Lipman, Levi

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LIPMAN, LEVI (Isaac Libman ; first half of 18th century), merchant of Courland and financial agent for the imperial Russian court. Lipman's name is found in documents from the reigns of Peter II (1727–30) and Anna (1730–40), occasionally with the addition of the titles Ober-Hof-Kommissar and Kammeragent, as a purveyor of various goods and precious stones to the imperial court. His name is sometimes mentioned as a shtadlan active on behalf of the Jews. He was a favorite of Prince Dmitri Golitsyn and later of Count Biron, the "strong man" at Czarina Anna's court. When Biron was appointed duke of Courland in 1737, he entrusted Lipman with all the financial affairs of the duchy. He pursued his commerce in St. Petersburg and maintained his relations with the imperial court even after the fall of Biron. As he was the sole Jewish figure at the court of St. Petersburg, his contemporaries exaggerated the extent of his influence. (One ambassador wrote of him: "Lipman is the actual ruler of Russia.") In fact, Lipman was merely one of the *Court Jews who were characteristic of that period in Europe.


R.J. Wynderbar, Geschichte der Juden in den Provinzen Liv-und Kurland (1853), 23; Yu. Hessen, in: ye, 10, 224–5.

[Yehuda Slutsky]