Russian Pale tax collecting questions #general


I wonder if any of you know how, in the Russian Pale, the taxes on candles,
kosher meat, etc. were collected.

One of the documents I have rec'd >from Grodno Archives shows my grandmother's
step-father (Aron VILNER) and another man (Srul DAJBOG, the same surname as my
grandfather's family) guaranteeing a loan to a Jankel - Mordechai Movshovich
VOYSKOVSKY. The best my translator and I could figure out is that the purpose
of this loan was to allow Jankel V. to bid at an auction at Police HQ for the
priveledge of collecting the kosher meat taxes. The year was 1901 and the
shtetl was (now) Vysokoye, Belarus. (I know >from other documents I've rec'd
that Srul DAJBOG was candle tax collector there in the 1890s).

The questions this raises are about the process used for this job. I know that
the tax itself paid for Jewish institutions such as schools and hospitals. What
I don't know is just what the collector's role was. It looks like the job went
to the highest bidder at an auction. Who got the bidder's payment? Did it go
to the local authorities? Was it more like an escrow/ security account used to
guarantee that the collector would turn over the tax money to the Jewish
community or to the local authorities? What kind of compensation did the
collector get for doing this job? (It must have been pretty good to make him
willing to bid for it). And why is it referred to as "box rent?"

Any knowledge you can share would be most appreciated!

Joy Weaver
East Islip, NY, USA

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