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How many Jews lived in Poland and did they ever convert to catholicism, if so when?


Oshka
27 Jun 2013  #1
My mom is Polish. Upon doing some family genealogy we discovered some Jewish roots traced back to the early 1800s in Poland. I always thought I was just Polish........ I didn't think Jews intermarried with non-Jews. So why am I finding this out now??? Anybody ever discover Jewish roots while researching Polish ancestry?
jon357 63 | 14,124
27 Jun 2013  #2
At the peak, about 3 million. Some converted to other religions.
pawian 161 | 9,846
27 Jun 2013  #3
Upon doing some family genealogy we discovered some Jewish roots traced back to the early 1800s in Poland.

Wow, that must have been quite extensive.
TheOther 5 | 3,765
27 Jun 2013  #4
quite extensive

Why extensive? In genealogy you count about 25 years per generation. Early 1800's ... that's approx. 9 generations. If you follow both male and female lines backwards, you will end up with 2^8 + 1 = 257 individuals. That's not too many. I know people who trace not only the direct lines, but also all siblings. They easily end up with 10.000+ entries in their family trees.
a.k.
28 Jun 2013  #5
What for?
And how do you do that? It's hard to imagine to track my great granparents, but 9 generations back?! It's beyond my comprehension!
How does OP know his ancestors were Jewish?
TheOther 5 | 3,765
28 Jun 2013  #6
What for?

For most people it's a hobby. Genealogy is not only about collecting the basic data like date of birth, marriage or death - it's much, much more. You try to find out as much as possible about your ancestors. Where they lived, under what circumstances, how they spent their days, whom they hung out with, and so on. History also comes into play. The plague, the 30 year war, the Deluge ... if you do serious genealogy, you will learn a lot about the past. I'd guess that's what most people drive.

And how do you do that?

Basically, you start with all living family members and collect their data. Once you reach a stage where people can't remember - say your great great grandparents - you go a different route. You try to find the civil registration record for the marriage of your great grandparents. This record includes the names of the parents of groom and bride. Now that you know their names, you go back to the year of birth of the groom/bride and check the marriage records for your great great grandparents (provided the groom/bride was the first born). And so on and so forth. At some point in time the civil registration records will end (around 1870) and you will have to rely on church books from then on. Catholic church books can reach back many centuries, protestant church books often not so much - but that also depends on the region. All you have to do is to find these church books and the record of your ancestor. Sounds easy, but the further you go back to more difficult it becomes. Many church books were destroyed during wars or by fires, and even if you find the old books you might not be able to read them. Many are in Latin and written in scripts that are extremely hard to decypher.
a.k.
28 Jun 2013  #7
Catholic church books can reach back many centuries, protestant church books often not so much

What about the Jews?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
28 Jun 2013  #8
They keep records too. However, it's a bit difficult for someone starting out with Jewish genealogy. You probably need the help of
someone who has done it before.

start here: jewishgen.org
TheOther 5 | 3,765
28 Jun 2013  #9
What about the Jews?

familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Poland_Jewish_Records
OP Oshka
29 Jun 2013  #10
Hi Pawian. Yes it is very extensive. It took us about 3 years worth of research to get back that far in the line. Europeans were good at keeping family genealogies and records, many of them kept in the Catholic churches. Luckily for my family I had a good start of my genealogy recorded from my great grandfather. He left us quite a bit of family tree before he passed. We worked with that and used ancestry.com. Also got information from old catholic records in Poland. One of my ancestors who was Catholic married a Jew, who I'm assuming converted cause I know they didn't usually intermarry. Interesting though. I'm learning a lot the further back I go.
Lyzko 23 | 6,539
19 Sep 2015  #11
Jews have been living in Poland for perhaps a "mere" six-hundred years, but in Europe proper since the Roman Empire. We're surely no longer strangers, guests or visitors, but form the bedrock of the Judeo-Christian Occident:-) It was not until the Enlightenment however that Jews throughout much of the continent began to be granted the rights and privileges of national citizenship. Many did indeed convert to Christianity, yet remained proud Jews in secret, as a result, enormous contributors to European culture, the Germans Heinrich Heine, Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler, only to name but a few:-)

While Polish Jews/half-Jews were slower in coming to the fore, there was surely no dearth of great Polish-Jewish writers. etc., identified with their Jewish heritage or not, e.g. Juliam Tuwim, Bolesław Leśmian, Jan Brzechwa (his father was Catholic!), Tadeusz Różewicz and a host of others.
linr05 - | 9
5 Aug 2016  #12
I'm curious about some distant family relatives named Lippmann. They emigrated on the Queen Mary to the USA. Their record lists them as American born citizens and their 3yr. old child also born in America. They emigrated in 1947 in their 30's. They had pronounced German accents as adults. Somehow this doesn't all add up. I have Polish Great-Grandparents who emigrated to the USA from Prussia who had to learn English, work very hard, and become naturalized citizens. Their "papers" didn't say they were "American citizens" when they arrived. What is going on here? I'm tired of "being in the dark" so-to-speak.
Atch 17 | 2,861
5 Aug 2016  #13
Do you mean that they emigrated from the UK?

