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The Jewish Community of 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: [email protected]
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 : [email protected]

 

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.

Place Type:
Country
ID Number:
244266
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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After the revolution of 1830 he came to Paris, where he became a member of the Central Consistoire. He formed connections with numerous political personages and became a brilliant defender of Liberal ideas in the law courts and in the press. In 1840 the Damascus affair and the consequent revival of anti-Semitism in Europe aroused intense emotions in all Jewish communities in Europe. Cremieux accompanied Moses Montefiore on a delegation to Syria and succeeded in obtaining the release of the Jews who were imprisoned in Damascus. This was a first step toward reviving the sense of self-confidence amongst European Jewry. Elected deputy in 1842, he was one of the leaders of the opposition. On behalf of the Consistoire Central des Israélites de France (The Central Consistory of the Jews of France), he helped to draft the law of 1844 which was to regulate Jewish life until 1848 and after 1905.

In 1834 Crémieux was elected vice-president of the Consistoire. Nine years later he was chosen to be the president of that body but had to resign when it became known that he had allowed his wife to have their children baptized. On February 24, 1848 he was chosen by the Republicans as a member of the provisional government, and as minister of justice he secured the decrees abolishing the death penalty for political offenses. That same year he was instrumental in declaring an end to slavery in all French Colonies, for which some have called him the "French Abraham Lincoln". When the conflict between the Republicans and Socialists broke out, he resigned his office but continued to sit in the constituent assembly. At first he supported Louis Napoleon, but when he discovered the prince's imperial ambitions he broke with him.

For opposing Louis Napoleon's coup d'etat he was arrested and imprisoned on December 2, 1851. Cremieux remained in prison for some time. During his enforced retirement he devoted himself to Jewish causes. In 1864 he became president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, the first modern international Jewish organization, founded in 1860, and centered in Paris. The foundation of the Alliance expressed the renewal of Jewish cohesiveness. He used all his influence to assist the Alliance in its work to help oppressed Jewish minorities throughout the world. To this end he travelled to Morocco, Romania and Russia where he successfully intervened on behalf of Jews accused in the Saratov blood libel. In the November 1869 eletions he was elected as a Republican deputy for Paris. On September 4, 1870 he was again chosen as a member of the government of national defense, and resumed his position in the ministry of justice. At that time French policy was to bring about the total assimilation of all Algerian Jews. As Minister of Justice he signed the Decret Cremieux by means of which all Algerian Jews received French citizenship en bloc. He resigned with his colleagues on February 14, 1871. Eight months later he was elected deputy, then life senator in 1875.

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Basch, Victor Guillaume (1863-1944), educator, philosopher, and French politician, born in Budapest, Hungary (then in Austria-Hungary). As a child he emigrated with his family to France and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. He taught at the universities of Nancy, Rennes -where he became friends with socialist Jean Jaures - and Paris before being appointed professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne. During the Dreyfus Affair, Basch was the leader of the Dreyfussards in Rennes, where the trial was being conducted. Both as a Jew and as a Dreyfussard he was persecuted by fanatical anti-Semites in the city. Basch was the founder of the "League for the Rights of Man" and its president from 1926 to 1944. As such and as a member of the "League against Imperialism" created in Brussels in 1927 he was one of the architects of the Popular Front, an alliance of left wing parties which governed France in 1936-1937. He fought for the principles of legal and social justice and human rights He was involved in the Zionist movement and anti-Nazism. In politics he belonged to the right wing of the French Socialists and was a leader of peace movements. He was also active in several Jewish organizations, notably as executive member of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.

During World War II, Basch was a member of the central committee of the French underground. He and his wife were assassinated by members of the anti-Semitic Vichy government, in 1944.
Barugel, Esther (1917-2007), sculptor born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her works in wood, marble, stone and bronze have been exhibited in several European countries as well as her native Argentina. Most of her works represent man's emotions and feelings. Her last works, most of which are large, depict morality and tolerance and a desire for man to live in harmony with the universe.

Together with her husband, Nicolas Rubio, she published "Los Maestros Fileteadores de Buenos Aires" (Buenos Aires,1994(, and "El Filete Porteño" (2004).
Fleg, Edmond (1874-1963), poet, playright and essayist, born in Geneva, Switzerland, into a prosperous and moderately religious family, but whose religious compromises and his secular studies combined to weaken his allegiance to Jewish tradition. He went to Paris, France, where he became a theatre critic and a playwright. The turmoil surrounding the the Dreyfus affair, however, marked him deeply and brought about his total reconciliation with the Jewish religion. He was impressed by Israel Zangwill, an early supporter of Zionism. After fighting in the French Foreign Legion during World War I, he spent his life deepening his knowledge of Judaism and used his writings to set out his knowledge and opinions. During the German occupation during World War 2, Fleg initially lived in Beauvallon in the Italian-occupied part of Provence and was later brought to safety by the Resistance. The lectures about the beauty of their enlightened religion which he gave to young Jews during the occupation, appeared in 1946 under the title "Le nouveau chant" ("The New Song") while his experiences during the occupation were described in 1949 in "Nous de l'Espérance" ("We of Hope"). Fleg visited Israel on several occasions, but he was of the opinion that Jews should be integrated into the countries where they were born as citizens with equal rights. Although Swiss by birth, in 1921 became a French citizen by virtue of his service in the Foreign Legion Legion, and he subsequently saw himself as a passionate Frenchman. "Why I am a Jew" (1927) is a subtle and moving analysis of a young agnostic's spiritual progress and eventual return to Judaism; it also demonstrates Fleg's conviction that the French genius owes much to the inspiration of Israel.

He is the author of a vast four volume poetic work: "Hear O Israel", "The Lord is our God", "The Lord is One", "And thou shalt love the Lord". He also translated into French the books of "Genesis" (1946) and "Exodus" (1963). In the 1920s, he was the honorary president of the Jewish Scouts de France (EIF). Edmond Fleg helped to found the Judeo-Christian Friendship League of France in 1948. He became a member of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.

Other works, all written in French although many were translated into English, include "A Jewish Anthology" (1923), "An Anthology of Jewish Thought" (2006), the "Child Prophet" (1926), "The Jewish Pope", a play (1925), "The House of God", a play (1920), "The Merchant of Paris", comedie (1929), "Moses" (1948), "Jesus told by the Wandering Jew", (Albin Michel, 2000). The Correspondence of Edmond Fleg during the Dreyfus Affair, edited by Andrew E. Elbaz, Paris, appeared in 1976. In "The Land where God Dwells" (1955) Fleg described the story of the Zonist pioneers and his hopes for Israel's spiritual revival in the Jewish state. Other books include translations of the works of Shalom Aleichem and the Passover Haggadah (1925) and selections from Maimonides' "Guide to the Perplexed".
Carasso, Isaac (1874-1939), medical doctor and member of well known Sephardi family, born in Salonika, Greece (then part of the Ottoman Empire). He moved with his family to Barcelona, Spain, following the incorporation of Salonika to the Greek state in early 20th century.

When he established his practice Carasso noted that many patients suffering from digestive and intestinal problems were helped by eating the sour milk and yoghurt which was popular in the Balkans. He started to manufacture it and sold it through pharmacies as a medicine. Carasso then founded a yoghurt factory which he called Danone, the Ladino diminutive of Daniel, his son's name. This small business developed into the Danone food group of companies. The company grew into the international Danone group managed by Isaac’s son Daniel.
Baswitz, Albert (1892-1916), British soldier who fell in World War I, the son of an immigrant father from Germany, born in Bradford, England. In the 1911 population census Baswitz was listed as a student teacher at a London training college. He went on to study mathematics at Kings College London and graduated in 1914. When the First World War broke out, he was called up for military service in the City of London Regiment. Soon recognized as a leader of men he was promoted to the rank of captain. He fought in France and Flanders. He was awarded the MC (Military Cross) for Distinguished Services in the Field and was twice Mentioned in Dispatches. On 16th September 1916 he led his men against the Germans at High Wood in Northern France. It was a savage, close quarters, hand to hand fight which raged for five hours until the German positions were overrun and the enemy began to retreat. 332 men including Baswitz were killed in the action He was buried in the Flat Iron Copse Cemetery, Mametz which is near the city of Lille. His colonel, writing to Baswitz's bereaved parents, said that he was “one of the bravest men I have ever met and one of the best of friends, beloved by the officers and all of his men too”.
Salem, Emmanuel (1859-1940), jurist, born in Salonika, Greece (then part of the Ottoman Empire). He specialised in International Law and especially the Concessions granted by successive Sultans to Christian nations, conferring rights and privileges in favor of their subjects resident or trading in the Ottoman dominions. He became the legal advisor to foreign consuls an offered advise whenever there were disagreements between the Ottoman authorities and these diplomats. His work and conclusions on the conditions of these concessions and of the position of foreign nationals was published in 1888-1901 in the Paris "Journal de Droit Prive".

In 1908 Salem was asked by the Young Turks to help in dealing with the public debt and also the reorganization of major banks and railways. He was then appointed to be a member of the council of the Young Turks on legislative reform. Salem participated in the 1922 Treaty of Lausanne and helped to resolve a number of problems of international law. Pope Leo III awarded him the Order of the Holy See of Pius IX for his services to the Catholic authorities in their disputes with the Ottomans. The Italian government also awarded him the La Croce del Cavaliere della Coronna d’Italia for his services also relating to the Concessions. A man of great intelligence and a phenomenal memory he also received honours from the governments of Belgium, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria and of Turkey.

Active also in the private and public sectors Salem helped establish corporations in Thessaloniki for running the water, gas and electricity industries. He wrote the founding charters for several industrial companies, banks and trading concerns. He was the legal advisor to the Allatini family and founded several benevolent associations.

He lived in Paris, France, towards the end of his life and became there president of the Sephardic Jewish Council and the central council of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.
Aubrac, Raymond (1915-2012), French resistance fighter born Raymond Samuel who became a French Resistance leader during World War II and subsequently escaped Gestapo torturers with help from his pregnant wife - an episode that became one of the best known triumphs of the French underground.

Samuel was born to a Jewish family in Vesoul, in northeastern France. He studied engineering in France and also at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His parents were murdered in Auschwitz. The family lived in the city of Lyon, which was controlled by the pro-Nazi Vichy government after the German invasion in 1940. Samuel and his wife Lucie joined the Resistance movement. “Aubrac” was his alias. Together the couple helped to found the Liberation Sud. In 1943 they attended a meeting which was betrayed to the Gestapo. The men were interrogated and tortured by the infamous Barbi (the butcher of Lyons). Aubrac was sentenced to death, but before the sentence was carried out his four months pregnant wife bribed a Nazi official to enable her to see him one last time. On the way back to prison, as she had planned, his truck was ambushed by the Resistance, several Gestapo officials were killed while Aubrac and a number of his colleagues escaped.

