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The Jewish Community of Sarreguemines

Sarreguemines

A town in the Moselle department, France.

21st Century

Communaute Israelite
Rue George 5
57200 Sarreguemines
Phone: 08 92 97 64 50

Synagogue

Rue Georges 5
57200 Sarreguemines
France

 

HISTORY

Jews have lived in Sarreguemines from the 13th century.

Expelled in 1477, they reappeared at the latest in 1690 under the French occupation taking advantage of the expansion of the town. One family was authorized to settle in the town in 1721, others in 1753, and still others in 1787. The synagogue, erected about 1769, was rebuilt in 1862.  The rabbinate originally established in 1791 continues to exist.

After the French revolution the Jewish community slowly increased to 395 persons in 1939.  In the first half of the 19th century, Sarreguemines was the largest community in the department after that of Metz, the only one to have a "deputy-rabbi" in 1831. Before World War II, the synagogue was located on rue de la Chapelle. It was a beautiful building in Vosges sandstone, dating from 1862 and built in "Roman-Byzantine" style on the plans of the architect Desgranges.  It was destroyed on September 17-19, 1940. Between 1939 and 1945, 89 of Sarreguemines Jews died in the Holocaust, having been deported to the Nazi death and concentration camps.

A new synagogue was inaugurated in 1959.

In 1971 the Jewish community numbered 250. Sixty five of the four hundred graves in the Jewish cemetery of Sarreguemines were desecrated in May, 2005.

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
189668
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:

Eugène (Eugen) Adler (1890-1942), cantor and educator, born in Antwerp, Belgium. He moved to Switzerland, where he served as cantor and teacher at the Jewish communities of Bremgarten 1915-1916, St. Gallen, where he served the newly established Orthodox congregation Adass Jisraoel until 1919, and then in Liestal, until 1921. He then became a cantor in Rexingen, Germany, during 1921-1923 and later in Luxembourg, until 1929, when he moved to Sarreguemines in France, serving there until September 1st, 1939. At the outbreak of WW II, he was evacuated to Jarnac in the department of Charente in south western France. He was arrested in 1942, detained at the Drancy camp and deported to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, along with his wife and three children.

France

République française

A country in Western Europe, member of the European Union (EU).

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 450,000 out of 65,000,000 (0.6%). France is the home of the third largest Jewish population in the world and the largest Jewish community in Europe. 

Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France - Representative Council of Jews of France
Phone: 33 1 42 17 11 11
Fax: 33 1 42 17 11 13
Email: infocrif@crif.org
Website: www.crif.org

Consistoire Central de France – Union des Communautés Juives de France
19, rue St Georges
75009 Paris
France
Phone: 01 49 70 88 00
Fax: 01 42 81 03 66
Website: https://france.consistoire.org/consistoire-central/
e-mail : administration@consistoirecentral.fr

 

HISTORY

The Jews of France

1040 | In Rashi Veritas

Brain drain is not a new phenomenon. Between the eighth and tenth centuries a mass movement began of Jewish merchants from Babylon – then the largest Jewish population center in the world – migrating to Western Europe, where international trade centers began to emerge. These Jews joined a larger and older group of fellow Jews, who had migrated back in 2nd Temple times, through the Mediterranean to Gaul, the land that we know as France.
As befits a goose laying golden eggs, the Jews received special rights and sheltered under the protection of French nobles, who shielded them from the maws of the Catholic Church. The economic prosperity allowed them to establish yeshivas and Torah centers which produced many scholars. One of these, a genius who made his living as a vintner, was born in 1040 in the province of Champagne in France, and bequeathed to posterity a comprehensive commentary on the Torah. Legend has it that the incomparable Rashi script was invented by his daughters, who were scholars themselves, but the truth is that it's the font of a Sephardi cursive script that was used in the Jewish printing presses in 16th century Italy to distinguish it from the biblical text itself. His name was Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi), and his monumental work is still the authoritative commentary on Holy Scripture in the rabbinical world.

1240 | Where They Burn Books...

The crusades, which spread from Europe beginning in 1096, ended the idyll of Jewish existence in the lands of Ashkenaz in the early second millennium. Blood libels, persecutions and expulsions were the lot of the Jews for hundreds of years afterward.
One of the low points was reached in the year 1240 and is known as “The Trial of Paris”. At this trial, initiated by King Louis IX and Pope Gregory IX, the defendant was not a person, but a work of literature - The Talmud, to be precise, which according to the Catholic Church holds messages of hatred towards all gentiles and disparagement of Jesus.
One fine day an incited mob gathered in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to watch the condemned criminal – 12,000 hand-written copies of the Talmud – burned at the stake. 600 years later Jewish-German poet Heinrich Heine would comment on this event: “Where they burn books, they will eventually burn people.”

1481 | The Provenance of Provence

When speaking of the Jews of France, one cannot help but pay special attention to a singular group of Jews who lived in what is now the south of France and was called “The Sages of Provence”.
These sages were the advanced placement class of the Jewish world. They created a unique brand of thought and Bible exegesis and also engaged in philosophy and Kabbalah. The teachings of these sages was spread throughout Europe, Spain and North Africa, and their genius was a byword among Jewish intellectuals of Western Europe.
Among the main writers of this group are Hameiri, Rabbi David Kimchi (aka Rada”k), Rabbi Zarhia HaLevi (aka Raza”h), Abraham Ben David (aka Raba”d) and his son, Rabbi Isaac the Blind, and of course the great translator Judah ibn Tibbon, the man who disseminated the thought of Maimonides after translating it from Arabic into Hebrew.
The Jews of Provence as a cultural phenomenon came to an end in the year 1481, when King Louis XI of France annexed Provence to his realm.

1498 | The Odyssey of Expulsions

To the Jews of France, the late Middle Ages were an agonizing ping-pong affair of expulsions and recalls. In 1306 King Phillip IV issued an edict banning the Jews from residence in French territory. 11 years later his son, Louis X, recalled the Jews – provided they wear an identifying patch on their clothes. A mere seven years went by and the Jews were expelled again. This time it was King Charles IV, who claimed that the Jews, in their temerity, failed to pay their full amount of taxes to him.
In 1357, under Jean II and later under Charles V, the Jews returned to France, but once again suffered persecution, restriction of their freedom of occupation to the sole field of money-lending, and finally – abduction of their children.
The odyssey of expulsions ended on September 17th, 1394, when Charles VI succumbed to the pressure of the masses and issues an edict of expulsion for all Jews in his domains. To his credit, it must be noted that he gave the expelled Jews ample time to sell their property and decreed that any Christian who borrowed money from them must repay it. By 1498 there was not a Jew left anywhere in France, save for a smattering of small communities that lived in Avignon and its environs in the south of France, which was then under Papal control.

