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 The Levanda Laws: A Collection of Laws Pertaining to Jews (1894)

Extracts by Louis J. Goldman

For more information on the laws pertaining to Jewish Coloniests, see Levanda, V.O. 1874. Polnii Kroniloichskii

Zpornik i Polozheni kasayoshkaya Evreev 1649-1873: St. Petersburg.

More information available on the web:

  1. The Levanda Index

  2. Background of the Levanda Index

  3. Eugene Schuyler's 1872 letter on the legal position of the Hebrews in Russia

  4. 1890 summary of Laws relating to the Jews in Russia

Levanda,Vitaly Osipovich.  "Polnyi khronologicheskii sbornik zakonov i polozhenii kasaiushchikhsia Evreev: ot Ulozheniia Tsaria Aleksieia Mikhailovicha do nastoiashchago vremeni, ot 1649-1873 g.".St. Petersburg.  1874.   Translation: "The complete chronological collection of laws and legal positions concerning the Jews: from the Legal Code of Czar Alexsei Mikailovich to the present time, 1649-1873".

Overview and outline of contents-----

pg. 53-60 #59 - December 9, 1804 (PSZ, T. XXVIII, No. 21, 547). Imperial approval of status. About organization of Jews.

Introduction: Decision and reasons behind establishing new rules for Jews.

Part I - Education

Part II - Different classes of Jews and privileges

#11. Jews split into 4 classes. 1) Farmers 2) manufacturers and craftsmen/artisans 30 merchants 40 petty bourgeois /lower middle class

#12. Jews are free and can never be attached to the land (as serfs were) and they can't be given to anyone as a possession, under no circumstances.

#13. Can buy, sell and rent land in guberniyas Litov, Belorussia, Malorussia, Kiev, Minsk, Volya, Podolsk, Astrakjan, Kavkat, Ekaterinoslav, Kherson and Tarrichapter. Can leave land as an inheritance according to 12 December 1802 edict.

#15. They can use hired labor to work the land. Also, if he builds on land not previously populated, and builds not less than 30 buildings for families of hired laborers, then he would be allowed to sell beer. Those 30 houses together will be called a settlement.

#16, Jews allowed to rent land from landowners and Jews who settle on these lands of their own free will are released from taxes for 5 years.

17. Those Jews that can't afford to buy land from landowners can move to state land in the following gubernias. (as above) Some of the gubernias had land available for this purpose, for the first time about 30,000 desiatine.

#18. Nobody can force Jews to settle on farms. But those who settle are free of all taxes for 10 years (on state or their own land?) with the exception of land responsibilities, and receive one time grant that they can return after certain no of years according to rules for foreign colonists.

#19. Jews settle on land belonging to landowners and state lands in above gubernias after expiration of these years when they get privileges, they have to pay all financial responsibilities, as all other citizens of the same class. In gubernias where Jews already settled, those who turn to farming will be released from paying double taxes.

pg 125-126 #116 - Feb 11, 1824 (PSZ, T. XXXIX, No. 29,795). Imperial approval of opinion of State Council / Committee. About registering Jews that become free farmers.

Jewish farmers that truly live in farming communities and engage in farming on State, private (landowners), or their own land, according to edict of Dec 9, 1804, are given certain privileges. Those who have shown a desire to settle and, however, didn't settle and don't exercise (practice?) farming, have to continue paying certain types of taxes until they actually settle in the communities. Regarding tax paid by Jewish farmers that were living on soecuiakl settlements on their own or private land, after the special years where they wonít have to pay these taxes are over, they then have to pay them.

pg 213-214 # 162 - Oct 30, 1827 (PSZ, T. II, No. 1,498). Imperial approval of opinion of State Council / Committee.

Solution of what to do with Jews living on landlords properties which neither the landlords (landowners) nor their own people (Jews), want there because of their  behavior.

1) If these Jews have contracts or conditions (for living on this land), and if there is something that contradicts the contact (or condition), then solution is according to the law (contract or condition). If no contract or condition exists, then all complaints should be discussed and approved by gubernia committee and Public ? Tribunal (Palata)*branch of government?

2) Time limits imposed on Jews as to how long to look for new place to live. Those who lost the (public) trusts, sent to Siberia for settlement.

3) If Jews expelled from ...., and if they have debts, this money should be taken according to general rules from the property they own or if they are accepted into another society, then money deducted according to law. However, if they can't find the money to retire the debt before resettling to different places in Siberia, then this resettlement or exile cannot be cancelled because of the debt.

pg 245-250 #192 - Jul 24, 1829 (PSZ, T. IV, No. 3,034). Imperial approval of rules for military recruiting of Jewish farmers settled according to military directive of the government of State lands in Kherson gubernia.

