Oleśnicki, Zbigniew°

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OLEŚNICKI, ZBIGNIEW ° (1389–1455), bishop of Cracow. During the reign of Ladislau ii Jagello of Poland, Oleśnicki was the power behind the throne of Wladislaw Warnenczyk and the spiritual agitator of contemporary hatred of the Jews. He was also the patron of Jan *Dlugosz, the anti-Jewish Polish chronicler. Oleśnicki invited John of *Capistrano to Poland in 1453, and his arrival coincided with the Jews' endeavor to have their general privileges agreed upon by the king. In the resulting riots of Cracow many Jews fled and a few converted to Christianity. Oleśnicki personally took care of some of the converts. He charged Casimir iv Jagello with favoring the Jews, stating that their privileges included articles which were against Christian religious principles. In a letter addressed to the Sejm at Leczyca he called these privileges "disgusting and abject." He demanded the introduction of the Jewish *badge in Poland. After the Polish armies had been defeated by the Teutonic Order at Chojnice, Oleśnicki increased his pressure on the king. At the congress of Great Poland's nobility at Cerekwica in 1454, the king agreed to issue anti-Jewish laws. The knights, facing a new military expedition, forced the king to keep his promise, and in the same year Casimir iv Jagello issued the Nieszawa statutes which canceled the general privileges accorded to the Polish Jews and reinstated the Warta statute of 1423 making moneylending by Jews to Christians more difficult.


M. Balaban, Historia Żydów w Krakowie i na kazimierzu 13041868, 1 (1931); E. Maleczynska, Społoczeństwo polskie pierwszej połowy xv wieku wobec zachodnich agadnień (1947).

[Jacob Goldberg]