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../../Pukes/zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes)  Jews allowed to enter Riga 1822

Here a fragment of the rules about visits of Jews in Riga city is discussed. The rules were formulated on December 29, 1822 but quite similar ones were in force also in the previous years. The full text of the appropriate order of the Vidzeme [Livland] governor in the name of the Tzar is made available on this Site (in German). I am trying in this Page to translate and to comment on the clauses 15-18 of this order.

The original document defined the rules that the Jews allowed to live in Riga were to obey, what kinds of Jews might live in Riga permanently, who might arrive in this city for short time visits etc. As I could not translate the whole document, I chose the fragment that defines the groups of Jews that were allowed to visit Riga, because the list gives some insight what the Jews were busy with in the Russia Empire of that time, but, of course, the occupations mentioned here were not the only possible ones.

The texts in Italic should correspond to the original German text, the text in regular font is what I found useful to add as comments.


§. 15. Who was allowed to enter Riga


a) The foreigners who entered the Empire with appropriate permission. The Jews could emigrate to the Russia Empire but with great difficulties. For example, in 1841 Max Lilienthal was invited from Germany by Empire level officials, came to Riga and opened there the first Jewish secular school in the Empire. Rather soon he migrated further to St. Petersburg and later left the country.

The wholesalers and the merchants of the 1st and 2nd guilds. At that time 3 guilds of merchants existed. See more about them in the page about estates. In 1859 the Jewish merchants of the 1st guild were allowed to settle almost in any place of the Empire.

The Jewish merchants were allowed to trade in wholesale only, they might not resell goods in Riga.

c) The artists, manufacturers and artisans who traveled for acquisition of a higher qualification or in order to prove special skills in their trade or handicraft. I do not know what kind of artists were meant here. Do they really could be musicians or painters? It was very difficult to become an officially recognized artisan in Riga city at that time, because the associations (Zunfts) of artisans did not want to allow additional competitors. So I think that in reality the Jews came for professional education to Jews living in Riga. Similar permission was set forth in the Law 1804 of the facilitation of the life of Jews that was in force for all the Empire.

The agents of manor-owners whose duty was either to sell agriculture products brought along with them or to buy goods for the manor. It was rather wide practice that a manor hired a Jew who worked as a trade agent for the manor. This was fairly common practice for Kurzeme manor owners to have a Jewish commercial agent. Unlike in some provinces of the Pale, the Jews of Kurzeme were allowed to live in the countryside, for example, in a manor.

e) Those who were busy with the transportation of the agriculture products, or those who were the owners of the articles manufactured thereof and were coming for selling them and wished to buy what was necessary for the manufacturing. I suppose that mainly the Jews from Kurzeme [Kurland] could be engaged in this business, but quite possibly some people transported products also from Kaunas [Kowno] province.
f) The proprietors of the boats and rafts floating down the Daugava river, the owners of the goods loaded on these transportation means. Also the Jews who were authorized to accompany and to look after the goods on boats or rafts as well as to sell them. The Daugava river was a very important transportation artery for Rīga and for the whole Empire at that time. The most goods came by special boats with flat bottom, the rafts transported mainly wood, I think. The transportation was possible only in springs, when the water level was high.
g) Those who were servants or workers on the above mentioned boats.
h) The Jews who wished to apply for State (crown) contracts if according to the paragraph 15 of the Tzar manifest of January 1, 1807 they had right to.
i) Jews who had contracted delivery to the Proviant (provisions) commission, the Komisariat commission or to the Military hospital. The provisions at that time meant flour and grouts that was supplied in-kind to the Army units, and the Proviant commission was responsible for supply of these products. Other food products were bought by the Army units and the money as well as other goods (uniform, materials etc.) were distributed by the Komisariat commission.
j) Jews who came for performing their lawsuits.
k) Those who came for service in the houses of the Jews, who were allowed to settle in Riga. Jews were not allowed to hire a Christian for services that implied living in their house (servants, cooks, home teachers, etc.) therefore they had to invite somebody from the Pale, what was allowed, you see. This Law did not introduce a limit on number of servants a Jew could have in Riga.
l) Prikazčiks of the merchants of the 1st and 2nd guilds. Prikazčik actually was a shop-assistant, sometimes with additional duties and responsibilities.


§. 16. Who were not allowed to enter Riga

The following Jews were not allowed to stay in Riga even in the time of yearly fairs:

a) Artisans whose special mastership was not certified. To some extent this rule contradicts to 15c
b) Traveling salesmen and peddlers, even if they come under pretense of buying goods. This Law asserted that they had possibility of buying all necessary wares in the towns of the provinces, where they were allowed to live i.e. inside the Pale.
c) Day-labourers
d) Rabbis, slaughterers (shochets), school and church servants, synagogue musicians.
e) Those, who were declared to be sick or being stepchildren, as well as those, who presumably were wishing to convert to a Christian religion.


§. 17. What documents needed


a) The foreigners had to have appropriate passports
b) The wholesalers and the merchants of both guilds had to have the proofs of their guild status and the governor passport i.e. the passport issued by the officials of the province level.
c) The prikazčiks had to have the governors passport, the professional certificate and the certified document written on the stamp paper proving that they are in commission.
d) The artists, the manufacturers and the artisans, who traveled for acquisition of higher qualification or in order to proof the special skills in their trade or handicraft - governors passport
e) Those who wished to apply for State contracts or who had contracted delivery to the Proviant commission and other State commissions - the governors passport and proofs of their guild status.

All the others - a not expired placard passport. This kind of passport was issued by local authorities of a shtetl for a rather short time, in the 1820s for a year, I think. These and all other documents were not free of charge, but I do not know the actual prices of that time.


§. 18. Documents for family members


  Those Jews who have taken with them their family members should had for them the appropriate documents.


© Comments, translation. Bruno Martuzāns. 1995-2002