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DORTMUND, WESTPHALIA

135. So-Called Seal of Vyvus

Dimensions: unknown.

Location: unknown.

A seal of Vyvus from Dortmund* has been reported, based on transcriptions of documents from that city. (Dortmund is about thirty miles east of Duisburg in the state of Westphalia.) These transcriptions have been published in several volumes and edited by Karl Ruebel (1891–1910). There are three notations regarding this Vyvus, all in Ruebel’s first volume, which deals with documents from the earliest period. The first is dated February 14, 1334. The City Council of Dortmund granted a residence permit and civil rights for three years to the Jew Vyvus and his wife and family in exchange for a payment of fifteen marks. Recorded by Ruebel as No. 504, the summary is taken from a copybook and not the original document, lost many years earlier (even the copybook was lost at the end of World War II). Neither the copybook nor the transcript, of course, would show seals.

The second reference, listed as No. 535, is dated May 20, 1338. Count Adolf II von der Mark took Vyvus and family under his protection and extended their residence permit. In exchange for a payment of five marks, Vyvus was freed of taxes owed to the emperor for a period of six years* (this original document was also lost immediately after World War II).

The third notation is dated March 11, 1350. Count Dietrich IV von Limburg and Crachto, his son, placed the Jews Nathan, Lefmann, and Vyvus, with the children of Vyvus, under their protection and guaranteed the safety of these Jews at Dortmund. We may note in passing that Vyvus and his family were among the few lucky Jews surviving the massacres in the period of the Black Death. This document is likewise missing.

All three original documents were in Latin. Since the originals of the second and third were extant until relatively recently, we know their exact contents from the records. That dated May 20, 1338, is sealed by the count: “sigillum nostrum presentibus est appensum.” The singular “sigillum nostrum,” or “our seal,” must refer to the one belonging to the count. Indeed, the German remarks that follow comment solely on the count’s seal.

The third document, dated March 11, 1350, is not sealed by Vyvus either. The Latin states: “comes de Lymborch et dominus Cracht filius noster predict¡ sigilla nostra.” Here, Count von Limburg and his son Crachto both seal, as indicated by the plural “sigilla nostra.” The German notes again support this statement.

If Vyvus sealed any document, it was the first, dated February 14, 1334. However, the German summary makes no reference to any sealing. Documents were sealed by Jews when the parties wanted a legally binding statement of the exact terms of either the debt or the repayment. A city council granting a Jew temporary residency would not call for sealing or, if a seal were used, it would be the city seal or that of an approved magistrate. The Jew would be regarded as receiving a privilege. The writer has seen transcripts, with notes, of dozens of documents granting residence permits to Jews from this area of Germany, and they are never sealed by the Jewish applicant.


*This Vyvus is not to be confused with Vyvus of Cologne, the son-in-law of the famous financier Schaiff discussed in No. 131, and a large lender in his own name, nor with Vyvus of Andernach, equally prominent. Both these men were active some sixty-five years later than this Vyvus.

*Dortmund citizens and resident Jews living in a city of the empire rather than a free city would normally have to pay taxes directly to the emperor. In this case Count von der Mark, as the representative of the emperor, claimed the royal prerogative with respect to the Jews.

*This Vyvus is not to be confused with Vyvus of Cologne, the son-in-law of the famous financier Schaiff discussed in No. 131, and a large lender in his own name, nor with Vyvus of Andernach, equally prominent. Both these men were active some sixty-five years later than this Vyvus.

*Dortmund citizens and resident Jews living in a city of the empire rather than a free city would normally have to pay taxes directly to the emperor. In this case Count von der Mark, as the representative of the emperor, claimed the royal prerogative with respect to the Jews.

A seal of Vyvus from Dortmund* has been reported, based on transcriptions of documents from that city. (Dortmund is about thirty miles east of Duisburg in the state of Westphalia.) These transcriptions have been published in several volumes and edited by Karl Ruebel (1891–1910). There are three notations regarding this Vyvus, all in Ruebel’s first volume, which deals with documents from the earliest period. The first is dated February 14, 1334. The City Council of Dortmund granted a residence permit and civil rights for three years to the Jew Vyvus and his wife and family in exchange for a payment of fifteen marks. Recorded by Ruebel as No. 504, the summary is taken from a copybook and not the original document, lost many years earlier (even the copybook was lost at the end of World War II). Neither the copybook nor the transcript, of course, would show seals.

The second reference, listed as No. 535, is dated May 20, 1338. Count Adolf II von der Mark took Vyvus and family under his protection and extended their residence permit. In exchange for a payment of five marks, Vyvus was freed of taxes owed to the emperor for a period of six years* (this original document was also lost immediately after World War II).

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Pages
257-257
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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