1791 | No Bread? Eat Challa

The French Revolution, which broke out in 1789, costing many their lives through the services of “Madame Guillotine”, heralded the idea of the liberal democratic state as we know it today. From a tyrannical class-based society France transformed (albeit through much bloodshed), to a democratic regime in which each person can be master of their own fate.
The first to enjoy the fruits of emancipation were the Jews of Alsace-Lorraine, an area conquered by France back in 1630. The Jews of France, then numbering some 40,000 people, were as mentioned above the first in Europe to enjoy the fruits of the revolution, but their release from the burden of being the “other” and “alien” was not easy. At first the leaders of the revolution claimed that the Jews were “a nation within a nation” and as such not eligible for treatment as equal citizens. But in 1791 the General Law Relating to the Jews was issued, granting the Jews full equality, and there was much rejoicing in the Jewish quarter of Paris.

1806 | The Twelve Question Program

It would not be off the mark to characterize the history of Europe's Jews in general and those of France in particular as a series of “almosts”. Almost equality. Almost Emancipation. Almost liberty.
As though the Law Relating to the Jews had not been passed 15 years prior, in 1806 the question of Jewish status was raised once again, this time under Napoleon, the legendary general known for his unlimited ambition.
Napoleon took a creative approach. In 1806 he gathered an assembly of leading Jews and presented them with the “12 Question Test”, designed to assess their loyalty to France. Among other things the Jews were asked how Jewish halacha views mixed marriages, whether a Jew may charge interest from a gentile, how the Jews view France and more.
The answers the Jews gave, declaring France their motherland and non-Jewish Frenchmen their brothers, did not satisfy Napoleon, and a year later he issued the “Shameful Edict”, limiting the Jews' freedoms of occupation and movement, yet forced them to enlist in the army. Shameful indeed.

1860 | All Israel Are Friends

The story of the first global Jewish organization, Alliance Israelite Universelle, established in Paris in 1860, begins with a Jewish 3 year-old from Bologna named Edgardo Levi Mortara, who one day was kidnapped from his parents and taken to the Vatican, where he was “reeducated” in Catholic institutions.
The Mortara affair created great furor throughout liberal circles in Europe and was the main impetus for the founding of “Alliance”, a Jewish cultural organization meant to protect Jewish rights, which was active mainly in education.
During this period, 12 years after the “Spring of Nations” revolution, a wave of nationalism broke out and swept over France. As though through Pavlovian conditioning, the Jews were once again blamed for all the ills that had befallen the land of good taste. 12 years later, one of the main accusations hurled at the Jews was that they had gotten rich lending money to the French government for the disastrous war against the hated enemy of Prussia.

1894 | A Legendary Story

It was a winter he would never forget, and it seems that neither shall we. He was the Paris correspondent for the Austrian newspaper Neue Freie Presse, a handsome man with a thick black beard and burning eyes. He would not forget the toxic hatred, the obvious lie; he would not forget the shouts of “Death to the Jews” and the pleas of the accused, a Jewish-French military officer named Alfred Dreyfus, reprimanding those who were his subordinates but a moment ago, in a cracked voice: “I forbid you to curse me”, to no avail of course. To this day, the ripped-off ranks of Dreyfus appear in the all-Jewish nightmares.
Many historians believe that it was the Dreyfus trial that pushed the “Visionary of the Jewish State,” Binyamin Zeev (Theodore) Herzl, to dedicate his life to establishing a state for the Jews. For if in France, the country that had committed itself more than any to the ideals of equality, liberty, and fraternity, such anti-Semitism raged – what would become of the Jews huddled in the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe?
"If you will it", the young journalist thought to himself, "it is no legend".

1914 | Bloom of Life

On July 31st, 1914, Jean Jaures, leader of the Social-Democrat camp in French politics, sat and ate dinner at the famous Cafe du Croissant in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. All around the tempest was raging. The winds of WW1 began to blow, and Jaures, who had done everything in his power to stop the war, but in vain, was bitterly disappointed. This did not last long. During the meal an assassin appeared behind him and put two bullets in his head.
The murder of Jaures made a deep impact on his pupil and friend, Leon Blum, a socialist Jewish intellectual who would make history 22 years later by becoming the first Jewish Prime Minister of France. Blum, an attorney with a well-developed social conscience, who was defined by his biographer as a “man of words”, embodied the spirit of French Jews between the world wars. He was a man of French culture through and through, and at the same time deeply aware of his Jewish identity, an avowed Zionist, and was admired by the leaders of the Hebrew population in mandatory Palestine, who often sought his advice.

1942 | Vichy-ing The Jews Away

During WW2 France showed its ugly side. The Vichy government, a puppet regime under German protection, took part – and according to German testimony, with great zeal – in the deportation of the Jews of France (mostly Jews without French citizenship, including many who had fled from Nazi-controlled areas) to the extermination camps in the east.
One of the events that will live in infamy in French history was the deportation of 12,500 of the Jews of Paris, who were led in the dark of night, in the middle of July 1942, to the Velodrome d'hiver, where many of them died due to the harsh sanitary conditions and a severe shortage of food and water.
True, proud Francophiles will say – and rightly so – that there was a French resistance movement that abhorred the treatment of the Jews. To strengthen their argument for the republic, perhaps they will also offer the story of the nun Mother Maria Skobtsova, a Righteous Among the Nations, who managed to sneak into the velodrome along with her son disguised as waste removal workers, and hid several dozen Jewish children in the trash cans she took out. But these were the exceptions that did not indicate the rule. The numbers show that some 76,000 of the Jews of France (about a quarter of the Jews in the country) were sent to the death camps, of whom only 2,500 or so survived.

2000 | From Rothschild to Levinas

After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Jews of France became the largest Jewish community in Europe: Some 600,000 Jews, most of whom migrated to France in the 1950s and 1960s from North Africa, as the French colonies there came to an end. The Six Day War represented a sort of messianic moment for the Jews of France as well. Their identification with Israel following the war was expressed in rallies and marches in the streets of Paris, financial support for Israel and the establishment of the “National Coordination Committee”, which united the vast majority of Jewish organizations in France.
In the 1980s the Jewish community in France was a hotbed of intellectual ferment, that included youngsters considered assimilated as well. Jewish radio stations were launched, departments of Jewish studies at universities received funding and resources, and research and publications on Jewish topics flourished. Among the celebrated Jews of France one may find intellectual Bernard Henri Levi, filmmaker Claude Lelouche, philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, thinker Jacques Derida, the famous Rothschild family and more.
But even in the 21st century France is not yet completely rid of anti-Jewish expressions and actions, this time led mostly by Muslim immigrants. These outbreaks, which included rock throwing, vandalism at synagogues and even murderous terror attacks, have led to another wave of aliyah to Israel.

Luneville

A town in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in France.

21st Century

Association Culturelle Israelite de Luneville
5, rue Castara
54300 Luneville
France
Phone: 08 92 97 64 43

La cimetière israélite régional de Luneville (Meurthe-et-Moselle)

HISTORY

Several Jews were mentioned in Luneville in 1470-- 72, just before the expulsion from the Duchy of Lorraine. From 1702 Luneville was the seat of the ducal court of Lorraine; Samuel Levy took charge of the court's commercial interests in 1705. Two Jewish families were authorized to live in the town by an edict of 1753; there were 16 families residing there when the synagogue was constructed in 1785. A cemetery was not consecrated until 1791. The community numbered 315 persons in 1808 and 400 in 1855; from 1870 it was augmented by a number of manufacturers from Alsace. Among the Hebrew printing presses established in France in the latter part of the 18th century and early in the 19th was one belonging to Abraham Brisach, who produced in Luneville a machzor with Judeo-German translation in 1797 and a Likkutei Zvi in 1798. A hospital, established in 1857, was in use until 1944. Alfred levy, later chief rabbi of France and a native of Luneville, was rabbi there from 1869 to 1880.

