Beginnings of Hebrew printing in Warsaw and Jewish publishing houses and their censorship in the Kingdom of Poland 1815–1862

Scientific seminar.

Wide full hd

Magdalena Bendowska

Beginnings of Hebrew printing in Warsaw

Jewish printing of the Republic of Poland originated in the early 16th century in Kraków and Lublin. Till the late 18th century they were the only centers in Poland which published books for Polish Jews. In Warsaw, in relation to the privilege of de non tolerandis Judaeis, Jews did not make any attempts to set up a publishing house for a long time. For now, we do not know why Christian printers did not try to enter Jewish books market having the opportunity to print books in Warsaw and its vicinity. The first person to put forward a proposal to set up a printing house near Warsaw was Lejzer Icchak Krotoszyński. However, he did not succeed. Finally, the first handbill in Hebrew (1792) and first Hebrew book (1796) came from Christian publishing houses. Only in 1811, Jewish printer Cwi Hirsz ben Natan Nosonowicz began publishing activity in Warsaw. There will be an opportunity to see on scans books from the JHI collections printed in these publishing houses.

prof. dr hab. Jan Doktór

Jewish publishing houses and their censorship in the Kingdom of Poland 1815–1862

The beginning of state preventive censorship of the Jewish publishing houses in the Kingdom of Poland was not at all something obvious. Paragraph 16 of the Constitution of the Kingdom even dissociated itself from such ideas and guaranteed freedom in setting up publishing houses and in printing. The state did not have any direct interest to interfere into religious publications of the Jews. I will try to answer the question of what made the authorities of the Kingdom include themselves into Jewish religious debates using such drastic tool as preventive censorship. Could have censorship in Congress Poland been a continuation of Jewish „inside” censorship, but imposed by other fraction within the Jewry and with the state’s help? In Congress Poland, the control over censorship is taken by the Maskillim party, who forced through reforms of the Jewry popular among the political elites calling enemy anything that they regarded as the mainstay of Jewish ignorance.

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