TOBACCO TRADE AND INDUSTRIES


TOBACCO TRADE AND INDUSTRIES
Throughout the first two centuries after the discovery of tobacco for Europe through Christopher Columbus, marranos took part in spreading its cultivation and in introducing it to Europe. Jews took up smoking (widespread from the 17th century) and snuff taking (widespread from the 18th), and entered the trade in tobacco, which, starting out as a luxury article, became a mass consumer commodity. At Amsterdam, the first important tobacco importing and processing center in the 17th century, Isak ltaliaander was the largest importer, and 10 of the 30 leading tobacco importers were Jews. Ashkenazi and poor Sephardi Jews were employed in processing tobacco for snuff: the profession of 14 out of 24 bridegrooms in a list of 1649–53 was tobacco dressing. In this period Jews took an active part in the tobacco trade of the hamburg center. The first Jews to settle in mecklenburg in the late 17th century were tobacco traders from Hamburg who leased the ducal tobacco monopoly; outstanding was Michael Hinrichsen nicknamed "Tabakspinner." Sephardi Jews filled an important role in the "appalto" system of contracting for the monopoly on the tobacco trade (or other products). The monopoly concession system was also practiced in the Austrian provinces and the southern German states. In this, Sephardi Jews were often the contractors because of their previous experience. The business carried considerable risks, including fluctuating prices, varying quality, deterioration through adulteration, and the hazards of war. Diego d'aguilar managed to hold the tobacco monopoly in Austria in 1734–48, using Christian nobles as men of straw. In the second half of the 18th century the tobacco monopoly of Bohemia and Moravia was in the hands of members of the dobruschka , popper , and hoenig families , whereby they rose to importance and amassed wealth. Jews succeeded in holding the tobacco monopoly in only a few principalities in Germany. In the 19th century Jews entered the open tobacco market. In 1933 Jews engaged in about 5% of the German tobacco trade and industry, primarily as cigar manufacturers. In Eastern Europe snuff processing was widespread, and tobacco was a staple ware of the jewish peddler . When in the mid-19th century cigars and cigarettes entered the mass market Leopold kronenberg , the Jewish industrialist and financier, was one of the main entrepreneurs in Poland, owning 12 factories in 1867 and producing 25% of the total. Of 110 tobacco factories in the pale of Settlement in 1897, 83 were owned by Jews, and over 80% of the workers were Jewish. This participation continued into the 20th century, and the Jewish tobacco workers were active in the ranks of socialism. The huge Y. Shereshevsky tobacco factory in Grodno employed, before World War I, some 1,800 workers. The nationalization in Poland of the tobacco and liquor industries in 1923–24 was a severe blow to the many Jews who gained their livelihood from them. The leading tobacco factories in Riga, Latvia, were owned by two wealthy Karaites, Asimakis and Maikapar. On the American continent Jews traded in tobacco as early as 1658. It frequently served as legal tender and was a stock retail article of the Jewish peddler. However, Jews played a considerable part only in the snuff trade, among them the firms of Asher and Solomon, and Gomez. Judah Morris, who wrote the first Hebrew book to be printed in North America, became a snuff trader. The last quarter of the 19th century brought an influx of impoverished Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who entered the cigar and cigarette industry, and, after the garment industry, it had the largest concentration of Jewish workers in the United States. The first professional cigar makers were generally Jews of Dutch or German origin, who employed the immigrants in their factories or in sweatshops. The Jewish firm of Keeney Brothers, makers of "Sweet Caporals," employed approximately 2,000 Jewish workers. The Durham factory almost exclusively employed Jews. Tobacco workers, organized by samuel gompers , became the spearhead of the labor union movement in the United States in the 1870s and 1880s. Subsequently Jewish participation in the cigarette industry declined through the creation of large concerns, though many cigar firms remained under Jewish ownership. In New York and the major cities the tobacco retail trade occupied a high proportion of Jews. A survey by Fortune magazine (Jews in America; 1935) stated that "Jews have practically blanketed the tobacco buying business, where Jews and buyer are synonymous words, and they control three of the four leading