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Box-Tax Paperwork Records
As a source of information about the life of Jewish communities and their personal structure
By Anatolij Chayesh (Saint Petersburg)

Translated by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In doing Jewish research about local community history, genealogy, and the history of families it is important to enlarge the scope of the utilized sources.

In accordance with such an approach, the goal of this article is to bring attention to the archival documents with box tax related material which are kept in the Russian State Historical Archives (RSHA) in fond 1287 of the Economic Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).

General Data about the Box Tax and Its Record Keeping

The history of the origin and evolution of the box tax has been researched quite thoroughly in detail. That research was handled by a Commission On Handling Jewish Wellbeing Affairs ("Komissiya po ustroistvu byta evreev") during the years 1872-1881 and by our famous historians, S. Dubnow and Yu. Gessen.1

According to Gessen, "Box or cup tax was a term used long ago, as it seems, to refer to the taxes that were levied upon the entire Jewish population not levied individually for each soul (per person or for possessions based upon assessed valuation), but rather it was an indirect levy. This box tax was applied to items of primary necessity which one cannot do without as well as upon some types of economic activity, and also upon religious articles and religious/civil ceremonial records such as marriage, birth, and death records2."

"Originally the goal of the box tax was to be used to help to pay off the debts of the Jewish community to the Catholic clergy. Those debts came about in two ways: on one hand, the Catholic clergy levied monetary fees on the Jews, by employing various pretexts (such as after religious disputes, that they forced upon the Jews), on the other hand, the Jewish communities, not having enough funds to pay off excessive state and land levies, had to borrow from the Catholic clergy."3

The first recorded documentation about the box tax in Litva or Lithuania is found in the documents of the Lithuanian Vaad in 1647.4

In Russia in 1839 there was a decree issued known as "About the Box Tax on Jews." Due to the liquidation of the institution of Kahals, it was later replaced by another decree with the identical same name which was adopted Dec. 19, 1844. This later decree, without any significant changes, was in force through 1917.5 This decree regulated two kinds of levies: general and supplementary.

'8. Paragraph 8. Subject to the General Levy: (1) Kosher Ritual Slaughter of Animals (on each cow, sheep). (2) Ritual Slaughter of Poultry (for each bird). (3) Sale of kosher meat (per each pound). (4) Fees, penalties, and other levies for not following the box tax regulations.

'10 Paragraph 10. Subject to Supplementary Levy: (1) A certain percentage from the rental profits of Jewish owned houses, stores, and cellars or warehouses. (2) A certain percentage from Jewish manufacturing activities' (3) A certain percentage from the estate of deceased Jews. (4) A fee for wearing Jewish ritual clothing, both male and female. (5) Fees, penalties, and other levies for not following the provisions of this paragraph."

As opposed to the research of the history of the box tax, the record keeping side of the box tax was, up until recently, hardly ever the subject of the researcher's attention.6

The general approach to the box tax implementation was as follows:

The Civil Municipal Departments handling Jewish affairs, (dumas, ratushas, magistrates), first "by conducting meetings with local and well-to-do Jewish communal representatives" formulated the fee schedule based upon the financial needs of the community and the specific items subject to the box tax as well as the approximate rate for each item.

Then auctions were held for the box tax farmers "for a four year term which always ran from January first throughout the entire gubernia although for each community separately." Specific tax districts were established for each individual box tax farmer (otkupschik) where he had the right to exact box tax payment for his own benefit. After the contract was signed, lists were created of all the Jewish settlements in the districts given to each box tax farmer. The result of this activity '- the schedules of the levied items, the rate of taxation, the expense schedules, and the agreed upon price of the farmer's contract ' the governors reported it all to the general government and the Minister of Internal Affairs.7

The dumas and ratushas accepted payments from the tax farmers, then they issued receipts to them, and these amounts were recorded in the bound libers. Those payments that came for local taxes were sent to the Uyezd Treasury. The surplus figures were included in the fee schedules. As a result of that every year there remained some additional excess funds. These extra funds were to be transferred from the dumas and ratushas to the state bank and some institutions for the poor (such as homes for adults or asylums for the indigent some of which were allowed to borrow funds) in order to earn interest. As those surpluses were accumulating, the money from these funds could be borrowed for Jewish communal use.8 The difficulty confronting the Jewish communal representatives was that these additional funds that had accumulated and were being held in reserve were under the control of the local administration which was not against the idea of "playing with" and basically holding on to the money themselves, or just simply dipping their own hands into what were really Jewish pockets.

The government, which was well aware of this financial abuse by the local bureaucrats, also remembered the shortcomings of the Jewish leaders under the former Kahal system, and therefore set up difficult and complicated procedures for both sides to get hold of the surplus moneys. The procedure was as follows:

First, the representatives of the community, a minimum of two thirds, the so called "five court delegates" had to assemble in a local Mes'chanski or in another type of a local civil government office (the Jews were never in charge of this type of bureaucratic setting) and they had to discuss the proposed expenditure. If such expenditure was considered necessary by this required two-thirds majority of those present, then a request was drawn up. The head of this Mes'chanski precinct and several of its members notarized this request by affixing a seal and together with its own report of the proceedings everything was then sent on to the next level of government for the guberniya (however, if the discussed matter had to do with the local town or a lesser governmental level, then it was directed to the appropriate office).

The Gubernia office usually asked the Uyezd Police Commissioner (uezdny ispravnik) what his opinion was as to the soundness and the financial standing of the communities that had submitted a request. He would report on the total community population, and how many of them might be indigent. When the disbursement was for a debt incurred for caring for its sick members in an out of town hospital then the supervisor was asked to provide information about the financial state of those specific patients.9 If the matter being considered involved helping victims of a fire, then the supervisor would confirm the facts of the fire and its detrimental consequences.

If the matter involved repairs or erection of communal structures then the Supervisor would describe the condition of the current buildings and provide his opinion as to whether or not the repairs and/or new constructions were necessary. Any construction or maintenance task had to be documented by providing some drawings and budget papers. These documents were checked both for technical and financial prudence by the guberina's building department. At the same time the Finance Department provided the government with information about any debts, tax payments, fees, box tax balances, etc. that might be listed as outstanding on the requestor's accounts.

After the approval of all of these checks by the gubernia's government the case was submitted to the civil governor. He would write up a memo as to whether or not there are any obstacles to the proposed budget and quite often he would cut the scope of the project significantly. Then the case was submitted to the Governor General who would write a request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. From the General Reception Office of the Ministry the request would then be forwarded to the Ministry's Economic Department.

If the Governor-General of the area was against the expense, the request would be denied outright. But if the Governor-General did not find any obstacles, then the Ministry's Economic Department would ask for the Finance Minister's opinion. When the subject of the request had to do with educational matters (the building of vocational schools, adding some extra parallel classes, help for some private schools, etc.) then even before the case file would be submitted to the Finance Minister's Office, it would first be submitted to the Education Ministry's Office. Only when all of the required approvals were obtained, was permission then granted to the Jewish communal organization to utilize its Box Tax Account to disburse monies for the approved expenditure. It is important to note that this money was not borrowed, but actually always belonged to the Jewish community, although it still needed governmental permission to use it.

These described procedures resulted in huge paperwork. The fees for such applications were based on the number of paper sheets used and the clerks were writing quite extensively. By the way, up to 1851, the additional filing fees were also paid from the same Tax Box account.

To simplify the paperwork, on Aug. 25, 1900, the Minister of Internal Affairs issued circular #2560 which allowed local "Governors, upon consulting with the local Finance Departments, to grant expenditures from the Tax Box Accounts sums without limits towards the following: a) temporary, incidental needs of Jewish groups/associations/organizations11 'b) setting up and maintaining matters of fire safety, as well as public health, and the general welfare of towns and settlements with a high percentage of Jewish population; c) assistance to Jews hurt by a fire, flood, and other general disasters." 12 Because of this change, the more recent paper records about Box Tax expenditures that are kept in Fond 1287 are less informative.

Private Information about the Box Tax from Fond 1287,
Relevant to Kovno Gubernia.

Description of Sources

Fond 1287 of the Economic Department of the Internal Affairs Ministry contains 107,641 files for the period of 1797 through 1904. In the "opis" or sections 13, 21, 22, 23, 38, 39, 42, 43, and 44 we encountered and recorded hundreds of Box Tax related cases. They contain concrete data about life in the Jewish communities: their population, the number of well-to-do and indigent families, about incomes and expenses of the communities, their debts to the Church and to private individuals, about economic conditions during specific years, about disasters, epidemics, fires, floods, droughts, hail storms, about the construction and repair of public structures, about payments to health facilities for Jewish patients, about payments to the Jewish volunteers who would "sell" themselves to become Army conscripts on behalf of the community, about support to some private schools, as well as many other details. Based upon the record of the number of individuals who have accessed these files, these files have practically never been researched.

Let's look at some of the files relating to Kovno Gubernia. In Fond 1287 for 1845-1904 there are 74 Kovno {Kaunas} files: 34 are at the gubernia level (about many towns and settlements in the gubernia) (see Table 1), and 40 are at a local level. One of these is shown in Tables 2 and 2a.