The couple, along with their son, Jean-Pierre, was flown to London. Their daughter Catherine was born a few days after their arrival. Aubrac worked in England for de Gaulle’s government-in-exile before returning to France and becoming a high-ranking official in Marseille after the war. Involved in left wing activities Aubrac hosted Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh in 1946, when the latter visited Paris in order to seek his country’s independence from France. At least twice during the U.S.-Vietnam War Aubrac was used as a go-between for communication with Ho Chi Minh. He pushed for the establishment of closer economic ties between France and Communist nations. For a time he was an official with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
Hadamard, Jacques Salomon (1865–1963), mathematician born in Versailles, France, and who made major contributions in number theory, complex function theory, differential geometry and partial differential equations. The son of a teacher, Hadamard attended the Lycée Charlemagne and Lycée Louis-le-Grand, where his father taught. In 1884 Hadamard entered the École Normale Supérieure, having been placed first in the entrance examinations both there and at the École Polytechnique. He obtained his doctorate in 1892 and in the same year was awarded the Grand Prix des Sciences Mathématiques.

In 1896 he made two important contributions: he proved the prime number theorem, using complex function theory and he was awarded the Bordin Prize of the French Academy of Sciences for his work on geodesics in the differential geometry of surfaces and dynamical systems. In the same year he was appointed Professor of Astronomy and Rational Mechanics in Bordeaux. His foundational work on geometry and symbolic dynamics continued in 1898 with the study of geodesics on surfaces of negative curvature. For his cumulative work, he was awarded the Prix Poncelet in 1898. In 1897 he moved back to Paris, holding positions in the Sorbonne and the Collège de France, where he was appointed Professor of Mechanics in 1909. In addition to this post, he was appointed to chairs of analysis at the École Polytechnique in 1912 and at the École Centrale in 1920. In Paris Hadamard concentrated his interests on the problems of mathematical physics, in particular partial differential equations, the calculus of variations and the foundations of functional analysis. He was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1916.

Later in his life he wrote on probability theory and mathematical education. He was awarded the CNRS Gold medal for his lifetime achievements in 1956.

Hadamard's wife was related to Alfred Dreyfus whose trial affected the whole family. As a result, Hadamard became politically active and began to be a staunch supporter of Jewish causes although he wqs thoroughly assimilated and took little part in Jewish communal life. For 60 years he was a member of the central committee of the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme founded at the time of the Zola trial in 1898. He was a member of the French Palestine Committee and of the Administrative Board of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1941 he fled from France to the USA and then went to Britain where he engaged in operational research for the Royal Air Force.
FRANCE, FRANZOS, MENDES-FRANCE

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

Many Jews took family names from their countries of origin when they originally migrated to new lands. France and its German, Spanish and other variants, belong to this group. Francoys is the old French word for a Frenchman, and is recorded as a Jewish family name in 1400 with same Francoys 'Judeo Habitatore Gebenis' (the Latin for "Jew residing at Gebenis") in Savoy, north-west Italy. The Spanish variant Francia is largely linked to a 17th century Sephardi family which spread to England and France. The spelling France is mentioned with Jacob France in Bordeaux in 1700.

Distinguished bearers of Jewish surnames in this group include the Austrian novelist, journalist and editor, Karl Franzos (1848-1904), and the statesman Pierre Mendes-France who was French prime minister from 1954 to 1956.
FRANZUS

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. Many Jews took family names from their countries of origin when they originally migrated to new lands. France and its German, Spanish and other variants, belong to this group.

Franzus is a variant of the German Franzos(e), which means "French(man)". Francoys is the old French word for a Frenchman, and is recorded as a Jewish family name in 1400 with same Francoys 'Judeo Habitatore Gebenis' (the Latin for "Jew residing at Gebenis") in Savoy, north-west Italy. The Spanish variant Francia is largely linked to a 17th century Sephardi family which spread to England and France. The spelling France is mentioned with Jacob France in Bordeaux in 1700. In the 20th century, Franzus is recorded as a Jewish surname with David and Oskar Franzus of Berlin, Germany, who perished during World War II.
FRANCIA

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. Francia is one of the names originally designating a part of Germany, and then France. It derives from Latin terms for the Franks. The Franks were a group of Germanic tribes living between the river Main and the North Sea, whom the Romans called Franci/Francos in the 3rd century CE. Franconia, first used in a Latin charter of 1053, Francia, France and Franken were names applied to a portion of the land occupied by the Franks which became one of the stem-duchies of medieval Germany. The present name of France in German, Frankreich, that is "empire of the Franks", has its origins in the establishment of the Frankish monarchy in Gaul by Clovis in the 5th century, and the eventual transformation of the Regnorum Francorum Occidentalium ("the western kingdom of the Franks"), as defined by the treaty of Verdun (843), into the heartland of the modern French state. Jews lived on the territory of France since the 4th century. Franco means "free/generous" in Spanish. In Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), it is the equivalent of the Arabic Franji/Ifranji, that is "Franks". Since the 12th century, these three terms were used in the east Mediterranean Muslim countries to designate all Europeans. In the 16th and subsequent centuries, the word Franco is found in Sephardi rabbinic literature as a name for European Ashkenazi Jews. In Eastern Europe, it first came to mean a Jew who was a Turkish subject, and then a Sephardi Ladino-speaking Jew. The family name Fraenk may also me associated with places such as Frankenberg and Frankenau in Hesse, Germany, Frankenburg in upper Austria, Frankenstein (Zabkowice) in Poland, and others. During the Inquisition in Spain, the members of a pre-15th century Spanish Franco family moved to Amsterdam, Venice, Tunis, Crete and London. The name is documented in Salonika (Greece) in 1492 and Bordeaux (France) in 1528. The Italian Franchi, as well as the German Frank and Frankel, are found in the 16th century. Franks, Franck, Franke, Frankenburger and Fraenkel are recorded in the 17th century, Franc and Franklin in the 18th, and Franchetti in the 19th century. Francia is documented as a Jewish family name with the early 13th century Turkish dayan and preacher, David Francia, and in the 17th and 18th centuries with the French-born English adventurer, Francis (Francia) Francia.
FRANCOYS, FRANCAIS

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

Francoys and Francais are French terms for "French". Both words come from Latin terms designating the Franks. The Franks were a group of Germanic tribes living between the river Main and the North Sea, whom the Romans called Franci/Francos in the 3rd century CE. Franconia, first used in a Latin charter of 1053, Francia, France and Franken were names applied to a portion of the land occupied by the Franks which became one of the stem-duchies of medieval Germany. The present name of France in German, Frankreich, that is "empire of the Franks", has its origins in the establishment of the Frankish monarchy in Gaul by Clovis in the 5th century, and the eventual transformation of the Regnorum Francorum Occidentalium ("the western kingdom of the Franks"), as defined by the treaty of Verdun (843), into the heartland of the modern French state. Jews lived on the territory of France since the 4th century. Franco means "free/generous" in Spanish. In Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), it is the equivalent of the Arabic Franji/Ifranji, that is "Franks". Since the 12th century, these three terms were used in the east Mediterranean Muslim countries to designate all Europeans. In the 16th and subsequent centuries, the word Franco is found in Sephardi rabbinic literature as a name for European Ashkenazi Jews. In Eastern Europe, it first came to mean a Jew who was a Turkish subject, and then a Sephardi Ladino-speaking Jew. The family name Fraenk may also me associated with places such as Frankenberg and Frankenau in Hesse, Germany, Frankenburg in upper Austria, Frankenstein (Zabkowice) in Poland, and others. During the Inquisition in Spain, the members of a pre-15th century Spanish Franco family moved to Amsterdam, Venice, Tunis, Crete and London. The name is documented in Salonika (Greece) in 1492 and Bordeaux (France) in 1528. The Italian Franchi, as well as the German Frank and Frankel, are found in the 16th century. Franks, Franck, Franke, Frankenburger and Fraenkel are recorded in the 17th century, Franc and Franklin in the 18th, and Franchetti in the 19th century. Francoys is documented as a Jewish family name in 1400 at Gebennis, in the Savoie, with Samuele Francoys.
FRANZIUS

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. Many Jews took family names from their countries of origin when they originally migrated to new lands. France and its German, Spanish and other variants, belong to this group of Jewish family names. Franzius, a Latinized form of Franzus, is a variant of the German Franzos(e), which means "French(man)". Francoys is the old French word for a Frenchman, and is recorded as a Jewish family name in 1400 with same Francoys 'Judeo Habitatore Gebenis' (the Latin for "Jew residing at Gebenis") in Savoy, north-west Italy. The Spanish variant Francia is largely linked to a 17th century Sephardi family which spread to England and France. The spelling France is mentioned with Jacob France in Bordeaux in 1700. In the 20th century, Franzius is recorded as a Jewish surname during World War II with Alna Franzius of Hamburg, Germany, who died in December 1941.
Henri-Louis Bergson, Jewish Nobel Winner (French)
Nobel Prize Literature in 1927
['00:01:01]
Georges Charpak, Jewish Nobel Winner (French)
Nobel Prize in Physics in 1992
['00:01:47]
Baruj Benacerraf, Jewish Nobel Winner (French)
Nobel Prize Medicine in 1980
['00:02:17]
Henri-Louis Bergson, Jewish Nobel Winner (Hebrew)
Nobel Prize Literature in 1927
['00:01:01]
Georges Charpak, Jewish Nobel Winner (English)
Nobel Prize in Physics in 1992
['00:01:47]
Henri-Louis Bergson, Jewish Nobel Winner (English)
Nobel Prize Literature in 1927
['00:01:01]
Duration:
00:02:46

Mi Padre Era De Francia ("My Father is a Frenchman" - in Ladino)

Original recording from Ravel: Melodies Hebariques & Hemsi: Coplas Sefardies. Produced by Beit HaTfutsot in 1988.

Alberto Hemsi, a 20th century composer born in Turkey, devoted his life in the Near East to collecting and notating the songs of the Judeo-Spanish community. His collection of 5 hand written volumes contains 230 of these songs and poems and is entitled "El Cancionero Sefardi". Sixty of these were arranged by Hemsi for voice and piano, and published as ten volumes of "Coplas Sefardies". Opus 45 is the ninth volume out of the ten. It was published in 1972, though the songs were originally noted by Hemsi in Istanbul in 1933.

This song tells the story of a girl, who's father, a Frenchman from Aragon, marries her off to a rich man who mistreats and humiliates her. She dreams of a young man who will love and cherish her.