cigar-manufacturing concerns, including Fred Hirschhorn's General Cigar, which makes every seventh cigar smoked in America." The culman family of Philip Morris, involved in American tobacco from the mid-19th century, was a giant of the industry. In Canada Jews played a leading role in introducing the tobacco industry; Mortimer B. Davis was known as the "tobacco king" of Canada. In Great Britain cigar making was traditionally associated with Dutch Jews, who formed the main body of Jewish immigrants in the mid-19th century; cigar making was the most widespread occupation in London's East End in 1860. In 1850, 44% of the meerschaum pipe makers were Jewish, and 22% of the cigar manufacturers. East European Jewish immigrants introduced cigarette making into England. In 1880 Jacob Kamusch, an Austrian Jewish cigarette entrepreneur, brought   310 workers, mainly Jewish, to his Glasgow cigarette factory. Isidore Gluckstein founded his first tobacconist shop in 1872 and became the biggest retail tobacconist in England, up to 1904. bernhard baron was a large-scale cigarette manufacturer in America and England. Sephardi Jews played an active role in the tobacco trade from its beginnings in the Ottoman Empire. The recanati banking family began as salonika tobacco merchants. Thrace and Macedonia were major tobacco-growing areas; the alatino (Alatini) family became sole suppliers of the Italian tobacco monopoly. (Henry Wasserman) -In Israel Tobacco growing was first introduced in the country in 1923/24, in order to solve problems of unemployment. New immigrants from Bulgaria and Greece took an important part in the development of the industry. All kinds of tobacco products are manufactured in Israel. In 1969 the overall production included 3,700 tons of cigarettes, 15,000 kg. of cigars, 60,600 kg. of tumbak, 40,100 kg. of snuff, and 16,600 kg. of pipe tobacco. In the same year the consumption of tobacco products amounted to nearly IL 200,000,000 (about 2% of the total private consumption in Israel), including mainly locally produced products but also about $6,000,000 worth of imported products. There were 15 manufacturing plants in Israel, employing 875 workers and processing mostly locally grown tobacco of Oriental aroma. Tobacco was grown mainly in the non-Jewish sector in northern Israel. In 1950 tobacco-growing areas amounted to 9,000 dunams, and tobacco-product manufacture reached 600 tons. By 1969 tobacco was grown in 35,000 dunams and production increased to 2,200 tons. Since that time tobacco production has dropped radically, to 150 tons on 5,000 dunams by 1990, but cigarette imports have risen dramatically, by about 2,500% between 1970 and 2000 along with a 33% increase in tobacco leaf imports. Local cigarette production rose from 3,668 million cigarettes in 1970 to 4,933 million in 1995. The industry employed around 600 workers in the late 1990s. (Zeev Barkai) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Hainisch, in: Vierteljahrschrift fuer Sozialund Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 8 (1910), 394–444; W. Stieda, Die Besteuerung des Tabaks in Ansbach-Bayreuth und Bamberg-Wuerzburg im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (1911); M. Grunwald, Samuel Oppenheimer (1913), 295–300; A.D. Hart, The Jew in Canada (1926), 324–5, 337; S.B. Weinryb, Neueste Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden in Russland und Polen (1934), index, S.V. Tabakindustrie; P. Friedmann, in: Jewish Studies in Memory of G.A. Kohut (1935), 196, 232–3 (Ger.); H.I. Bloom, Economic Activities of the Jews of Amsterdam (1937); H. Rachel et al., Berliner Grosskaufleute und Kapitalisten, 2 (1938), 50–52; J. Starr, in: JSOS, 7 (1945), 323–6; M. Epstein, Jewish Labor in U.S.A. (1950), 76–78; J. Shatzky, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, 3 (1953), 37, 43–46; H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 1 (1953), 89, 185; 2 (1954), 88f., 294ff.; 3 (1955), 123ff.; 4 (1963), 219–22, 239–41; S. Gompers, Seventy Years of Life and Labour (19572); H. Kellenbenz, Sephardim an der unteren Elbe (1958), 205, 436–46; J. Frumkin et al., Russian Jewry (1966), 130–1; V. Kurrein, in: Menorah, 3 (1925), 155f.; A. Mueller, Zur Geschichte der Judenfrage in… der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Darmstadt (1937), 54–56; S. Simonsohn, Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah, 2 vols. (1962–64); Z. Kahana, in: Kol Torah, 3 (1949/50), 55–61; L.P. Gartner, The Jewish Immigrant in England (1960), 73–75; V.D. Lipman, Social History of the Jews in England (1954), index.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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