Table 1. Gubernia Files involving Box Taxes in Opis numbered 39, 42, 43, 44

(File Number/Year)

Opis 39

Opis 42

Opis 43

Opis 44

 

571/1848

 

363/1846

 

97/1866

 

2/1897

1497/1853

416/1847

153/1867

58/1898

1886/1860

 

358/1870

115/1899

2017/1861

 

409/1871

878/1903

2089/1862

 

475/1872

956/1904

2535/1865

 

522/1873

 

 

 

590/1874

 

 

 

641/1875

 

 

 

794/1877

 

 

 

828/1878

 

 

 

1035/1886

 

 

 

1074/1887

 

 

 

1094/1888

 

 

 

1158/1890

 

 

 

1198/1891

 

 

 

1216/1891

 

 

 

1235/1892

 

 

 

1284/1893

 

 

 

1331/1894

 

 

 

1360/1895

 

 

 

1423/1896

 


Table 2. Local Files Involving Box Taxes in Opis numbered 13, 21, 22, 23

(File Number/Year)

 

Locality

 

Opis 13

 

Opis 21

 

Opis 22

 

Opis 23

Vidzy {Vidzy, Belarus}

 

 

859/1858

 

Kovno {Kaunas}

966/1852

 

 

 

Shavli {Siauliai}

 

15/1847

 

885/1874


Table 2a. Local Files Involving Box Taxes in Opis numbered 38, 39, 42, 43

(File Number/Year)

Locality

Opis 38

Opis 39

Opis 42

Opis 43

Vidzy {Vidzy, Belarus}

 

1556/1853

 

 

Vilkomir {Ukmerge, Lithuania}

 

 

292/1845

 

New Zhagory {New Zagare, Lithuania}

 

 

365/1846

 

Keidany {Kedainiai, Lithuania}

 

1819/1858

 

 

Kovno {Kaunas, Lithuania}

1406/1852

1497/1853

2265/1863

269/1845

568/1873

687/1875

783/1877

1141/1889

1444/1896

Kretingen {Kretinga, Lithuania}

 

1579/1854

 

 

Kupishki {Kupiskis, Lithuania}

 

 

 

174/1867

Novo Alexandrovsk {Zarasai, Lithuania}

 

1195/1851

1761/1858

307/1846

 

Rossieny {Raseiniai, Lithuania}

2153/1852

1749/1858

243/1845

1203/1843

Plugyany {Plunge, Lithuania}

 

1806/1858

2529/1865

254/1845

 

Ponevezh {Panevezys, Lithuania}

   

336/1846

 

Taurogen {Taurage, Lithuania}

459/1847

1264/1851

1698/1857

Telshi {Telsiai, Lithuania}

193/1845

217/1845

Utzyani {Utena, Lithuania}

 

1881/1860

   

Shavli {Siauliai, Lithuania}

571/1873

Shadow {Seduva, Lithuania}

 

1538/1853

   

Shilele {Silale, Lithuania}

     

543/1873

Shlkudi {Skuodas, Lithuania}

   

252/1845

 

Working with the above cases we registered all documents containing information about towns, settlements, and Jewish names.

Without showing this information in full, let's take a look at these samples and tables:

Early Documents Relating to the Box Tax Paperwork

The first mentions of the tax box auctions appeared in the newspaper "Kovenskie guberskie vedomesti" in May-August 1844, that is to say before the new regulations concerning the box taxes and liquidation of the institution of kahals:

The Kovno guberniya announces that under government auspices an auction for the right to collect box taxes for four years starting with Jan. 1, 1845 will take place on the 20th of September' The annual income was calculated for these localities: from Ponevezh {Panevezys, Lithuania} 2125 rubles, from Novomeiski {Novoye Mesto in Ponevez Uezd} 100 rubles, from Krakinov {Krekenava, Lithuania} 432 rubles, from Remigol {Ramygala, Lithuania} 432 rubles, from Pokroi {Pakrojis, Lithuania} 230, from Linkovo {Linkuva, Lithuania} 345, from Zeimel {Zeimelis, Lithuania} 215, from Joniskis {Joniskis, Lithuania} 130, from Posvol {Pasvalys, Lithuania} 534, from Pusholat {Pusalotas, Lithuania} 250, from Pompyani {Pumpenai, Lithuania} 420, from Birzhai {Birzai, Lithuania} 810, from Vobolni {Vabalninkas, Lithuania} 420."

The new situation as well as the liquidation of the institution of the kahals forced the administration to shift the starting date for the proposed leasing period to Jan 1, 1846. At the same time smaller communities were attached for the purposes of tax collection to a bigger ones. From the above listed communities ' Novomeskoe {Novoye Mesto} (with 84 people) was attached to Ponevezh {Panevezys} region, Remigolskoe (with 89 people) was attached to Krakinovsk, Yoganishelskoe (76 people) to Posvolskoe, and Pusholat {Pusalotas} (200 people) was combined with Pompyan {Pumpenai}.16

This decision of Nov. 14, 1845 to combine the different areas was immediately contested by the elders in the Ponevezh {Panevezys} area ' Yosel Davidovich Meller and Michel Kasrelovich Smukler. They wrote: "There is no financial deficit for the kahal of Ponevezh {Panevezys}. On the other hand, the Novomeiski kahal is 5,000 rubles behind. By combining both kahals, the Ponevezh Jews would be liable for a substantial debt' The Jews in Novomeisk are indeed in a dire position. As they are being pressed by their local landlord, most of them have already left the place and have dispersed through the world."17 The elders asked that they not be combined them with the Novomeski kahal.

The implementation of the new regulations was not easy because the tax amounts established by the administration were too high to make tax farming attractive enough. The Kovno governor reported to the Internal Affairs Minister on Oct. 25, 1846 that there were no one in attendance for the opening of the box tax auctions for eight kahals in his gubernia: "Braslav {Braslav, Byelorus} and Komaiski {Kamajai} in Novoalexandrovski {Zarasai} uezd, and Pompyan {Pompenai}, Birzh {Birzai}, Linkov {Linkuva}, Pokroiski {Pakruojis}, Zhemel {Zeimelis} and Krakinov {Krekenava} kahals in Ponevezh uezd. Therefore, the Gubernia forced the tax collection upon the local administrations for now, and ordered them to announce new auctions."18

After the new auctions, on Nov. 15, 1846, the tax amounts were significantly reduced: for Pompyani {Pompenai} kahal ' 318 rubles, for Linkov {Linkuva} ' 220 rubles, for Pokroiski {Pakruojis} ' 175 rubles, Zheimel {Zeimelis} ' 70 rubles, Krakinov {Krekenava} ' 209 rubles. Then, after the third auction, in Jan 1847, for Birzh ' 440 rubles, and for Komaiski {Kamajai} ' 110 rubles a year. Even so, new auctions were required for the Braslav kahal.19

Statistical Data for 1846.

Let's look at the case titled "As reported by the manager of Kovno gubernia, about the box tax on Kovno Gubernia Jews for 1846-1852, with attached tables, rates, and budgets"20 This case is one of the most detailed ones amongst the other similar cases, possibly, because in this instance the gubernia clerks were paid by the collected tax itself. This case allows one to compile the population roll of communities, indicate individual class and real ("not listed") census of males in each. Also, it shows the groups by indigent and non-indigent class (see Table 3). The tax for indigents were paid from the general box tax account.21

Table 3. Jewish Community of Kovno {Kaunas} Gubernia in 1846.

Male Count by Class, and Status. 22

 

 

Community

Class

of Value

 

Indigents

 

Community

Class/

Indigent

Non indigent

Beisagol {Baisogala, Lithuania}

3

176

52

Onikshtin {Anyksciai, Lithuania}

1

376

299

Birzhani {Birzai}

2

713

146

Plungyani {Plunge, Lithuania}

1

682

423

Braslov

4

181

131

Pozelvyani {Zelva, Lithuania}

3

106

42

Vevirzhani {Veivirzenai, Lithuania}

2

323

62

Pokroisk {Pakrojis, Lithuania}

2

267

92

Vekshnyani {Vieksniai, Lithuania}

2

371

211

Pompyani {Pumpenai, Lithuania}

1

372

184

Vendzyagol {Vandziogala, Lithuania}

2

186

68

Ponevezhesk {Panevezys}

1

487

320

Vidzsk {Vidiskiai, Lithuania}

2

763

240

Ponedelsk {Pandelys, Lithuania}

1

349

124

Viduklev {Vidukle, Lithuania}

2

80

31

Posvolskoe {Pasvalys, Lithuania}

1

324

155

Vilkomir {Ukmerge, Lithuania}

1

560

1197

Rakish {Rokiskis, Lithuanai}

1

206

120

Vilkisk {Vilkija, Lithuania}

3

224

94

Retovsk {Rietavas, Lithuania}

2

354

118

Villiampol {Vilijampole, Lithuania}

1

864

473

Rogov {Raguva, Lithuania}

2

224

149

Vobolnitzk

3

214

91

Rossienny {Raseiniai, Lithuania}

1

772

532

Vornensk {Varniai, Lithuania}

2

416

118

Rumshishi {Rumsiskes, Lithuania}

2

75

52

Gordzhov {Gargzdai, Lithuania}

2

193

120

Salantsk

{Salantai, Lithuania}

2

327

138

Dyatnov {Dotnuva, Lithuania}

4

113

29

Skavdvil {Skaudvile, Lithuania}

4

149

19

Dusyatsk {Dusetos, Lithuania}

2

182

31

Skopish {Skapiskis, Lithuania}

3

96

50

Zheimeli {Zeimelis, Lithuania}

3

354

50

Soloksk {Salakas, Lithuania}

2

137

52

Zheimensk {Zeimiai, Lithuania}

4

114

30

Srednitzk {Seredzius, Lithuania}

3

299

153

Zhidikovsk {Zidikai, Lithuania}

4

492

193

Starozhagorsk {Old Zagare, Lithuania}

2

436

196

Keidani {Kedainiai, Lithuania}

1

1029

463

Syad {Seda, Lithuania}

3

606

213

Kelmen {Kelme, Lithuania}

3

361

141

Taurogensk {Taurage, Lithuania}

1

265

104

Klikolsk {Klykoliai, Lithuania}

3

312

85

Telshev {Telsiai, Lithuania}

1

434

628

Kovarsk {Kavarskas, Lithuania}

4

119

50

Utzyansk {Utena, Lithuania}

1

485

602

Kovna {Kaunas}

1

513

324

Ushpol {Uzpaliai, Lithuania}

3

151

103

Komaysk {Kamajai, Lithuania}

1

94

44

Chveidan {Kvedarna, Lithuania}

3

83

26

Krakinov {Krekenava, Lithuania}

4

331

104

Shavel {Siauliai} Lithuania}

1

544

799

Kretingovsk {Kretinga, Lithuania}

1

532

338

Shavkyani {Saukenai, Lithuania}

4

212

49

Krok {Krakes, Lithuania}

2

143

41

Shavlyani {Siaulenai, Lithuania}

3

221

43

Krozhsk {Kraziai,Lithuania}

4

293

28

Shadov {Seduva, Lithuania}

2

455

154

Kupishsk {Kupiskis, Lithuania}

2

470

146

Shat {Seta, Lithuania}

2

200

133

Linkov {Linkuva, Lithuania}

2

329

89

Shidlov {Siluva, Lithuania}

2

90

28

Luknitzk {Luoke, Lithuania}

3

325

165

Shkud {Skuodas, Lithuania}

3

734

201

Nemoksht {Nemaksciai, Lithuania}

2

218

63

Eiragol {Ariogala, Lithuania}

2

293

257

Novoalexandrovsk {Zarasai, Lithuania}

1

66

95

Jurburg {Jurbarkas, Lithuania}

1

751

559

Novozhagor {New Zagare, Lithuania}

1

665

377

Yanishsk {Joniskis, Lithuania}

1

240

192

Novomeisk

2

569

112

Yanov {Jonava, Lithuania}

1

207

150

Okmyan {Akmene, Siauliai}

4

275

54

Total:

 

25172

13545

The Class of the kahal23 characterizes the rate of general box tax as determined by table 4.