During World War I the incumbent minister, S. Weill, and several other Jews were among the civilians slaughtered at Luneville (1914); 18 other Jews from Luneville fell in battle in this war and six in World War II.

One hundred and thirty-nine Jews (including the patients in the hospital) arrested in Luneville during the German occupation died in the deportations.

In 1969 there were about 200 Jews in Luneville, half of them from North Africa.

Saarbruecken
Saarbrücken
 
Capital and largest city of the state of Saarland, Germany.

Jews were probably present in the city in 1321 when Duke John I granted the city its charter and reserved jurisdiction over the Jews. It is certain, however, that there were Jews in the adjacent villages of St. Wendel, Sarrebourg, and Sarreguemines at the time. There are no further sources mentioning the presence of Jews until 1732 when a Judenordnung ("Jewry regulation") was issued for the Saarbrucken community by the count of Usingen-Nassau.
During the French occupation (1792--1813) equality was granted and a Saarbrucken arrondissement was established with a Jewish population of 71. The Saarbrucken community grew from 10 families in 1837 to 376 persons in 1885 and 1,103 in 1910. Between 1920 and 1935 the Saar region was administered by the League of Nations. The Saarbrucken community grew to 2,650, with another 1,700 Jews were dispersed in 23 rural communities. At the time of the 1935 plebiscite on the future of the region the Jews were accused of disloyalty and subjected to intensive harassment. Large numbers of Jews chose French and Belgian citizenship and many emigrated with special "Nansen" passports. The Saarbrucken synagogue was burned down on the Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938) and by the summer of 1939 only 177 Jews were left. The Jews of the Saar were deported, together with the Jews of Baden, to Gurs concentration camp in 1940.
After WW2 a new community was founded which grew from 60 in 1945-19466 to 224 in 1948 and 350 in January 1970. A new synagogue was built in 1951.

Metz

Capital of the Moselle department, France

21st Century

Communauté Israélite de Metz
39 rue du Rabbin Elie Bloch
57000 Metz
France
Phone: 03.87.75.04.44
Website: http://www.cimetz.org/fr/\

HISTORY

Even if Simon, Bishop of Metz in 350, was really of Jewish origin (as a later source affirms) this does not prove that Jews were present in the town during that period. However, their presence is confirmed from 888 at the latest; a church council held in Metz at that date forbade Christians to take meals in the company of Jews. There is a reference earlier than the 11th century to a Jew called David perhaps renting a vineyard. It was in Metz that the series of anti- Jewish persecutions accompanying the first crusade began, claiming 22 victims in the town in 1096. Among the scholars of the early middle ages, foremost was Gershom b. Judah ("light of the exile"); although he lived mainly in Mainz he was born in Metz, as was his disciple Eliezer b. Samuel. There was also the Tosafist David of Metz. The medieval Jewish community occupied a whole quarter, the vicus judaeorum, whose memory is perpetuated in the street named "jurue." in 1237 every Jew who passed through Metz was compelled to pay 30 deniers to the town, but was not permitted to live there. In the 15th century successive bishops, whose residence had been transferred to vic, tolerated the Jews under their jurisdiction and granted them privileges (1442). In Metz itself, however, the Jews were permitted to stay only three days.

After the French occupation (1552), the first three Jewish families were admitted to reside there as pawnbrokers (1565/67); they were followed by others, and in 1595, 120 persons established a community which henry iv and his successors took under their protection. Through the arrival of Jews from the Rhine areas, their number increased to 480 families in 1718 and almost 3,000 persons in 1748. Assigned to the Rhimport quarter, they governed themselves by elected trustees and levied numerous taxes, which grew more burdensome after the introduction of the Brancas tax (1715), originally gifts given by the community mainly to the duke of Brancas. The debts of the community became with the consent of the king, the chief rabbi - often renowned for his erudition like Jonah Teomim-Fraenkel of Prague (1660--69), Gabriel b. Judah Loew Eskeles of Krakow (1694-1703), and Jonathan Eybeschuetz (1742-1750) - was chosen from abroad. He judged lawsuits between Jews but from the 18th century the parliament sought to assume this right, and to this end ordered a compendium of Jewish customs to be deposited in its record office (1743).

From the beginning of the 17th century the community owned a cemetery, a synagogue, and an almshouse. In 1689 free and compulsory elementary schooling was introduced, and in 1764 a Hebrew press. The Jews were, however, hampered in their economic activities by legal disabilities. An oligarchy, at whom sumptuary laws were aimed, achieved great wealth. The poverty of the masses, however, increased. Hostility toward the Jews reached its peak at the time of the execution of Raphael Levy (1670) for alleged ritual murder, but before the revolution the jurists Pierre Louis Lacretelle (1751-1824) and Pierre Louis Roederer of Metz, future members of the national assembly, called for their emancipation. The latter organized the famous concourse of the academy of Metz on this subject (1785). In 1792 Lafayette, commanding the army at Metz, assured the religious freedom of the Jews, which was later suspended during the reign of terror (1794). The consistory created in Metz in 1808, which included Moselle and Ardennes, served 6,517 Jews. The yeshivah (Ecole centrale rabbinique), which was promoted to the status of rabbinical seminary of France in 1829, was transferred to Paris in 1859; the synagogue was rebuilt in 1850 and the almshouse in 1867. Debts arising out of taxes not abolished by the revolution devolved on the descendants of the former community. After the German annexation (1871) about 600 Jews moved to France, although immigrants soon arrived from other parts of Germany. After 1918, when the region reverted to France, there was a massive influx of immigrants from eastern Europe and the Saar region. The Jewish population of the city numbered about 2,000 in 1866; 1,407 in 1875; 1,900 in 1910; and 4,150 in 1931. Under German occupation in World War II, Metz, like the rest of Moselle and Alsace, was made judenrein following the flight of the population and particularly brutal expulsions after the entry of the Germans. About 1,500 Jews died after being deported, among them rabbis Bloch and Kahlenberg. The two synagogues and the workhouse were plundered and defiled. The great synagogue was used as a military warehouse. After the liberation the reorganized Jewish community was more united than before the war.

In 1970 Metz had about 3,500 Jews, including some 40 families recently arrived from North Africa, and a well-organized communal body. It was the seat of the consistory of Moselle, which comprised 24 communities with a total of about 5,500 Jews. The largest communities were Thionville with 450; Sarreguemines with 270; Sarrebourg with 180; and Forbach with 300. In Metz itself, in addition to the great synagogue (Ahskenazi rite) with a seating capacity of 700, there are four smaller places of worship, including one polish and one Sephardi. The community also ran a Talmud Torah center with 180 pupils from six to 13, a kindergarten with a kosher canteen, a workhouse, a mikveh, and a chevra kaddisha.

Sarre-Union

In German: Saarunion

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Sarre-Union was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918.