I don't think it's odd that they were born in America though the German accents would suggest that wherever they were born, they were subsequently raised in Germany or a German speaking country. What I do find odd is that their child was born in America around 1943/44 as this was during the war and I imagine it would have been difficult to be travelling backwards and forwards across the Atlantic during war time. Could the husband have been travelling on official business, was he a member of the diplomatic service or other state body?
Chemikiem 6 | 2,001
5 Aug 2016  #14
I don't think it's odd that they were born in America though the German accents

Unless I've read it wrongly, I think what linr05 is trying to say is that his distant relatives were not born in America, and presumably emigrated from Germany or elsewhere, hence the strong accents, and is wondering why they were listed as such, when his Polish great grandparents weren't listed as American citizens on their paperwork when they arrived in the US.

The Queen Mary is a British ship though, so maybe they did arrive from the UK.
I can only think that if I've understood everything correctly, and I'm not absolutely certain that I have, is that maybe there is a paperwork mistake in listing them as American citizens?
gregy741 4 | 1,204
5 Aug 2016  #15
Jews have been living in Poland for perhaps a "mere" six-hundred years,

err...you mean western european jews.but there were quite sizeable khazar jewish minority in Poland long before 14 century.so jews in Poland lived longer than 600 years.

It was not until the Enlightenment however that Jews throughout much of the continent began to be granted the rights and privileges of national citizenship

through medieval time, jews were massively privileged minority if you compare them to christians,in western Europe.they had enjoyed much more rights and privileges than average christian in Europe.

enormous contributors to European culture,

yea thats true
i read and i heard that most polish jews didnt even speak polish language,or understood polish culture.this tells you how much separated and confined life they were living in pre war Poland.
Ironside 48 | 9,748
5 Aug 2016  #16
but in Europe proper since the Roman Empire.

Ashkenazi Jews have nothing to do with it. They're mostly converts to Judaism from the local population - meaning Europe. . with some Khazar and Middle East admixture.

Sephardic Jews are such a mixture that is hard to say where they hail from except for the Iberian peninsula in 15th century.

While Polish Jews/half-Jews were slower in coming to the fore,

What do you mean? Are you talking about Jews that wrote in the Polish language or you mean Poles of Jewish origin? That is the main problem with a national and cultural identity based on racist criteria. Its hard to say what you're talking about.

through medieval time, jews were massively privileged minority if you compare them to christians,in western Europe.

Point taken. In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (do not confuse with the modern state which has stolen that name) every Jews that converted to Catholicism had been automatically granted citizenship and rights - a Polish noble status.
gregy741 4 | 1,204
5 Aug 2016  #17
every Jews that converted to Catholicism had been automatically granted citizenship and rights - a Polish noble status.

i didnt hear about that.i know Muslims who pledged loyalty to polish crown were granted nobility status.tho polish "nobility" is somhow different than western nobility.many types with different privileges,some of noble types were poor commoners and had little social status.like zasciankowa szlachta for example

and alot of people believe that jews were discriminated in europe through medieval times. reality is that they enjoyed much better social position than 90% of Christians (pesantry) who had no rights to own land,marry without permission,travel ect. they were literally slaves.

and yes...todays "lithuanians" are mere descendands of somogatians and poor fishermans from baltic coast,that had little of nothing in common with lithuanians. who were mostly ruthenians.thats why they hate GDL times so much.cus they had nothing in common with GDL culture and people
Lyzko 23 | 6,539
5 Aug 2016  #18
Ah, there's the rub though! If one converted. How about those who wished to maintain their Jewish faith while living and working in peace with their gentile neighbors?? For that, there is no answer, certainly no intelligent rationalization for the cruel and consistent mistreatment of Jews over the centuries.
Lenka 3 | 1,375
5 Aug 2016  #19
It's true they shouldn't have to convert to enjoy normal citizen rights (different times so no actual 'citizen rights') however simple peasant had it worse- they had no way of making their life better, converting or not. Saying that Jews were treated badly (and often they were) without mentioning that other, Catholic citizens had it similar is misleading.
linr05 - | 9
5 Aug 2016  #20
gregy741

i read and i heard that most polish jews didnt even speak polish language,or understood polish culture.this tells you how much separated and confined life they were living in pre war Poland.

