Boleslav V°

views updated


BOLESLAV V ° ("The Pious "; 1221–1279), Polish prince, son of Ladislas Odonic of the Piast dynasty. Boleslav was prince of Great Poland from 1239, for the first ten years in conjunction with his brother. In 1257, after many vicissitudes, he succeeded in establishing his rule over the whole of Great Poland. During his wars against the Teutonic Order and the rulers of Brandenburg he captured Gdansk (Danzig). The appellation "Pious" denotes Boleslav's good relations with the Church. During his reign Poland was invaded by the Mongols who left the country in ruin after their retreat. Boleslav, like other Polish rulers of the period, invited settlers from Germany, including Jews, to rehabilitate the country, granting various concessions and guarantees to the new settlers. This situation, and the policy to which it gave rise, motivated Boleslav to grant a charter to the Jews of Great Poland, issued on Sept. 8, 1264. It is patterned after, and mainly transcribed from, the charters granted to Jews in Austria in 1244 and Bohemia in 1254. Also known as the Statute of Kalisz, it was the prototype for subsequent Polish legislation concerning the Jews in the Middle Ages, such as that of *Casimir the Great.

The original text of the Statute of Kalisz has been lost, but its content is conveyed in the document of 1506 of the chancellor Jan Laski. About half of the 36 articles of the Statute concern the legal status of the Jews, who were regarded as belonging to the prince's treasury (cf. art. 29: "Whoever robs a Jew…shall be considered as robbing Our treasure"). The Jews were protected against the *blood libel. They, their families, their possessions, and their institutions (synagogues, cemeteries) were under the protection of the prince (arts. 8–10, 14, 29) and subject to his jurisdiction (art. 8 denies the municipality any juridical authority over the Jews). The other articles relate to Jewish economic activities, and attest the ruler's special interest in Jewish credit transactions (see *Moneylending) and their organization. Two articles deal with the commercial activity of the Jews. Four articles original to the Statute of Kalisz, i.e., not adopted from earlier documents of this kind, are article 33, permitting the purchase of a horse from a Jew in daytime only; article 34, prohibiting mintmasters from accusing Jews of forging coins; article 35, compelling their Christian neighbors to assist Jews if attacked at night; and article 36, permitting Jews to trade in provisions.


R. Hube, Przywilej żydowski Bolesława (1880); Ph. Bloch, Die Generalprivilegien der polnischen Judenschaft (1892), 102–20; I. Schipper, Studya nad stosunkami gospodarczymi Żydów Polsce podczas Średniowiecza (1911); J. Sieradzki, in: Osiemnaście wieków Kalisza, 1 (1960), nos. 135–42. add. bibliography: S.A. Cygielman, Yehudei Polin ve-Lita ad Shenat T"H [1648] (1991), 47–60.

[Arthur Cygielman]