LEIBZOLL (Ger., "body tax"), a special tax levied on Jews in Europe. Known under a variety of names – Judengeleit, Leibmauth, Judenzoll, péage corporel, etc. – it was first levied by the three landgraves of Thuringia in 1368, and became more common after the major expulsions of the 15th and 16th centuries. Principalities which excluded Jews issued, for a fee, a ticket of passage or limited sojourn which guaranteed their safety, enabled the authorities to control their coming and going, and was also a source of income. Due to the political fragmentation of Europe, having to pay the Leibzoll (in addition to the regular customs duties) was for the Jews a moral degradation as well as an economic burden, for the Leibzoll was accompanied by humiliating legal formulas. In addition, it was levied many times within one political or provincial unit, according to local usage. Thus a Jew going from Goerlitz in Silesia to the Leipzig fair in Saxony (a distance of about 110 mi.) had to pay eight times for himself alone a total of 14 different payments of between two and 12 groschen each, a total of two thaler, 11 groschen, and three pfennig. At the fair itself he had to pay twice that amount or more. Nonetheless, rich and privileged Jews often succeeded in freeing themselves from the obligation.
The Leibzoll was known as Leibmauth in Vienna "and was introduced not as a financial but as a police measure, to keep away a considerable number of useless Jews, and to supervise
L. Horwitz, in: Im deutschen Reich, 17 (1911), 417–27; A. Pribram, Urkunden und Akten (1918), index, S.V. Leibmaut, Bolletin; H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 3 (1955), 127ff.; S. Stern, Der preussische Staat und die Juden (1962), index, S.V. Leibzoll; Z. Szajkowski, Franco-Judaica (1962), 38–42; A. Hertzberg, The French Enlightenment and the Jews (1968), index, S.V. Body Tax; R. Markgraf, Zur Geschichte der Juden auf den Messen in Leipzig (1894), 83ff.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.