Later these rolls could be somewhat adjusted. For instance, "by the Kovno Finance Department's decision of Sept 28, 1870, the Dorbyany {Darbenai} community was separated from the community of Kretingen {Kretinga}. The Ponevezh {Panevezys} Duma submitted a tax roll for the Remigol {Ramygala} community that was separate from the community of Krakinov {Krekenava} because the Remigol community was constructed on state land, and for the purposes of public duties is being treated separately." 24 {If the stetl was constructed on the ground of the landowner, it was referred to as privately owned (vladel'cheskoe mestechko) from a word (vladelets). If the shtetl was constructed on the state ground, it was referred to as state (kazennoe mestechko), from a word for treasury (kazna).}

Table 4. Taxable Items for General Box Tax Collection
for Jewish Communities of Different Classes for 1846-185225

Tax Items

Community Tax Rates

 

1st class

2nd class

3rd class

4th class

а) For each animal schected or kosher-slaughtered {This refers to the tax due on the process (schecting) for instance, 70 kopecks per cow schected.}

       

    Ox

1 р.75 к.

1 р. 50 к.

1 р.

80 к.

    Cow

1 р.50 к.

1 р. 30 к.

90 к.

70 к.

    2 year old ox or cow

1 р.

ruble

80 к.

kopeck

60 к.

40 к.

    Calf

25 к.

20 к.

16 к.

15 к.

    Ram or Sheep

18 к.

16 к.

12 к.

10 к.

    Goats

18 к.

16 к.

12 к.

10 к.

b) Poultry birds

     

    Chicken

3 к.

2 к.

11/2 к.

1 к.

    Couple of Chicks

3 к.

2 к.

11/2 к.

1 к.

    Goose

8 к.

3 к.

5 к.

4 к.

    Duck

4 к.

3 к.

2 к.

11/2 к.

    Turkey 'male

12 к.

10 к.

8 к.

6 к.

    Turkey ' female

8 к.

6 к.

6 к.

5 к.

c) Each pound of kosher meat

21/2 к.

2 к.

11/2 к.

1 к.

     head, feet, or innards

11/2 к.

11/4 к.

1 к.

3/4 к.

    goose fat

21/2 к.

2 к.

11/2 к.

1/2 к.

This table shows that the general taxable items were the same for communities of different classes.

On the other hand, the supplemental taxable items varied depending on a community's class. Here is some data (Table 5) about Jewish industrial activities. The rates of the supplemental box tax for all kahals was the same - 2% of the annual production.

Table 5. Jewish Industrial Activity in Kovno Gubernia in 184626

Community

Industry

Number of enterprises

Annual Production (rubles)

Birzh {Birzai}

Leather Goods

?

179

Vilkomir {Ukmerge}

Brewery
Leather goods

?
?

3200
950

Villyampol {Vilijampole}

Brewery

2

1100

Dusyat {Dusetos}

Factory

?

120

Zhidikov {Zidikai}

Leathergoods

?

150

Kovarsk {Kavarskas}

Leathergoods
Meals
Brass

1
2
?

100
155
160

Kovna {Kaunas}

Brewery

4

4125

Kretingen {Kretinga}

Leathergoods
Brass

?
?

200
60

Kupish {Kupiskis}

Leathergoods

?

510

Novoalexandrovsk {Zarasai}

Brewery

1

300

Novozhagorsk {New Zagare}

Leathergoods

?

9500

Onikshtin {Anyksciai}

Fabrics, Plants
Meals

?
1

800
210

Plugyani {Plunge}

Leathergoods

?

200

Pozelvyani {Zelva}

Leather goods
Meals

?
?

140
950

Pompyan {Pumpenai}

Tar,

?

65

Skavdil {Skaudvile}

Fabrics, Plants

?

225

Solok {Salakas}

Leathergoods

?

150

Taurogen {{Taurage}

Fabrics, Plants

?

150

Telsh {Telsiai}

Leathergoods
Brass

?
?

105
125

Utzyan {Utena}

Leathergoods

?

180

Ushpol {Uzpaliai}

Leathergoods

1

75

Shavkyan {Saukenai}

Tar

?

266

Shat {Seta}

Leathergoods
Tar

1
?

75
7

Shidlov {Siluva}

Leathergoods
Brass

?
?

500
1500

Shilel {Silale}

Fabrics, Plants

?

245

Shkud {Skuodas}

Leathergoods
Brass

?
?

800
150

Yurburg {Jurbarkas}

Fabrics, Plants

?

550

The question mark "?" in the table above indicates the absence in a source of specific insights or information.

Budgets that were based on anticipated revenues were mostly geared towards paying off communal debts and fees, maintaining and supporting synagogues, prayer houses, shelters, Talmud Torahs, paying for the land where communal Jewish buildings and cemeteries were located, for supporting indigent students in schools, as well as other annual repetitive expenses. 27

Here are some illustrations of "untermed" debts that the former kahals owed to the non-Jewish clergy. These debts were assigned to the government and the Jewish communes were paying interest (Table 6).

Table 6. The Former Kahals' Debts to Russian or Catholic Religious Clergy,
and the Amount of Payments in 1846.
28

{Plebanija and Al'taria in this table are terms for old Catholic or Lutheran religious establishments.}

Community

To Whom and Since When Owed

Sum

Rubles

Kopecks

Vornyan {Varniai, Lithuanian}

To: Vornyan {Varniai} Rohitan monastery: 300 rub (silver?)

18

 

 

Kelme {Kelme, Lithuania}

To: Krozh {Kraziai} Benedicts monastery (since Sept 29, 1762)

To: Kelme {Kelme, Lithuania} Plebanija* (since Apr 20, 1726)

To: Kelme {Kelme, Lithuania} Al'taria (since Sept 20, 1757)

To: Lyal {Lioliai} Plebanija (since Dec 12, 1726)

To: Shavkyan {Saukenai} Plebanija (since Apr 17, 1792)

To: Tzitovyan {Tytuvenai} monastery (since May 9th, 1762)

10

25

18

8

6

17

80

25

 

64

 

60

Krozh {Kraziai, Lithuania}

To Vornyan {Varniai} Al'taria ' 1,350 (silver?) rubles

To Krozh {Kraziai} Women's Benedictine monastery ' 180 (silver) rubles.

81

10

 

80

Rossieny {Raseiniai, Lithuania}

To: Dominican monastery ' 495 rubles

To: Lukni {Luoke} Plebanija ' 115 rubles

29

7

70

Salant {Salantai, Lithuania}

To: Salant {Salantai} Al'taria (since Feb. 8th 1746)

13

71

Syadsk {Seda, Lithuania}

To Sydsk {Seda} Al'taria ' 133 rubles

To Salant {Salantai} Al'taria ' 360 rubles.

8

21

 

60

Telshe {Telsiai, Lithuania}

To Telshe {Telsiai} Bernardin monastery (since Jan 1st, 1700)

9

In some 1846 records of payments there are these items: Syad {Seda} community paid the "partial communal debt due to the lender, the Jew Yosel Achkinas, according to the note issued on May 16th, 1841 ' 47 rubles and 5 kopecks." 29

The Shat {Seta} community paid "to the Shat Jews, Israel Zak, Izik Mysel Kurlyandski, Berl Gurvich and Aisik Levin, a recognized debt in accordance with adjudication by a court of Jan. 27, 1842, the sum of 484 rubles, 54 kopecks." 30

The Salant {Salantai} community paid "interest amount according to the note of May 22, 1845, for 300 rubles to the Jew, Vulf Girshovisch Londe." 31

The Ponevezh {Panevezys} community paid "a portion of principal and interest to the Jew, Shmuel Mendeliovich Zhiv 187 rubles and 15 kopecks, and to recruit Girsh Yankeliovich Melyamed 30 rubles to pay off a note." 32

Kinds of Personal Data.

Personal data in the files of Fund 1287, as a rule, are limited to just names (given and family), sometimes with the patronymics of individuals, with an indication of their professional /social position (like rabbi, gabbai, tax collector, representative) and their social status (like kupez, a son of a kupez, or meschanin, etc.) In some cases, there are the names of the box tax "farmers," landlords, lenders, and the sick people whose treatment was paid for by the box tax collections. These names are included in all our samples if they were in our sources but they do not exceed three or four.

Occasionally, there exists in the documents rather complete information about certain individuals. Compare items d) and zh) in the resolution by the gubernia's authority of Aug 16th, 1873:

"d) In Shavel {Siauliai} 400 rubles were awarded as wages to Rabbi Abelson. Since the current year's budget allows him 350 rubles, then this budget [1874] assigns his wages to be also 350 rubles.

zh) An expense should be included (under the general expenses for maintaining of Jewish schools and synagogues) for the wages of Rossieny {Raseiniai} Rabbi Yoffe'. since'. when the Governor-General visited Rossienny on June 5th of this year, he personally suggested to the town head that the box tax budget should include a provision for the next four years to pay wages to Rabbi Yoffe, because, according to the Duma, indeed he is deserving of encouragement and reward due to both his diligent performance of his duties, as well as his voluntary efforts and work in the spirit of the government. [He] always makes the point to his co-religionists that Russia is their homeland, and in order to achieve a good name and the status of a truly loyal citizen, one should attain some degree of education in general and Russian in particular, and make oneself busy with an honest occupation. 33

Names especially often appear in communal resolutions or decrees adopted by a general communal meeting. The names of the trustees who were conducting the cases can also be found there.

For instance, when the tax farmers for the Onikshtin {Anyksciai} community, ttthe brothers Zalkind and Abel Wolfovich Kadishev, were running in the deep negative in 1845-46, the community addressed the governor asking for vacating the tax. The community representatives wrote: "According to the highest decree in 1845 the tax for tailoring Jewish dresses was replaced by a tax for wearing such dress. After that our community refrained from manufacturing such dresses'both for getting out of the habit of wearing this kind of dress'as well as not to be liable for a substantial tax due for wearing it, we have not produced any new clothes of a distinctive Jewish type. Therefore, practically no taxes for such wear were due and there was no revenue to collect. That's the reason why the "farmers" of this tax incurred losses '.of 160 rubles." 34

Nochim Noskobich Arnos, Leiba Rafailovich Bilkis, Abel Shmerkovich Vilensky, Woolf Godik, Bezel Yoselovich, Meir Girshovich Kadishev, Israel Osherrovich Komaiko, Yoel Leibovich, Beniamin Movshovich Luria, and Shimel Pichasovich Sheizon signed this petition on Feb. 20, 1848. 35

Resolutions were signed by all attending representatives, petitions were signed by the same or just the trustees. Often these are documents of very small shtetls for which information on their residents is extremely scarce.

