in La Guardia
1492Expulsion of Jews from Castile and Aragon; America discovered; gates of Ottoman Empire opened to Spanish exiles
1495Jews expelled from Cracow, Poland and Lithuania
1496-1497Jews expelled from Portugal; mass forced conversion
1497Jews expelled from Germany
1503Jews return to Lithuania
1516Venice ghetto
1519Expulsion from Regensburg
1533Burning of the Talmud in Rome
1534Sigismund I rescinds edict requiring Jews to wear badge
1541Expulsion from Naples
1563Riots against Jews of Polotsk
1581Beginning of Jewish autonomy in Poland; Council of the Four Lands founded
1593Expulsion from the Papal State
1597Expulsion from Milan
1602Jewish community and centers of Torah in Amsterdam
1615Expulsion from Worms
1616Jews return to Frankfurt and Worms
1623Separate council established for Lithuania
1648-49Chmielnicki massacres
1649Expulsion from Hamburg
1655-56Massacres of Jews of Poland
1656Jews permitted to return to England; Baruch Spinoza excommunicated
1664Riots in Lvov (Lemberg)
1670Blood libel in Metz: Expulsion from Vienna
1671Jews permitted to settle in Brandenburg
1680Riots in Brest-Litovsk
1682Riots in Cracow
1685Jews of England granted religious freedom
1687Jews of Poznan attacked
1700Hasidism begins in Eastern Europe
1720-1797The Vilna Gaon
1723General Council of Jews of Piedmont; Jews in France given official recognition
1734-1736Attacks by the Haidamacks
1738Joseph Suess Oppenheimer executed
1750Legislation against Jews of Prussia
1759Jacob Frank and his followers accept Christianity
1760Board of Deputies of British Jews is established
1761Cardinal Ganganelli's memorandum against blood libels in Italy
1764Council of the Four Lands abrograted
1768Haidamack massacres
1772First ban pronounced on Hasidim
1775Anti-Jewish edict of Pius VI
1783Jews permitted to serve on city councils in Russia
1791Pale of Settlement established; Full civil rights granted to all French Jews
1792"Judenamt" opened in Vienna
1793Attack on the ghetto of Rome
1796Jews of the Batavian Republic (Holland) emancipated
1797-1799Temporary emancipation of Jews of Italy by the French Army
1807French "Sanhedrin"; Napoleon's "Infamous Decree:

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The Jewish Community of Poland up to the 18th Century


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The Jewish Community in Russia: 1772-1881


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The Pogroms of Eastern Europe


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IN SEARCH OF YOUR EUROPEAN ROOTS
ANGUS BAXTER, 1985
From Donald Singer


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EASTERN EUROPE

The map on the next page will give you some idea of the position of our home town in Eastern Europe. "Wilna" on the map is a major city, and sometime capitol city of Lithuania. Historically, Lithuania is centuries old and at times was very large and included Byelorussia and parts of Russia and the Ukraine. At the known times our ancestors lived in the area, it was variously part of Russia, independent, part of Poland, occupied by the Germans, and finally a Soviet satellite state.

The Lewin family lived in Dziewieniszki (Devenichok in Yiddish) from at least the early 1800's until many left at the turn of the century and then the remaining members were murdered by the Nazis in 1943 in Worenow, a town about twelve miles west of Devenichok. It is underlined on the map.

The Paltiel family, later to become the Lazarus group, were from Iwie, a town some 19 miles south southeast of Dziewieniszki. Our ancestors lived there, we think, from the early 1800's until 1895 when Schmuel Lazar Paltiel and his sister Annie moved to Devenichok. However, there is some suggestion that some Paltiel relatives remained in Iwie until they too were killed by the Germans in 1942, probably after being transported to a killing area near Iwie called Stoniewicze.

Between Devenichok and Iwie is a town called Lipniszki (Lipnichok in Yiddish). We don't have much knowledge of this town but it has some connection to us because of two main reasons. First, Eli Singer was from there. We have learned that he had at least one brother and one sister. The sister, who later starved to death, had one or more children who moved to Israel and some relatives still reside there. Dave and Lil Singer visited her son on a trip to Israel in 1962. The man's name is Baruch Lasovsky and his address is Yemin Avot #4, Kriat. Moishe, Jerusalem, Israel. Supposedly, he had at least three sons who may still live in Israel. The second connection is that Sarah (Gersowitz) Levi of Fresno had uncles who lived in Lipniszki. One of these brothers is thought to have married a niece of Eli Singer. At the time of this writing in February of 1989, nothing else is known of them.

