What was a starosta?

Thanks to Alexander Sharon


 Jewish people could constitute the majority of a shtetl's population but  places were not "entirely Jewish". A shtetl might be artificially "subdivided" into the Jewish and Gentile sections, which were often named,  e.g.. Velykyy (Large) Shtetl and Maly (Little) Shtetl, Vysoki  Shtetl (High,  probably on top of a hill) and Niski Shtetl (Lower, probably at the foot of a hill). In larger towns, Jews used to reside in separate suburbs (Kazimierz  in Krakow, Nalewki in Warszawa), while in smaller towns they occupied certain parts of the  street.
 But to the best to of my knowledge, Jews could not hold any  administration position whatsoever within the Russian Empire Territories, nor could they own land. All  land available for distribution was  been distributed amongst the Russian noble class following the divisions of  Poland, or it was already owned by Lithuanian or Polish nobleman, and any remainingv real estate was Crown's property.
 The original query (this was originally a response to a post on Jewishgen) was most probably refers to a starosta as an elder of the  Kahal (entire Jewish community) or the elder of the synagogue, a person  responsible for maintaining birth, marriage and death registration within the  community, and following up the re-registration of those events  with the local government administrator.
 2. A title equivalent to starosta, called "wojt" [vuyht] in Polish, was  used in Russian Poland untill 1863 when tit was been replaced with starosta  as russification of the territories took the place.
 3. Starosta in medieval and pre-divisional Poland (end of 18th century) was  a higher hierarchy military-administrative function within Poland-Lithuania  Commonwealth of Nations administration.

Copyright © 2000, Alexander Sharon 

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