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These translations are from Chazan [1980], pp 84-93, and Pogonowski [1993], pp. 43-58.

Pogonowski's translator [get name] left untranslated a number of terms in the "original" Latin document. They are listed in italics, such as colcze, ferunca, scolny, woszny. It seems highly likely that over time various transcribers a) made copying errors and b) started inserting "equivalent" Polish terms, so that we no longer know what the original Latin was. Perhaps the colcze or ferunca is a mezuzah ("You shall place these words on the doorposts of your house"), and scolny or woszny are either the President of the Jewish Community, or the bet din (Jewish Court – literally, "house of law").

Certain items are noteworthy as continuing earlier practice, indicative of changing times, or making explicit the Jews' role in private banking and in lubricating the economy. Notice in particular,

  1. The court of original jurisdiction is never the Church or the regular court of the town, but is almost always the palantine (provincial governor) or his delegate, the Jews' own bet din or the special judges appointed by the King to be judges over the Jews. (The latter may simply have been higher-level bet dins.) This system suggests that Jewish courts had a reputation for being fair to Christians and Jews alike, as it says in the Torah "Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live, and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you." (Deut. 16:20). See for example the revised item 30.
  2. There is a huge new emphasis on explicitly protecting Jews in their dealings or contracts with the nobility (revised items 34-35), and on recording such contracts in the appropriate jurisdiction – analogous to our county recorder, or UCC filings with the state. (Revised items 32-33.)
  3. Heirs must honor debts incurred by the deceased, because "the Jews must be prepared with their funds for our necessities ...", i.e., we have to protect bankers' capital. (Revised item 37.)