Lida is another town perhaps 15 or so miles west of Iwie. Rikel Lebvol, a Paltiel descendant, is said to have spent some time there in a Jewish orphanage. Details of that story are not known at the time of this writing. In a letter from Avi Ashman, is a message from his uncle, Meir Joseph Itzkowitz about Lida. It seems that some of the people who were taken to Worenow from Devenishki for killing in May 1942, were "selected" to survive for a while and were transported to the "Lida Ghetto". They were killed there in September of 1943. Among them were Avi's grandparents, Nathan and Cheyena (Lewin) Itzkowitz and Avi's uncles Eliezer and Yecheskel Itskowitz. See the Ashman letters in the Eliezer Lewin section and the "Deutsche Heereskarte" 1941 map.

We have no documents for Reuben Levy, the husband of Brina Lewin, but we can assume that he was from the same general area in Eastern Europe and that they were probably married in Devenichok. However, at that time and until their migration from Leeds to Toronto, their family name wasn't Levy. Reuben was Reuven and his last name was something like Wittenson, Whittenson, Vittenson or Weddenson, etc. We really don't know for sure. Naturalization documents were ordered on Reuben in January 1989 and might arrive in time for pre-publication entry into this book.

Aschmena on the German map was the district governmental seat at the turn of the century. The birth certificate of Benzion Paltiel (Ben Lazarus) refers to it as the Ozsmian District. It has many spellings in different languages and is also seen as Oszmianyi. Roughly, it must have been like a county seat.


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DEVENICHOK/DEVENISHZKI

From Sarah Levi

I wrote to YIVO* in Yiddish and they answered me in Yiddish, concerning our home town of Devenichok. THey also sent a copy from YEKOPO in Yiddish. I can't translate it word for word but will translate what seems to be important. I don't know when the statistics were taken but it must have been in the 1920-1933 period as Nathan and I remember a lot of the information.

Of the population of 250 families, 140 of them were Jewish. About 60 families had small stores selling all kinds of merchandise and products. There were two Polish cooperatives supported by the local government and warehouses in the vicnity with unlimited credit. The Jewish storekeepers could not compete so could not make a living. Some 20 to 25 families made a living from peddling. In the shtetl there were 5 families who had second rate workshops, manufacturing coats, suits, and jackets for men and women. Employment totalled about 40 people with a salary of 20 to 30 Zlotes a week.

They sold their ready-to-wear locally and to surrounding shtetlach. THere were small self-employed workshops or bench workers with one or two helpers. There were artisans, sheet metal workers, hatters, shoemakers, tailors, dress makers, toilers and others. Most made a poor living from dealings, trade and commerce. Once a week, on Thursdays, the town came alive with peasants bringing their goods to sell such as milk, cheese, butter, vegetables, poultry, calves, and sheep in exchange to buy their needs from stores. Things got worse when surrounding shtetlach would bring their goods and display on wagons. This was bad competition for the local stores. Five families in town had their own land of 2 or more acres and they would work the land theirself or use hired help so they could engage in other work to supplement their income.

THIS I RECOLLECT MYSELF:

My father, Chaim Gershowitch**, was among the 5 families with land. In about 1933 or 1934, a representative from ORT or the Joint Distribution Committee, came to town with a plan for the 5 families to help plant the parcels of land with orchards. Later, an agronomist came to inspect the land and to select the type of trees to grow. He gave instructions for the caring of the trees. They allowed a small down payment with payment to be made in the future when the orchard produced. The trees and shrubs arrived from Warsaw with instructions on where and how to plant them. I remember how we had to bring in water from a well nearby and we carried it in buckest. All the family worked at it. The trees grew so beautifully with the best quality of apples, pears, plums and other varieties which we had never seen before. Between the rows of trees we had bushes of gooseberries and currants. The orchard just started to produce when I left home in 1940. My family never got a chance to reap the rewards of their towel. All my family perished in the holocaust.

*YIVO is the YIVO Institution for Jewish Research in New York
**Gershowitch is a spelling guess. It could also be Gersowitz, Gersowicz, or variations


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