Text by Dr. Avner Bahat, originally published by Beit Hatfutsot in Ravel: Melodies Hebariques & Hemsi: Coplas Sefardies CD booklet.

The "New" Synagogue at Quai Kleber,
Starsbourg, France, c.1890.
Designed by Ludwig Lewy, built in 1895-1898.
Burnt by the Nazis in 1940.
Postcard.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot)
Ecclesia and Synagoga.
Judaism is symbolized in the figure of the defeated
Synagoga with her fallen crown and her broken scepter.
The triumphant, crowned Ecclesia symbolizes the Church.
Replica from the original in the Strasburg Cathedral,
France, 1230.
(Beit Hatfutsot, Permanent Exhibition)
Certificate of Honor awarded to Maurice Assous,
Paris, France, 1947
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Maurice Assous, Israel)
The Babylonian Talmud.
Manuscript written by Solomon Ben Samson,
France, 1342.
Replica.
(Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod.Heb.95)
Edmond and Lizette Levi at their copperware
stall at the Paris Exhibition, Paris, France, 1937
Edmond Levi was a coopersmith and shop owner in Tunis
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Assous Family, Israel)
The synagogue in Metz, Lorraine, France.
Engraving, 19th century
Built at the beginning of the 17th century it was
reconstructed in 1850
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of T. Findling, Israel)
Hellimer Cemetery,
Lorraine region, France, 1980s.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Raymond Levy, France)
Pierre and Irene Weinberg on their
wedding day together with the family.
Paris, France 1921
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Yael Polat, Israel)
Elijah Chair in the Synagogue
of Carpeniras, France, 1986
Photo: Richard Stern, Holland
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Richard Stern collection, Holland)
The Synagogue in Dijon, France.
Postcard, 1910s
The construction of the synagogue began in 1873, it was inaugurated in 1879
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Jody Susmann-Steren, USA)
Levi, Israel (1856-1939), scholar and chief rabbi of France, born in Paris. In 1882 he was appointed assistant rabbi and began to teach Jewish history at the Ecole Rabbinique in 1892 and Talmud at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in 1896. In 1880 he became secretary of the new Societe des Etudes Juives. In 1886 he was made editor of the "Revue des Etudes Juives". From 1919 to 1938 he was chief rabbi of the French Consistoire.

Levi was an intellectual who comtributed to many aspects of modern Jewish scholarship and in particular that which concerned the Jews of France. He was a regular contributor to learned journals, especially the "Revue des Etudes Juives", for which he revued almost every new book of Jewish scholarship.
Carasso, Isaac (1874-1939), medical doctor and member of well known Sephardi family, born in Salonika, Greece (then part of the Ottoman Empire). He moved with his family to Barcelona, Spain, following the incorporation of Salonika to the Greek state in early 20th century.

When he established his practice Carasso noted that many patients suffering from digestive and intestinal problems were helped by eating the sour milk and yoghurt which was popular in the Balkans. He started to manufacture it and sold it through pharmacies as a medicine. Carasso then founded a yoghurt factory which he called Danone, the Ladino diminutive of Daniel, his son's name. This small business developed into the Danone food group of companies. The company grew into the international Danone group managed by Isaac’s son Daniel.
Israelsohn, Jacob (1856-1924), writer and Semitic scholar, born in Latvia. He received a traditional Jewish education but as a youth also learned Russian and German. From 1876 to 1883 he studied Semitics at the University of St Petersburg, Russia, specialising in Jewish-Arabic literature, but he could not be appointed to the faculty since he was a Jew. He therefore worked as a writer, translator and secretary to the Jewish community of St Petersburg and philanthropy assistant to the wealthy Polyakov family of Moscow.

In 1922 he moved to Brussels, Belgium, and then to France where he helped Joseph Derenbourg in his reseach into Judeo-Arabic material. He also assisted in the preparation of the defence of Menachem Beilis ex-soldier and the father of five children, employed as a superintendent at the Zaitsev brick factory in Kiev who in 1913 amidst an surge of Anti-Semitic feeling was accused of the ritual murder of an Ukrainian child. He persuaded a number of Russian intellectuals to give evidence in the trial.

Israelsohn's publications included a Russian translation and commentary of Josephus' “The Jewish Wars”, an edition of Samuel ben Hophni's commentary on the end of Genesis and of Yahya ibn Bal'am's commentary of Jeremiah.
Baswitz, Albert (1892-1916), British soldier who fell in World War I, the son of an immigrant father from Germany, born in Bradford, England. In the 1911 population census Baswitz was listed as a student teacher at a London training college. He went on to study mathematics at Kings College London and graduated in 1914. When the First World War broke out, he was called up for military service in the City of London Regiment. Soon recognized as a leader of men he was promoted to the rank of captain. He fought in France and Flanders. He was awarded the MC (Military Cross) for Distinguished Services in the Field and was twice Mentioned in Dispatches. On 16th September 1916 he led his men against the Germans at High Wood in Northern France. It was a savage, close quarters, hand to hand fight which raged for five hours until the German positions were overrun and the enemy began to retreat. 332 men including Baswitz were killed in the action He was buried in the Flat Iron Copse Cemetery, Mametz which is near the city of Lille. His colonel, writing to Baswitz's bereaved parents, said that he was “one of the bravest men I have ever met and one of the best of friends, beloved by the officers and all of his men too”.
Rein, Armand (1921-), French Resistance fighter and businessman, born 1921 in Mulhouse, France, into a large family of eleven children. From 1942 to 1945 he was an active member of the French resistance movement. Rein and others worked to free (legally or illegally) Jewish children from the infamous internment camps established by the French in Gurs and Rivesaltes in the south of the country. He found the children safe places to hide, mainly in the Italian occupation zone, where the Italian army refused to allow the French police to molest or deport them, and arranging for them to be fed and receive medical care. Often he went from village to village looking for surplus fruit, vegetables and eggs with which to feed his charges. In 1943 he was put in charge of a socio/medical centre for the refugees in the region of the Savoie in south-east France. The centre had been organized by OSE, the French Jewish welfare organization which at that time was largely financed by the American Joint Distribution Committee. The Italian Zone was occupied by the Germans in 1943 after the Italians reached an armistice with the Allies. Rein organised a special train to take some 400 Jews out of the zone in the direction of Rome. He arranged for a number of groups of Jewish children to walk over the Alps and so helped to smuggle them to safety in Switzerland. At the end of 1943, learning that the Gestapo was planning to arrest him, he himself together some family members and also his eight months’ pregnant wife Jeannette who subsequently gave birth to her first child several weeks later in Zurich, escaped to Switzerland in the same way. After the WW 2 he became OSE representative in Marseilles, France, where he organized the reception of deportees from many parts of Europe and arranged their passage to Israel. Two of his brothers were deported to Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

In the mid 1950s Rein started a successful business career and established connections with Ethiopia and several other African countries. He retired and immigrated to Israel in 1980.
Ikor, Roger (1912–1986), writer, winner of the Prix Goncourt in 1955, born in Paris, France, to parents of Lithuanian origin. He studied and and later became professor of literature at the Lycee Condorcet and the Lycée Pasteur in Neuilly, outside Paris. In June 1940, he was taken prisoner of war by the Germans, and was sent to Pomerania. His best known work was "Le Fils d'Avrom" ("The son of Avrom"), which describes the lives of Jewish immigrants to France during the early part of the 20th century. It tells the story of a Jewish family which settled in Paris, and was bound by blood to a non-Jewish French family. Spanning three generations, the story describes the relationship that the family with their new home. Ikor clearly favours Jewish assimilation into the surrounding culture. For this work he was awarded the Prix Goncourt. His stories usually epic tell the workers' uprising of June 1848 (1936), and the history of Saint-Just (1937). He returned to the question of assimilation in his 1968 essay “Peut-on etre juif aujourd'hui?” ("Can one be a Jew today?"), which discusses the question in the light of the establishment of the State of Israel and the reawakening of Jewish consciousness amongst Jewish intellectuals. In this esay he makes certain concessions to the “outdated folklore” of Judaism. A moderate socialist and a liberal writer, his views were closer to the 19th century than the 20th century.

After the death of his son, who committed suicide after joining the Zen macrobiotic cult, he led, until his death, a struggle against the cult phenomenon, and the Center Against Mind Control (CSCM).
Btesh (Betesh), Ricardo Anthony (1938-2015), singer and song writer, known as Richard Anthony, born in Cairo, Egypt.

His father, Edgar Btesh, friom a Jewish family of Aleppo, Syria, ran a textile business, and his mother, Margaret, was the daughter of Samuel Shashua Bey, honorary consul of Iraq in Alexandria, Egypt.

His childhood was spent in Arab countries, then in England and Argentina. In 1951 he went to Paris, France, and strudied at a Paris high school. After graduating from high school he went on to study law. Then he began to play the saxaphone at night clubs and worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman in the daytime. He began to appear on television and on the stage performing many songs, becoming wealthy and very well known. Betesh recorded over 600 songs and sold more than 50 million records.
Salem, Emmanuel (1859-1940), jurist, born in Salonika, Greece (then part of the Ottoman Empire). He specialised in International Law and especially the Concessions granted by successive Sultans to Christian nations, conferring rights and privileges in favor of their subjects resident or trading in the Ottoman dominions. He became the legal advisor to foreign consuls an offered advise whenever there were disagreements between the Ottoman authorities and these diplomats. His work and conclusions on the conditions of these concessions and of the position of foreign nationals was published in 1888-1901 in the Paris "Journal de Droit Prive".

In 1908 Salem was asked by the Young Turks to help in dealing with the public debt and also the reorganization of major banks and railways. He was then appointed to be a member of the council of the Young Turks on legislative reform. Salem participated in the 1922 Treaty of Lausanne and helped to resolve a number of problems of international law. Pope Leo III awarded him the Order of the Holy See of Pius IX for his services to the Catholic authorities in their disputes with the Ottomans. The Italian government also awarded him the La Croce del Cavaliere della Coronna d’Italia for his services also relating to the Concessions. A man of great intelligence and a phenomenal memory he also received honours from the governments of Belgium, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria and of Turkey.

Active also in the private and public sectors Salem helped establish corporations in Thessaloniki for running the water, gas and electricity industries. He wrote the founding charters for several industrial companies, banks and trading concerns. He was the legal advisor to the Allatini family and founded several benevolent associations.

He lived in Paris, France, towards the end of his life and became there president of the Sephardic Jewish Council and the central council of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.
Aubrac, Raymond (1915-2012), French resistance fighter born Raymond Samuel who became a French Resistance leader during World War II and subsequently escaped Gestapo torturers with help from his pregnant wife - an episode that became one of the best known triumphs of the French underground.

