This is the info about Sephardic migration to Poland that may explain how Rashba family moved to  Ukraine, Kiev gubernia.

Map sef migration 2.pdf
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Map of Sephardic migration

Boguslav area, Kiev gubernia.

Rashba family lived there in 19 century

Sephardic Migrations Into Poland

by Susan C. Sherman, CG

The Jews of Poland are currently understood to be of a homogeneous Ashkenazic nature. Nevertheless, a Sephardic presence in Poland began in the 16th century. The Sephardim traveled along the trade routes of the Baltic and Mediterranean and first appeared in the Polish cities of Gdansk and Lwow. It is difficult to identify Sephardim among modern Jews of Polish descent, as local naming practices and usage of the Yiddish language were adopted by Jews who migrated to Poland. With this historical framework however, family lore and published accounts may serve as indications and guides for subsequent genealogical research.


It is commonly assumed that Polish Jews are of Ashkenazic descent, while Spanish and Mediterranean Jews are of Sephardic descent. Originally intended to describe areas of the Diaspora, the concept of these specific Jewish sub-types originated with medieval rabbis who were not concerned with the secular history, ethnic composition or changing

boundaries of Europe, much less the Visigothic (Germanic) conquest of, and influence in, Spain.

"Geographical names are blithely lifted from the Bible and affixed to places the Bible never knew, and so Spain is Sefarad, France is Zarefat, Germany is Ashkenaz."1

As the discussion of these definitions is too great to be properly addressed in a few sentences, Sephardim will refer to Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, Portugal in 1497 and those who remained on the Iberian peninsula as Conversos or New Christians.2 Poland or Polish will refer to the area of Polish-Lithuanian sovereignty created by the Union of Lublin of 1569,

"...a commonwealth, the Rzecz Pospolita, whose ruler, with the double title of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, was elected by a single commonwealth Diet. (Thus) Lithuania moved into a firm and subordinate union with Poland, and the Ukrainian lands were transferred... into direct Polish jurisdiction."3

Inquisition and Expulsions

In 1492, few places were willing to accept fleeing Jews: Portugal, the Lowlands (Belgium), the Ottoman Empire and Poland. Estimates of Jewish emigration from Spain range from 100,000 to 800,000. The number currently accepted is 160,000.4 According to The Jewish Encyclopedia that figure is low by 20%.5 Portugal and the Ottomans received most of the Spanish immigrants; Salonika and Constantinople were to become the leading centers of the Sephardic diaspora.

Although the Portuguese expulsion was declared in 1497, the Portuguese Inquisition did not come into deadly force until the latter part of the 16th century. Most Portuguese Jews departed for Antwerp, Charles V having extended an invitation to them to settle there in 1536.6 The port of Bruges was beginning to be eclipsed by Antwerp, and it was hoped that the Portuguese immigrants would help speed up the process. Some newcomers were members of major banking and shipping dynasties, able to conduct business with kinsmen who remained in Lisbon and Madrid. As trade contacts expanded along the various shipping routes, branches of these Portuguese firms appeared in the Hanseatic, Italian and Levantine cities, and utilized Antwerp as headquarters.

Along this vast trade network the Jews migrated. While territorial disputes and religious rancor raged throughout most of the Continent, commercial alliances provided a certain stability. Prohibited from owning land, barred from membership in craft guilds and devoid of social mobility in a rigid caste system, the Jews found in commerce both a source of income and a means of escape from persecutions and expulsions.

The Baltic or Northern Route

Hamburg extended rights of residence to Sephardim in 1612 (some already had been settled there for approximately 20 years; the Germans specifically refused admittance to Ashkenazic Jews), and Hamburg became, after Amsterdam, the largest European center of Sephardim.7 In Hamburg were found families such as Ximenes, Cardoso, Fernandes, Mendes, Aboab, Alvares, Texeira, Gomes, Henriques and Coutinho. From there, Sephardim gradually spread throughout the entire Hanseatic league, an economic confederation of Baltic maritime cities whose other members included Lubeck, Elbing, Copenhagen, Bergen, and Stockholm, continuing eastward to Russia. It was only a matter of time before Sephardic Jews began to settle in the Polish cities of the Hansa.

The Mediterranean or Southern Route

Similar to the Hanseatic League in the Baltic, the Italians developed shipping alliances in the Mediterranean. Genoa became the center of the Italian commercial network, as was Lubeck in the Hansa. Through Constantinople, the Genoese gained access to the Black Sea and its ports of Caffa and Azov. The shipping alliances met in the west at Lisbon while Eastern links were made through the great river systems and well-traveled overland routes of Poland and Muscovy8

Polish-Turkish Alliance

As mentioned, Constantinople and Salonika (Greece) absorbed the greatest numbers of Sephardim, a factor that contributed to the need for Turkish control over the Black Sea and its commercial links. Like Europe, general population growth required the means to sustain it. These needs ranged from foodstuffs, spices and salt that preserved the food, cloth and finished garments, luxury items, slaves and currency. After the Turks took control of the eastern Mediterranean ports affiliated with Genoa, they continued north toward the Ukraine, making the Crimean Khan subordinate to the Grand Turk in the process, and built fortresses and commercial centers at river estuaries and on the steppe. By the mid 16th century, the Ottoman Empire included the territory of modern Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia, and was closing in fast on Poland.

