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Who lived in the shetls? #general


Roger Lustig <trovato@...>
 

Dear Tereasa:

There's only one silly question: the one you don't ask.

As far as I can tell, the ShtetlSeeker is a directory of every town,
village, and wide place in the road in all those countries. A
gazetteer, really.

There were some villages populated entirely or almost entirely by Jews,
but those were not the rule everywhere. In Poland and elsewhere, it
could be that there were only one or two Jewish families in a village.
In many cases one of these was the local innkeeper. The feudal lords
had a monopoly on acohol sale and production, and would license taverns,
etc. The licensee would pay a certain amount for the right to make or
sell beer or booze, and could keep the rest. Jews were often preferred
as license-holders, not least because they could generally read, write,
and keep accounts. Also, they were socially not part of the community,
which made it easier for them to keep a more, um, professional
relationship with their customers. (And when it was time for a
temperance drive, they made excellent scapegoats...)

Good luck!

Roger Lustig
Descendant of more than one of those "Arrendators"

John and Tereasa Lenius wrote:

Perhaps this is a silly question, but, did only Jews live in the Shetls
found using the Shetl seeker? I know that my Great grandfather and all of
his brothers were born in a Nowa Wies (which one I don't know). I know
absolutely nothing about these villages. Also, I would like to thank all of
you who have answered my previous message. It is wonderful to know that
people are willing to help. Thank you again.


Robert Israel <israel@...>
 

In article < 200504150607318.SM03016@yourvp7x3s9ctm >,
John and Tereasa Lenius < jtlenius@... > wrote:

Perhaps this is a silly question, but, did only Jews live in the Shetls
found using the Shetl seeker? I know that my Great grandfather and all of
his brothers were born in a Nowa Wies (which one I don't know). I know
absolutely nothing about these villages.
First of all, the Shtetl Seeker doesn't find only shtetls, but all sorts
of places >from the smallest village to the largest city. And the word
"shtetl" is often used loosely to refer to all sorts of places. In
Eastern European Yiddish, a shtetl was a small town, with perhaps
a few thousand people, as distinct >from a village which would be called a
"dorf", and a city which would be a "shtot". As for your first question:
No, not only Jews lived there, although Jews might have made up a large
fraction of the population.

Robert Israel
israel@...
Vancouver, BC, Canada


John and Tereasa Lenius <jtlenius@...>
 

Perhaps this is a silly question, but, did only Jews live in the Shetls
found using the Shetl seeker? I know that my Great grandfather and all of
his brothers were born in a Nowa Wies (which one I don't know). I know
absolutely nothing about these villages. Also, I would like to thank all of
you who have answered my previous message. It is wonderful to know that
people are willing to help. Thank you again.
Tereasa Lenius
Tripoli, IA


Alexander Sharon
 

Tereasa Lenius" wrote

Perhaps this is a silly question, but, did only Jews live in the Shetls
found using the Shetl seeker?
Shtetls (literally "small towns") were established during the colonization
period (16th and 17th centuries) of the Poland Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Shtetl had a unique character - it was not an agricultural village and was
not qualified as a town proper either due mostly to the small population.

A unique features that have characterized shtetls were their economical
activities - concentration of the merchants/trade people and the marketplace
(known as Rynek) were residents of the surrounding villages could
sell/exchange their agricultural products and the livestock, and procure
'town' items manufactured locally or imported by shtetls dwellers.

Another unique feature of a shtetl was its "neutral ground" character,
located between the Polish (Roman Catholic) and the Ukrainian or Belarusian
(Russian Orthodox or Greek Catholic) population.

Shtetls were known in Polish, Russian or Ukrainian as miasteczko,
miestiechko, mistechko and even during the interwar period of Poland (refer
to 1929 Poland Business Directory on line), miasteczko has been given an
official status as an administration unit. Other interwar Polish
administration units were: district towns, towns and parishes.

BTW, the most famous of all the Jewish shtetls, shtetl Belz, was actually a
town, not a "miasteczko".

Not all miasteczka were Jewish - there are several small places established
by the German and other colonists. Jewish shtetls were populated by other
nationalities and they were generally governed by the other than Jewish
people - in some instances (especially in Galicia) there were also Jewish
mayors.

"Shtetl" name can be a bit confusing nowadays. We are all rationally
referring to a "shtetls" as the general name of the localities were our
ancestors were originated from, even when they have been in the past
residents >from such large cities as Krakow, Lwow, Wilno or Warszawa.

ShtetlSeeker database is East and Central Europe extract >from the US BGN
(United States Board of the Geographical Names) large worldwide database.
Not all localities listed in the ShtetlSeeker had Jewish population in the
past, actually localities with known Jewish population constitute very small
portion of all places listed.

Alexander Sharon
Calgary, Ab