Samuel was born to a Jewish family in Vesoul, in northeastern France. He studied engineering in France and also at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His parents were murdered in Auschwitz. The family lived in the city of Lyon, which was controlled by the pro-Nazi Vichy government after the German invasion in 1940. Samuel and his wife Lucie joined the Resistance movement. “Aubrac” was his alias. Together the couple helped to found the Liberation Sud. In 1943 they attended a meeting which was betrayed to the Gestapo. The men were interrogated and tortured by the infamous Barbi (the butcher of Lyons). Aubrac was sentenced to death, but before the sentence was carried out his four months pregnant wife bribed a Nazi official to enable her to see him one last time. On the way back to prison, as she had planned, his truck was ambushed by the Resistance, several Gestapo officials were killed while Aubrac and a number of his colleagues escaped.

The couple, along with their son, Jean-Pierre, was flown to London. Their daughter Catherine was born a few days after their arrival. Aubrac worked in England for de Gaulle’s government-in-exile before returning to France and becoming a high-ranking official in Marseille after the war. Involved in left wing activities Aubrac hosted Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh in 1946, when the latter visited Paris in order to seek his country’s independence from France. At least twice during the U.S.-Vietnam War Aubrac was used as a go-between for communication with Ho Chi Minh. He pushed for the establishment of closer economic ties between France and Communist nations. For a time he was an official with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
Merzbach, Dan (1956-2011), rabbi and architect, born in France and brought to Israel by his parents in 1966. After his marriage, Merzbach became a member of the group that established the West Bank settlement of Otniel in 1984. He was trained as an architect and designed a number of public buildings, but he was also a practicing rabbi who established a beit midrash, a religious study hall, near his home and was among the founders of the Otniel Yeshivat Hesder, whose students combine religious study with military service.

Merzbach was killed by mistake when Israel Defense Forces soldiers fired on his car at a makeshift checkpoint when they suspected a possible terrorist attack. The car was being driven by him in the very early morning towards the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron where he had intended to participate in morning prayers. Two other passengers in the car were moderately wounded. The soldier who had fired the lethal shots was himself lightly injured when a passing Palestinian truck hit him as he spoke with one of the injured passengers. In recent years Mertzbach prayed regularly on Friday mornings at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, a 20-minute drive from his home. This time he gave a ride to two women from the community, one of them a widow whose husband was shot and killed by terrorists in the area. Merzbach was a firm believer in the right of Jews to settle in all parts of Eretz Israel and was an effective and devoted educator who attracted many pupils.
Eder, Clement Ariel (1937- ), Holocaust survivor, born in Brussels, Belgium. In August 1942, when the Nazis began to deport the Jews of Belgium to Auschwitz, his parents, Mordechai and Cilly Shaul, decided to seek safety by trying to flee to Switzerland. Being aware of the dangers of such a difficult journey, they decided to make the trip without their four-and-a-half year old son. This in order to safeguard their son's life. The couple decided to leave their son Ariel in the good hands of their non-Jewish neighbours Hugo and Elza Buyens-Mortelmans. Cilly reached Switzerland hidden in one of the water tankers of a steam locomotive. Her husband Mordechai made the journey on foot. Once safely in Switzerland, they took refuge there until the end of the war.

A few days later the Gestapo conducted a house-by-house search for Jews in the street in Antwerp where they had lived. Terrified, neighbour Hugo Mortelmans quickly grabbed the child and hid him in the loft of the house. After a few days the Mortelamans decided that Ariel would be safer in France so they entrusted him to a truck driver who was paid to take him to Marseilles under the assumed name of Henri Reder in the hope that he would then be able to join his parents in Switzerland. For some unknown reason the child ended up in Paris where a certain Lucien Sigust, the owner of a bar named "Le Rancho" at 58, Avenue de Wagram, was asked him to take care of him 'for two or three days.' Sigust, not knowing what to do with a young child, took him to a friend of his, Emilienne Lefrançois. When after a few days the driver did not reappear, Emilienne suggested to Lucien that the child would be safer with her brother René, who lived in the village of St. Martin de Bienfaite (Bienfaite) in Normandy. Her reasoning was that in wartime, life in the countryside was, at least to some extent, easier than in town.

A few days after Ariel's (Henri) arrival in Bienfaite village, René's brother Pierre appeared. Pierre, his wife Georgette and their daughter Pierrette, took child to join their family. They treated him like their own. When he arrived at the Lefrançois home, Henri neither spoke nor understood French, his presence in France was illegal, he had no identification papers and therefore had no food or clothing coupons. It was crucial to conceal his Jewish origins at all costs. One of Pierre's brothers, priest Father Paul Lefrançois, had been in the Resistance from the beginning. He had written many articles for the "Patriote de l'Eure", a clandestine journal published by the local National Front for Liberty in the Eure region. Father Paul forged a certificate which claimed that Pierre Lefrançois, on marrying Georgette Suzanne, had agreed also to adopt her son Henri, who had been born out of wedlock. This document legitimised a "bastard". In order to complete the disguise Georgette and Pierre decided to teach Henri some prayers and basic religious practices so that he would not stand out from other children of his age during Sunday mass at church, but they made attempt to influence the Jewish child in favour of Catholicism.

In May 1944 Georgette gave birth to a son of her own, but the baby died within a week. A few weeks later her husband, who was a member of an underground network, was seriously wounded and died. Within less than a month, Georgette had therefore lost both her baby and her husband, but she continued to take care of her two children: daughter Pierrette, now aged four, and Henri-Ariel, now six years old.

The Liberation made it possible to resume correspondence with Henri's family who were still in Switzerland. It was not simple since the only name they knew was Henri Reder. Finally the French Red Cross and the Swiss Red Cross concluded that Henri Reder and Ariel Clement Eder were one and the same so contact was finally made. In February 1945, Eli Sternbuch of St. Galles in Switzerland arrived in Bienfaite with a proxy signed by Henri's parents and entitling him to deliver the child to them.

Ariel Eder, left his adoptive mother and his home in Normandy to return to his real parents.

In 1961 Ariel immigrated to Israel. Georgette died in 1998. In 2006 Georgette and Pierre Lefrancois were posthumously recognized as Righteous among the Nations.
Mundy, Josef (1935-1994), author and playwright, born in Bucharest, Romania. He immigrated to Israel in 1951, and later he moved to France where he spent some years during the 1960s. Mundy achieved fame with his play "Ha-Mashber" ("The Crisis), published in 1970, that very quickly turned into a big hit running for over 1,000 performances. His plays have been performed by leading Israeli theatre companies, including the Cameri and Habimah, and at the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre.
Rein, Lotte (1927- ), Holocaust survivor, born in Mannheim, Germany, daughter of cigarette manufacturer Otto Michel and Frieda Michel and sister of Ernst Michel. After Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938, Lotte's parents were convinced that the end of German Jewry was at hand and in order to save their 11 year old daughter they decided to send her to France one of the Kindertransport - rescue missions organized by Jewish communities in several countries in order to save German Jewish children in the hope that they would be reunited with their parents at some future date. Her father accompanied her as far as Kehl on the border between Germany and France.

In Strasbourg Lotte was met by a representative of the American Joint Distribution Committee who arranged for her and six other children to be adopted by a Jewish family from Switzerland who were living in Alsace at the time. The Half family had six children of their own. Now they had 13. In May 1940 the Germans occupied France. Family Half determined to take the girls with them to Switzerland, but the Swiss border guards refused to allow them in. So one of the Half daughters was charged with taking the 7 refugee girls to Perigeux, a small town in the west of France, which was situated in so-called Free France controlled by the Vichy government and which they considered safer for the girls. Rail transport across occupied France was nevertheless very difficult and the journey took over four days. They were in continuous fear of being discovered and arrested by the Germans soldiers whom they frequently encountered on the way.

In Perigeux the girls were met by members of the French scout movement and then members of OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants), a French Jewish humanitarian organization, found them accommodation for three months in a orphanage in the village of Trelisac near the town. Through OSE Lotte, now just 13 years old, discovered that her parents had been sent by the Germans to the notorious internment camp in Gurs near the Spanish border. Many internees did not survive the insufficient food and harsh treatment they received at Gurs. OSE arranged for her, together with 2 other young people, to travel from Perigeux to Gurs to enable her see her parents. She was given money which was intended for her to buy food for her parents and some of the other detainees. Lotte and her friends travelled by train for some 300 kilometres and finally arrived at the small village of Oloron de Sainte Marie, which was just 17 kilometres from the camp. She stayed in the village for seven days. Every day the three walked those last 17 kilometres in both directions, each time carrying on their backs rucksacks full of food, purchased in the village, and other gifts. In the camp the parents had been separated, their condition heartbreaking, especially for a 13 year old child. It was the last time she saw them. Lotte learned later that in 1942 her parents were taken from the camp and sent to Auschwitz to be murdered.

Lotte was sent to another orphanage at Bergerac to the south of Perigeux and then to yet another at Montintin. March 1941 found Lotte, now almost 14 years old, in Couret, near Limoges. Mid 1942 French soldiers arrived at the institution and arrested girls over the age of 16 in order to send them to Auschwitz 'in order to complete their quota'. In November 1943 the orphanage was vacated for fear of further arrests and Lotte together with several others were sent to live in a nunnery in Villefranche de Rouergue. No attempt was made to convert the girls and nuns treated them extremely well; they were taught just enough of the Christian rites to enable them to pass off as Catholics whenever necessary. In July 1944 without warning the nuns received instructions from the underground to send Lotte and another girl away. [In 1993 the nuns who had taken such good care of the girls were honoured by Yad Vashem as being some of the Righteous Amongst the Gentiles]. The girls were given train tickets to Toulouse. They were then sent on another train to a small town in the Pyrenees where they met up with members of the Jewish underground. The girls proceeded to climb the mountains on foot, and, after passing through Andorra, they crossed the frontier into Spain. On the trek they met other groups of Jewish young people escaping from Nazi controlled France in the same way. One of the young men she met in Spain was 19 year old Sami Rein from Alsace. In October 1944 they together with some 1,000 other young Jews and Holocaust survivors from Europe sailed from Cadiz to Haifa on the vessel "Guinee".

Lotte was 17 years old. Any normal young lady of that age would say that her life was just about to begin.

On 22nd January 1948 Lotte and Sami Rein were married on Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv in the Beit Shean valley where the couple decided to settle. They produced a family of four daughters. After the war Lotte was able to contact her brother Ernst who had survived several years in Auschwitz and then settled in America. Lotte and Ernst met up again when Ernst paid his first visit to Israel in 1955.

Leon Blum (1872-1950), French statesman, born in Paris, France. He studied law in Paris and earned a reputation as a poet and author.

