Re: Poland's Partitions and origin of the Jewish surnames #galicia

Alexander Sharon

Marlene Bishow wrote:

Is a list available of the permitted names for Galicia?
My family names are DEUTSCHER, NUSSBAUM and KATZ. The first two are
obviouslu germanic, but KATZ is not. assuming that the KATZ family was in
Galicia after the edict and during the period of enforcement, is it likely
that the only way that they could get away with using that name, was by
paying a bribe?

I have been told that KATZ is a relatively unusual name for Galicia. Any

Marlene Bishow
Rockville, MD

The list of the permitted name, if exists, should be available through the
Austrian Archives in Vienna or the two main Galicia branches in Lwow and/or
Krakow. I personally have not come across one as yet.

Katz is a Sefardi surname and it appers in the Jewish Galicia records before
the introduction of Germanic names.

While Sephardi Jews have long since adopted the Spanish practice of
surnames, the Ashkenazis have been very conservative, still following the
antique custom of using their first, plus father's first name, in a
Hebrew -Yiddish form, Dawid ben Solomon, for example.

Sefardi Jews have started to arrive in the territory of Polish Eastern
Galicia following their expulsion >from Spain and Portugal, (1492 and 1497,
respectively). They have been settling in towns and suburbs of Przemysl,
Drohobycz, Lwow and Stryj.

According to M.Horn [1] in the Red Rus (Eastern Galicia and Wolyn) lands
there were in existence 110 towns and in the 25 of them have been already
established kehilot (Jewish communities).

Jewish kehilot at this time were located exclusively in the 19 royal
("miasta krolewskie") and 6 gentry towns (miasta szlacheckie), mainly in the
eight (8) towns of Lwow and seventeen (17) towns of Przemysl, Belz and Chelm

Sefardim were not accustom to the eastern Jewish lifestyle and the majority
of them have moved south to Balkans, Turkey and Greece.

Some of the Sefardim families stay in Galicia and >from those families have
originated known in our proud history such distinguished scientists,
writers, philosophers and medical doctors as Abraham Halevi, Abraham ben
Yehuda, Shabtai ben Joseph, a brilliant historian Nathan Hanower, and others

I have been working for sometime on the translation of 17th and 18th
centuries Drohobycz Jewish community records but the archaic Polish mixed
with the Latin very long law sentences are very challenging.

In the one of those documents [3] there is a short list of the names of
Drohobycz Jewish Community executives for years 1716-1765. List is not
completed, in some years only Rashim (Heads or Ratmans) and the Head Rashi
are listed, in some Anashim Tovim (Good Men) are also added. It also evident
that some names were not readable in the original manuscript damaged by
humidity or mold.

Name Yehoshua ben Yosef KATZ (kaf-tsade sofit) appears amongst the other
Anashim Rashim in kehilat Vaad 1730 and 1734.
Katz is definitely appears as his surname or perhaps his Kohen roots, as his
and father's first names ( Yehoshua ben Yosef) are follow by Katz.

I recall >from my discussion with Israeli friend named Katz, that his surname
depicts an alternative meaning of Kohen (Cohn, Kohn) - Kohein Tzaddik
(hence: kaf tsadeh), and is definitely not a German for a cat.

This is probably the answer to Marlene's question about the special meaning
of Katz in Galicia - it is a written proof that Katz was a Kohen indeed.


[1] Horn, M. " Zydzi na Rusi Czerwonej w XVI i pierwszej polowie XVII
wiekow.", Warszawa, 1975, page 32
"Jews in the Red Rus during 16th and the first half of 17th centuries"

[2] Caro, J., "Geschichte der Juden in Lemberg, Krakow 1894, page 45
"A history of the Lemberg Jews".

[3] "Reshimat Anshei Hakehilla beDrohobych bshanim 1716-1765"

Alexander Sharon
Calgary, Alberta

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