Abraham Judaeus Bohemus

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ABRAHAM JUDAEUS BOHEMUS

ABRAHAM JUDAEUS BOHEMUS (Abraham of Bohemia ; d. 1533), banker and tax collector. Abraham first served as banker to Ladislas ii, king of Hungary and Bohemia. He emigrated to Poland in about 1495 and settled in *Cracow. Armed with recommendations from Ladislas and Maximilian i of Germany, he soon became banker to the Polish king Alexander Jagellonski and later to Sigismund i. In 1512 Sigismund appointed him collector of the taxes paid by the Jews in Greater Poland and Masovia, and in 1514 the office was extended to include the Jews throughout Poland. The king warned the Jews, and especially the rabbis, to cooperate with him and not to interfere with him by excommunicating him, or in any other way. Abraham was several times acknowledged to be under the sole jurisdiction of the king. Abraham used his influence to act as *shtadlan at the royal court for his fellow Jews. Sigismund had to remind the Jews of Cracow to pay the promised 200 florins to Abraham "for defending them against accusations brought up against them." In 1518 Abraham was granted freedom of commerce and banking in all Poland. According to tradition he was the father (or grandfather) of Mordecai *Jaffe.

bibliography:

M. Balaban, Dzieje Żydów Krakowie i na Kazimierzu (1304–1808), 1 (1912), 61–65, 353; M. Bersohn, Dyplomataryusz 1388–1782 (1910), nos. 492, 493.