Both types of these documents have original Jewish signatures. Just the appearance of these signatures allows an opinion of the signer's level of literacy. Those who couldn't sign usually asked someone else to sign for them. Every such case contains a note to that affect. Many signed in Yiddish or Hebrew with transliteration in Russian Cyrillic that often had skips and deformities. Such signatures allow us to establish the original spelling of the Jewish names. Note that in other official documents (like censuses, metrical books, etc.) there are no signatures of the listed individuals.

Those who were writing up such petitions and resolutions did not always have a good command of Russian. Therefore, in the quotes presented below we find some stylistic errors. We have not edited them, but when necessary, we have added words within the square brackets.

Local Facts Relating to a Gubernia's Scale, Level, or Significance

In contrast to the budgeted expenses, the remains of the box tax collections ' these represented real money, saved by the Jewish communities. Everything new, irregular, and of an ad-hoc type, for the most part, was subsidized by these remains. The utilization of these remaining funds is much more varied, and the relevant paperwork is much more yielding of local information than that for the budgeted expenditures.

Below are quotes from some documents as to how these remains were used. The local data within, even though pertaining to specific shtetls, nevertheless, are typical for the entire gubernia. Grouped thematically, and sorted chronologically, this information sheds concrete light on the economic worries and hardships of the Jews of that time.

Poor Harvests of 1845-1847

Plungyany {Plunge}. The Elders, Movsha Rostovski and Abram Kazpel, wrote in 1845, "'in this area, and especially in our society hunger is the king, because of the scarcity of living supplies' due to that, there is a deficit of 700 rubles in the tax collections for the first half of 1845." 36

Soloki {Salakas}. "The deficit came about due to a loan of 615 rubles taken from public shelter (run by some welfare program) during the poor harvests of 1845 and 1846."37

Onikshty {Anyksciai}. The Jewish community, in an official report, explaining why they had run deficit of box tax collections during 1845-46, explained that it was "'due to the poor harvest. To alleviate the hardships, and in order to save lives, some subsidies were obtained from the treasury, authorized by the Highest Decree. Then... because of the eviction of the Jews from the korchmas they [the korchmrs)'dispersed among the various settlements and shtetls. The box tax collection also significantly decreased' because the Jewish korchmars (korchma owners) in the settlements used to account for the highest percentage and portion of the Onikshty Box Tax income and, therefore, the box tax 'farmers' suffered losses. In our region a rare price hike for bread occurred and, as a result, even the relatively "well to do" people amongst us had to make do with meager food, rarely eating meat' [That's why] the collectors ' of this tax had a deficit'" 38

Rakishki {Rokiskis}. Representatives of the community, Nochum Velport (or Welport), Leiba Movshovich Osipovich and Yosel-Leiba Shmulovich Sher wrote: "Our community, because of bad harvests in 1846 and 1847, took out a loan of more than 1000 rubles."39 Repayments of such loans sometimes were included in the budgets, as we have seen above.

Outbursts of Cholera Epidemics, 1848-49.

Shadov {Seduva}. A merchant of the 3rd guild, Abram Danilevich Kopelyansky, wrote that he "incurred significant losses in box tax collecting due to the ravaging Cholera Epidemics in 1848 and 1849."40 According to a police chief (or a deputy), Cholera related deaths took the lives of 48 Jewish men and 46 Jewish women.41

Crimean War, 1853-1856.

Shkudy {Skuodas}. "The Telsiai municipal town hall '.reported that it would be advisable if the community of Shkudy would restructure its debt payments for 10 years (in other words, make smaller payments over a longer time) 'because, due to frequent recruiting during the Crimean War, the community has fallen into a dire situation ..." 42

Polish Revolt, 1863-1864.

Nemoksht {Nemaksciai}. The representatives of the community, Yosel Meerovich and David Meerovich, Shmuel Leibovich and Yosel Zak, wrote: "just as we were about to become capable of starting to get ready to recover our deficit, suddenly, in our areas the rebellion arose' The Jews tried to help the legitimate government, but this help in our community as well as in other areas, caused a lot of unforeseen, unexpected expenses, for instance 'after our area was given the charge to accept a soldier's regiment we built up a bath house that cost us up to 400 rubles, also at our expense, we built outposts, and barriers, and hired watchmen to man them, in order to guard against undesirable people, and that cost us 240 rubles."43

Shavly {Shavel (Siauliai}. "Due to the increasing number of sentries and open outposts in 1863, 1864, and 1865, in the town of Shavel, because of the disorder in the North West region, at the request of the military ' the Ratusha (the town) acquired new and repaired old sentry garb uniforms for 1,081 rubles and 25 kopecks' Because of a lack of funds in the town treasury, this expense was financed in the form of a loan of the funds available in the box tax collections of Shavel's Jewish community." The loan, as per the opinion of the State Council of July 10, 1875 (that was approved by his Highness), was repaid by the State Treasury.

Kupishki {Kupiskis}. Former box tax collector {a "box tax farmer"}, Perez [Girshovich] Fainberg, has a deficit of 1,274 rubles and 33 kopecks for the period from January 1, 1862 through January 1, 1866' The community' is petitioning to excuse tax collector Fainberg's shortage because he acquired the above mentioned deficit not of his doing, but rather it was due to a rebellion going on in the shtetl, and because of that he was unable to leave his place and could not oversee the Jews who lived in the tax district, but outside the shtetl. In addition the local inhabitants were unable to acquire any live stock as well." 45

The Poor Harvest of 1867 - 1869

Yurburg {Jurbarkas}. 1867. From a Jews' petition: "'the most severe, almost all over, and especially in the North Western region lack of crops, experiencing of terrible hunger. The population of Yurburg is affected the most, and is suffering more than other from this disaster. Here there are no food markets nor fairs. Upon the slightest demand from abroad, the crop is being exported to the last single grain 'it is now a real rarity and its price is at an unprecedented high. If the highly humanistic government won't extend us its helping hand in this extraordinary disaster, the population of Yuburg will eat each other alive' Meanwhile, there is a special public welfare money fund that is designated for the community which, together with accrued interest, is up to 3,000 rubles, and also, there is a remainder of the box tax, also belonging exclusively to the community, in the amount of about 1,000 rubles." 46

Vorny Vornyan {Varniai}. Representatives Yudel Kringel, Girsh Lentin, Leiba Kaz, and tax collector Ber Ziv explain the deficit as "'due to poor crop harvests in 1867-69."47

Kelmy. {Kelme}. A tax collector and the representatives wrote that "'due to the poor harvests of 1867 and 1868, members of our community find themselves in a desperate situation' and with the listing since 1868 of a significant number of completely indigent souls, with all collections from beginning of the revision and additional penalties ' the accumulated deficit has reached 1,531 rubles." 48

Shilele {Silale}. Community Trustees, Leib Shtein, Wolf Yukman, and Aron Gorgon, wrote: "Members of ours, who became extremely poor, due to the bad harvest years [1867- 69], some of them have became indigent, and some have dispersed throughout searching for any work to survive, and, finally, many others died from malnutrition and mass illnesses."49

French-Prussian War of 1870-1871

Kovno {Kaunas}. Representatives of the Jewish community, explaining the deficit of 1,851 rubles, wrote: All are aware of the misfortunes that befell the Jews of Kovno gubernia in 1867-69' The Kovno city manager on November 26 of this year announced 'no member of the community would get passports until his family's portion of the entire deficit is paid up' Hardly recovered yet from the horrors ' of hunger, and already the massacre in Western Europe brought international commerce, (that is mostly the only source of life for Kovno) to a deadly standstill'. City's head' repressive measures suck out the last juice from the proletarian-petty bourgeoisie mes'chyany, forcing even one member who would have to leave to look for provisions the duty of having to pay the entire share of dues for the family of which he has a misfortune to be a member of."50

The "true" local facts (the ones that are not representative/significant enough beyond the locality) are included in an addendum, where they are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the locality.

The attached samples and tables demonstrate that these box-tax records contain a plethora of details pertaining to the lives of Jewish communities and their personal composition.

Addendum 1

The Study of Facts of Local Value

Vekshi {Vieksniai}. The community was requesting in 1888 "a disbursement from the remainder of the box-tax collections for repairing the synagogue - 789 rubles, for the prayer house 279 rubles, for the bath house 470 rubles, for the shelter or welfare soup kitchen 467 rubles."51

Vidzy {Vidzy, Belarus}. In 1859 the Senate was hearing a case submitted by Kovno's criminal DA concerning a former burgomaster of Vidzy's Ratusha (city hall), Mihajlovich, who was being indicted for embezzling 472 rubles and 30 kopecks of box-tax funds during 1847-1852. The court ordered the recovery of the money from the widow of the embezzler, garnished from his estate.52

Vidzy. {Vidzy, Belarus}. In 1895 the community petitioned for compensation for Dr. Krumglaz "'for free treatment of indigent Jews' and the dispensement of medical drugs."53

Vidzy. {Vidzy, Belarus}. "Twenty-eight residential houses and 46 stores burned down on July 10, 1896."54

Vilkomir. {Ukmerge}. "Most of the population of Vikomir lost all of their possessions during the fire of June 29 of last year [1877]. Among others the town hall building also burned down'with most of its furnishings and stationary '"55 According to regulations, the restoration/recovery of the losses should have been financed by the municipal funds but there was a shortage of those, and the Jews had 6,000 rubles remaining in the box-tax funds. The provincial heads of the Gubernia's management, having obtained from the Jews a public approval, applied to the minister asking his approval for permission to borrow 500 rubles from the box-tax funds in order to buy furniture. The Minister did not mind.

Williampolskaya Sloboda {Vilijampole}. From a petition by a landlord, Rochi Verblyunskaya, "'asking for funds 'of 110 rubles as rent for the Williampolskaya public Russian school for Jews. The school is located in my building and according to' the lease contract, the rent money is due me in advance. Meanwhile, I have not received' the payments yet'" 56

Vobolniki {Vabalninkas}. Representatives Girsh Faivishovich Gordon, Movsha Yankelevich Bitner, and Yosel Noselevich Kichoon wrote that the settlement "in 1865 and in 1869 was ravaged by fires that completely destroyed '24 houses' Last March and April [of 1874] there were more fires that brought down another 33 houses with all the belongings' All the people effected by the fires that have no way to provide for themselves in the limited confines of the settlement are further handicapped by the passport regulations'Please find it possible as a favor ' to allow for a passport fee waiver' to the victims of the fires."