I. Released from being recruited. Time frame and what happens if they leave settlement and come back later, What happens if they live on settlements and don't do farming.

II. What if they want to change status i.e., from farming to another class. What about those who had financial help and what if they leave farming (pay back money, etc.) Entire family should change status according to last Revision census and not separately (individually), except when sons or brothers are settled as established households in the colony (then they can remain in farming class).

III. Drafting of Jews and rules that should be followed in the process. Who can be drafted. Those who leave place of settlement without permission, if they don't return with in one year, they lose status (as farmers). Those who didn't pay dues or are not good farmers could be drafted. Also, colony/settlement could turn in some Jews for recruiting (as a punishment) and in those cases 500 rubles deducted from collection of debt (of the colony) for each recruit.

IV. How to excuse Jews from the colonies /settlements. Could be allowed to leave to sell their products and to do work. When and how long and how far they could go and when they can ask for passports and when they can go without passports.

V. Citations (medals) given to Jews who excel in agriculture. How to determine who is an excellent farmer, i e. those who planted more that 50 ....etc. Those who get medals can not be  lashed (whipping as punishment). They also can't be turned in as recruits as in III above). If they are 50 years or older they are also released from their personal duties (to the colony; i e, ? rotated jobs like cutting grass, etc.)

VI. However, this can not be done during recruitment (military) period and can not be from certain families (classes with lower status...more likely to be recruited).

A Kontora (counting office) should be provided and the necessary paperwork which includes agreement for the colony to accept them  in society. Documents must be provided that state they do not belong to special groups that are not permitted to join colony and take them to Kontora. Process to become farmers should be conducted without any help/ grant from the treasury. Financial capability of becoming farmers within the first year must be proved, for example, by advanced deposit of a certain sum of money sufficient to settle and acquire the necessary property (house, tools, etc.?) Deposit should be made to Kontora. They will then get all the benefits / privileges, i e, be excused from certain taxes, military recruitment, etc.

p/ 359 #304 - Apr. 13, 1835 (PSZ.T X, No 8,054). Imperial approval of regulations for Jews, starting ? 31 May. Time frame for settling Jewish farmers.

Chapter 1 - general*

Jews should obey general laws in all cases, unless they are under special provisions. Jews allowed to live permanently in gubernia...4) Podolsk, and oblast...7) Bessarabia with exceptions. [Outlines Pale of Settlement]. Jews not allowed to come back within 50 versts of western borders. Jewish women who are married to Christians will be allowed to live with their husbands. In order to leave areas of residence have to ask for passport. When outside the Pale, Jews have to wear clothes similar to those of local residence. Jews who go abroad without permission lose Russian citizenship. Jews are forbidden to keep Christians for house servants. However, they allowed to hire them for short-term contacts, for help in farming, yard work, orchards on lands belonging to Jews; for work in factories except wine factories. Christian women can work for Jews but cannot live in the same house as Jews. Every Jew should have and maintain a well-known heritage (i e, family name) and they canít change it. Marriage between Jews not permitted until males are 18 years and females are 16 years. Those who marry before these ages will have their parents and older relatives imprisoned for 206 months.

Chapter 2 - About Jewish Farmers

27) Jews can settle for farming land allocated for this purpose according to government instructions on 1) state land 2) lands obtained by purchase and other lawful acts 3) rented from private persons.

280 State land assigned to Jews for settlement; 1) by their own request,. 2) according to annual schedule

29) Jews may request state land from unused land according to their own choice, but in places assigned for their permanent settlement (i e, in Pale)

30) State land given to Jews according to the request is open-ended (given forever) under the following conditions: (1) their request should state who particularly has desire to settle on this particular land for farming 2) not less than 25 males among those who want to settle (3) a piece of land requested should be separately located from Christian settlements (not adjacent to Christian settlements).

31) A Jew should complete process of settling within 2 years of obtaining land, otherwise, these lands will be taken away and returned to previous condition.

Chapter 3 - Jewish merchants and tradesmen

Chapter 4 - About Jewish societies in Towns

Chapter 5 - Religion of Jews

Chapter 6 - Education of Jews

Chapter 7 - Jews, foreigners, coming to Russia

*See, Salo W. Baron, "The Russian Jew under Tsars and Soviets", pg 32-34

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