Sarre-Union consists of the the town of Bouquenom (Saar Buckenheim, in German) and of the town of Ville Neuve de Sarrewerden (Neu-Saarwerden, in German).

Jews started settling in Saar Buckenheim at the end of the 18th century. In 1807 there were 190 Jewish inhabitants in Saar Buckenheim. Their number increased during the 19th century reaching 335 in 1846, then 343 in 1861 and reached a peak of 354 in 1870. During the second half of the 19th century and in early 20th century the Jewish population declined with 204 Jews recorded in 1900 and 187 in 1910. In 1936 there were of 81 Jewish residents in the village, fewer than during the 19th century, but still relatively a large number in comparison with most of other places of Jewish rural settlement in Alsace at the time.

The Jewish families of Herbitzheim and Sarralbe (Moselle) belonged to the community of Saar Buckenheim.

The community of Saar Buckenheim had its own rabbinate for a long time, although at times it was annexed to the rabbinate of Bouxwiller. Rabbi Joseph Levy (1799-1879) served the community for fifty years from 1829 until his death in 1879. Due to the lower number of Jews in the area, the rabbinate of Saar Buckenheim was closed in 1927. The community also employed a teacher for the local Jewish school who also acted as a prayer leader.  

The building of the synagogue was inaugurated in 1840 and was renovated in 1913. The community also had a Jewish religious and elementary school and a mikveh. The Jewish cemetery was opened in the second half of the 18th century.

After the German occupation of France in WW II, the Jews of Saar Buckenheim were deported to southern France, of them 23 perished in the Holocaust.

After WW II, some of the survivors returned to the village. In 1953 there were 53 Jewish residents in the village. In 1965 their number was about 45.

During the German occupation, the synagogue was desecrated, looted and eventually badly damaged by artillery fire. After 1945 the building was completely restored and inaugurated again in 1950.

The Jewish cemetery contains about 400 graves and a memorial for the Holocaust victims of Saar Buckenheim. The place was victim to a number of anti-Semitic attacks, in 1988, 2001, and in February 2015, when almost 300 matzevot were vandalized and the Holocaust memorial damaged. After the 2015 attack, the place was visited by the French President Francois Holland in an act of solidarity with the Jewish community.

Dehlingen

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Dehlingen was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918

The Jewish presence in Dehlingen dates back to the 18th century. In 1772 there were 22 Jews living in the village. In 1810 their number was about 100. The local synagogue was opened in 1827. The community also had a mikveh and a school. Due to emigration to large cities and to other countries, the Jewish population declined sharply and by early 20th century the last Jews left the village. The community was disbanded already before the end of the 19th century.

The small local Jewish cemetery is located on rue de l'Étang.

Diemeringen

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Diemeringen was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918

The Jewish presence Diemeringen dates to the beginning of the 18th century. In 1712 the village had two Jewish families. The 1784 general census of the Jewish population in Alsace recorded in Dettwiller 14 families with a total of about 70 people. In 1845 there were 110 Jewish inhabitants in Diemeringen. Their number reached a peak of 130 in 1866. Later, during the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century the Jewish population drecreased to 106 in 1900 and 94 in 1910. In 1936 there were 88 Jews living in Diemeringen, a relatively high number in contrast to the vast majority of rural Jewish communities in Alsace.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, most Jews of Diemeringen lived on the Judegass (“Jewish street”) and made a living as traders and clerks. 

The Jewish community of Diemeringen belonged to the rabbinate of Sarre-Union until 1926, then to that of Bouxwiller. During the 18th century prayers were conducted in private rooms. A synagogue located on Judegass, currently  rue du Vin, was inaugurated in 1868 and renovated in 1906. A Jewish school was opened in 1862 and the community employed a teacher who also served as prayer leader and shochet. The Jewish school was active until 1919, when it was merged with the Protestant school. The local Jewish cemetery was opened towards the end of the 18th century.

After the German occupation of Alsace in 1940, the Jews of Diemeringen were deported to southern France, of them 15 perished in the Holocaust.  The synagogue was desecrated and looted during the German occupation.

After WW II, several Jewish families returned to Diemeringen. In 1953 the community numbered 58 members and in 1965 it had 37 members. After 1950, the Jews of Diemeringen belong to the rabbinate of Saverne.

The synagogue was desecrated and looted during the German occupation. The building was restored and reopened in 1947. Since 1999, the building of the synagogue was listed as a historic monument. The building of the former Jewish school is located close to the synagogue.

In late 2010s, there was one Jewish family living in Diemeringen. The synagogue is used during the Tishrey holidays.

Imling

A commune in the Moselle department in the historical region of Lorraine, France.

It seems that Jews lived in Imling during medieval times. The beginnings of the modern community date from the end of the 17th century, when two Jews, Michel Levy, a horse dealer, and Moise Levy, a peddler, are documented in the village. They were joined by additional Jewish families who arrived from neighboring Alsace.

The legal status of the eight Jewish families of Imling was confirmed in an “Act of Tolerance” signed by Antoine-Joseph, Count of Lutzelbourg and lord of Imling in 1762.  They were various rights, including the right to employ a cantor and a teacher. In exchange for these rights, the Jews were required to pay taxes in money and in products.

In 1789 there were 20 Jewish families in Imling. The Jewish population continued to increase during the first half of the 19th century. In 1845 there were 120 Jews living in the village. As elsewhere in rural Jewish communities of Lorraine and Alsace, many Jews left the village after mid-19th century and consequently the Jewish population declined 68 in 1895 and 54 in 1910. The community was disbanded after WW I.

Apparently the Jews of Imling had a prayer room since early 18th century. A synagogue was opened in 1820 and was used until 1920. The building of the synagogue was sold in 1922. The community also had a mikveh, opened in 1861. It too was sold in 1922. The building of the synagogue still exists and it is located on rue de l'Église.

As of 1845 and until the end of the 19th century Jews were elected to the municipal council of the village.  

Rouhling

In German: Ruhlingen

A commune in the Moselle department in the historical region of Lorraine, France.

Jews settled in Rouhling in early 18th century. They were allowed to live in the village and open a prayer house in early 18th century in exchange to taxes paid to the barons of Kerpen, the landlords of Rouhling, and the commandery of the Teutonic Knights of Saarbrücken. A Jewish cemetery was opened in the village.

In 1808 there were 14 Jewish families with a total of 47 people living in the village. Most made a living as hawkers and ragpickers.

During the 19th century the Jews of Rouhling left the village for better opportunities in other places with the great majority settling in Sarreguemines and Grossbliederstroff. There were no Jewish inhabitants in Rouhling during the 20th century.

The Jewish cemetery of Rouhling still exists. After moving to Grosbliederstroff, the Jews from Rouhling continued to bury their dead in the cemetery of Rouhling. The last burials were those of Louise Mendel, who died at the age of 38 on July 11, 1878, and of G. Bloch on December 9, 1883. There are a total of 66 matzevot that have been arranged in two equal rows, after the surface of the cemetery was reduced with the lower section donated to the local municipality who turned it into a public garden.

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The Jewish Community of Sarreguemines

Sarreguemines

A town in the Moselle department, France.

