|PILTENE: Ventspils, Kurzeme|
Alternate names: Piltene [Latv], Pilten [Пильтен-Rus, Ger], Piltenė [Lith], Piltyń [Pol]. 57°13' N, 21°40' E , 54 miles NNE of Liepāja (Libau), 12 miles SSE of Ventspils. 1900 Jewish population: about 500.
The first written reference to Jews occurs in 1306 (or 1309) [decree of the ruling German Livonian master, Siegfried von Feichtwangen, forbidding any Jew to reside in the territory ruled by the Livonian Order]. Crusaders found Jews unwelcome competitors trading with farmers that decreased income of the Crusaders and the clergy. In the 17th century, when Vidzeme and Riga were under Swedish rule. King Gustav Adolf forbade Jews to engage in commerce or hold permanent residence. Only in Piltene region (sold to Magnus, the brother of the Danish king) were Jews allowed to live and work. Since 1571, Jews could acquire real estate and build or buy houses with the same rights as other local homeowners. In 1585, Piltene region passed to the Polish king and laws favorable to the Jews continued in force. Traders and craftsmen from Germany were attracted by the favorable situation to Piltene and neighbouring localities.[March 2009]
|Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 13:56|