1783 and 1784 Ordinances for the City of Warsaw Concerning Jews

Paweł Fijałkowski

1783 and 1784 Ordinances for the City of Warsaw Concerning Jews

In the second half of the 18th century Warsaw was closed to fresh Jewish settlement. Nevertheless the number of followers of the Judaic faith staying in the town and engaging in business kept growing. On September 16, 1783, the Town Hall passed an ordinance by which it claimed full authority over the Jews staying in the town and laying down the rules on which they were permitted to stay in and around the town on an interim basis. In practice, the implementation of the ordinance turned out to be impossible as most of the Jews staying in Warsaw enjoyed the protection of lay or clerical figures, lived in palaces and farms owned by them and excluded from the powers of the town authorities. At the request of the Town Hall, on 14 May 1784 Grand Crown Marshal Michał Jerzy Mniszech announced a new ordinance, which divided the rule over Warsaw’s Jews between the Marshal’s Office and the Town Hall, with the former preserving his supremacy. It took into account the situation prevailing in the town and the actual position of the Jewish community to a much larger extent than the ordinance passed by the Town Hall in 1783 and it remained in force until the fall of Poland as an independent nation.

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