Fear of expansionist policy from both the Hapsburgs to the west and Muscovy to the east exacerbated the pressure on a weak Polish monarchy that perched atop an essentially feudalistic society. The king, Sigismund Augustus, therefore perceived that an alliance with the Sultan was in Poland's best interest; the Turks gained access to Polish commercial links in return.

16th-Century Poland

By the beginning of the 16th century, Poland had developed into a great power, having gained control of Prussia (1466), Bohemia and Hungary (1471-1490) and Moldavia (1485). The Grand Duchy of Lithuania stretched from the Ukraine to Byelorussia. By the end of the 16th century, the Commonwealth added Latvia and Estonia to its realm. Thus, under Polish dominion were the estuaries of the Vistula, Pregolya, Neman and Dvina rivers and their respective Baltic towns of Danzig, Koenigsberg, Memel and Riga. This made Poland a beneficiary of the Hanseatic League and opened new markets for Polish grain and timber exports.

At the same time, the Polish landed gentry developed a taste for luxury that only hard currency from grain and timber sales satisfied. They sought a means of exploiting the demand for Polish grain by increasing production from their vast estates gone fallow. Although unwilling to do the actual work themselves, through a lease agreement called an arrenda, managers or arrendars were hired to oversee the peasants, collect tolls, settle financial accounts and make certain that the produce got to market. In return, the arrendars received local monopolies on provisioning, the distillation and sale of alcoholic beverages at taverns (karczma) and the proceeds from operating inns (karczemka) on the estate. Jewish immigrants filled the need for arrendars and other types of commercial agents.

In the year 1500, Polish Jewry numbered approximately 30,000 out of a population of 5,000,000. By 1575, the number of Jews had grown to approximately 150,000 (an increase of 500%), while the number of Poles rose to 7,000,000 (71%).9 However, it is incorrect to assume that the growing Jewish population consisted solely of Ashkenazim for several reasons, the most obvious being, "the Jewish community (of Poland) multiplied each time there was an anti-Semitic witchhunt in other countries, and its numbers soared in the decades after the expulsions from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1496 (emphasis added)."10

Furthermore, even though Jews were expelled from most German communities during the late 15th century, their numbers were not as great. The same German cities, as well as most of Europe, began to repatriate their Jewish communities some 90 years later. It must also be noted that expulsions from certain cities did not preclude German Jews from settling in either the German countryside or in "free cities" such as Fuerth.11 The source of the rapidly increasing Jewish population in Poland consisted in part of Sephardim, the extent of which remains undeterminded.

Sephardic Settlement in Poland

Sephardim arrived in Poland along both the northern and southern routes. The Dias Millao was one family whose descendants could be found in 19th century Poland and Denmark. Originally from Lisbon, Enrique Dias Millao and his wife Abigail Gomes had two children, Paulo de Millao (known in Hamburg as Paul Dirichsen) and Beatrice Henriques, who married Alvaro Diniz (known in Hamburg as Albertus de Nyes and among Jews as Samuel Ibn Jachia).

By 1605, Diniz had established his main office in Hamburg with branches in Lubeck, Gdansk and throughout the Polish countryside. His business partners, Dirichsen and Gabriel de Valenca, moved to Danzig. In 1622, King Christian IV of Denmark granted Diniz' firm a monopoly on the import of baysalz or boysalz, a salt from the Bay of Biscay, highly prized throughout the region. Diniz also served as Master of the Mint in Gluckstadt and played a prominent role in commercial activities there for the next two and a half decades.12 In the 18th century, descendants of this family lived at Lozdzieje and Bakalarzewo in the Suwalki guberniya of Poland. Some members engaged in the salt trade and were known by the surname of Bejm (from baje, the Polish spelling of bay). The name Diniz was used as a given name, particularly for women (Dina).13,14

The Charlap family of Poland, New York and Israel also descended from the Ibn Jachia family. Several articles about the Charlaps were featured in the Juedische Familienforschung;15 in addition, biographies were published in The Jewish Encyclopedia.16 According to the latter, a Dina Ibn Jachia fled the Iberian Peninsula with her family and settled in Italy; the Charlap pedigree descends through her to a great-grandson who settled in Poland.17 Kellenbenz said with regard to Alvaro Diniz, "The combination of Italian and Dutch elements in his correspondence permit us to assume that he was in the Netherlands and in Italy before coming to Hamburg."18

