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Rescue the Surviving SoulsThe Great Jewish Refugee Crisis of the Seventeenth Century$
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Adam Teller

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161747

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161747.001.0001

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The Fate of the Ransomed

The Fate of the Ransomed

(p.180) Chapter Sixteen The Fate of the Ransomed
Rescue the Surviving Souls

Adam Teller

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses what happened to the Polish Jewish captives once they had been ransomed and released. Most sought to return home at the first opportunity. Without a patron, however, this was not easy. The captives had been brutally snatched from their previous lives and so, once freed, had little or no resources on which to rely. The religious obligation of the local Jewish society toward them ended with their ransom; once they had been freed, they were largely on their own and had to make their own way home—an extremely difficult, often impossible, proposition. There is no way to tell just what proportion of the ransomed captives managed to return home, though the desire to do so seems to have been fairly widespread. Still, there were those who simply could not manage it. The financial difficulties, the physical danger of long-distance travel, and the continuing threat of pirates in the Mediterranean must have deterred many, especially women, who often opted to stay and start new lives. The chapter then considers the refugee information network, the problems of identification, and the cultural contacts between Ashkenazi refugees and the Sephardi society.

Keywords:   Polish Jewish captives, Jewish society, ransomed captives, Jewish women, refugee information network, identification problems, Ashkenazi refugees, Sephardi society

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