JEWISH MERCHANTS, CRAFTSMEN AND LESSEES IN OZARÓW IN 19TH CENTURY (Kupcy, rzemieslnicy i arendarze zydowscy w Ozarowie w XIX wieku)
Ozarów was founded in 1569 roku as Józef Ozarowski's private town surrounded by forests. Already in the early days of its existence, Jews were settling in the town, their number growing with every passing decade. In the mid-19th century they already accounted for 67% of all inhabitants. Throughout the period in question the Jews displayed significant economic activity, in the 17th and 18th centuries they organized long-distance and local commerce, engaged in usury, rented mills, took leases of alcohol distilling and sale rights, took over real property from Catholics for unrepaid loans. Like in other towns, Ozarów had a division of farming and crafts activities into those practiced by Catholics and those done by the Jews. The areas wholly dominated by the Jews in the 19th century included commerce, clothing and accessories (tailoring, hat-making, fur-making), leather (tanning), with regard to food it was bakery and slaughterhouses, and also cabinetmaking. The areas of production where Catholics were active next to Jews included the production and sales of vodka, grain milling, carpentry, production of parquet flooring blocks and wooden roofing tiles, coopery and pottery. On the other hand, no Ozarów Jews engaged in such trades as smithery, locksmithery, sawmills, saddlery, or wheelwrights, nor did they engage in farming. Due to the Jews' economic activity in the 19th century, Ozarów did not become a typical township of an agricultural nature and it eliminated the neighbouring towns from the local market, but that did not protect it from losing its town charter.
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