From 1896 to 1919 he served in the government as legal advisor in the Council of State. Drawn to the Socialist Party, he became a deputy in 1919 and was soon one of the party's leaders. In 1921 he founded the Socialist daily, Le Populaire. In the face of a Fascist threat in 1934, he organized a Popular Front of the left and in June 1936 Blum became France's first Jewish prime minister. His government introduced daring reforms including the 40-hour work week, paid vacations and nationalization of war industries and the Bank of France. He was defeated in June 1937 but was again premier for nine months in 1938. In 1938 he founded the pro-Zionist Socialist Committee for Palestine.

When the Germans occupied France in 1940, they had Blum arrested and accused of having supported the war. Brought to trial in 1942, he conducted a brilliant defense which led the Germans to suspend the trial. He was sent to a concentration camp from which he was freed by the American army in 1945. Resuming political life, he was again Prime Minister for a month in 1946.

Shua, Ana Maria (1951- ), writer who has published over 80 books of various genres including novels, short stories, poetry and Jewish folklore and also some film scripts. Her first book of poetry was published in 1967 when she was 15 years old.

Shua studied literature at the Buenos Aires University, Argentina. During the period of the military dictatorship in Argentina she lived in France. When she returned to Argentina she wrote her first novel. Her writings have been translated into many languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Korean, Japanese, Bulgarian, and Serbian. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and her works have received awards in several countries.
Drach, Albert (1902-1995), author, born in Vienna and studied law at the University of Vienna from 1921 to 1925, earning a Ph.D in Jurisprudence in 1926. Drach was a practicing lawyer from 1934 to 1938, and at the same time he embarked on a literary career encouraged by Anton Wildgans and Arnold Zweig.

Following the Anschluss (1938), Drach could not practice as a lawyer anylonger. In the same year he emigrated to Yugoslavia on a visa from the Republic of Liberia, then he emigrated on a transit visa to France, where he made contacts with the French Resistance. He was arrested repeatedly. At the end of WW2, Drach was an interpreter with US Army in Nice, France, from 1944 to 1945.

In 1948, Albert Drach returned to Austria and restarted his activity both as a practicing lawyer and a writer. Drach wrote novels, novellas, and autobiographical works about his exile period.

His works include "Kinder der Traume" (1919); "Das Satansspiel vom Gottlichen Marquis" (1928); "Gesammelte Werke" (vol. 1 Munich, Vienna, 1964; vol. 6, Hamburg, Duesseldorf, 1968), and his great autobiographical trilogy ""Z.Z". Das Ist die Zwischenzeit, Unsentimentale Reise, and Das Beleid".

Drach was a member of Union of German Dramatists (1929-1936); Society for Broadcasting Rights (1937-1938); P.E.N. Club (Publicists, Essayists and Novelists) of Lower Austria (president in 1964); and of German Writers Association (1970). He received the Cultural Prize for Poetry from the City of Vienna (1972), and Cultural Prize for Poetry from the Government of Lower Austria (1975).
During his later years Drach lived in Moedling, near Vienna.
Cremieux, Isaac Adolphe (1796-1880), lawyer and statesman and defender of the human rights of the Jews of France, born in Nimes to a wealthy and old established Jewish family. His family adopted the revolutionary cause and he was amongst the first Jewish pupils admitted to the Lycee Imperial in Paris. He studied at the University of Aix en Provence and was called to the bar at Nimes in 1817. As a Jew he refused to make the humiliating oath which the court demanded and his defiance was upheld. He subsequently supported many liberal causes and acquired the reputation of defending the rights of Jews.

After the revolution of 1830 he came to Paris, where he became a member of the Central Consistoire. He formed connections with numerous political personages and became a brilliant defender of Liberal ideas in the law courts and in the press. In 1840 the Damascus affair and the consequent revival of anti-Semitism in Europe aroused intense emotions in all Jewish communities in Europe. Cremieux accompanied Moses Montefiore on a delegation to Syria and succeeded in obtaining the release of the Jews who were imprisoned in Damascus. This was a first step toward reviving the sense of self-confidence amongst European Jewry. Elected deputy in 1842, he was one of the leaders of the opposition. On behalf of the Consistoire Central des Israélites de France (The Central Consistory of the Jews of France), he helped to draft the law of 1844 which was to regulate Jewish life until 1848 and after 1905.

In 1834 Crémieux was elected vice-president of the Consistoire. Nine years later he was chosen to be the president of that body but had to resign when it became known that he had allowed his wife to have their children baptized. On February 24, 1848 he was chosen by the Republicans as a member of the provisional government, and as minister of justice he secured the decrees abolishing the death penalty for political offenses. That same year he was instrumental in declaring an end to slavery in all French Colonies, for which some have called him the "French Abraham Lincoln". When the conflict between the Republicans and Socialists broke out, he resigned his office but continued to sit in the constituent assembly. At first he supported Louis Napoleon, but when he discovered the prince's imperial ambitions he broke with him.

For opposing Louis Napoleon's coup d'etat he was arrested and imprisoned on December 2, 1851. Cremieux remained in prison for some time. During his enforced retirement he devoted himself to Jewish causes. In 1864 he became president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, the first modern international Jewish organization, founded in 1860, and centered in Paris. The foundation of the Alliance expressed the renewal of Jewish cohesiveness. He used all his influence to assist the Alliance in its work to help oppressed Jewish minorities throughout the world. To this end he travelled to Morocco, Romania and Russia where he successfully intervened on behalf of Jews accused in the Saratov blood libel. In the November 1869 eletions he was elected as a Republican deputy for Paris. On September 4, 1870 he was again chosen as a member of the government of national defense, and resumed his position in the ministry of justice. At that time French policy was to bring about the total assimilation of all Algerian Jews. As Minister of Justice he signed the Decret Cremieux by means of which all Algerian Jews received French citizenship en bloc. He resigned with his colleagues on February 14, 1871. Eight months later he was elected deputy, then life senator in 1875.

Crémieux did much to better the condition of the Jews. In 1827, he advocated the repeal of the "More judaico", legislation stigmatizing the Jews left over from pre-revolutionary France. He proved that it was possible to be a proud Jew while at the same time being deeply involved with the affairs of his country.
Barugel, Esther (1917-2007), sculptor born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her works in wood, marble, stone and bronze have been exhibited in several European countries as well as her native Argentina. Most of her works represent man's emotions and feelings. Her last works, most of which are large, depict morality and tolerance and a desire for man to live in harmony with the universe.

Together with her husband, Nicolas Rubio, she published "Los Maestros Fileteadores de Buenos Aires" (Buenos Aires,1994(, and "El Filete Porteño" (2004).
Rothschild, James Jacob Mayer (1792-1868), banker, founder of the French branch of the Rothschild family, born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, the youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild.

Rothschild moved to Paris in 1811 and in 1817 opened de Rothschild Frères. An advisor to two kings of France, he became the most powerful banker in the country and following the Napoleonic Wars, played a major role in financing the construction of railroads, industries, factories, shipping, and mining interests which helped make France an industrial power. Rothschild amassed a fortune that made him one of the richest men in the world. In 1822 James de Rothschild, along with his four brothers, was bestowed the hereditary title of "Freiherr" (Baron) by Emperor Francis I of Austria. That same year he was appointed consul-general of the Austrian Empire, and in 1823 was awarded the French Legion of Honor. King Louis XVIII refused to receive James' wife at court because she was not Christian. As a result Rothschild refused to do business with the king. Following the July 1830 Revolution which saw King Louis-Philippe come to power, James de Rothschild put together a loan package to stabilize the finances of the new government, and in 1834 a second loan. In gratitude for his services to the French nation, Louis-Philippe elevated him to a grand officer of the Legion of Honor.

In addition to his banking business, in 1868 James de Rothschild purchased Château Lafite, one of France's most outstanding vineyards. Located in the Bordeaux region, it is a business that remains in the family to this day. James de Rothschild and his sophisticated Viennese wife were at the center of Parisian culture. They patronized major personalities in the arts, including Gioacchino Rossini, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, Eugène Delacroix, and Heinrich Heine. Beyond his business activities, James de Rothschild made the first significant acquisitions for what became the French family's massive art collections. His art included Vermeer's 1668 work "The Astronomer", which remained in the family until it became the property of the Louvre in the 1970s. He also used his enormous wealth for philanthropic works and became a leader of the French Jewish community. James's contributions to France, along with those of his offspring can be found in many fields, including medicine and the arts.

Sons Alphonse and Gustave took the reins of a vast French business empire, whose industrial interests spread as far afield as Africa and the South Sea Islands.
Fleg, Edmond (1874-1963), poet, playright and essayist, born in Geneva, Switzerland, into a prosperous and moderately religious family, but whose religious compromises and his secular studies combined to weaken his allegiance to Jewish tradition. He went to Paris, France, where he became a theatre critic and a playwright. The turmoil surrounding the the Dreyfus affair, however, marked him deeply and brought about his total reconciliation with the Jewish religion. He was impressed by Israel Zangwill, an early supporter of Zionism. After fighting in the French Foreign Legion during World War I, he spent his life deepening his knowledge of Judaism and used his writings to set out his knowledge and opinions. During the German occupation during World War 2, Fleg initially lived in Beauvallon in the Italian-occupied part of Provence and was later brought to safety by the Resistance. The lectures about the beauty of their enlightened religion which he gave to young Jews during the occupation, appeared in 1946 under the title "Le nouveau chant" ("The New Song") while his experiences during the occupation were described in 1949 in "Nous de l'Espérance" ("We of Hope"). Fleg visited Israel on several occasions, but he was of the opinion that Jews should be integrated into the countries where they were born as citizens with equal rights. Although Swiss by birth, in 1921 became a French citizen by virtue of his service in the Foreign Legion Legion, and he subsequently saw himself as a passionate Frenchman. "Why I am a Jew" (1927) is a subtle and moving analysis of a young agnostic's spiritual progress and eventual return to Judaism; it also demonstrates Fleg's conviction that the French genius owes much to the inspiration of Israel.

He is the author of a vast four volume poetic work: "Hear O Israel", "The Lord is our God", "The Lord is One", "And thou shalt love the Lord". He also translated into French the books of "Genesis" (1946) and "Exodus" (1963). In the 1920s, he was the honorary president of the Jewish Scouts de France (EIF). Edmond Fleg helped to found the Judeo-Christian Friendship League of France in 1948. He became a member of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.