Vobolniki {Vabalninkas}. In regard to the suggested repair of a mikvah in 1874 the chief of the Ponevezh Uezd Police precinct was doing an inspection and wrote in his report that "... it is quite important to make the repairs for its water, not having any outlets, is becoming contaminated and smells rotten."58

Vorny {Varniai, Lithuanian}. Representatives Yosel Berelovich Magid, Morduch Berelovich Kodes, and tax collector Movsha Berelovich Olshvanger wrote: "'these days our community is in the most dire state due to the fires of 1863 and 1864, and some of our members are completely dependent on charities for their sustenance, and have to "walk the street" like beggars.

Girtakol {Girkalnis}. "During the fire last May 22nd [1898] the place of the local municipality burned down together with all the records, files, books, as well as other document papers, seals, and furniture. Therefore, the Girtakol Jewish community petitions to '(distribute) 120 rubles for the restoration of books, records, and official family records."60

Gruzdi {Gruzdziai}. "The fire on Aug. 27th [1891] destroyed 48 residential houses, and 29 other structures. One hundred twenty five families were affected and lost their means of livelihood."61

Gorzhdy {Gargzdai}. The community is asking "300 rubles to distribute among the victims of a fire on Aug. 25th [1895] that caused damages of 3,009 rubles."62

Dorbyany {Darbenai}. The Jews of the village in 1891 asked for 2,103 rubles and 40 kopecks from the remains of the box-tax fund for the purpose of repairing the synagogue and a prayer school. From the information collected by the gubernia's management, it became apparent that "the Jewish Synagogue (that has existed since 1751) and the Prayer's School (that has existed since 1821) are indeed in need of repairs, and the local Jews do not have the funds to finance the repairs.63 Let's note that the year 1751 is the earliest date for the establishing of a Synagogue or a Prayer School, as recorded in the mentioned files. This date makes a correction to the statement in the Russian Jewish Encyclopedia which says that "Jews lived in Dorbyany from the XIX century."64

Dusyaty {Dusetos}. The collector of the box tax, Yizik Demba, wrote that "on Aug. 6th [1862] in the village of Dusyaty a fire of unknown origin broke out. Twenty two residences housing 50 Jewish families went up in flames' all the above mentioned people had to leave the Dusyaty box-tax district to look for help from charitable people.

Zheimely {Zeimelis}. The Governor General wrote to the Interior Minister: "The Jewish community of Zheimely'in an adopted resolution of June 23, 1894, is petitioning for the distribution of 25 rubles from the remains of the local box tax fund to the victims of fire from the settlement of Yanov. According to our data, the mentioned community has a deficit of 181 rubles and 50 kopecks in the candles gathering tax sub-account' At the same time there is 1,170 rubles and 26 kopecks in their remaining box tax account. Kovno's Governor, when submitting the said petition to me, also added that he would not see any obstacles to satisfying such a request' in order that the petitioned for money were transferred to a committee that would distribute it among the fire victims of all religious persuasions {Italics are mine ' A.C.} Having the same opinion of the matter as presented by the Kovno's Governor 'it is my honor to submit this for Your Eminence's consideration."

Zheimely {Zeimelis}. The Governor General wrote in 1895 that "Zheimely's Jewish community adopted a resolution on October 28 last year petitioning for a distribution of 222 rubles and 75 kopecks from the remains of the local box tax fund to cover the hospital collections' deficit of that community' Kovno's Governor, when submitting the said petition to me, also added that because a portion of that deficit would be covered by budgeted for this expense revenues, he would advise to allow ' for just 100 rubles from the box-tax funds to be used toward the proposed deficit reduction."67

Keidany {Kedainiai}. The community is asking for "6,000 rubles from the remaining balance of the box tax to help fire victims 'on May 21 [1887] there burned down 54 buildings and the damages run to 70,000 rubles."68

Keidany {Kedainiai}. In 1895 the community is asking for "540 rubles to pave a school yard, and 150 rubles to pave a spot near a Russian Orthodox Church, then 20 rubles to repair a market square, and 55 rubles for setting up floorings, and 15 rubles for a stove in the local slaughter house, plus 100 rubles to buy a lot for the slaughtering place and 50 rubles for setting up a well."69 The Governor does not object.

Kovno {Kaunas}. In 1852 the community acquired from a Jew, Kadyson, "a lot on Zamkovaya street with a deed of sale. The lot is fit to build on it a hospital with a bath house and other necessary public structures," and the community is asking for 300 rubles to pay for the purchase. The cost estimate for the constructions is 35,000 rubles. Reality was much more modest. "On the lot, that was acquired from the Jew Kadyson, was built a basic public bath house that cost 12,000 rubles. The funds were borrowed from a kupez, the merchant Gesel Meerovich." The structure of the bath house, as a whole, right now is not necessary to facilitate the bath, and for the most part can be used by the hospital."71 One year later the hospital was placed in that bath building.

Kovno {Kaunas}. The representatives Abel Levinson, Yankel Shanovsky, Abel Soloveichik, and others report that "in 1869, during the recruiting obligation time' foreseeing difficulties in fulfilling the draft in the normal way (via the regular recruit line) because of many avoidances by eligible family members, the community of Kovno had to accept the offer of two young members of the community ' Karabanov and Yagodovski ' for their voluntary entry into the recruitment in exchange for monetary compensation' The community took out a loan for this purpose 'in the amount of 600 rubles."72

Kovno {Kaunas}. In 1873 "the merchant kupez, Levin Minkovsky, gave (as a gift) to the prayer association of the Kovno state Jewish school 'a lot with an ongoing construction of a prayer school' that (the construction) he had started' so that the association would take care of completing the construction. The association, having some funds from voluntary contributions, had built the structure up to the roof, but then, ran out of money'"73 New funds are required.

Kovno {Kaunas}. In 1875 the Gubernia's authority demanded that the Kovno police confirm that the structure belonging to a kupez, Yankel Karpes, used by a mikvah is "really not suitable for the Jewish women patrons because of its decaying condition."74

Kovno {Kaunas}. From the March 8, 1877 resolution: "Representatives of the Kovno Jewish community' during a hearing had Kovno Gymnasium principal making a request 'of a 1,500 rubles subsidy from the box-tax funds to maintain a parallel 4th grade class' stating that the number of Jewish students increases every year. For instance, currently, Jews comprise more than one third of all students, and in the 4th grade there are 57 people which is well above the acceptable norm."75 The principal's suggestion was upheld by the Jewish group.

Kovno {Kaunas}. In 1886 the Governor suggested that Jews invest 2,000 rubles to complete the construction and equipment of the Women's Gymnasium. From a resolution: "The Jewish community of Kovno considers that it is its own responsibility to respond favorably ' Agreed to finance' from the remainder of the box-tax fund' 2,000 rubles."76

Kovno {Kaunas}. In 1887 the Governor, saying that the city's chest is empty, was asking the Minister of Internal Affairs for permission to borrow 55,000 rubles from the remainder of the box-tax funds for the purpose of building a Russian Theater in Kovno. From the Ministry of Internal Affairs the letter was sent to the Finance Minister, but he rejected the proposal, citing the poor state of Kovno city finances. The Governor and later the Governor General wrote again. They were pointing out that a Russian Theater is an urgent necessity, for the city is full of Russian officers who were dying of boredom. The Finance Minister is not swayed. This time an attempt to take Jewish money with a problematic chance of return did not go through.77

Kovno {Kaunas}. The Minister of Internal Affairs received an illiterate report on June 26th, 1889: "What it is (?), if we can not find any sense of it. All money is taken from us in Kovno by N. Natanson and Faivush Warshavchik. Wherever complained, there is no response. Just recently took from us 3,000 rubles, and asking again in March, God knows what for' There was a recording clerk in the Meschanski office, who was in a conspiracy with Natanson, and who had to run away because of various forgeries, and Mr. Governor did not allow him a passport (travel papers), but Natanson gave him 500 rubles and he crossed the border. Signatures of Leib Levi, Benzel Harnas, Yankel Shmerkovich, Aron Kaplan."78 An investigation conducted into this report showed that "this notice is of an anonymous character, the names of the undersigned 'are made up."79

Krakinov {Krekenava}. On November 2, 1890, there was a fire in the settlement that destroyed 14 Jewish houses. That's why the Jews cannot collect any money to repair the synagogue. In submitting the budget for 2,736 rubles, they asked for the 1891 year's allowance out of the remains of the box tax collections. A local police official (stanovoy pristav) confirms that that the main internal supporting wall in the synagogue upon which the wooden gallery sits, and other walls as well, all have cracks in them' The wooden annex to the synagogue that has a stair leading to the women's section is in such shambles that it presents a clear danger to those walking it. 80

Krakinov {Krekenava}. A Ponevezh's supervisor reports that "on April 17th [1897 in the settlement] there was a fire from which 114 families suffered and their losses were 54,586 rubles."81

Kretingen {Kretinga}. "Overnight, from the 11th to the 12th of December, 1853, six residential Jewish houses burned down together with all possessions and so did 14 other buildings. On May 2, 1854: nine residential Jewish houses burned and 50 other various buildings as well' 45 families incurred losses that according to an investigation amounted 'to 16,060 rubles."82 "During the day time on August 20, 1854, again' a terrible fire turned the whole settlement to ashes. Twenty Jewish stone two story houses and 28 wooden ones 'burned along with all the possessions'besides various other buildings and storages' 189 Jewish families with small children can not find any shelter in the nearby vicinities, because of the regulation forbidding allowing a Jewish presence within 50 verstas (about 50 miles) of the Prussian border' and therefore no local peasants, afraid of penalties, would provide any place for the Jews. The Governor General "as an necessary exception allowed' the settlement of the poor fire escapees in the local villages for the time being."84

Kretingen {Kretinga}. The community's representative, Leiba-Menyka Beniaminov Hananie, reporting that "during the fire on May 25th (1889) the stone synagogue burned up, and the Jewish community, suffering from the fire as a whole, has no funds to restore the synagogue" 'submitted a 5,128 rubles budget for reconstruction. A local public official confirms that "the whole settlement almost entirely burned down with all its prayer houses."85

Krozhi {Kraziai}. The community is asking in 1895 for "300 rubles for the repairs of 700 meters of a road that was given to the Jewish commune. As a justification for entering this expense against the box tax account, the Governor reports that "Krozhi's community consists of 12 Christians and 486 Jews."86

