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This is a partial list of charters mentioned by Weinryb [1973] and Goldberg [1986], augmented with references to other Polish Jewish charters I have stumbled across. See a partial list covering the rest of Europe (on a different website). I believe this list covers only a small fraction of the charters which were granted before Poland was partitioned, but it may show that a wide variety were issued, and that it was a commonplace event, probably even in the 1300's.

Other Jewish charters ("charters on behalf of the Jews" might be more accurate) from all over Europe can be found in

Note that especially in his Chapter 2, Weinryb mentions a large number of other laws pertaining to Polish Jews in almost every area of life.

The existence of so many local charters is evidence that the national charters, while of great symbolic importance, probably were of much less practical effect. In fact, Goldberg argues (pp. 34-35) that the existence of so many local charters reflects the general decline of the Kingship and the corresponding increase in:
Another possibility is that the Jews didn't trust the nobility very much, especially after the rest of Europe was expelling them, inviting them back, expelling them again, holding them for ransom, etc.

One can easily imagine going to the incoming noble, or the one lower (or even higher?) in rank, or the starosta (the King's officer for the area) saying
"here's what the [previous] King or Duke or your lord permitted, you'll do the same thing, won't you? Good. We humbly beg you to put it in writing, and by the way, it's worth ten pieces of gold to you."
(Further research is needed here.)

The fact that starting in the late 1600's, the Sjem was ratifying Jewish charters also shows that the nobility was in general agreement that the Jews and the rule of law were important for the economic health of their estates. Protecting the Jews might have originally been initiated by the Kings, but now was sustained by the nobility as a class. The Kings established the principle, but the locals established the "facts on the ground."

Date Description
  (Except as noted, the first part of this list is from Weinryb [1973], pg. 25)
1244 Frederick of Austria (see it compared to Chazan's version of the 1264 charter.)
1251 Bela IV of Hungary. This is also mentioned in the Jewish Virtual Library's Virtual History Tour of Hungary. Apparently this charter was repeatedly confirmed by subsequent rulers, just as in Poland. (The website which said this, http://www.interdnet.hu/zsido/Jewsinhu.htm, is apparently no longer working.)
1254 King Ottokar II of Bohemia
1261 Duke Barnim I for Western Pomerania (northern Poland)
1264 Prince Bolesław the Pious, for Great Poland (Wielkopolska), which is sort of upper central and western Poland, and for Kalisz (which was in Wielkopolska, according to Euriskodata map #5580005.) (See the charter compared to Chazan's version of the 1244 charter.) Since Kalisz was in central Wielkopolska, this would have been an early example of someone granting a charter for a local area, while simultaneously saying it also applied to a much larger area. This may demonstrate that such charters had more weight locally than "globally". See also Kowel, 1614, below.

Silesia (based on Bohemia? see Weinryb, pg 25, 34.)
   Prince Bolko I of Silesia
   Prince Henry of Golgau
  (Except as noted, the rest of this list is from Weinryb [1973], pg. 33-38)
1334 (pg. 27, 34) See Pogonowski's version
1356 (pg. 27)
1364 Casimir the Great, for all of Poland (pg. 27, 34).
1367 Casimir the Great, for Krakow, Sandomierz and Lwów (pg. 27, 34 — where Weinryb implies this was a significant expansion of rights).
1387 Ladislaw Jagiello, confirming a Casimir the Great charter for Lwów and Red Russia (Ruthenia)

Similar charters are granted for:
   Brest (formerly Brest-Litovsk in Belarus)
   Grodno (also in Belarus)
1453 See Pogonowski's version
1529 Charter granted to the Jews in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Goldberg [1986], pg. 36.)
1539 See Pogonowski's version


King Zygmunt August grants charters to:
   Luck (per fn 34, pg. 216 of Abramsky [1986] which also says they had received tax concessions in 1506 & 1507.)
   Tyszowce (per Jacob Goldberg, pg. 44 – Chapter 3 in Abramsky [1986])
1568 Starosta of Kowel (Ukraine), grants charter to the town's Jews, per Goldberg [1986], pg. 37.  
1580 King Stefan Bathory grants Jews of Luck the 1264 privileges and subsequent confirmations. In 1607 the document was attested to in the castle and district court records of Łuck. (Per Goldberg [1986], pg. 36.)
1601 Prince Janusz Radziwill grants building privileges to the Jews of his town Sluck and confirms the privileges granted by previous owners of the town, per Goldberg [1986], pg. 33.
1612 Starosta of Lelów grants charter to the town's Jews, per Goldberg [1986], pg. 37.  
1614 Szczęsny vel Feliks Kryski, the crown chancellor, and starosta of Kowel (Ukraine), grants charter to the town's Jews referring to "the laws and freedoms of the Jews in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania." He grants privileges as the starosta, and as crown chancellor simultaneously grants a royal charter. (Two for the price of one!) (Per Goldberg [1986], pg. 36, 37. )
1621 Zygmunt Grudzinski grants a charter for the Jews of his town, Swarzedz. (Goldberg, pg. 54)
1622 Starosta of Szydlów grants a charter to its Jews, per Goldberg [1986] pg. 37.  
1637 Bolesław Radziwiłł grants "broad" privileges to the Jews of his town Słuck. (Goldberg [1986], pg. 54.)
1638 Wladyslaw IV grants permission to Jelen Doktorowicz to build a synagogue in the royal town of Lublin. (This per Goldberg [1986] pg. 44)
1650 Bolesław Radziwiłł separately grants "broad" privileges to the Jews of his towns Sokołów and Wegrów. (Goldberg [1986], pg. 54.)
1655 During the Swedish war, King Jan Kazimierz stays at a military camp near Przedbórz, and confirms the privileges of the Przedbórz Jews. Probably his proximity allowed the Jews to send a petitionary delegation. (Goldberg [1986], pg. 50)

Starostas of various towns grant a charter to the Jews of the towns, per Goldberg [1986] pg. 37:
   Nowy Sacz
1674 Stanisław Dunin-Borowski issues a charter for the Jews of (his town?) Opole, and exempting his agent Chaim Mojzeszowicz from some of the obligations of the other Jews in the town. (Per Goldberg [1986], pg. 34.)

The Sjem (Diet) ratifies charters to the Jews of various towns, per Goldberg [1986] pg. 37:
   Nowy Sacz
1765 •  Stanisław August, issues a compilation of all Jewish Privileges
•  Privileges of Lublin expanded and confirmed, per Goldberg [1986], pg. 34.
1775 Zamoyski family decrees that in their towns, the local Jewish courts have jurisdiction in all cases in which burghers (citizens) are plaintiffs and Jews are defendants. (But in certain other towns, municipal courts heard cases in which Jews were plaintiffs and general citizens were defendants.) (All per Goldberg [1986], pg. 41.)
1780 Charter to the Jews of Wojslawice, per Jacob Goldberg, pg. 45.

  1. Goldberg, pp. 44-45, mentions several other Jewish charters, which are not listed here because he doesn't provide dates.
  2. The endnotes to Goldberg [1986] probably list sources with additional charters, e.g., Bardach in endnote 9. Also see his book mentioned on pg. 54.
© Sam Ginsburg, 2008-13. All rights reserved.

Last modified 25 Feb. 2013