Other works, all written in French although many were translated into English, include "A Jewish Anthology" (1923), "An Anthology of Jewish Thought" (2006), the "Child Prophet" (1926), "The Jewish Pope", a play (1925), "The House of God", a play (1920), "The Merchant of Paris", comedie (1929), "Moses" (1948), "Jesus told by the Wandering Jew", (Albin Michel, 2000). The Correspondence of Edmond Fleg during the Dreyfus Affair, edited by Andrew E. Elbaz, Paris, appeared in 1976. In "The Land where God Dwells" (1955) Fleg described the story of the Zonist pioneers and his hopes for Israel's spiritual revival in the Jewish state. Other books include translations of the works of Shalom Aleichem and the Passover Haggadah (1925) and selections from Maimonides' "Guide to the Perplexed".
Kessel, Jerrold (1945-2011), television journalist born in Johannesburg, South Africa, who emigrated to Israel at the age of 17. He studied history, English literature and librarianship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the late 1960s he became Middle East correspondent for several newspapers including the "Wall Street Journal", "The Economist", the "Guardian" and the "Jewish Chronicle". A keen sportsman, in 1981 he was appointed sports editor and then news editor of "The Jerusalem Post".

From 1990 to 2003 Kessel was Jerusalem correspondent for CNN. His success in this position led to him being sent to cover events not only throughout the Middle East, but also in France, Turkey and Kenya. After leaving CNN he began to produce independent television programmes. Kessel wrote a book about football and until shortly before his death wrote a regular sports column for the Israeli daily "Haaretz".
Cassirer, Henry Heiner (1911-2004), journalist and writer, the son of art dealer Kurt Hans Cassirer (1883-1975), and his wife Eva Solmitz and grandson of industrialist Max Cassirer (1857-1943), born in Berlin, Germany.He spent his childhood with his aunt Edith, who was married to the reform teacher Paul Geheeb. He attended the Odenwald School near Frankfurt. funded by his grandfather Max Cassirer and run by his aunt.

Cassirer fled to London, England, in 1936, studied at the London School of Economics and after graduation worked at the BBC for its services in German. In 1939 it was he who broadcast to Germany that Britain had declared war to the Third Reich. In 1940 he emigrated to the U.S. and worked at CBS. After a program about the UN Charter of Human Rights, he was approached by the UN and in 1948 he became the director of the Department of Education and Broadcasting of the new cultural organization UNESCO in Paris. He became Honorary President of the French organization for the disabled GIHP as he himself was partially paralysed after a visit to India in 1956.

He considered himself a citizen of the world, and always refused to consider himself a German, or a Jew. He wrote a number of books on communications, broadcasting and education.
Kisling, Mojzesz (1891-1953), painter, born in Krakow, Poland (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Krakow, and then moved to France in 1910 settling in Paris.

Kisling resided first in Montmartre and after a few years he moved to Montparnasse where he became a member of an artists' community made up of immigrants from various countries in eastern Europe as well as from USA and Britain.

Kisling volunteered to serve in the French Foreign Legion during WW1. After having been seriously wounded in the Battle of the Somme (1915), he was awarded French citizenship.

A member of the School of Paris, Kisling lived and worked in Montparnasse and was close friends with his neighbors, Amedeo Modigliani and Jules Pascin, and other distinguished artists. Kisling earned the widest acclaim for his surreal nudes and portraits.

Kisling volunteered for army service again in 1940 during World War II, although he was 49. He was discharged from the French army at the time of the surrender Nazi Germany.
Kisling immigrated to the United States. In the USA he exhibited in New York and Washington, DC. Eventually he settled in California living there until 1946, when he returned to France where he died seven years later at Sanary-sur-Mer, near Toulon, on the French Riviera.
Vago, Jozsef (1877-1947), architect, born in Nagyvarad, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary, now Oradea in Romania) and completed his studies at the Polytechnicum in Budapest. As a student, he was awarded a prize for the plan of a synagogue in Budapest.

Until 1911 he worked with his older brother, architect Laszlo Vago. Later Jozsef became the associate of the leading Hungarian architect O. Lechner. Vago prefered the modern style with the clean uncluttered lines then in vogue. Many buildings in the Hungarian capital were designed by him. In 1919 he settled in Switzerland and later relocated to Italy.

He died in Salies-de-Béarn, France.
Ascher, Jerzy (1884-1944), painter, architect born in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire). From 1904-1907 he studied at the Warsaw Polytechnic Institute. In 1908 he continued his studies in architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany.

After graduating in 1909, he settled in Krakow, where he worked in an architectural firm and participated in the work on the reconstruction of the Wawel Castle. In 1914-1918 he was an architect in Warsaw and Lvov (Lemberg, now Lviv, in Ukraine). He participated in the Polish-Soviet War in 1920.

In 1925 he went to France, where he lived in La Ciotat on the Mediterranean coast, and devoted himself entirely to painting. He painted landscapes, still lifes, nudes and portraits using decorative and sophisticated colors. In 1943 he, together with his wife, was arrested and imprisoned in the concentration Camp des Gurs, from where they were later deported to Auschwitz.

Ascher was a cousin of the painter Roman Kramsztyk (1885-1942).
Basch, Victor Guillaume (1863-1944), educator, philosopher, and French politician, born in Budapest, Hungary (then in Austria-Hungary). As a child he emigrated with his family to France and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. He taught at the universities of Nancy, Rennes -where he became friends with socialist Jean Jaures - and Paris before being appointed professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne. During the Dreyfus Affair, Basch was the leader of the Dreyfussards in Rennes, where the trial was being conducted. Both as a Jew and as a Dreyfussard he was persecuted by fanatical anti-Semites in the city. Basch was the founder of the "League for the Rights of Man" and its president from 1926 to 1944. As such and as a member of the "League against Imperialism" created in Brussels in 1927 he was one of the architects of the Popular Front, an alliance of left wing parties which governed France in 1936-1937. He fought for the principles of legal and social justice and human rights He was involved in the Zionist movement and anti-Nazism. In politics he belonged to the right wing of the French Socialists and was a leader of peace movements. He was also active in several Jewish organizations, notably as executive member of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.

During World War II, Basch was a member of the central committee of the French underground. He and his wife were assassinated by members of the anti-Semitic Vichy government, in 1944.
Hadamard, Jacques Salomon (1865–1963), mathematician born in Versailles, France, and who made major contributions in number theory, complex function theory, differential geometry and partial differential equations. The son of a teacher, Hadamard attended the Lycée Charlemagne and Lycée Louis-le-Grand, where his father taught. In 1884 Hadamard entered the École Normale Supérieure, having been placed first in the entrance examinations both there and at the École Polytechnique. He obtained his doctorate in 1892 and in the same year was awarded the Grand Prix des Sciences Mathématiques.

In 1896 he made two important contributions: he proved the prime number theorem, using complex function theory and he was awarded the Bordin Prize of the French Academy of Sciences for his work on geodesics in the differential geometry of surfaces and dynamical systems. In the same year he was appointed Professor of Astronomy and Rational Mechanics in Bordeaux. His foundational work on geometry and symbolic dynamics continued in 1898 with the study of geodesics on surfaces of negative curvature. For his cumulative work, he was awarded the Prix Poncelet in 1898. In 1897 he moved back to Paris, holding positions in the Sorbonne and the Collège de France, where he was appointed Professor of Mechanics in 1909. In addition to this post, he was appointed to chairs of analysis at the École Polytechnique in 1912 and at the École Centrale in 1920. In Paris Hadamard concentrated his interests on the problems of mathematical physics, in particular partial differential equations, the calculus of variations and the foundations of functional analysis. He was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1916.

Later in his life he wrote on probability theory and mathematical education. He was awarded the CNRS Gold medal for his lifetime achievements in 1956.

Hadamard's wife was related to Alfred Dreyfus whose trial affected the whole family. As a result, Hadamard became politically active and began to be a staunch supporter of Jewish causes although he wqs thoroughly assimilated and took little part in Jewish communal life. For 60 years he was a member of the central committee of the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme founded at the time of the Zola trial in 1898. He was a member of the French Palestine Committee and of the Administrative Board of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1941 he fled from France to the USA and then went to Britain where he engaged in operational research for the Royal Air Force.
Filderman, Wilhelm (1882–1963), leader of the Romanian Jews, born in Bucharest, Romania. Filderman studied law in Paris, France. He returned to Romania and after teaching for two years at the Jewish high school in Bucharest, started his law practice in 1912. In 1913 he was elected to the central committee of the Union of Romanian Jews. During World War I Filderman was an officer in the Romanian army. At the Versailles Peace Conference he was chosen to be a member of the Comité des Délégations Juives. He demanded the total emancipation of the Jews and the inclusion of this principle in the peace treaty with Romania.

In 1920 Filderman became the representative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Romania and in 1923 was elected president of the Union of Romanian Jews. Between the two world wars, he fought antisemitism, and worked for the effective realization of full citizenship for the Jews. He published a number of books against antisemitism. He was opposed to a separate Jewish party. In 1927 Filderman was elected a member of the Romanian parliament on the Liberal Party list. From 1931 to 1933 he was the president of the Jewish Community of Bucharest, and in the same period he became president of the Federation of Jewish Communities. When the enlarged Jewish Agency was constituted in 1929, he was elected as a non-Zionist delegate to its founding congress in Zurich.

After 1940, when the anti-Semitic fascist symparthiser Ion Antonescu took over the leadership of the country, Filderman intervened with him as a representative of the Federation, several times obtaining the revocation of serious measures, such as the wearing of the yellow badge, the deportation of Romanian Jews to Nazi death camps in Poland, etc. At the beginning of 1942, when the Federation of Communities was dissolved, Filderman continued to write to authorities to denounce the racial measures. He was a member of the underground Jewish Council, formed of representatives of the principal Jewish trends. When he expressed his opposition to the special tax of four billion lei imposed on the Jews he was sent to Transnistria (March 1943), returning after three months through the intervention of the papal nuncio and the Swiss and Swedish ambassadors. Back in Bucharest, he immediately reported to the Romanian government on the terrible situation of the deportees in Transnistria and asked for their return, which was obtained at the end of the same year.

After the war, he again became president of the Federation of Communities and of the Union of Romanian Jews and representative of the JDC. He was however persecuted by the Communists, In 1948 he secretly left Romania and settled in Paris.
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Château-Thierry

A commune in the department of the Aisne, France.

The medieval Jewish community occupied the present rue de la Loi. There was certainly a synagogue in Château-Thierry during the second period in which Jews resided there, from 1315 to 1321; in 1317 legal proceedings were taken against Christian inhabitants who had forced their way into it. The synagogue of Château-Thierry is mentioned in a number of documents recording the prosecutions ordered on March 6, 1318 against the individuals who entered by force into the ‘’Synagogue’’ or ‘’School’’.  On March 6 and August 2, 1318 mandates of arrest were issued to the Bailli de Vitry, at the request of the Jews of Château-Thierry, to prosecute Odinet Vilain and other culprits for having disregarded the protection granted to the Jews by the King, penetrated in the synagogue, smashed the Holy Ark, removed the Torah scrolls, and stole jewels, money and books.