Kupishki {Kupiskis}. It is reported in a public resolution that "after the fires of 1856 and 1858 the community is in quite a dismal situation."87

Novoalexandrovsk {Zarasai}. The community's representatives, Leiba Mushen, Izyk Lonshtein, and Shlomo-Leib Girshovich Baron, wrote in 1851 that while before 1846 there were no deficits nor shortages in the collections, then "because in that year 1846 the community opened up and submitted additional records for 38 previously unreported registrants, the finance department officials imposed additional levies increasing the box tax levy an additional 2,000 rubles."88

Novoalexandrovsk {Zarasai}. Representatives Shimel-Yudel Boruhovich Pen, Zelman Izykovich Pen, Zelman Izykovich Goron, and Yankel Leibovich Shteiman wrote: "'the welfare of our community significantly worsened, firstly because of the St. Petersburg-Warsaw railroad, which going around out of the town of Novoalexandrovsk stopped traffic on the Kovno high-way that goes through that town. That adversely affected the close business ties with Kovno that our citizens used to rely on greatly. Secondly, the poor crops of 1867 and 1868 raised the level of mass poverty among the local Jewish community so much that 'we had to turn to private loans' "89

Novoalexandrovsk {Zarasai}. In 1894 the community asked for "5,000 rubles to restore the burned down'.stone synagogue." 90

Novozhagory {Zagare}. The Public Education Ministry reports that "the private Jewish women's school of Bluma Rabinovich was opened on November 10, 1894, with two classes as well as a preparatory class. The school is teaching Jewish religion, Russian, Arithmetic, German, Crafts, and singing. The faculty consists of four persons having the appropriate educational qualification and licensed to teach. Lately, on average, there have been around 55 Jewish girls studying there'"

Podubis {Padubysys}. The community asked for "971 rubles and 31 kopecks to finish up the construction of the wooden prayer school which burned down in 1892."92

Ponevezh {Panevezys}. Izyk Berlin, Yosel Gandin, Morthel Hansen' asked in 1871 to use the remainder of the box tax collections to pay off the deficit of the community because "the deficit for the registered souls (according to the 10th revision) amounts to 11,013 rubles' and such an amount can not be expected to be satisfied in any near future, due to the common poverty of our population and the fact that many of our members are dispersed among many remote locations."93

Ponevezh {Panevezys}. The City Hall presented "a resolution of the Ponevezh Jewish community concerning a budget of 20,000 rubles that was to fund an acquisition of a building to be used by a Jewish hospital, with a Jewish shelter. The hospital would include 10 additional beds and would be able to purchase necessary surgical equipment. From this resolution it follows that the current Jewish hospital with 15 beds exists in Ponevezh since January 1, 1886, and occupies space in several rental houses... In order to completely adjust the currently used locations for hospital purposes, it is necessary to set up a warm bath room with running water, warm toilet rooms, a bathhouse, and a place for a morgue' In order to facilitate these enhancements, the community entered into an agreement with the landlords of the buildings where it now rents the space about buying them for 11,000 rubles."94

Ponevezh {Panevezys}. In 1891 the community decided "to petition authorities for a vocational carpentry and mechanics classes to be instituted at the Ponevezh Jewish school."95

Posvol {Pasvalys}. In 1895 the community asked for "500 rubles to set up a pre-burial hall and a place for the watchman at the Jewish cemetery."96

Radzivilishki {Radviliskis}. In 1895 the community was asking for a subsidy of "500 rubles to build a new prayer school 'in place of the old one that burned down during a fire on July 6th."97

Rossieny {Raseiniai}. The Gubernia's management is asking for ministerial approval for "a 1,618 rubles disbursement from the remainder of box tax collections' to set up a public synagogue which would replace the one that burned down in 1865."98

Rossieny {Raseiniai}. "It is understood, based on the following rulings from the Gubernia's files, that permissions were granted to set up prayer schools in Rossieny:

a) Ruling # 12580 on August 25, 1850, on the lot of a Jew Komisaruk, under the name 'Hai Adam';

b) Ruling #22540 on December 18, 1850, in the house of Abel and Gruna Gabrielovich;

c) Ruling #6244 on April 22, 1859, in the house of Shimel Gumbansky (the peddlers);

d) Ruling #21602 on September 25, 1864, on the lot of Movsha Nathanson and Shimel Bloch under the name "Ein Yakov";

e) Ruling #24299 on December 29, 1866, on the lot acquired from the Jew Shulman (craftsman).

Besides those, there are in Rossieny prayer schools under the names "Beth Hamedrash" and "Samuil Hasid" that were built before 1830, as well as a synagogue that was built prior to 1812 and reconstructed/rebuilt after the fire of 1865."99

Rossieny {Raseiniai}. In 1873 funds are being sought "for building a synagogue and for repairing a public infirmary."100

Rossieny {Raseiniai}. On April 7th of this year [1886] at 3 pm a fire broke out' Because of the strong winds, the overcrowded constructions and the dryness of them, as reported by the Chief of Uezd Police, 40 resident houses and 51 cold annexes burned down, 28 landowners and their families (164 people), 90 resident families of 404 people, including Christians: 10 landowners (51 people)' Damages are estimated to be '58,410 rubles. Because of that a temporary commission is established for assisting the victims."101 The community is asking for permission to spend 2,000 rubles as a subsidy for the victims of the fire.

Rossieny {Raseiniai}. In 1879-1882 the city manager, Mr. Glodkovsky, embezzled large amounts of box tax collection money. People from Rossieny including Haim Fridman, Nohim Einbinder, Abram Shmulovich, Morduch Lipko, Ber Faivisovich, and Shimel Frank, appealed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for an investigation. The investigation turned up a deficit of 16,449 rubles and 19 kopecks, and Mr. Glodkovsky was forced to resign, and according to a decision by the Senate, in 1884 was indicted by the Vilensk's Court without any jury. The recovery of the stolen funds represented a major change.103

Salanty {Salantai}. 1866. The community is in need of "repairs and maintenance of the stone prayer school."104

Soloki {Salakas}. The community submitted "an appeal for permission for the construction of two prayer schools, one of stone, and one wooden, to replace the ones that burned down in 1886. The amount requested was 4,500 rubles."105

Soloki {Salakas}. Denunciation was not a rare occurrence in Jewish life: "[in 1888] there were two complaints sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs from a Jew, Averbuch, of Soloki. He wrote about alleged abuses by a member of the Soloki management office, Mr. Golyand, accusing him of box tax funds mismanagement, and of additionally taxing the local Jewish residents for the use of yeast in order to generate extra funds to pay wages to a rabbi, whose wages were not built into the budget."106 After investigating these complaints the Kovno governor "reported that the facts did not appear to be true." A resident of Soloki, the Jew, Simon-Lozer Averbuch, testified that he had never submitted those reports, and he does not know who had, and he never asked Luzkin to sign these reports for him, as he did not have to because he is able to produce his own Jewish signature. Unofficially, though, it was found out that Solok Gertz Kroniz, the spiritual rabbi of Soloki is selling yeast to some religious Jews at a premium (1-2 kopecks extra per lot) in order to insure the kashrut and, secondly, to provide some material support for the rabbi."107

Syady {Seda}. "'on Apr. 7th [1886] there was a fire that destroyed two thirds of the shtetl' 85 Jewish buildings including all public ones: synagogues, prayer schools, shelters, and bath houses. More than 200 Jewish families were left without any shelter'" 108 The community appeals for a 2,500 ruble subsidy from the remainder of the box tax collections to assist the fire victims. In 1888 the community asked for "300 rubles to buy the most necessary firefighting equipment: a hose, a pump, and six special barrels."109

Taurogen {Taurage}. The Jews of the shtetl wrote in 1847 that "the Taurogen community while it was a separate entity had no debts, or deficits in its obligations to the government. Since decommissioning of the institution of kahals in 1845, and combining the Taurogen community with the ones of Donkintlavky, Gavra, and Poyura, those communities brought with them debt. Moreover, when we found and reported, on our own, additional, previously not on the roll residents in the whole newly defined Taurogen region, we were fined extra penalties, resulting in the total deficit now of 3,210 rubles and 56 kopecks. In 1851 representatives Izyk Haimovich Shereshevsky, Gesel Yoseliovich Shereshevsky, and Yavnel Shimelovich Segal were writing again about the community becoming more and more indigent "because of joining them with '.three of the most poor former kahals: Gavra, Poyura, and Dovkintlavky, together with their debts.."110

Taurogen {Taurage}. 1857. Funds are sought for "the maintenance 'of the synagogue, since it is in an unsafe status and may collapse at any time"111

Taurogen {Taurage}. Tax collector N. Yakobzon and representatives G. Rabinovich, Zelig Lasos, and Mendel Meerovich were asking in 1872 to assign "650 rubles to acquire land in order to expand and improve the condition of the Taurogen cemetery."112

Shkudy {Skuodas}. In 1886 the community asked for "2,468 rubles for repairs of the stone prayer school and 1,420 rubles for the repair of the wooden synagogue.."113

Utzyany {Utena}. "The tax collector of Utzyany, Yosel Michelson, shows a shortage of 703 rubles for the period of 1840-45. As of 1846 the Utzyany Jewish community included the Vizhun kahal as well. The shortage is due to the bad crops of those years and the poverty of the population as well as because'.the authorities rearranged tax districts by detaching from Utzyany the kahals of Leluny and Ovanty, and combining them with the Onikshy box tax district."114

Utzyany {Utena}. In 1890 the community was asking for "700 rubles for construction' of a new mikvah in place of the one that burned down during a fire in this shtetl on June 14th."115

Chveidany {Kvedarna}. Tax collector Movsha Shliomovich Kaplan, and representatives Kolman-Ber Abramovich Mesha and Shmuel Girshovich Shur were explaining in 1861 that their shtetl "is quite small, it has no commerce nor any trade going, it is far removed from the Gubernia's center (184 miles), and from the main town of the uezd (district) (100 miles). There are no major traveling routes or even a postal road nearby. Therefore, the inhabitants' survive just by renting a few houses, menial jobs, and get by with just meager provisions."116 The petitioners were asking for a subsidy from the box tax collections."

