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../../Pukes/zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes)  No Jews tolerated in Livland 1764

Here the decree of the General Governor of Vidzeme [Livland] about the expelling of Jews out of the province is published. The decree was issued in 1764 that is a good time before the beginning of the reference time of ROOTS=SAKNES (1800), but I decided to present this document here, because it logically begins the history of Jews in Livland discussed in another Page in more details.

The translation and comments see at the end of the Page.



Demnach man in Erfahrung gebracht, daß sich unterschiedene Juden hier im Lande eingefunden, welche als Brandweins-Brenner, Tobacks-Spinner und in allerley andern Gewerben sich hin und wieder auf denen Höfen engagiret haben, gleichwohl aber zur Aufnahme und Hegung solcher Leute keine Erlaubniß oder Befehl eingegangen; Als wird allen und jeden Herren Possesoribus, Arrendatoren und Amtleuten Obrigkeitlich aufgegeben, keine Juden auf denen Gütern zu hegen oder aufzunehmen; sondern diejenige, so sich bey ihnen bereits befinden oder einfinden möchten, alsbald über die Grenze zu schaffen, und sich solchergestalt vor Schaden und Verantwortung zu hüten. Riga-Schloß den 31 December, 1764.


Ihro Kayserl. Majestät bestallter General en Chef, General-Gouverneur über das Herzogtum Liefland, des St. Andreas und des weissen Adlers, wie auch des St. Alexander-Newski, und des St. Annen-Ordens Ritter

George v. Browne.

My translation:



As it has become known that various Jews are present here in the rural areas, and they are hired by some local manors as alcohol-destillers, tobacco-spinners and in all kinds of other handwork, although no permission or order is received for the reception and the hiring of this people. Therefore all and each Sirs owners, leaseholders and civil servants are charged by the higher authorities to admit or to take care of no Jews in the manors; at the contrary, everyone, that should already be present or would be wishing to arrive, must be deported across the border as soon as possible in order to avoid losses and responsibility.

Riga Castle, December 31, 1764.

General en Chef of Her majesty, General-Gouverneur of the Duchy Lievland, Knight of the Orders of St. Andreas and of the White Eagle, as well as of the Order of St. Alexander-Newsky and the Order of St. Anna.

George v. Browne.


1. An alcohol-destiller was a rather needed professional in manors of that time, because the alcohol manufacturing brought good income for many manors. In reality, the maximum of the production was reached later at the beginning of the 19th century, I think. Jews were widely engaged in this profession, especially in Kurzeme [Kurland], where they were allowed to settle. They were in this business all the 19th century though later in less amount. The alcohol production in the 18th and to the end of the 19th century was a privilege of noble landowners, so Jews could be only employees of landowners.

2. About tobacco-spinners. The internet sources about ancient professions assert that a tobacco spinner was a maker of cigars. I think that in Livland of the 18th century they did not make cigars but tobacco ropes as it is described in the Web page (in German) about tobacco growing in the Wittlich area . They span tobacco leaves in long ropes on special spinning tables with a drum fastened at one side. The consumers could cut off a piece from this rope either for a chewing quid or for cutting small for filling a pipe. Evidently at that time they grew tobacco in Livland in an amount that professional tobacco spinners were needed. Principally the growing of tobacco in Latvia is possible, at least I remember my grandfather used to grow tobacco plants by himself, however the agriculture is not very simple and the quality is not excellent. I think that in the 19th century the peasants grew tobacco for their own consumption only, not for the market. However after the WW1 the tobacco cultivation slightly developed and some small factories worked up the tobacco of local production, but this practice was relatively soon abandoned because of competition of imported tobacco.

3. George Browne, who signed this decree, was born 1698 in Ireland. He became the General Governor of Livland in 1762 and was in this position till 1792.

4. Approximately in the same time (1765) the first Schutzjuden were allowed to settle in Riga city. See, for more details the special Page.


© Comments, translation. Bruno Martuzâns. 1995-2002