A Wealth of Goods for Times in Need: The Pawn Bank Honen Dalim amid the Portuguese Jewish Community of Early Modern Amsterdam | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1781-7838
  • E-ISSN: 1783-1792

Abstract

Abstract

This article on the Portuguese Jewish pawn bank, Honen Dalim, established in Amsterdam in 1624, describes an institution that was meant to assist people in need, yet in possession of goods. It was specifically directed at Jews of the Spanish and Portuguese nation. The bank was physically hidden, yet widely known in Amsterdam because of its interest-free character. Its clients were coping with crises like migration, wars, unemployment, natural disasters, and disease. Through the analysis of pawn bank lists, recovered from the later seventeenth and the early decades of the eighteenth centuries, new light is shed on the composition of this group, its number, and its professional life. Pawns handed in tell a story of their own in terms of consumption, material culture, and the degree of religiosity. Altogether, important material has been added to the fascinating story of the Portuguese Jews of early modern Amsterdam.

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