Chekishki {Čeki'ke}. In 1888 the community was asking for "190 rubles to pay its hospital debts, and 860 rubles and 60 kopecks for the treatment of Mortchel Nevyazhsky in the Odessa city hospital." To confirm the poverty of the community, there is a report, attached to the petition, by the uezd (district) superintendent that states that "in May, 1887, almost the entire shtetl burned up' there remained just 35 houses." 117

Shavly {Siauliai}. In 1847 a keeper of the box tax collection, David Lipmanovich Volov, "having explained, that prior to the redistricting of the box tax regions his area was defined by a 22 mile circular line, and then it was shrunk by the Kovna Gubernia's authorities to the size of the former Shavely's kahal to his (Mr. Volov's) disadvantage' appealed for restoration of his full district."118 Such complaints, usually, remained unattended.

Shavly {Siauliai}. In 1896 the community "made an offer to kupez Horozhinsky to buy from him a lot of 140 square meters' and to construct there a two story stone building for a Jewish hospital, an annex for a bath house, and a storage area with an ice keeper' The budget cost was to be 25,486 rubles and 18 kopecks."119

Shaty {Seta}. Tax collector Shimel Yoselevich Kurlyandchik and five representatives wrote: "The fire on the night of Sept. 27th, 1861 'destroyed 31 Jewish houses, 9 stores with all their contents. There were 60 families in those houses which represented two thirds of the community. These victims lost all means of survival: provisions, clothing, shelter ' It is terrible to see the rows of stoves, chimneys, and pipes, that remained as if on purpose to produce the most striking effect on those crying over their tragedy."120

Shaty {Seta}. In 1892 the community was asking for 1,077 rubles and 13 kopecks because "instead of the Jewish prayer school which burned down on September 25, a new, stone one was build. The new school requires six stoves, some detailed work-ups, and a facility for a fire fighting unit."121

Shvekshny {Sveksna}. Tax collector Faitel Izkovich and five representatives explain the poverty of their community, saying that there were devastating fires in June of 1858 and again in June, 1861."122

Shilele {Silale}. Trustees of the community, Leib Stein, Volf Yukman, and Aron Gordon, wrote: "Members of the community'.extremely impoverished by the poor crops years of 1867-68' some became completely indigent, others had dispersed around looking for any means for survival' and some others just died from the scarcity of provision and mass diseases."123

Shkud {Skuodas}. The elders of the community, Leib Kagan and Shlioma Kangiser, were reporting in 1845: "Because of poor crops of this year, when most of the community is suffering from famine, we are experiencing a deficit of 400 rubles."124

Eiragola {Ariogala}. Fire "on the night of April 17, 1883, destroyed 35 residential houses and about 40 stores."125

Yurburg {Jurbarkas}. Leizer Arshtein, trustee, wrote that "there are no markets nor bazaars in the shtetl" and that "the proliferation of railroads connecting Prussia with the Empire put an end to the main economic activity of Yurburg's population that was vital to their survival."126

Yanov {Jonava}. In 1895 the community was asking for "5,000 rubles to restore a prayer school that was damaged by a fire127

Yasvoiny {Josvainiai}. The community was asking for 1,734 rubles and 26 kopecks to provide a subsidy to fire victims on August 3, 1890. The losses from that fire amounted to 13,400 rubles.

Addendum 2

Old (Former) and Current Names of the Places Mentioned in the Article.

{For additional information on some of these shtetls,

see "Shtetls of Lithuania" at http://www.jewishgen.org/Litvak/Shtetls/Lithuania.htm}

Former name

Current Name

Former name

Current Name

Baisogala

Baisogala

Okmiany

Akmene

Birzhi

Birzai

Onikshty

Anyksciai

Braslav

Braslav

Plungiany

Plunge

Veivirzhani

Veivirzenai

Podubis

Padubysys

Vekshni

Vieksniai

Pozelve

Zelva

Vendzyagola

Vandziogala

Pokroe

Pakruojis

Vidzy

Vidzy

Pompyany

Pumpenai

Vidukly

Vidukle

Ponevezh

Panevezys

Vizhuny

Vyzuonos

Ponedeli

Pandelys

Vilkomir

Ukmerge

Pusholaty

Pusalotas

Vilkiya

Vilkija

Radzivilishki

Radviliskis

Vilyampolskaya Sloboda

Part of Kaunas

Rakishei

Rokiskis

Vobolniki

Vabalninkas

Remigola

Ramygala

Vorni

Varniai

Retov

Rietavas

Gavry

Gaure

Rogovo

Raguva

Girtakol

Girkalnis

Rumshishki

Rumsiskes

Gorzhdy

Gargzdai

Salanty

Salantai

Gruzdi

Gruzdziai

Skavdile

Skaudvile

Datnov

Dotnuva

Skopishki

Skapiskis

Dorbyany

Darbenai

Soloki

Salakas

Dusyaty

Dusetos

Srednik

Seredzius

Zheimeli

Zeimelis

Starozhagory

Zagare

Zheimy

Ziemiai

Syady

Seda

Zhidyki

Zidikai

Taurogen

Taurage

Yoganishkeli

Joniskelis

Telshi

Telsiai

Keidany

Kedainiai

Utzyany

Utena

Kelmy

Kelme

Ushpole

Uzpaliai

Klikoli

Klykoliai

Chveidany

Kvedarna

Kavarsk

Kavarskas

Chekishki

Čeki'ke

Kovno

Kaunas

Shavkyany

Saukenai

Komai

Kamajai

Shavli

Siauliai

Krakinov

Krekenava

Shvlyany

Siaulenai

Kretingen

Kretinga

Shadov

Seduva

Kroki

Krakes

Shaty

Seta

Krozhi

Kraziai

Shvekshny

Sveksna

Kupishki

Kupiskis

Shidlov

Siluva

Linkovo

Linkuva

Shilele

Silale

Lukniki

Luoke

Shkudy

Skuodas

Nemokshty

Nemaksciai

Eiragola

Ariogala

Novo-Aleksandrovsk

Zarasai

Yurburg

Jurbarakas

Novozhagory

Zagare

Yanishki

Joniskis

Novomesto, Ponevezh Uezd

Naumestis

Yanov

Jonava

Novomesto, Roccienski Uezd

Zemaiciu Naumiestis

Yasvoine

Josvainiai

Posvol

Pasvalys

Edwahlen

Edole

Salanty

Salantai

Rossieny

Raseiniai

 

Addendum 3

List of Jewish names mentioned in the article (with the towns).

ABELSON (Shavli)
ACHKINAS, Yosel (Syady)
AINBINDER Nochim, (Rossieny)
AVERBUCH, Simon-Lozer (Soloki)
ARNOS, Nohim Noskovich (Onikshty)
ARSHTEIN, Leizer (Yurburg)
BARON, Shlomo-Leib Girshovich (Novoalexandrovsk)
BERLIN, Izyk (Ponevezh)
BILKIS, Leiba Rafailovich (Onikshty)
BITNER, Moshava Yankelevich (Vobolniki)
BLOCH, Shimel (Rossieny)
DEMBA, Izyk (Dusyaty)
FAIVISOVICH, Ber (Rossieny)
FAINBERG, Perez Girshovich (Kupishki)
FRANK, Shimel (Rossieny)
FRIDMAN, Chaim (Rossieny)
GABRIELOVICH, Abel (Rossieny)
GABRIELOVICH, Gruna (Rossieny)
GANDIN, Yosel (Ponevezh)
GODIK, Voolf (Onikshty)
GOLYAND (Soloki)
GORDON, Aron (Shilele)
GORDON, Girsh Faivishovich (Vobolniki)
GORDON, Zelman Yizykovich (Novoalexandrovsk)
GUMBANSKY, Shimel (Rossieny)
GURVICH, Berk (Shaty)
HANANIE, Leiba-Menka Beniaminov (Kretinga)
HANZEN, Mortchel (Ponevezh)
HARANAS, Benzel (Kovno)
HASID, Samuil (Rossienny)
HORONZHINSKY (Shavli)
IOSELOVICH Bezel (Onikshty)
IOFFE (Rossieny)
IZKOVICH, Faitel, (Shvekshni)
KAGAN, Leib (Shkudy)
KADYSON (Kovno)
KADYSHEV, Abel Voolfovich (Onikshty)
KADYSHEV, Zalkind Voolfovich (Onikshty)
KADYSHEV, Meyer Girshovich (Onikshty)
KANGISER, Shlioma (Shkudy)
KAPLAN, Aron (Kovno)
KAPLAN, Movsha Shliomovich (Chevdany)
KARABANOV (Kovno)
KAPRES, Yankel (Kovno)
KAZ, Leiba (Vorny)
KAZPEL, Abram (Plugyany)
KICHUN, Yosel Noselevich (Vobolniki)
KODES, Morduch Bereliovich (Vorny)
KOMAIKO, Izroil Osherovich (Onikshty)
KOPELYANSKY, Abram Danilevich (Shadov)
KRINGEL, Yudel (Vorny)
KRONITZ, Gerz (Soloki)
KURLYANDSKY, Yzyk Mysel (Shaty)
KURLYANDCHIK, Shimel Yoselevich (Shavli)
LASOS, Zelig (Taurogen)
LEVY, Leiba (Kovno)
LEVIN, Isik (Shaty)
LEVINSON, Abel (Kovno)
LEIBOVICH, Yoel (Onikshty)
LENTIN, Girsha (Vorny)
LIPKO, Morduch (Rossieny)
LONDA, Voolf Girshovich (Salanty)
LONSHTEIN, Izyk (Novoalexandrovsk)
LUZKIN (Soloki)
LURIA, Benyamin Movshovich (Onikshty)
MAGID, Yosel Bereliovich (Vorni)
MEEROVICH, Gesel (Kovno)
MEEROVICH, David (Nemokshty)
MEEROVICH, Yosel (Nemokshty)
MEEROVICH, Mendel (Taurogen)
MELYAMED, Girsh Yankilevich (Ponevezh)
MESHA, Kolman-Ber Abramovich (Chveidany)
MINKOVSKY, Levin (Kovno)
MICHELSON, Yosel (Utsyany)
MUSHEN, Leiba (Novoalexandrovsk)
NATANSON, Movsha, (Rossieny)
NATANSON, N. (Kovno)
NEVYAZHSKY, Mortchel, (Chkishki)
OL'SHVANGER, Movsha Berelovich (Vorni)
OSIPOVICH, Leiba Movshovich (Rakishki)
PEN, Zelman Izykovich (Novoalexandrovsk)
PEN, Shimel-Yudel Boruchovich (Novoalexandrovsk)
RABINOVICH, Bluma (Novozhagory)
RABINOVICH, G. (Taurogen)
ROSTOVSKY, Movsha (Plugyany)
SEGAL, Yankel Shimelevich (Taurogen)
SHAHNOVSKY, Yankel (Kovno)
SHEIZON, Shimel Pnhasovich
SHERESHEVSKY, Gesel Chaimovich (Taurogen)
SHERESHEVSKY, Yizik Chaimovich (Taurogen)
SHMERKOVICH, Yankel (Kovno)
SHMULOVICH, Abram (Rossieny)
SHTEIMAN, Yankel Leibovich (Novoalexandrovsk)
STEIN, Leib (Shilele)
SHULMAN (Rossieny)
SHUR, Yosel-Leiba Shmuilovich (Rakishki)
SHUR, Shmuel Girshovich (Heidany)
SOLOVEICHIK, Abel (Kovno)
VELPORT, Nohum (Rakishki)
VERBLUNSKAYA, Rocha (Wilyamposkaya Sloboda)
VILENSKY, Abel Shmerkovich (Onikshty)
VOLOV, David Lipmanovich
WARSHAVCHIK, Faivush (Kovno)
YUKMAN, Volf (Shimele
YAGODIOVSKY (Kovno)
YAKOBZON N. (Taurogen)
ZAK, Izrael (Shaty)
ZHIV, Shmuel Mendeliovoch (Ponevezh)
ZIV, Ber (Vorni)