After the expulsion in 1322, Jews from Château-Thierry are documented in Barrois ( Bar-le-Duc). The local scholars included Samuel of Evreux and the tosafists Isaac and his son Bonne-Vie.

During World War 2 the census of 1942 showed 14 Jews registered in Château-Thierry. Previously the ORT organization had established an agricultural school there.

Saverne

In German: Zabern

A town in the department of Bas-Rhin, eastern France.

The presence of Jews in Saverne is confirmed from at least 1334. The community suffered during the Armleder persecutions in 1338. At the time of the Black Death in 1349 there was only one Jewish family in Saverne, which was compelled to leave the town. By 1622 there were again a few Jews living in Saverne; there were seven families in 1716 and 21 in 1784. The community numbered over 300 persons at the close of the 19th century. It maintained a Jewish primary school (founded in 1857). A new synagogue was opened in 1898. Its population subsequently declined. During World War II, 30 Jews of Saverne died during deportation. The community numbered about 100 in 1970.

Orleans

A city and capital of the Loiret department in France.

HISTORY

A Jewish community was established in Orleans before 585. During that year, the Jews of Orleans participated in the welcome which was given to King Gontran and appealed to him to be allowed to rebuild the synagogue, which had previously been destroyed. The community may well have existed earlier, for the second, third, and fourth Councils of Orleans, held in 533, 538, and 541 respectively, had already passed legislation concerning the Jews. During the tenth century, an apostate Orleans Jew, Gautier (Walterius), owned houses in the town. At the beginning of the 11th century, the Jewish community, then quite numerous, was accused of having established relations with Caliph el Hakim in order to instigate persecutions of Christians in Jerusalem. The ensuing general persecution of the French Jews struck first in Orleans, from which Jews were expelled for several years. The importance of the Orleans Jewish community is again attested when in 1171 it attempted to succor the Blois Jewish community at the time of the blood libel. After the expulsion of Jews from the French kingdom in 1182, the synagogue of Orleans was transformed into the St. Sauveur chapel. The community was reconstituted after Jews were permitted to return to France in 1198; among the Jewish notables imprisoned in the Chatelet of Paris in 1204 were two from Orleans. The Jewish cemetery of Orleans was also used by the small surrounding communities.
The large taxes paid by the Jews of Orleans point to the numerical and economic importance of the community (although the customers for their loans were essentially drawn from among the common people), as well as to the size of the Jewish quarter (Grande juiverie during the 13th century) and its numerous institutions, especially its two synagogues. After the expulsion of 1306, a new, smaller, community was formed between 1315 and 1322 (or 1323) and again in 1359. As a result of the complaints of the Christian inhabitants, the Jews were confined to a narrow quarter. As was the case in several other cities, notably Paris, the Jews of Orleans were the victims of a popular uprising in February 1382, later crushed by King Charles VI. It was, however, this same king who in 1394 refused to prolong the residence of Jews in France, thus ending the medieval Jewish community of Orleans.

Early in its history Orleans became an important center of Jewish learning. Isaac b. Menahem, second half of the 11th century, was cited by Rashi for his Talmudic commentaries, and was also known as a legal authority. The hymnologist Meir b. Isaac, late 11th century, was, most probably, his son; the latter's son was the biblical commentator Eleazar b. Meir b. Isaac. The most renowned scholar of Orleans was Joseph b. Isaac Bekhor-Shor. After 1171 the tosafist Jacob of Orleans emigrated to London, where he became one of the victims of the massacre of 1189.

A Jewish community was again established at the beginning of the 19th century; it possessed a small synagogue and, by the close of the century, had about 40 members.
In 1971 there were about 500 Jews in Orleans with a synagogue-community center. In May 1969, the Jewish owners of fashion shops in Orleans suddenly found themselves in the midst of a turmoil of strange gossip, which claimed that Christian women who had been trying on dresses had been drugged and spirited away to exotic brothels. The police had absolutely no knowledge of the alleged kidnapping of any female citizen in Orleans, and yet the rumor spread like wildfire that they had been abducted from six shops, all of which were owned by Jews. Schoolgirls were warned by their teachers not to enter the suspect places and husbands would not allow their wives to go into such shops unaccompanied. The rumor persisted for several weeks, dying out only when a full-scale campaign was organized by the national press, and after conferences held by leading personalities both within and outside of Orleans.

Chartres

A city and capital of the Eure-et-Loir department in France.

21st Century

Communauté Israélite d'Eure et Loir (CIEL)
28 r Changes 
28000 Chartres
France
Phone: 0890210357
Website: https://www.le-site-de.com/communaute-israelite-d-eure-et-loir-ciel--chartres_186691.html

HISTORY

The importance of the Jewish community in Chartres during the middle ages, whose existence is attested as early as 1130, is illustrated by the numerous street names which still exist, such as rue aux Juifs, ruelle aux Juifs, place aux Juifs, and cul-de-sac des Juifs. The Saint-Hilaire hospital is believed to have once been a synagogue. The remains of another synagogue still existed in 1736.

Probably as a consequence of the general expulsions in 1306 and 1321, Jews from Chartres are found in Aouste-sur-Sye in 1331 and in Serre in 1349. The sages of Chartres included Mattathias, a highly esteemed contemporary of Rashi, the liturgical poet Samuel b. Reuben of Chartres, and Joseph of Chartres, who wrote a biblical commentary and an elegy on the York martyrs of 1190.

Lons-le-Saunier

A city and capital of the Department of Jura, in Franche-Comte, France.

A vicus judeorum ("Jewish  quarter") is mentioned in Lons in 1220; the establishment of the community therefore preceded this date. The rue des Juifs (later the rue de la Comedie and rue de la Balerne) is mentioned down to the 14th century. The Jews of Lons owned a cemetery, but there is no record of a synagogue. During the 14th century, Jews from Lons are found in numerous other localities of Franche-Comte.

During World War II, a large number of Jews from Alsace and Lorraine who took refuge in Lons established a community numbering approximately 1,300 members. Lons also became the seat of a regional rabbinate. There was no organized community in Lons by the 1960s.

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.

Monaco

Principauté de Monaco - Principality of Monaco

A city state on the French Riviera. 

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 1,000 out of 38,000. The vast majority of Jews living in Monaco are not citizens of this country, but permanent residents from other European countries as well as from Israel, Turkey, and other countries. Main Jewish organization:

Association Culturelle Israélite de Monaco
Phone: 377 93 25 73 36
Email: [email protected]
15 avenue de la Costa,
MC-98000, Monaco

Consistoire de Monaco
Website: https://monaco.consistoire.org

Chalon-sur-Saône 

A town in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France. Historically it was part of the former Duchy of Burgundy, France.

Around 820 Agobard, the Archbishop of Lyons, tried to convert forcibly the Jewish children in the city to Christianity, and later instructed the bishop of Chalon to advise his flock to avoid all association with Jews.

From the middle of the tenth century the records mention numerous Jews owning fields and vineyards in the environs of the town, which they cultivated themselves, notably at Sennecey-le-Grand, Fissey, Buxy, and Droux. The medieval community had numerous communal facilities, including a baking oven (Cartulaire Citeaux, no. 193, folio 62--63), a cemetery on the site of the present rue des Places (where three tombstones were found in 1957), and a ritual bath in the close of the former Capuchin convent at Saint-Jean-des- Vignes. The vicus judaeorum ("street of the Jews") occupied the site of the present Grand'rue. Around 1306, just before the general expulsion of the Jews from France, the community in Chalon conducted important loan operations with credit amounting to 23,000 livres. In 1384 a certain number of Jewish families were again authorized to settle in Chalon until finally expelled from France in 1394. The scholar Eliezer b. Judah lived there in the second half of the 11th century. Scholars of the town took part in the synod which met under the presidency of Jacob b. Meir Tam and Samuel b. Meir.

A new community was formed after 1871. The Jewish population in 1968 numbered 140.

Phalsbourg

A town in the Moselle department in north eastern France.

Between 1680 and 1691, King Louis XIV's Secretary of State for War, François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis of Louvois, authorized two Jewish families to settle there; these increased to four in 1702, eight in 1747, and 12 in 1770; on several occasions they were threatened with expulsion. Two Jews acquired merchants' licenses in 1768 and this right was ratified by the Conseil d'Etat. The synagogue was erected in 1772 and rebuilt in 1857; the cemetery dates from 1796. From 1807 until around 1920 Phalsbourg was the seat of a rabbinate (which also served the neighboring communities of Sarrebourg, Mittelbronn, (1827-1837), the model for the Reb-Sichel of Erckmann- Chatrian, and Lazare Isidor (1837-1847), future chief rabbi of France. From the second half of the 19th century the Jewish population decreased from 159 in 1880, to 89 in 1931, and 48 in 1970. During World War II, nine Jews of Phalsbourg died when they were being deported and two were shot dead.

Capestang

A town in the Hérault department in southern France.

Disputes between the archbishop and the viscount of Narbonne, who both claimed jurisdiction over the Jews and their revenues, were submitted to arbitration in 1276; in 1284 the registration of a Jew, Vital of Capestang, as a "Jew of the king" was again contested. Before the expulsion of the Jews from the Kingdom of France in 1306, Jews from Capestang had acquired possessions in Montpellier. The new community, formed after 1359, which used a "Jewish oven" belonging to the archbishop of Narbonne, came to an end with the final expulsion of the Jews from france in 1394. Fifteen scholars of Capestang signed a letter to Abba Mari b. Moses b. Joseph Astruc of Lunel early in the 14th century during the dispute about the study of philosophy, among them being the kabbalist Isaac b. Moses ha-Kohen.

Fontainebleau

Town in the Île-de-France region, approximately 37 miles (about 60 kilometers) south Paris, France.

21ST CENTURY

The synagogue, originally built in the 1850s and rebuilt in 1965, is on Rue Paul Séramy, with cemetery beyond, in the forest at the foot of Mont Ussy.

HISTORY

The Jewish community in Fontainebleau dates from the late 18th century. At first, prayer services were held in a house owned by a member of the community.

During the 19th century, two important porcelain factories there were owned by Jews: Jacob Petit and Baruch Weil.

In 1819, the community purchased part of a house for 1,200 francs. It eventually became inadequate, and on May 12, 1853, the community acquired a site for the erection of a synagogue, located at the point of entrance to the palace gardens, the park, and the forest.

