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Vladimir Volynski

VLADIMIR VOLYNSKI (formerly Lodomira, Pol. Wlodzimierz; in Jewish sources: Lodmer, Ladmir, or Ludmir), city in Volhynia district, Ukraine. Jews from *Kiev, *Khazaria, and other eastern communities settled in the city in the 12th century. They established an important station there on the trade route between eastern and western Europe, which was subsequently visited by Jewish merchants from *Ashkenaz. The Jewish community was destroyed by Tatars in the 1240s but it was renewed on a small scale in the early 15th century under Grand Duke Witold of Lithuania. An organized community was founded in the early 16th century and it developed rapidly after the Polish annexation of *Volhynia (1569).

In the charter of privileges given to the city in 1570 by King Sigismund II Augustus, the Jews were granted equal rights with gentile citizens. During the 16th century the Jews of Vladimir Volynski traded at the fairs in Lublin, Poznan, and Cracow, where they sold furs, woolen cloth, and wax. The richer Jews engaged in estate-leasing and tax-farming. From the middle of the 16th century several famous rabbis lived in Vladimir Volynski, e.g., *Isaac b. Bezalel, who served from 1547 to 1570, Menahem Isaiah b. Isaac (known as Menahem-Mendel R. Avigdors; 1591), who later became rabbi of Cracow (d. 1599), and the talmudist *Isaac ben Samuel ha-Levi (1580–1646), who was born in Vladimir Volynski. The outstanding talmudist and author, Yom-Tov Lipmann *Heller, was rabbi of the community from 1634 to 1643.

The community suffered greatly during the *Chmielnicki massacres (1648–49) in which many Jews were murdered. After repeated attacks in 1653 and 1658, the heads of the community were forced to borrow large sums to save the Jews from impoverishment. Their economic situation improved in the late 17th century. In 1700 Augustus II awarded Fishel Lewkowicz of Vladimir Volynski the title of "royal agent and purveyor and official secretary for the Council of the Four Lands." In 1765 1,327 Jews paid the poll tax.

The economic crisis which befell the Polish kingdom in its last years affected the Jewish population in Vladimir Volynski. By 1784 there were only 340 Jews in the city. In 1795 it was annexed by Russia. In the 19th century the Jewish population increased, numbering 3,930 in 1847 and 5,854 (66% of the total) in 1897. They traded in grain and lumber, and engaged in shopkeeping, tailoring, hatmaking, and shoemaking. The hasidic movement became influential in the community, especially under the direction of Moses Solomon Karliner and the Maid of *Ludomir.

There were 5,917 Jews there in 1921 comprising 51% of the population, and by 1931, 10,665 (44%). In 1926, 84% of the businesses were in Jewish hands. There were *Tarbut, *Beth Jacob, and Yavneh schools. The Jews of Vladimir Volynski organized *self-defense against the attacks of May 1923, and in the 1930s they protested vigorously against the antisemitic boycott. In the city council elections of 1929, 12 of the 24 seats were won by Jews.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Halpern, Pinkas, index; N.N. Hannover, Yeven Meẓulah (1966), 65, 66; R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; E. Ringelblum, in: Miesięcznik żydowski, no. 11/12 (1933), 233; idem, Projekty i proby przewarstwowienia żydow w epoce stanislawowskiej (1934), 35–36; B. Mark, Di Geshikhte fun Yidn in Poyln (1957), index; M. Tikhomirov, Drevniye russkiye goroda (1946), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 81, 82, 84, 88; I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; H.H. Ben Sasson, Hagut ve-Hanhagah (1959), 56, 136, 138, 163, 178–9.