DUKE BOLESLAW THE PIOUS OF POLAND, 1264 (Chazan) DUKE BOLESLAW THE PIOUS OF POLAND, "1264" (Pogonowski)
IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, amen. The actions of the human species quickly dissipate and disappear from memory, unless they are preserved by the voice of witnesses or by the testimony of documents. Therefore we Boleslav, by the grace of God duke of Greater Poland, inform those both present and future whose attention the present charter will reach, that we have caused to be prescribed for our Jews living throughout the area of our domain these statutes and privileges which they have obtained from us, word for word, as contained in the following series:  
1. We decree, therefore, first, that in cases involving money, or movable property, or immovable property, or a criminal complaint touching the person or property of a Jew, no Christian shall be admitted as a witness against a Jew unless there is a Jewish witness together with the Christian. 1. First of all we decree that in any matter of movable or immovable property, or in a criminal case which touches the person or property of Jews, or any movable or immovable property which affects the life or goods of Jews (as previously stated), if any Christian should accuse any of the Jews in any matter whatsoever, even a criminal matter, he shall not be admitted to testimony except with two good Christians and also with two good Jews. None of the above may be of infamous character, but when they have been accepted thus, if the aforesaid Christian shall have convicted one of the Jews, only then must that Jew be punished for the charge brought against him by the aforesaid Christian. The two Christians must swear thus on the Holy Cross, to wit: May God and the Holy Cross so help me, etc., according to the custom of Christians. But the Jews must swear on the "rodale" (scroll) of the Ten Commandments according to the practice of the Jews, over a sum amounting to fifty marks of pure silver ingot, but over a lesser sum the Jews must swear on the "ferunca" or "colcze" hanging in the door of the synagogue, according to their custom. This is the form or rote of the oath: May God ,who illuminates and observes and the books of Moses help us. Thus must the oath of the Jews be and not otherwise, whether the matter be great or small, while each holds the "ferunca," and the ministerial (Woszny or Scolny) to whom the matter is referred must require this.
2. Likewise, if a Christian should bring suit against a Jew, asserting that he had pawned his pledges with him and the Jew should deny this, and then if the Christian should not wish to accord any belief in the mere statement of the Jew, the Jew may prove his contention by taking an oath upon an object equivalent in value to that which was brought to him and shall then go forth free. 2. Furthermore, if any Christian shall sue a Jew, asserting that he has pawned securities with him, and the Jew denies it, then if the Christian refuses to accept the simple word of the Jew, the Jew by taking oath must be free of the Christian.
3. Likewise, if a Christian has deposited a pledge with a Jew, stating that he had left it with the Jew for a smaller sum than the Jew admits, the Jew shall then take an oath upon the pledge pawned with him, and the Christian must not refuse to pay the amount that the Jew has proved through his oath. 3. In addition, if a Christian shall have pledged a security for a lesser sum, and the Jew shall declare that it was for a greater sum, then when the Jew has taken the appointed oath according to their custom, such a Christian must pay the Jew, and he shall be required to give over the principal sum along with interest, without any delay.
4. Likewise, if a Jew says that he returned the Christian's pledge as a loan to the Christian, without, however, the presence of witnesses, and if the Christian deny this, then the Christian is able to clear himself in this matter through his own oath.  
5. Likewise, a Jew is allowed to receive as pledges all things which may be pawned with him – no matter what they are called – without making any investigation about them, except bloody and wet clothes and sacred vessels which he shall under no circumstances accept. 4. Moreover, a Jew shall be able to accept all securities pledged to him, by whatever name they are called, with the exception of articles tainted or wet with blood, and sacred vestments which have been dedicated to divine worship, which he shall under no circumstances accept, unless he give them to a priest for safekeeping, since he alone cannot keep them.
6. Likewise, if a Christian charges that the pledge which a Jew has was taken from him by theft or robbery, the Jew must swear on that pledge that when he received it he did not know that it had been removed by theft or robbery. In this oath the amount for which the pledge was pawned to him shall also be included. Then, inasmuch as the Jew has brought his proof, the Christian shall pay him the capital and the interest that has accrued in the meantime. 5. Likewise, if any Christian should sue a Jew over a security which the Jew has, saying that it was taken from him by robbery or larceny, the Jew, in handing over the security at that time shall say, "When this security was pawned with me, I did not know that it had been taken by theft or robbery, but I believed that it was a free and proper security." The Jew shall swear by his oath, as to the sum for which the security was pawned, and with the Jew having made expurgation, the Christian shall be obliged to pay over in reality and with effect the principal money for which the security was pawned, and also the interest accruing from the time of the obligation.
7. Likewise, if a Jew, through the accident of fire or through theft or violence, should lose his own goods, together with the pledges pawned with him, and this is established, yet the Christian who has pledged something with him nevertheless brings suit against him, the Jew may free himself merely by his own oath. 6. Likewise, if -- Heaven forbid -- by any chance a fire or theft has occurred, and the property and household goods of a Jew have been destroyed along with some pawned articles, then the aforesaid Jew ought to show by the testimony of several Jewish neighbors that his own property and goods have been stolen along with the articles pledged to him as security; if nonetheless a Christian wishes to have such pledged articles, then the Jew will become free and clear of the Christian by means of the appointed oath in accordance with the custom of the Jews. But if such a Jew does not presume to swear thus, then he shall be required to add only so much as he originally gave for the pledged article, and he will be free of the Christian.
8. Likewise, if the Jews engage in quarreling or actually fight among themselves, the judge of our city shall claim no jurisdiction over them; only we alone or our palatine or his judge shall exercise jurisdiction. If, however, the accusation touches the person, this case shall be reserved for us alone for judgment. 7. Likewise if the Jews create dissension among themselves -- or even a riot -- over some act, or if a Jew and a Christian fighting with each other engage in hitting or wounding, then neither the judge of the city, nor the consuls, nor even anybody else, but only the palatine of the Jews or his surrogate shall judge them, and the place of the trial shall be with the Jews.
  8. But if the aforesaid Jew, contending with anyone of the aforesaid people, shall ask that his case be placed before our majesty, then the palatine or his temporary substitute judge must defer the Jew's case to us, and also any case arising before the palatine between Jews and the palatine or his surrogate, provided they request it, must be deferred to the arrival of our majesty.
  9. Nor may any palatine or governor receive any excises (poplathky) or gratuities (dany = dary?) among the Jews, except where the Jews have given them of their own accord; and then only because we reserve such contributions for our own treasury.
  10. And we also ordain that whatever case arises because of discord or contention among Jews, no one should judge it except their own elders, except when they are unable to ascertain the truth among them; then they must refer it to the lord palatine.
