INFORMATION SERVICE

DICTIONARY

Farming

Farming and sheep-herding were the two main occupations of the ancient Israelites. All the major Jewish holidays were originally related to agriculture, connected to the harvests of various crops (yearly rituals). In medieval Europe, the Jews who were directly subject to the monarch and belonged to his treasury (servi camerae), settled primarily in the towns that were centers of the monarch's power. This is why they were involved in occupations typical of cities (trade, crafts), or those that related to the court (purveyors, creditors, brokers).

The oldest information about Jews in the Polish lands indicates they also owned land, though it is not known whether they farmed it, or whether those lands were taken as collateral. A Silesian magnate, Piotr Wlast, bought the village of Tyniec from Jews before the year 1153. Before 1203, Josef and Chaskiel owned the prince's "service" village of Sokolniki. A document of 1226 stated that the Jews in the castellany of Bytom were to give a tithe of hay to the Church. The Church probably believed it had a right to taxes from land belonging to Jews, but it cannot be ruled out that the Jews were farming it themselves.

In the fifteenth century, Woloczko Czolner was involved in the establishment of new villages under Magdeburg Law, and was also a wojt [title given by the king to a town's founder - translator's note]. Jews had gardens and fields outside town where they raised animals and farmed, as did other burghers. They sold the food they produced (such as milk or vegetables) at the local market. Around the year 1500, the fields beyond the San, near Przemysl, were owned by Anna and Mojsze. Jakub Ickowy owned two village houses in Gora Solna, near Bochnia.

In the second half of the sixteenth century, after the annexation to the Crown of the voivodships of Volhynia, Kijow [Kiev] and Braclaw, those territories quickly began to be put to use. Jews leased entire estates there. From the early sixteenth century, the number of Jews living in the countryside gradually grew; these were primarily inn-keepers. Most of them farmed a small piece of land for their own use, and also raised chickens and cattle. Jews who leased the right to produce and sell alcoholic beverages, i.e., beer and spirits, also owned land on which they grew barley and hops. According to the poll tax of 1765, approximately 25% of the Jewish population (200,000-250,000 people) lived in the countryside, most of whom were inn-keepers with their families.
Although by a law passed by the Sejm in 1775 Jews were allowed to settle on and cultivate fallow land, not many were interested in doing so. They were probably concerned that their rights would be restricted and that they would be forced to pay dues to the nobles. In sources dating back to the late eighteenth century, there is limited information about Jewish farms in Wielkopolska and Volhynia. The well-known merchant and banker Szmul Zbytkower leased pastures and other agricultural lands near Warsaw.
(H.W./CM)

After the decree of Alexander I in 1804 regulating legal relations in the Russian partition, about 600 families settled in the countryside. Nicholas I, in an attempt to encourage Jews to become farmers, gave them financial incentives in 1835. There were requirements for future settlers, such as that there be family-based settlements, at least three men be involved in farming the land, an imposed plan of land usage, and no subsidies. These all meant that results fell short of expectations.

Conditions for Jewish farmers improved markedly after the enfranchisement of the peasantry in the 1860's. Jews living in the countryside were treated as peasants, and thus became landowners. They did not gain the right to inherit land, however, which meant their holdings quickly diminished.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, interest in farming increased, largely due to the growing Zionist movement and plans for the future settlement of Palestine. The first agricultural schools and settlements were established (in Czestochowa, for example) to prepare future farmers.
The situation of Jewish farmers in the Austrian partition was somewhat different. Joseph II's decree of March 1805 allowed Jews to acquire land under the condition that they would farm it themselves and treat it as their only source of livelihood. As a result, by the 1920's, about 800 Jewish families had settled on farms, though their numbers steadily decreased over the coming years because of worsening economic conditions. Attempts to strengthen Jewish farming in Galicia during the 1850's and 1860's also failed to have any significant effect.

The number of Jews who were landowners grew quickly, however: in the early twentieth century, they constituted as much as 20% of all the owners of large landed estates. The number of Jewish lease-holders grew even faster, particularly in eastern Galicia: in 1902, there were about 16,000. Approximately 4,000 Jews served as managers of private estates.

During the interwar period, few Jews made agriculture their livelihood, despite the fact restrictions had been lifted. In 1931, only 4% of Jews were farmers. These were primarily farm owners from what had been Galicia, and peasants living in some of the eastern voivodships-descendants of settlers from the first half of the nineteenth century.

For ideological reasons, however, young people were becoming increasingly interested in agriculture under the influence of Zionism. Teaching farms were established. In Warsaw, such settlements existed in the Grochow and Czerniakow districts. Baron M. De Hirsch's foundation and ORT helped establish farms and vocational schools for the training of farmers, both for those who intended to emigrate to Israel and those who wanted to work in Poland.

After 1944, family farms were established, as well as agricultural cooperatives and kibbutzim associated with the Zionist movement. Joint and ORT provided future farmers with livestock and equipment, and financed the purchase of land. Agricultural settlements were concentrated around Dzierzoniow (95 families) and Szczecin. After the Zionist organizations were liquidated, some of the farmers quit and left the countryside, while others were collectivized. A few Jews in the Western Territories kept running their own farms.
(G.Z./CM)

REKLAMA: kosmetyka Opole Salon urody Opole mezoterapia Opole kosmetyki do mezoterapii preparaty do mezoterapii | Chcesz przedłużyć rzęsy, zobacz przedłużanie rzęs opole a może gładka wydepilowana skóra na nogach, depilacja laserem diodowym opole. Cierpisz na brak włosów, przerzedzone włosy na głowie. Skorzystaj ze sposobu na włosy: mikropigmentacja skóry głowy Odwiedźmiejsce, w którym znajdziesz rozwiązanie na problemy skóry głowy i włosów. Klinika Włosa - to miejsce, gdzie twoje włosy odżyją. Odpoczynek na kajakach w okolicach Opola, proponujemy spływy kajakowe, zobacz: spływy kajakowe opolskie | spływy kajakowe Mała Panew | kajaki Mała Panew Wybierz się na spływ kajakowy razem z rodziną.

MAIN PAGE

THE LARGEST JEWISH CEMETERY

EVENTS

TRACES OF THE PAST

ORGANIZATIONS

PEOPLE, BIOGRAPHY

JEWISH LIFE

SHOAH

BOOKS

DICTIONARY

 

 

 

Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Mokotowska 25, 00-560 Warsaw tel. (48-22) 44 76 100,
fax. (48-22) 44 76 152;