Artistic evidence of a Sephardi presence in Gdansk can be seen in "The Allegory of Trade in Danzig" (see back cover of this issue), a painting completed in 1608 by Isak van dem Blocke of Antwerp, that decorates the ceiling of the Red Hall in the Town Hall of Gdansk. In the foreground are various merchants of the Hansa clothed in the styles of Portugal, Antwerp, Turkey and Poland. At the top is the Hebrew abbreviation for G-d.19 The artist's family included Abraham and Willem, architects employed in Danzig. Further examples were evident in an exhibit of Jewish ceremonial objects from Danzig at the Jewish Museum in New York: several Torah pointers and a Hanukkah menorah decorated with dolphins20, as well as an Eternal Light in a cupboard!21 The exhibit catalogue noted that although contrary to the Ashkenazic practice of placing the light in front of the Ark, a drawing of a similar light was found in the 1833 Membership Book of the Eternal Light Society of Mattenbuden.22

The Southern Route

The aforementioned Polish-Turkish alliance, augmented by loans to the Polish king by Joseph Nasi, a Portuguese Jew of Selim II's court, completed the circuit for Sephardic Jewry.23 Traveling overland to Lwow, and then along the trade routes of the interior, Levantine Jews entered Poland from the south. Settlement was encouraged in Lwow by Nasi24 and subsequently in the surrounding Ukraine by members of the Polish nobility who sought arrendars for their estates.25,26 In an attempt to eliminate the intermediaries in foreign transactions, the Polish nobility also requested the settlement of Sephardic merchants in their private towns as prices were beginning to rise.27 Urban restrictions essentially limited Jewish population increases to the rural regions of Poland's eastern and southeastern provinces.

"The most important role, however, was played by the so-called Frenks, that is, the Jews who immigrated to Poland from Turkey. These enterprises were managed by Don Joseph's agents, Hayim Cohen and Abraham de Mosso, who received in 1567 exclusive royal rights for unlimited trade in these wines in all of Poland for a period of five years. Their transactions in 1567-1569 amounted to tens of thousands of florins. (italics mine)"28,29

Nineteenth century historian Moses Schorr found documents that listed several Sephardic merchants, who were doing business in Lwow, and their respective places of birth. He also had access to legal briefs, real estate transactions and miscellaneuos correspondence. According to Schorr, Mosso returned to Constantinople in 1571 and left his step-brother David to manage the business.30 In 1587, Mordechai Cohen wrote to his brother in Constantinople,

"The Chancellor (Jan Zamojski) wants to colonize a newly founded city (Zamosc), which has greater privileges than Lwow, because it will be in the middle of the country, beautifully situated, four miles from the harbor (river) which leads to Warsaw and Danzig. Here there will be enough room for the building of houses, and also enough (agricultural) land which is very expensive in Lwow. The Chancellor also wants Frenkish (Sephardic) Jews to settle there but he does not want the locals (Ashkenazim)."31

The town of Zamosc, like subsequent private towns in rural Poland, "...was settled by large numbers of Hispanic Jews, Italians, Scotsmen, Armenians, Turks and Germans, who could provide everything from medical facilities to a cannon foundry...The idea was widely copied."32

Schorr further stated that abundant factual evidence indicated a permanent Sephardic presence in Lwow. He quoted another Jewish historian:

"`The municipal files,' reports Lozinski in the book cited several times, `are full of the names of Turkish Jews in Lwow until the middle of the 17th century.'"33

There was evidence indicating Turkish goods, including a red dye, czerwonnej, attainable only from the Turks via the Black Sea, were sold at Danzig by Jewish and Ruthenian merchants from Brest Litovsk.34 Kiev experienced an economic renaissance in foreign trade as well, probably due to the granting of Magdeburg law and exemption from customs duties for Kievan merchants.35

Regarding Family Bubbe Meisahs

Anecdotal evidence of Sephardic families living in Ashkenazic lands has persisted in published narratives and family lore. A. Zebulun Berebitches wrote an article about a Polish shtetl, Rotnica, for the Yiddish-language encyclopedia LITE in which he stated,

"My family was known by a nickname, the `Lampidusan', and remembrance that we were from Lampidusa, a small island somewhere in Italy ..."36,37

In the same encyclopedia another article, on Jewish land ownership in the Suwalki area, refers to "Prado," the estate of the Frankel family, which was also the name of a prominent Spanish and Portuguese family.38 It may also be that the estate was so named as prado is the Spanish word for meadow. Similar stories are not uncommon among Polish-Lithuanian Jews and have been told to succeeding generations of such families as Atlas,39 Sabludowsky,40 Bejm,41 Protigal,42 and Zeman.43 While colorful and informative, anecdotal evidence does not constitute genealogical proof, per se.

In Conclusion

A Sephardi presence in Poland began in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Although they were instrumental in the revitalization of the Polish-Lithuanian economy, it is now difficult to identify who among modern Ashkenazim are actually of Sephardic descent. Other issues that obfuscate matters for present-day genealogists include the dropping of Iberian-acquired surnames once in Poland, the usage of Yiddish among all Jews of the area (immigrants learn to speak the language of the locale to which they migrate, not vice versa), language barriers (the pertinent primary sources are written in Polish), and lastly, the after-effects of the Holocaust on the desire of Jews to remember and learn their history. This understandable reaction to tragedy is not a new phenomenon and is comprehensively addressed by Yosef Yerushalmi in Zakhor.44 His analysis of old rabbinical attitudes toward the study and writing of Jewish history is essential reading for modern genealogists and historians.