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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Augustus ii., the Strong

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Elector of Saxony 1694-1733, and from 1697 king of Poland with the title Frederick Augustus I. born at Dresden May 12,1670 died at Warsaw Feb. 1,1733. He confirmed the privileges of the Jews, following the example of his predecessor, John Sobieski (1674-96) but while that monarch always manifested a friendly disposition toward them, Augustus II., with his lavish expenditures— which impoverished Poland and laid the foundations for her future misfortunes — was quite indifferent to the condition of the Polish Jews, who had hitherto always been protected by the throne. This indifference was in face of the fact that the Jewish bankers—Oppenheimer of Vienna, Liebmann of Berlin, and Meyer and Lehmann of Dresden— furnished the greater part of the 10,000,000 thalers used by Augustus to buy up the Polish nobles for the purpose of securing the throne. Another Jew, Berend Lehmann (b. 1659 at Halberstadt), furnished the money necessary for his coronation at Warsaw, and in order to do this he negotiated the sale of the hereditary estate of Quedlinburg to Brandenburg for 340,000 thalers (according to Vehse and Gretschel). But this indifference with regard to the protection of the Jews may be explained by the fact that Augustus was also indebted to the Jesuits of Vienna, who furnished a part of the funds for the purchase of the Polish throne, taking his jewelry as security. With the aid of the Jesuits he attempted to corrupt the inconstant Poles with money, and by intrigues to keep them in dependency for this purpose he even tried to change the electorate to a hereditary order.

That he personally favored certain Jews is evident from his letter dated Sept. 23,1707, in which he praises Berend Lehmann for his services, fidelity, and good character. The same friendly tone marks a letter of protection dated March 27,1708, authorizing Berend Lehmann's family and servants, and also his brother-in-law, Jonas Meyer of Hamburg, to settle at Dresden (see Berend Lehmann ).

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Augustus ii., the Strong'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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