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VOLCHKO (Pol. Wolf, Wólczko , also known as Tsolner ; d. 1441?), Polish merchant, revenue officer, banker, purveyor to the king, and founder of settlements. Although the date of his birth is unknown, he originated in the town of Drogobych. A wealthy Jew, he became the banker and official agent (Officialis Noster) of Ladislaus ii Jagello (1386–1434), king of Poland. Volchko was very successful in financial affairs, tax-collection, commerce, and the founding of settlements (locator). The earliest evidence of his activities is a document (1404) which names him as executor of a large sum of money in the king's name for the town of *Lvov (Lemberg). For the next 30 years his affairs also involved the lease of the king's and the town's revenues in Lvov, and those of the customs stations of *Chelm and the salt mines of Drogobych. In addition to granting credit to the king and his court, Volchko also lent money to members of the feudal aristocracy with the king's consent. In 1419 he built himself a magnificent house in the Jewish quarter of Lvov which, at the close of the 16th century, finally became the property of the *Nachmanovich family who later built a synagogue in it. Volchko also engaged in the import of spices, silk, furs, and English cloth as well as in the export of wax. In 1423 the king granted him administrative rights and jurisdiction over the village of Werbiz (near *Sambor), which he developed most successfully on the strength of privileges similar to those of the *Magdeburg Law. To show his satisfaction, the king extended Volchko's rights to other estates in the vicinity. In letters-patent of the king in 1425, however, it was hinted that Volchko converted to Christianity. Volchko gave cause for disappointment in this hope and thus gave Church officials pretext to demand his removal from the estates on the basis that it was forbidden for a Jew to have jurisdiction over Christian settlers. Until 1432 Volchko succeeded in establishing more villages but in time he was compelled to retire from these activities and his rights were taken over by Christians.


Lemberg, Archivum, Akta grodzkie i Ziemskie, 2 (1870), nos. 42, 45, 46, 49, 53, 55, 58;12 (1887), nos. 219, 821, 1096; 19 (1906), no. 2820; I. Schiper, Studya nad stosunkami gospodarczymi żydów w Polsce podczas średniowiecza (1911), index, s.v.Wołczko Czolner; M. Balaban, Miscellanaea. Dwa przycznyki do stosuknow Jagielly żydami Iwowskimi (n.d.).

[Arthur Cygielman]