ENDNOTES:

A Record of Box-tax and Candle-tax Dues on Jews. Documents of a Commission for Jewish Well-being (Empire-wide). First Chapter/Part. №3. С. 6 ' 14; Pages 6-14;

S. Dubnov, Historical Notices: # 13. Bureaucratic Exercises in the Resolution of the Jewish Question (1840 ' 1844) Voshod. 1901. Books IV, V;

U. Gessen. Concerning the History of the Box-Tax in Russia. SPb., 1911.

2 U. Gessen. Concerning the History of the Box-Tax in Russia. Pages 3-4

3 U. Gessen. "Box-Tax." Jewish Encyclopedia. SPb., 1908-1913. Vl. IX, Pg 758.

About the Origins of Jewish Debts see also George D. C(K?). Russia collects from Her Jews. Origins of the Jewish Question in Russia: 1772-1825. Moscow-Jerusalem, 2000. Pages 33-35.

4 U. Gessen. Concerning the '.Page 4.

5 The Highest Approved State of Regulations about the Box Tax on Jews. The Complete Collection of Laws of he Russian Empire. Second Collection (referred to below as PSS-2) 1844 SP6 ., 1845 Vo. XIX. Part I # 18545.

6 The same (as this article) named lecture was given by the author at the International Conference "Documented Sources of the History of the Jews in the Archives of SNG and Baltic States." That conference took place in St. Petersburg during March 18-20th, 1997. Also, see: Hoffman D. B., Gircyte V. "The Collection of Box Taxes in 19th Century Lithuania," Avotaynu, 2001. Vol. XVII. № 3. Pg. 43-47.

7 PSS-2 #18545, Paragraphs: 12, 31, 37, 42.

8 Op.cit. Paragraphs: '' 28, 39, 71.

9 Apparently, owning some real estate or, at least, renting it was considered a sign of prosperity.

10 The Highest Approved State Regulations about Dismantling of the Kahals and New Submission of the City's and Uezd's Jews to a General Manager PSS-2, 1844, SP6 ., 1845. Volume XIX. Part One, No: 18546, Paragraph 23. About Cancellation of Special Fees on the Jews, that (fees) Were Used to Promote Bureaucracy of City Dumas and Ratushas. PSS-2, 1851, SP6 , 1852. Volume. XXVI. Chapter II. No: 25756.

11 "1) Establishment (anew) of Public Welfare Institutions. 2) Construction and Maintenance of Public Buildings & etc." (PSS-2, No. 18545. Paragraph 61 B.)

12 Russian State History Archives (later referred to as RSHA), Fond 1297, Opis 44, Case 115, Pg. 4.

13 Fonds of RSHA: Short References. SPb./ 1994. S. 27.

14 "Kovno Gubernia's News" (referred to later as KGN) publishing start date: July 1843.

15 KGN of Aug. 12th, 1844, No. 33

16 RSHA, Fond 1287, Opis 42, Case 336, Pg. 2 (obverse)

17 Op.cit. Opis 42. D. 336. Pg. 2 (obverse)

18 Op.cit. Opis 42. D. 363. Pg. 1, 1 ob.

19 Op.cit. Opis 42. D. 363. Pg. 4-5.

20 Op.cit. Opis 39. D 571. Pg. 375.

21 PSS-2 #18545, Paragraph 61. Indigents defined as: a) poor, elderly, and underage... b) invalids, crippled, not having any means of sustenance, and not capable to perform any work'c) those who left the community or kahal unofficially (without taking themselves off the tax payers rolls and, therefore, their tax liabilities remained the responsibility of the community).In this item "vybylyh" is an obsolete word for left.

22 RSHA, Fond 1287, Opis 39, Case 571, Pages 103-229 (ob.)

The Table does not contain names of some small communities/Kahals, because the gubernias were allowed "in regards to the tax-box records, to combine several small neighboring communities into one, if it makes sense under local conditions." (PSS-2, No. 18545. Par. 13., Notes 2).

There are files of indigents (by names) dated 1846 for many Jewish communities in Kovno Gubernia. These files are kept in Lithuania's Kovno District Archive. (Fnd. I-49, Opis 1, case 1620).

23 "'communities of (about) 500 souls and more belong to class 1. Second Class communities were of 200 ' 500 souls, Class 3 ' had ones of 100 ' 200, and the 4th Class had communities of less than 100, always keeping in mind not the listed, but the real number of the populace." Depending on the financial health of a community, the governors could assign it to one class higher or lower than the one based on its population. PSS-2, NO. 18545, Par. 13.

24 RSHA, F. 1287, Opis 43, Case 568, Pg.14 ob.

25 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 571. Pages: 2 ob., 10 ob., 23 ob., 94 ob.

26 Op. cit. Opis 39. D 571. Pg. 2-162.

27 PSS-2, No. 18545. Par. 61 B.

28 RSHA, F. 1287, Opis 39, Case 571, pages 184, 190 ob., 191 ob., 192 ob., 204, 206, 207 ob., 209 ob.

29 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 571. Pg. 224 ob.

30 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 571. Pg. 178 ob.

31 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 571. Pg. 207 ob.

32 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 571. Pgs. 196-196 ob.

33 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 568. Pgs. 20 ob., 21.

34 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 1886. Pg. 17 ob.

35 As an exception, we list here the surnames of all the claimants.

36 RSHA, F. 1287, Opis 42, Case 254, Pages 1, 2.

37 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 475. Pg. 12.

38 Op. cit. Opis 39. C. 1886. Pg. 17-18.

39 Op. cit. Opis 43. C. 475. Pg. 23.

40 Op. cit. Opis 39. C. 1538. Pg. 4 ob.

41 Op. cit. Opis 39. D 1538. Pg. 5.

42 Op. cit. Opis 39. D 2558. Pg. 75.

43 Op. cit. Opis 39. D 2358. Pg. 161 ob.

44 Op. cit. Opis 23. Case 885. Pages 3a, 19.

45 Op. cit. Opis 43. D. 174. Page 2.

46 Op. cit. Opis 43. D. 153. Page 13.

47 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 475. Page 26.

48 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 475. Page 58.

49 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 543. Page 1.

50 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 409. Pages 1-2.

51 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1094. Page 57.

52 Op. cit. Opis 22. Case 859. Pages 12-17.

53 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1360. Page 43.

54 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Page 168.

55 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 828. Pages 3-4.

56 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1158. Page 139.

57 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 97. Page 15; Case 409. Page 4.

58 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 590. Page 88.

59 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 2358. Page 141.

60 Op. cit. Opis 44. Case 58. Page 165.

61 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1216. Page 145.

62 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Page 54.

63 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1216. Page 139.

64 Russian Jewish Encyclopedia. Moscow 2000, Vol. 4. Historical Regional Descriptions/Facts. A-J Page 367.

65 RSHA, Fnd. 1287, Opis 39, Case 2089. Page 28.

66 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1331. Page 65.

67 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1360. Pages 34-34 ob.

68 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1074. Page 16.

69 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Page 22.

70 Op. cit. Opis 13. Case 966. Page 1.

71 Op. cit. Opis 13. Case 966. Page 96 ob.

72 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 475. Page 96 ob.

73 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 590. Page 43.

74 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 641. Page 19.

75 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 43. Page 6.

76 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1035. Page 22.

77 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1074. Pages 9, 25, 73-75, 79.

78 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1141. Pages 1-2.

79 Op. cit. Page 6 ob.

80 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1216. Pages 106-107.

81 Op. cit. Opis 44. Case 02. Page 99.

82 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 1579. Page 1.

83 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 1579. Pages 4 ob, 5.

84 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 1579. Page 9.

85 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1158. Pages 52, 53.

86 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Page 8.

87 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 174. Page 2 ob.

88 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 1195. Page 12.

89 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 358. Page 4 ob.

90 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Page 28.

91 Op. cit. Opis 44. Case 58. Page 316.

92 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Page 62.

93 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 522. Page 80.

94 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1094. Pages 29-33.

95 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1216 Page 65 ob.

96 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1360. Page 53.

97 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1158. Pg. 69.

98 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 153. Pg.1.

99 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1216. Pg.77.

100 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 522. Pg. 4.

101 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1035. Pg. 30.

102 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 2153. Pg.1, 2, 17.

103 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1203. Pages 1-4.

104 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 097. Pg.25 ob.

105 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1094. Pg.107.

106 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1094. Pg.7.

107 Op. cit. Page 45 ob., Pg.46.

108 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1035. Pages 12, 14.

109 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1094. Pg.3.

110 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 459. Pages 1, 5; Case 1264. Page 2. The Kahals named in these two sources are different.

111 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 1698. Pg.3 ob.

112 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 475. Pg.91.

113 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1035. Pg. 55.

114 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 1881. Pg.1, 2 ob.

115 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1216. Pg. 29.

116 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 2089. Pg.1, 2.

117 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1094. Pgs.53-53 ob.

118 Op. cit. Opis 21. Case 15. Pgs.3, 4.

119 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Pg.127.

120 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 2089. Pg. 14.

121 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Pg. 119.

122 Op. cit. Opis 39. Case 2535. Pg. 5.

123 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 543. Pg. 1.

124 Op. cit. Opis 42. Case 252. Pg.1.

125 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1035. Pg. 3.

126 Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 522. Pg. 43.
127
Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1423. Pg.19.
128
Op. cit. Opis 43. Case 1216. Pg. 49.