21st Century

Communaute Israelite
Rue George 5
57200 Sarreguemines
Phone: 08 92 97 64 50

Synagogue

Rue Georges 5
57200 Sarreguemines
France

 

HISTORY

Jews have lived in Sarreguemines from the 13th century.

Expelled in 1477, they reappeared at the latest in 1690 under the French occupation taking advantage of the expansion of the town. One family was authorized to settle in the town in 1721, others in 1753, and still others in 1787. The synagogue, erected about 1769, was rebuilt in 1862.  The rabbinate originally established in 1791 continues to exist.

After the French revolution the Jewish community slowly increased to 395 persons in 1939.  In the first half of the 19th century, Sarreguemines was the largest community in the department after that of Metz, the only one to have a "deputy-rabbi" in 1831. Before World War II, the synagogue was located on rue de la Chapelle. It was a beautiful building in Vosges sandstone, dating from 1862 and built in "Roman-Byzantine" style on the plans of the architect Desgranges.  It was destroyed on September 17-19, 1940. Between 1939 and 1945, 89 of Sarreguemines Jews died in the Holocaust, having been deported to the Nazi death and concentration camps.

A new synagogue was inaugurated in 1959.

In 1971 the Jewish community numbered 250. Sixty five of the four hundred graves in the Jewish cemetery of Sarreguemines were desecrated in May, 2005.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Eugene (Eugen) Adler

Eugène (Eugen) Adler (1890-1942), cantor and educator, born in Antwerp, Belgium. He moved to Switzerland, where he served as cantor and teacher at the Jewish communities of Bremgarten 1915-1916, St. Gallen, where he served the newly established Orthodox congregation Adass Jisraoel until 1919, and then in Liestal, until 1921. He then became a cantor in Rexingen, Germany, during 1921-1923 and later in Luxembourg, until 1929, when he moved to Sarreguemines in France, serving there until September 1st, 1939. At the outbreak of WW II, he was evacuated to Jarnac in the department of Charente in south western France. He was arrested in 1942, detained at the Drancy camp and deported to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, along with his wife and three children.

France

France

République française

A country in Western Europe, member of the European Union (EU).

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 450,000 out of 65,000,000 (0.6%). France is the home of the third largest Jewish population in the world and the largest Jewish community in Europe. 

Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France - Representative Council of Jews of France
Phone: 33 1 42 17 11 11
Fax: 33 1 42 17 11 13
Email: infocrif@crif.org
Website: www.crif.org

Consistoire Central de France – Union des Communautés Juives de France
19, rue St Georges
75009 Paris
France
Phone: 01 49 70 88 00
Fax: 01 42 81 03 66
Website: https://france.consistoire.org/consistoire-central/
e-mail : administration@consistoirecentral.fr

 

HISTORY

The Jews of France

1040 | In Rashi Veritas

Brain drain is not a new phenomenon. Between the eighth and tenth centuries a mass movement began of Jewish merchants from Babylon – then the largest Jewish population center in the world – migrating to Western Europe, where international trade centers began to emerge. These Jews joined a larger and older group of fellow Jews, who had migrated back in 2nd Temple times, through the Mediterranean to Gaul, the land that we know as France.
As befits a goose laying golden eggs, the Jews received special rights and sheltered under the protection of French nobles, who shielded them from the maws of the Catholic Church. The economic prosperity allowed them to establish yeshivas and Torah centers which produced many scholars. One of these, a genius who made his living as a vintner, was born in 1040 in the province of Champagne in France, and bequeathed to posterity a comprehensive commentary on the Torah. Legend has it that the incomparable Rashi script was invented by his daughters, who were scholars themselves, but the truth is that it's the font of a Sephardi cursive script that was used in the Jewish printing presses in 16th century Italy to distinguish it from the biblical text itself. His name was Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi), and his monumental work is still the authoritative commentary on Holy Scripture in the rabbinical world.

1240 | Where They Burn Books...

The crusades, which spread from Europe beginning in 1096, ended the idyll of Jewish existence in the lands of Ashkenaz in the early second millennium. Blood libels, persecutions and expulsions were the lot of the Jews for hundreds of years afterward.
One of the low points was reached in the year 1240 and is known as “The Trial of Paris”. At this trial, initiated by King Louis IX and Pope Gregory IX, the defendant was not a person, but a work of literature - The Talmud, to be precise, which according to the Catholic Church holds messages of hatred towards all gentiles and disparagement of Jesus.
One fine day an incited mob gathered in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to watch the condemned criminal – 12,000 hand-written copies of the Talmud – burned at the stake. 600 years later Jewish-German poet Heinrich Heine would comment on this event: “Where they burn books, they will eventually burn people.”

1481 | The Provenance of Provence

When speaking of the Jews of France, one cannot help but pay special attention to a singular group of Jews who lived in what is now the south of France and was called “The Sages of Provence”.
These sages were the advanced placement class of the Jewish world. They created a unique brand of thought and Bible exegesis and also engaged in philosophy and Kabbalah. The teachings of these sages was spread throughout Europe, Spain and North Africa, and their genius was a byword among Jewish intellectuals of Western Europe.
Among the main writers of this group are Hameiri, Rabbi David Kimchi (aka Rada”k), Rabbi Zarhia HaLevi (aka Raza”h), Abraham Ben David (aka Raba”d) and his son, Rabbi Isaac the Blind, and of course the great translator Judah ibn Tibbon, the man who disseminated the thought of Maimonides after translating it from Arabic into Hebrew.
The Jews of Provence as a cultural phenomenon came to an end in the year 1481, when King Louis XI of France annexed Provence to his realm.

1498 | The Odyssey of Expulsions

To the Jews of France, the late Middle Ages were an agonizing ping-pong affair of expulsions and recalls. In 1306 King Phillip IV issued an edict banning the Jews from residence in French territory. 11 years later his son, Louis X, recalled the Jews – provided they wear an identifying patch on their clothes. A mere seven years went by and the Jews were expelled again. This time it was King Charles IV, who claimed that the Jews, in their temerity, failed to pay their full amount of taxes to him.
In 1357, under Jean II and later under Charles V, the Jews returned to France, but once again suffered persecution, restriction of their freedom of occupation to the sole field of money-lending, and finally – abduction of their children.
The odyssey of expulsions ended on September 17th, 1394, when Charles VI succumbed to the pressure of the masses and issues an edict of expulsion for all Jews in his domains. To his credit, it must be noted that he gave the expelled Jews ample time to sell their property and decreed that any Christian who borrowed money from them must repay it. By 1498 there was not a Jew left anywhere in France, save for a smattering of small communities that lived in Avignon and its environs in the south of France, which was then under Papal control.

1791 | No Bread? Eat Challa

The French Revolution, which broke out in 1789, costing many their lives through the services of “Madame Guillotine”, heralded the idea of the liberal democratic state as we know it today. From a tyrannical class-based society France transformed (albeit through much bloodshed), to a democratic regime in which each person can be master of their own fate.
The first to enjoy the fruits of emancipation were the Jews of Alsace-Lorraine, an area conquered by France back in 1630. The Jews of France, then numbering some 40,000 people, were as mentioned above the first in Europe to enjoy the fruits of the revolution, but their release from the burden of being the “other” and “alien” was not easy. At first the leaders of the revolution claimed that the Jews were “a nation within a nation” and as such not eligible for treatment as equal citizens. But in 1791 the General Law Relating to the Jews was issued, granting the Jews full equality, and there was much rejoicing in the Jewish quarter of Paris.