I think linr05 is trying to say that his distant relatives were not born in America, hence the strong accents, and is wondering why they were listed as such.

Yes: They immigrated/not born in the USA. I believe they lived somewhere in Poland or Germany before WW2: Hence the heavy German accent. No "mistake" on the paperwork: I'm thinking it was some "special concession" via some diplomatic channels? Hence my inquiry if anyone has seen such a measure before? The had/have relatives in the UK.
gregy741 4 | 1,204
6 Aug 2016  #21
. Saying that Jews were treated badly (and often they were) without mentioning that other, Catholic citizens had it similar is misleading.

exactly.feudal system was cruel and unjust to like 80% of europe population,not just jews. arguments such as -Christians discriminated jews cus they banned them from owning land is nonsense.vast majority of Christians were not allow to own land.sure there were more direct hostile actions against jews like,but pogroms but pogroms against christian peasants were far more common.i remember Koniecpolski wiped out entire villages in north prussia and them burned down,just to deny food to inviding swedish armies.sometimes i think like being victim is like religion for too many jews nowdays.

look at this for example,yesterday iwanted to check some facts about nadniestrze capital.and what i see here:
pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyraspol
few lines about basic facts about this city,and separate section about how jews were treated there.hilarious.some cementary mistreated ect.
Lyzko 23 | 6,539
7 Aug 2016  #22
This then returns to the dilemma posed by the that-time all powerful Catholic Church: They clearly disliked Jews within their midst, yet did nothing to facilitate their stay, short of trying to smoke them out, kill them off and ostracize them. Even the conversos aka Maranos in Spain had problems under Torquemada (who himself, it was rumored, might have been of Jewish descent).
Ironside 48 | 9,748
8 Aug 2016  #23
Indeed Lyzko, that makes sense if you assume that Jews had been masochistic were actively looking for a place where they will be persecuted and possibly killed.

They would explain why they have flocked to those nasty Catholic countries with their vile CC.
Otherwise it doesn't make sense why faces with such a massive scale discrimination they haven't decided to go to the orthodox countries or pagan or Muslim countries?

To sum it all up. Either Jews were suicidal and not too bright. Actively looking for countries in which they had been systematically destroyed. Alternatively there is another option, more appealing, rational and logical to be honest. You're talking a lot of nonsense, slandering CC out of hate or ignorance in the process. Good job Lzyko!:)
jon357 63 | 14,124
8 Aug 2016  #24
if you assume that Jews

All of them?
Ironside 48 | 9,748
8 Aug 2016  #25
Why? Do you think that Lyzko is saying anything else than utter BS?
Lyzko 23 | 6,539
8 Aug 2016  #26
Ironside, when you castigate others for non-existent faults, you end up diminishing your own importance. I've told you that before, but it appears not to have sunken in!

Don't you realize the Jews fled to those "nasty Catholic countries" because those were the only one who invited them in?
The Jews of Medaeval Europe were your classic political football, the bargaining chip par excellence; taken in when needed for supposed financial acumen, merrily tossed out (or worse!!!) when no longer needed.

I didn't make up the ugly history, I only report it. Apologies if you're not man enough to stomach it!!!
Ironside 48 | 9,748
8 Aug 2016  #27
Don't you realize the Jews fled to those "nasty Catholic countries" because those were the only one who invited them in?

There you go! Was that very hard for you to stomach?
Consider this:
Beggars can't be choosers.
So, do not be ungrateful, but sing CC praises and thank CC for its goodness toward you.
Lyzko 23 | 6,539
8 Aug 2016  #28
By the same token, were the thousands, nearly one million, Poles who came to America "beggars"? They might have "chosen" to either stay in their impovrished country or go to neighboring, Germany, England, or France, yet they had little choice in the end but to choose the US:-)
Ironside 48 | 9,748
8 Aug 2016  #29
By the same token,

Apples and oranges Lzyko. You're grasping at straws.
Lyzko 23 | 6,539
8 Aug 2016  #30
"Grasping at straws"

Oho, nice idiom there, Ironside! Yet, at the risk of seeming condescending, you're being your typically contrarian self in not acknowledging that possibly, I'm right about this one:-)

Then again, you might actually have to admit you're wrong and I realize that for you, swallowing hemlock would be preferrableLOL

In fact, I wasn't grasping at straws, but rather, lining up all my ducks in a nice, neat row of factual information for you to try to shoot down (...if you can.) But watch out though, sometimes the truth is much like a moving target; the more you think your aim is perfect, the more you're likely to miss.


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