  11. Likewise, if any of the Jews is not obedient to his own superiors, then he must pay to the lord palatine a penalty of three marks, and to the superiors a similar penalty of three marks.
9. Likewise, if a Christian should inflict any sort of a wound upon a Jew, the accused shall pay a fine to us and to our palatine, according to that which our grace decides, to be remitted to our treasury. He must also pay the person who has been injured for the care of his wound and for expenses, as the laws of our land require and demand. 12. Furthermore, if a Christian gets into an argument with a Jew in any way, and if that Christian wounds the Jew with a bloody or livid wound, or hits him in the face, or rips the hair of his head, then we give to that Jew our jurisdiction that the aforesaid Jew thus wounded take the appointed oath according to custom on the chain (colcze) in the door of the synagogue of the Jews; then the Christian, if he be outsworn by the Jew, must and shall be required to give to that Jew five marks for a blow to the jaw by any finger, ten marks for a livid wound, but for a bloody wound half of all his possessions both movable and immovable to the aforesaid Jew; but we reserve the other half of such possessions for ourselves and our successors, and for the palatine of his district, and we shall otherwise judge the prescribed penalties according to our will; but for hair pulled from the head of the Jew the aforesaid Christian shall be required to absolve himself according to the decree of the lords resident in the court, in respect to the position of the law.
10. Likewise, if a Christian should kill a Jew, he shall be punished with the proper sentence and all his movable and immovable property shall pass into our power. 13. Moreover, if -- Heaven forbid -- any Christian kills one of the Jews, then if the Jew next of kin to the slain Jew overswears the Christian on the scroll of the Ten Commandments according to the .custom of the Jews, then we will and ordain that such a Christian thus oversworn by the Jew must be punished with the imposition of death, a head for a head, and it is not to be done otherwise in this matter.
  14. But if such a Christian who kills a Jew in any way escapes so that it is not possible for him to be taken or held, then of the movable and immovable property of the Christian, whatever he has, the first half of such possessions and inheritances must devolve to the blood kin of the slain Jew, but the rest must be assigned to our royal chamber.
  15. Likewise, if such a fugitive of a slain Jew wishes to have a safe-conduct, it must not be given him, except with the consent of the aforesaid kin of the slain Jew.
11. Likewise, if a Christian strikes a Jew, without, however, having spilled his blood, a fine will be required by the palatine according to the custom of our land, He shall also pay the man struck or injured in the manner which is customary in our land. If he has no money, he shall be punished for the crime committed as is just.  
  16. Likewise, we will and ordain that if any of the Jews enters into the home of any Christian, none of the Christian people must offer him any impediment, physical inconvenience, or annoyance.
12. Likewise, wherever a Jew shall pass through our territory, no one shall offer any hindrance to him or molest or trouble him. If, however, he should be carrying any goods or other things for which he must pay duty at all customs offices, he shall pay only the prescribed duty which a citizen of that town, in which the Jew is then dwelling, pays. 17. Likewise, any Jew may freely and securely walk or ride without any let or hindrance from city to city and province to province in our realm, in accordance with the law of secure liberty in all our cities or provinces without let or hindrance on the part of their subjects, and any Jew in our realm may freely, securely, and without any let or hindrance take with him his goods, property, or whatsoever merchandise he wishes or is able to have, and to sell such things and buy others, and to alter and convert them to his own satisfactory uses; he may freely and securely delay or stay in a place of the city or town without let or hindrance, for as long as it suits him -- in all the cities, towns, villages, and other places of our realm: by our royal will any of them possesses security and safe-conduct; they shall pay customary tolls just as other [sic!] Christians do, and nothing otherwise.
13. Likewise, if the Jews, as is their custom, should transport any of their dead either from city to city, or from province to province, or from one land into another, we do not wish anything to be demanded of them by our customs officers. If, however, a customs officer should extort anything, then we wish him punished as a robber. 18. But if it becomes necessary for the Jews, in accordance with their custom, to take a dead Jew or Jewess from one city to another city or province, then the toll-collector of such a place must not dare to exact tolls from such a dead Jew, and if any of the toll-collectors, contrary to our present statutes and mandates, should receive a toll from such a dead Jew, then we ordain and will that such a toll-collector be judged as if he were a thief, bandit, and robber, and his goods, whatever they may be, must devolve to us.
  19. Likewise we will and ordain that any of the Jews may freely and securely enter the general bath of a city along with Christians, and he must not pay anything more than other citizens of the city.
  20. Also, wherever the Jews have an inn in any city or town of our realm, they may slaughter sheep and cattle for meats for their own use, and if any meats should be displeasing to them according to their custom and will, then they may sell these in whatever way they are better able or seems good to them.
14. Likewise, if a Christian, moved by insolence, shall break into or devastate the cemetery of the Jews, we wish that he be gravely punished according to the custom and laws of our land and that all his property, whatever it may be, shall be forfeited to our treasury. 21. Likewise, in respect to a cemetery of the Jews, where their graves are, if any of the Christians violently throws out or removes the stones, or in any way destroys other places in their aforesaid cemetery, the property and possessions of him who has thus acted must devolve to the royal chamber. We will this to be done and firmly required according to the jurisdiction given by us to the Jews.
15. Likewise, if anyone wickedly throw something at the synagogues of the Jews, we order that he pay two talents of pepper to our palatine. 22. Likewise, if any of the Christians rashly and presumptuously jeers at their synagogues, such a Christian shall be required to pay and must pay to our palatine their guardian two talents of pepper as punishment.
16. Likewise, if a Jew be condemned by his judge to a money penalty, which is called wandel, he shall pay him a fine of a talent of pepper, which has been imposed from antiquity.  
17. Likewise, if a Jew is summoned to court by order of his judge, but does not come the first or second time, he must pay the judge for each time the fine which is customary from antiquity. If he does not come at the third summons, he shall pay to the judge mentioned the subsequent fine. 23. Likewise, if any Jew is summoned by their judge the first and second time, and does not appear in regard to the case for which he is summoned, he must pay and shall be required to pay to his judge for each occasion one talent of pepper, but if, summoned for the third time, he does not appear, he shall by that act forfeit and lose the case for which he was summoned.
18. Likewise, if a Jew has wounded another Jew, he may not refuse to pay to his judge a fine according to the custom of our land.  
   

Read the second half of these charters.


© Translations, Robert Chazan, 1980 and Iwo Pogonowski, 1993;. Use permissions have been requested, fair use is claimed in the meantime. Everything else (comments and format), © Sam Ginsburg, 2008-2014. All rights reserved.
Last modified 3 June 2014