1806 | The Twelve Question Program

It would not be off the mark to characterize the history of Europe's Jews in general and those of France in particular as a series of “almosts”. Almost equality. Almost Emancipation. Almost liberty.
As though the Law Relating to the Jews had not been passed 15 years prior, in 1806 the question of Jewish status was raised once again, this time under Napoleon, the legendary general known for his unlimited ambition.
Napoleon took a creative approach. In 1806 he gathered an assembly of leading Jews and presented them with the “12 Question Test”, designed to assess their loyalty to France. Among other things the Jews were asked how Jewish halacha views mixed marriages, whether a Jew may charge interest from a gentile, how the Jews view France and more.
The answers the Jews gave, declaring France their motherland and non-Jewish Frenchmen their brothers, did not satisfy Napoleon, and a year later he issued the “Shameful Edict”, limiting the Jews' freedoms of occupation and movement, yet forced them to enlist in the army. Shameful indeed.

1860 | All Israel Are Friends

The story of the first global Jewish organization, Alliance Israelite Universelle, established in Paris in 1860, begins with a Jewish 3 year-old from Bologna named Edgardo Levi Mortara, who one day was kidnapped from his parents and taken to the Vatican, where he was “reeducated” in Catholic institutions.
The Mortara affair created great furor throughout liberal circles in Europe and was the main impetus for the founding of “Alliance”, a Jewish cultural organization meant to protect Jewish rights, which was active mainly in education.
During this period, 12 years after the “Spring of Nations” revolution, a wave of nationalism broke out and swept over France. As though through Pavlovian conditioning, the Jews were once again blamed for all the ills that had befallen the land of good taste. 12 years later, one of the main accusations hurled at the Jews was that they had gotten rich lending money to the French government for the disastrous war against the hated enemy of Prussia.

1894 | A Legendary Story

It was a winter he would never forget, and it seems that neither shall we. He was the Paris correspondent for the Austrian newspaper Neue Freie Presse, a handsome man with a thick black beard and burning eyes. He would not forget the toxic hatred, the obvious lie; he would not forget the shouts of “Death to the Jews” and the pleas of the accused, a Jewish-French military officer named Alfred Dreyfus, reprimanding those who were his subordinates but a moment ago, in a cracked voice: “I forbid you to curse me”, to no avail of course. To this day, the ripped-off ranks of Dreyfus appear in the all-Jewish nightmares.
Many historians believe that it was the Dreyfus trial that pushed the “Visionary of the Jewish State,” Binyamin Zeev (Theodore) Herzl, to dedicate his life to establishing a state for the Jews. For if in France, the country that had committed itself more than any to the ideals of equality, liberty, and fraternity, such anti-Semitism raged – what would become of the Jews huddled in the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe?
"If you will it", the young journalist thought to himself, "it is no legend".

1914 | Bloom of Life

On July 31st, 1914, Jean Jaures, leader of the Social-Democrat camp in French politics, sat and ate dinner at the famous Cafe du Croissant in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. All around the tempest was raging. The winds of WW1 began to blow, and Jaures, who had done everything in his power to stop the war, but in vain, was bitterly disappointed. This did not last long. During the meal an assassin appeared behind him and put two bullets in his head.
The murder of Jaures made a deep impact on his pupil and friend, Leon Blum, a socialist Jewish intellectual who would make history 22 years later by becoming the first Jewish Prime Minister of France. Blum, an attorney with a well-developed social conscience, who was defined by his biographer as a “man of words”, embodied the spirit of French Jews between the world wars. He was a man of French culture through and through, and at the same time deeply aware of his Jewish identity, an avowed Zionist, and was admired by the leaders of the Hebrew population in mandatory Palestine, who often sought his advice.

1942 | Vichy-ing The Jews Away

During WW2 France showed its ugly side. The Vichy government, a puppet regime under German protection, took part – and according to German testimony, with great zeal – in the deportation of the Jews of France (mostly Jews without French citizenship, including many who had fled from Nazi-controlled areas) to the extermination camps in the east.
One of the events that will live in infamy in French history was the deportation of 12,500 of the Jews of Paris, who were led in the dark of night, in the middle of July 1942, to the Velodrome d'hiver, where many of them died due to the harsh sanitary conditions and a severe shortage of food and water.
True, proud Francophiles will say – and rightly so – that there was a French resistance movement that abhorred the treatment of the Jews. To strengthen their argument for the republic, perhaps they will also offer the story of the nun Mother Maria Skobtsova, a Righteous Among the Nations, who managed to sneak into the velodrome along with her son disguised as waste removal workers, and hid several dozen Jewish children in the trash cans she took out. But these were the exceptions that did not indicate the rule. The numbers show that some 76,000 of the Jews of France (about a quarter of the Jews in the country) were sent to the death camps, of whom only 2,500 or so survived.

2000 | From Rothschild to Levinas

After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Jews of France became the largest Jewish community in Europe: Some 600,000 Jews, most of whom migrated to France in the 1950s and 1960s from North Africa, as the French colonies there came to an end. The Six Day War represented a sort of messianic moment for the Jews of France as well. Their identification with Israel following the war was expressed in rallies and marches in the streets of Paris, financial support for Israel and the establishment of the “National Coordination Committee”, which united the vast majority of Jewish organizations in France.
In the 1980s the Jewish community in France was a hotbed of intellectual ferment, that included youngsters considered assimilated as well. Jewish radio stations were launched, departments of Jewish studies at universities received funding and resources, and research and publications on Jewish topics flourished. Among the celebrated Jews of France one may find intellectual Bernard Henri Levi, filmmaker Claude Lelouche, philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, thinker Jacques Derida, the famous Rothschild family and more.
But even in the 21st century France is not yet completely rid of anti-Jewish expressions and actions, this time led mostly by Muslim immigrants. These outbreaks, which included rock throwing, vandalism at synagogues and even murderous terror attacks, have led to another wave of aliyah to Israel.

Luneville

Luneville

A town in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in France.

21st Century

Association Culturelle Israelite de Luneville
5, rue Castara
54300 Luneville
France
Phone: 08 92 97 64 43

La cimetière israélite régional de Luneville (Meurthe-et-Moselle)

HISTORY

Several Jews were mentioned in Luneville in 1470-- 72, just before the expulsion from the Duchy of Lorraine. From 1702 Luneville was the seat of the ducal court of Lorraine; Samuel Levy took charge of the court's commercial interests in 1705. Two Jewish families were authorized to live in the town by an edict of 1753; there were 16 families residing there when the synagogue was constructed in 1785. A cemetery was not consecrated until 1791. The community numbered 315 persons in 1808 and 400 in 1855; from 1870 it was augmented by a number of manufacturers from Alsace. Among the Hebrew printing presses established in France in the latter part of the 18th century and early in the 19th was one belonging to Abraham Brisach, who produced in Luneville a machzor with Judeo-German translation in 1797 and a Likkutei Zvi in 1798. A hospital, established in 1857, was in use until 1944. Alfred levy, later chief rabbi of France and a native of Luneville, was rabbi there from 1869 to 1880.

