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JOHN ALBERT (Jan Albrecht or Olbracht):

King of Poland (1492-1501). He ascended the throne of Poland in the same year in which his brother Alexander Jagellon became grand duke of Lithuania. The one-sided training received by John Albert showed itself in his attitude toward the Jews. He placed Buonocorsi Callimachus at the head of his advisers, who were as unpopular as the king himself. The hatred of the Jews instilled into him in his boyhood and youth by his teachers Buonocorsi and John Dlugosz led him to adopt repressive measures toward the Jews, although he had at first confirmed the privileges granted them by his father, Casimir IV. He ratified at the general diet of Petrokov (1496) the Nyeshav statute limiting the rights of the Jews. To him is also ascribed the creation of the first ghetto in Poland. In 1494 a conflagration destroyed the greater part of Cracow, and the mob availed itself of the opportunity to plunder the Jewish houses. In consequence of this the king ordered that the Jews, who were then scattered throughout the city, should move to Kazimierz, a suburb of Cracow, and there live alone. From that time Kazimierz became an isolated Jewish town, which had for centuries a life of its own, connected with the outer world only by economic interests. On the expulsion of the Jews from Lithuania (1495) by Alexander Jagellon, John Albert allowed them to settle in Ratno and its vicinity; later he extended their right of residence to all Polish towns already inhabited by Jews.

Bibliography:
  • Cromer, De Origine, etc., p. 439;
  • M. Bielski, Kronika Polska, p. 893;
  • Volumina Legum, I.;
  • Sternberg, Gesch. der Juden in Polen, p. 106, Leipsic, 1878;
  • Dubnow, Yevreiskaya Istoriya, i. 240, Odessa, 1896.
H. R. J. G. L.
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