The First Schlissels

A story that was known in almost every household in Tarnobrzeg-Dzikov related to Yoska the Holy One.

It related to an event that took place about 1760. It was reported that Yoska and some of his colleagues murdered a gentile in order to use his blood in the Passover matzoh.

Europe was still in the Feudal Period, and the noble to whom this region of Poland belonged (Countess Tarnowski) ordered that Yoska be burned alive. While aflame he shouted the "Shema Yisrael."

When the gruesome execution was nearing its end, Countess Tarnowski picked up some ashes to scatter them in the wind, but it suddenly changed directions, blew the ashes in her eyes and blinded her.

Sometime later the gentile who was supposedly murdered returned to his village (he had been staying with relatives on the other side of the Vistula river) and when the Countess learned of this she decreed that the Noble family would support the poor Jews of Tarnobrzeg with firewood during the winter, and grain during the spring. This compensation continued until the Holocaust.

David Schlussel was the Chief Judge of the Rabbinical Court in Muncasz (Hungary) and in the introduction to the Halachic tractates he wrote enumerated his lineage to Yoska the Holy One.

Yoska had a daughter Channa, and she had 2 sons -- Laibush and Alexander Zecil.

In general, Jews did not use family names (but used the "son of" form -- Avraham ben Yitzhak) until required to do so near the end of the 18th/beginning of 19th centuries.

We are not sure if Channa's husband was the first Schlussel, or if Laibush and Alexander Zecil adopted it as a family name. (We also do not know if any of them was a locksmith.) Whatever the case, we are talking about the junction where Schlussel began to be used as a Jewish family name.

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The Schlissel Family
Last modified Saturday, May 17, 2014