During World War I the incumbent minister, S. Weill, and several other Jews were among the civilians slaughtered at Luneville (1914); 18 other Jews from Luneville fell in battle in this war and six in World War II.

One hundred and thirty-nine Jews (including the patients in the hospital) arrested in Luneville during the German occupation died in the deportations.

In 1969 there were about 200 Jews in Luneville, half of them from North Africa.

Saarbruecken

Saarbruecken
Saarbrücken
 
Capital and largest city of the state of Saarland, Germany.

Jews were probably present in the city in 1321 when Duke John I granted the city its charter and reserved jurisdiction over the Jews. It is certain, however, that there were Jews in the adjacent villages of St. Wendel, Sarrebourg, and Sarreguemines at the time. There are no further sources mentioning the presence of Jews until 1732 when a Judenordnung ("Jewry regulation") was issued for the Saarbrucken community by the count of Usingen-Nassau.
During the French occupation (1792--1813) equality was granted and a Saarbrucken arrondissement was established with a Jewish population of 71. The Saarbrucken community grew from 10 families in 1837 to 376 persons in 1885 and 1,103 in 1910. Between 1920 and 1935 the Saar region was administered by the League of Nations. The Saarbrucken community grew to 2,650, with another 1,700 Jews were dispersed in 23 rural communities. At the time of the 1935 plebiscite on the future of the region the Jews were accused of disloyalty and subjected to intensive harassment. Large numbers of Jews chose French and Belgian citizenship and many emigrated with special "Nansen" passports. The Saarbrucken synagogue was burned down on the Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938) and by the summer of 1939 only 177 Jews were left. The Jews of the Saar were deported, together with the Jews of Baden, to Gurs concentration camp in 1940.
After WW2 a new community was founded which grew from 60 in 1945-19466 to 224 in 1948 and 350 in January 1970. A new synagogue was built in 1951.

Metz

Metz

Capital of the Moselle department, France

21st Century

Communauté Israélite de Metz
39 rue du Rabbin Elie Bloch
57000 Metz
France
Phone: 03.87.75.04.44
Website: http://www.cimetz.org/fr/\

HISTORY

Even if Simon, Bishop of Metz in 350, was really of Jewish origin (as a later source affirms) this does not prove that Jews were present in the town during that period. However, their presence is confirmed from 888 at the latest; a church council held in Metz at that date forbade Christians to take meals in the company of Jews. There is a reference earlier than the 11th century to a Jew called David perhaps renting a vineyard. It was in Metz that the series of anti- Jewish persecutions accompanying the first crusade began, claiming 22 victims in the town in 1096. Among the scholars of the early middle ages, foremost was Gershom b. Judah ("light of the exile"); although he lived mainly in Mainz he was born in Metz, as was his disciple Eliezer b. Samuel. There was also the Tosafist David of Metz. The medieval Jewish community occupied a whole quarter, the vicus judaeorum, whose memory is perpetuated in the street named "jurue." in 1237 every Jew who passed through Metz was compelled to pay 30 deniers to the town, but was not permitted to live there. In the 15th century successive bishops, whose residence had been transferred to vic, tolerated the Jews under their jurisdiction and granted them privileges (1442). In Metz itself, however, the Jews were permitted to stay only three days.

After the French occupation (1552), the first three Jewish families were admitted to reside there as pawnbrokers (1565/67); they were followed by others, and in 1595, 120 persons established a community which henry iv and his successors took under their protection. Through the arrival of Jews from the Rhine areas, their number increased to 480 families in 1718 and almost 3,000 persons in 1748. Assigned to the Rhimport quarter, they governed themselves by elected trustees and levied numerous taxes, which grew more burdensome after the introduction of the Brancas tax (1715), originally gifts given by the community mainly to the duke of Brancas. The debts of the community became with the consent of the king, the chief rabbi - often renowned for his erudition like Jonah Teomim-Fraenkel of Prague (1660--69), Gabriel b. Judah Loew Eskeles of Krakow (1694-1703), and Jonathan Eybeschuetz (1742-1750) - was chosen from abroad. He judged lawsuits between Jews but from the 18th century the parliament sought to assume this right, and to this end ordered a compendium of Jewish customs to be deposited in its record office (1743).

From the beginning of the 17th century the community owned a cemetery, a synagogue, and an almshouse. In 1689 free and compulsory elementary schooling was introduced, and in 1764 a Hebrew press. The Jews were, however, hampered in their economic activities by legal disabilities. An oligarchy, at whom sumptuary laws were aimed, achieved great wealth. The poverty of the masses, however, increased. Hostility toward the Jews reached its peak at the time of the execution of Raphael Levy (1670) for alleged ritual murder, but before the revolution the jurists Pierre Louis Lacretelle (1751-1824) and Pierre Louis Roederer of Metz, future members of the national assembly, called for their emancipation. The latter organized the famous concourse of the academy of Metz on this subject (1785). In 1792 Lafayette, commanding the army at Metz, assured the religious freedom of the Jews, which was later suspended during the reign of terror (1794). The consistory created in Metz in 1808, which included Moselle and Ardennes, served 6,517 Jews. The yeshivah (Ecole centrale rabbinique), which was promoted to the status of rabbinical seminary of France in 1829, was transferred to Paris in 1859; the synagogue was rebuilt in 1850 and the almshouse in 1867. Debts arising out of taxes not abolished by the revolution devolved on the descendants of the former community. After the German annexation (1871) about 600 Jews moved to France, although immigrants soon arrived from other parts of Germany. After 1918, when the region reverted to France, there was a massive influx of immigrants from eastern Europe and the Saar region. The Jewish population of the city numbered about 2,000 in 1866; 1,407 in 1875; 1,900 in 1910; and 4,150 in 1931. Under German occupation in World War II, Metz, like the rest of Moselle and Alsace, was made judenrein following the flight of the population and particularly brutal expulsions after the entry of the Germans. About 1,500 Jews died after being deported, among them rabbis Bloch and Kahlenberg. The two synagogues and the workhouse were plundered and defiled. The great synagogue was used as a military warehouse. After the liberation the reorganized Jewish community was more united than before the war.

In 1970 Metz had about 3,500 Jews, including some 40 families recently arrived from North Africa, and a well-organized communal body. It was the seat of the consistory of Moselle, which comprised 24 communities with a total of about 5,500 Jews. The largest communities were Thionville with 450; Sarreguemines with 270; Sarrebourg with 180; and Forbach with 300. In Metz itself, in addition to the great synagogue (Ahskenazi rite) with a seating capacity of 700, there are four smaller places of worship, including one polish and one Sephardi. The community also ran a Talmud Torah center with 180 pupils from six to 13, a kindergarten with a kosher canteen, a workhouse, a mikveh, and a chevra kaddisha.

Sarre-Union

Sarre-Union

In German: Saarunion

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Sarre-Union was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918.

