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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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German Jews and Polish Jews Before 1648

(p.206) Chapter Nineteen Background
Rescue the Surviving Souls

Adam Teller

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents a background of the relationship between German Jews and Polish Jews before 1648. Polish Jews were well aware that their ancestors had originated in the German lands and, long before the refugee crisis brought large numbers of them back there, knew a great deal about Jewish society in the empire. Much of what they knew came from meetings with German Jews, often in pursuit of trade, or from the stories of those who had traveled the relatively short distance to the German lands. Though there was much that separated them, both groups understood that they also had a great deal in common in cultural and religious terms. The meeting of Polish and German Jews in the mid-seventeenth century, for all its economic, social, and religious difficulties, was undoubtedly colored by this sense of kinship and belonging. To understand its significance, the chapter looks at the history of the connections between the two groups of Jews and the ways in which those connections were perceived by each side. In the years after 1648, this history of the connection between German and Polish Jews seems to have created a range of expectations on the part not only of the refugees but also of those in the empire who were to take them in.

Keywords:   German Jews, Polish Jews, German lands, refugee crisis, Jewish society, Jewish refugees

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