Sarre-Union consists of the the town of Bouquenom (Saar Buckenheim, in German) and of the town of Ville Neuve de Sarrewerden (Neu-Saarwerden, in German).

Jews started settling in Saar Buckenheim at the end of the 18th century. In 1807 there were 190 Jewish inhabitants in Saar Buckenheim. Their number increased during the 19th century reaching 335 in 1846, then 343 in 1861 and reached a peak of 354 in 1870. During the second half of the 19th century and in early 20th century the Jewish population declined with 204 Jews recorded in 1900 and 187 in 1910. In 1936 there were of 81 Jewish residents in the village, fewer than during the 19th century, but still relatively a large number in comparison with most of other places of Jewish rural settlement in Alsace at the time.

The Jewish families of Herbitzheim and Sarralbe (Moselle) belonged to the community of Saar Buckenheim.

The community of Saar Buckenheim had its own rabbinate for a long time, although at times it was annexed to the rabbinate of Bouxwiller. Rabbi Joseph Levy (1799-1879) served the community for fifty years from 1829 until his death in 1879. Due to the lower number of Jews in the area, the rabbinate of Saar Buckenheim was closed in 1927. The community also employed a teacher for the local Jewish school who also acted as a prayer leader.  

The building of the synagogue was inaugurated in 1840 and was renovated in 1913. The community also had a Jewish religious and elementary school and a mikveh. The Jewish cemetery was opened in the second half of the 18th century.

After the German occupation of France in WW II, the Jews of Saar Buckenheim were deported to southern France, of them 23 perished in the Holocaust.

After WW II, some of the survivors returned to the village. In 1953 there were 53 Jewish residents in the village. In 1965 their number was about 45.

During the German occupation, the synagogue was desecrated, looted and eventually badly damaged by artillery fire. After 1945 the building was completely restored and inaugurated again in 1950.

The Jewish cemetery contains about 400 graves and a memorial for the Holocaust victims of Saar Buckenheim. The place was victim to a number of anti-Semitic attacks, in 1988, 2001, and in February 2015, when almost 300 matzevot were vandalized and the Holocaust memorial damaged. After the 2015 attack, the place was visited by the French President Francois Holland in an act of solidarity with the Jewish community.

Dehlingen

Dehlingen

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Dehlingen was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918

The Jewish presence in Dehlingen dates back to the 18th century. In 1772 there were 22 Jews living in the village. In 1810 their number was about 100. The local synagogue was opened in 1827. The community also had a mikveh and a school. Due to emigration to large cities and to other countries, the Jewish population declined sharply and by early 20th century the last Jews left the village. The community was disbanded already before the end of the 19th century.

The small local Jewish cemetery is located on rue de l'Étang.

Diemeringen

Diemeringen

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Diemeringen was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918

The Jewish presence Diemeringen dates to the beginning of the 18th century. In 1712 the village had two Jewish families. The 1784 general census of the Jewish population in Alsace recorded in Dettwiller 14 families with a total of about 70 people. In 1845 there were 110 Jewish inhabitants in Diemeringen. Their number reached a peak of 130 in 1866. Later, during the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century the Jewish population drecreased to 106 in 1900 and 94 in 1910. In 1936 there were 88 Jews living in Diemeringen, a relatively high number in contrast to the vast majority of rural Jewish communities in Alsace.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, most Jews of Diemeringen lived on the Judegass (“Jewish street”) and made a living as traders and clerks. 

The Jewish community of Diemeringen belonged to the rabbinate of Sarre-Union until 1926, then to that of Bouxwiller. During the 18th century prayers were conducted in private rooms. A synagogue located on Judegass, currently  rue du Vin, was inaugurated in 1868 and renovated in 1906. A Jewish school was opened in 1862 and the community employed a teacher who also served as prayer leader and shochet. The Jewish school was active until 1919, when it was merged with the Protestant school. The local Jewish cemetery was opened towards the end of the 18th century.

After the German occupation of Alsace in 1940, the Jews of Diemeringen were deported to southern France, of them 15 perished in the Holocaust.  The synagogue was desecrated and looted during the German occupation.

After WW II, several Jewish families returned to Diemeringen. In 1953 the community numbered 58 members and in 1965 it had 37 members. After 1950, the Jews of Diemeringen belong to the rabbinate of Saverne.

The synagogue was desecrated and looted during the German occupation. The building was restored and reopened in 1947. Since 1999, the building of the synagogue was listed as a historic monument. The building of the former Jewish school is located close to the synagogue.

In late 2010s, there was one Jewish family living in Diemeringen. The synagogue is used during the Tishrey holidays.

Imling

Imling

A commune in the Moselle department in the historical region of Lorraine, France.

It seems that Jews lived in Imling during medieval times. The beginnings of the modern community date from the end of the 17th century, when two Jews, Michel Levy, a horse dealer, and Moise Levy, a peddler, are documented in the village. They were joined by additional Jewish families who arrived from neighboring Alsace.

The legal status of the eight Jewish families of Imling was confirmed in an “Act of Tolerance” signed by Antoine-Joseph, Count of Lutzelbourg and lord of Imling in 1762.  They were various rights, including the right to employ a cantor and a teacher. In exchange for these rights, the Jews were required to pay taxes in money and in products.

In 1789 there were 20 Jewish families in Imling. The Jewish population continued to increase during the first half of the 19th century. In 1845 there were 120 Jews living in the village. As elsewhere in rural Jewish communities of Lorraine and Alsace, many Jews left the village after mid-19th century and consequently the Jewish population declined 68 in 1895 and 54 in 1910. The community was disbanded after WW I.

Apparently the Jews of Imling had a prayer room since early 18th century. A synagogue was opened in 1820 and was used until 1920. The building of the synagogue was sold in 1922. The community also had a mikveh, opened in 1861. It too was sold in 1922. The building of the synagogue still exists and it is located on rue de l'Église.

As of 1845 and until the end of the 19th century Jews were elected to the municipal council of the village.  

Rouhling

Rouhling

In German: Ruhlingen

A commune in the Moselle department in the historical region of Lorraine, France.

Jews settled in Rouhling in early 18th century. They were allowed to live in the village and open a prayer house in early 18th century in exchange to taxes paid to the barons of Kerpen, the landlords of Rouhling, and the commandery of the Teutonic Knights of Saarbrücken. A Jewish cemetery was opened in the village.

In 1808 there were 14 Jewish families with a total of 47 people living in the village. Most made a living as hawkers and ragpickers.

During the 19th century the Jews of Rouhling left the village for better opportunities in other places with the great majority settling in Sarreguemines and Grossbliederstroff. There were no Jewish inhabitants in Rouhling during the 20th century.

The Jewish cemetery of Rouhling still exists. After moving to Grosbliederstroff, the Jews from Rouhling continued to bury their dead in the cemetery of Rouhling. The last burials were those of Louise Mendel, who died at the age of 38 on July 11, 1878, and of G. Bloch on December 9, 1883. There are a total of 66 matzevot that have been arranged in two equal rows, after the surface of the cemetery was reduced with the lower section donated to the local municipality who turned it into a public garden.