Nathan Salomon, the inspecting architect of the castle and a member of the government, designed the plans for the synagogue and directed the work without accepting any remuneration. The land cost 5,700 francs, the building 15,000. The emperor sent 1,000 francs personally; the state and the town together contributed 3,200; and the community paid the rest. By 1861, the congregation was free from debt.

The foundation stone for the synagogue was laid in May 1856, and the chief rabbi of France, Isidor, presided over the inauguration ceremony on August 23, 1857, in the presence of the subprefect and other authorities.

As of the early 20th century, the community totaled 29 families, composed of merchants, daylaborers, and small fund-holders. The seven families from Melun belonged to the same district.

There were also a certain number of Jews who took no part in community life. During grand festivals, the presence of visitors spending the summer there lends the only animation to religious life.

The community helped Jews reach Paris or Havre on their way to North America, especially Jews fleeing Russia and later, Romania.

HOLOCAUST

At the time of the 1941 census, there were 58 Jews in Fontainebleau.

During the German occupation, Fontainebleau's synagogue, dating from 1857, was looted and destroyed. Its eight-branch candelabrum, made of blue Sèvres porcelain and donated by Napoleon III to the Jewish community, was also smashed.

POST-WAR

After the war, a new Jewish community was established. Composed mostly of North African Jews, it numbered about 400 persons in 1969.

When the synagogue was rebuilt in 1965, a new candelabrum was contributed by SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) officers stationed in the town.

Tours

A city and the administrative center of the Indre-et-Loire department, central France.

21st Century

There are about 200 families that animate a traditional Jewish community.

In 2009, the Jewish Cultural Association of Indre et Loire or ACIIL was established. In 2010 they organized the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Jewish community in Tours that included a number of conferences and concerts, a symposium and an exhibition dedicated to the history, culture, music and Jewish art. In particular, the exhibition organized at the Hotel Gouin, a 15th century mansion, with the assistance of the Jewish Museum (MAHJ) of Paris, was undoubtedly the flagship of these events.

In 2011, ACIIL took part in the Eurogusto events presenting Jewish cuisine to the 25,000 participants.  

In the fall of 2016, the community celebrated the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetae in the presence of the Chief Rabbi of France Haïm Korsia, several rabbis as well as bishops and the archbishop. More than 400 people attended this celebration of friendship between Jews and Catholics.


HISTORY


The Jewish settlement in Tours is one of the earliest in France of which there is evidence (at least from about 570). In 1171 a notable of the community of Tours intervened in favor of the Jews of Blois who were persecuted following an accusation of ritual murder. A council held in this town in 1236 forbade the crusaders - as every other Christian - to conspire against the lives, health, and property of the Jews; those found guilty of such a crime would be expelled from the ranks of the crusaders. Another Council of Tours (1239), however, excluded the Jews from testifying in lawsuits. The Jews then lived in a quarter named "juiverie," which was situated between the Old Bridge and the rue de la Caserne and consisted of at least 20 houses. They owned a synagogue and leased a plot of land from the archbishop in the Saint- Vincent parish (near the present rue du Cygne and de Luce) to use as a cemetery. It was clearly stipulated that they were authorized to bury not only the Jewish dead of Tours, but also those of any other locality. In addition, a plot of agricultural land and a vineyard were worked by Jews.

After the expulsion of 1306, the Jews returned to Tours in 1315. They also suffered in the persecutions of 1321, which were justified after the events as having been perpetrated in punishment for their supposed collusion with the lepers.

Jews do not appear to have returned to Tours in 1359. On the contrary, in that year the municipality ordered the final destruction of the Jewish cemetery. A number of scholars are known to have lived there during the middle of the 13th century; and Joseph b. Elijah toward the close of the 13th century. The works, however, have not survived.

The synagogue of Tours, in a fusion of Art Nouveau and Oriental styles, was erected in 1907 to the plans of the architect Victor Tondu. It includes a residential building reserved for the local rabbi. The stained glasses by Pierre Lux Fournier were added in 1949.

After the World War I, Jewish immigrant families from Turkey and Thessaloniki, Greece, settled in Tours. They were followed during the 1930s by Jewish families from Eastern Europe, particularly from Poland. During the early 1920s a Jewish youth association was founded in Tours.

The Holocaust

During World War 2, the Jews of Tours were persecuted by the Nazis and by the Vichy regime. They were arrested and interned at the La Lande camp in Monts,. A total of 1019 Jews from Tours and the surrounding area were deported to Along with Jewish inhabitants from other places to the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Sobibor, of them only 33 survived.

After World War 2

The few survivors returned to Tours and rehabilitated the ransacked synagogue. Community life resumed its course with the appointment of the community's president Pierre Blum, who served in this position until 1972.  In the early 1970s, as a result of the arrival of Jews from North Africa, there were about 550 Jews living in Tours. They owned a synagogue and a Talmud Torah.

Nyons

A town in the Drôme department in southeastern France, in the historical region of Dauphiné.

Like the other Jews of Dauphiné, those of Nyons were not affected by the expulsions of the Jews from the Kingdom of France in 1306 and 1322. During the latter year, a number of Jews expelled from Comtat venaissin joined the Jews already established in Nyons. Their situation was quite satisfactory; a jaw held public office in Nyons and another was in the service of the Dauphin. At the time of the Black Death in 1348, the community suffered violent persecution. It was reconstituted about 1364 and then occupied the present rue Juiverie. The synagogue, whose dilapidated building still existed toward the end of the 19th century, appears to have belonged to this second community. There were no Jews in Nyons by the end of the 15th century. Known among the scholars of Nyons are Isaac b. Mordecai Kimchi, named Petit, a liturgical author, and Chaim of Vienne.

At the beginning of World War II about 50 Jewish families, many of them from the Saar, lived in Nyons. In 1971 Nyons had no organized community.

A port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department, southwest France

 

21st CENTURY

The Grand Synagogue of Bordeaux, at 8, rue du Grand Rabbin Joseph Cohen, was originally built in 1882. After its desecration by the Nazis in World War II, the synagogue was restored. It reopened in 1956 and was recognized as a historical monument in 1998. 

Pauline and Hans Herzl, two of Theodor Herzl’s three children, are buried in a 17th-century Portuguese-Jewish cemetery at 176, Cours de l’Yser  . Another private Jewish cemetery, established in 1725, is located at 74, Cours   de la Marne.

Bordeaux has many streets named for prominent Jewish residents: Rue David-Gradis, who was an 18th century shipping magnate; Rue (Abraham) Furtado, who served as treasurer of Bordeaux and chairman of Napoléon's Assembly of Jewish Notables in 1806; and Avenue Georges-Mandel, who served as France’s Minister of the Interior, before being assassinated in 1944. Several streets are also named for Léon Blum (1872-1950), France’s first Jewish Prime Minister  who was elected to office three times starting in 1936.

HISTORY

It appears that Jews were living in Bordeaux during the early Middle Ages, and possibly even earlier.  According to legend, Jews began arriving in Bordeaux shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, drawn there by commercial opportunity. By the 7th century Bordeaux was home to a thriving Jewish community, and by 828 Jews could trade freely and establish their own administrative and judicial systems and officials. At the same time, however, they were still subject to antisemitism during this period.

A deed dating from 1077 refers to a hill named Montemque Judaïcum, or Mont-Judaique, and to the fact that the city’s Jews were living in an area called Saint-Seurin, outside the northwest walls of the city; a road called Arrua Judega (deriving from the Portuguese for “Jewish Street”) lay at the foot of this hill. Other points of interest in Bordeaux also bear names indicating the presence of Jews, including Porta Judaica,  later renamed Porte Dijeaux (Jewish Port), Puits des Juifs (Jewish Well), and Rue Judaique (Judaic Street). Saint-Seurin was still the location of the Jewish Quarter in 1273, with Rue Caphernam its major road.

During the period when Bordeaux was under English rule (1154-1453), its Jews were not subject to the series of expulsions decreed by the kings of France in 1284, 1305, and 1310—though the kings of England did extort money from the Jewish community in return for protection. Nonetheless, under English rule the Jews of Bordeaux enjoyed freedom of residence, trade, and travel. In 1320, however, a group of French peasants known as Pastoureaux (Shepherds) specifically targeted Jews during the Shepherds’ Crusade of 1320, leading to the murder of hundreds of Jews throughout the region.

By the end of the 15th century Jewish refugees began to arrive from the Iberian Peninsula after the expulsion from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1496). These Jews, known as Marranos (or, alternatively, as “New Christians,” or “Portuguese merchants”), outwardly lived as Christians, although the general populace suspected them to be secretly Jewish. Marranos were welcomed for their professional and commercial skills and invited to live in Bordeaux; indeed, as physicians, lawyers, and scholars they contributed greatly to Jewish communal life.

Marranos continued to live publicly as Christians, choosing to be baptized, married, and buried in accordance with the rites of the Catholic church until the beginning of the 18th century. By 1710, however, Marranos began to profess their Judaism more openly, even though practicing their religion in public was still officially forbidden  . Through the 18th century these Marranos began to live more openly as Portuguese Jews, and were also granted more freedoms to practice their true religion. In 1723 new letters-patent officially referred to the “Portuguese merchants” as Jews, the first time this connection was officially made, and by 1727, they had stopped baptizing their children. By 1730, the Portuguese Jews owned their own cemetery, and priests who performed their marriages generally added a note to the effect that they would be performed "in accordance with the customary rites of the Portuguese nation." Around this time, too, the Portuguese Jewish community    established an institution called the Sedaca, which sent money to four cities in the Holy Land, helped the poor and needy, and supported various members of the community, including teachers of the Talmud Torah and the rabbi  .

By the early 18th century Jews began arriving to settle in Bordeaux from Avignon and neighboring region of Provence. There were tensions between these new arrivals and the more established Portuguese Jews, the latter of whom even tried to have the former expelled at one point. The two communities lived separately, practiced differently, and even worked in different fields: most of the Portuguese Jews worked in finance and supplying marine equipment, while the Avignonese worked in the textile and clothing trades. A 1752 census of the Jews in Bordeaux indicated that 1,598 were Portuguese (327 families) and 348 were Avignonese (81 families).

In April 1799, on the eve of the French Revolution (1789-1799),  the Sedaca, now calling itself the “Portuguese Nation,” sent two representatives to the National Assembly, which was studying reforms to be applied to the Jews of France. These representatives advocated for the National Assembly to preserve freedom of residence, economic activity, and property for the Jews. Their requests were initially deferred, but after a second delegation of Sephardi Jews from Bordeaux appealed, the Assembly issued a decree in January 1790 declaring that the Jews of Bordeaux would enjoy full rights as French citizens.

After the French Revolution, Bordeaux’ Jewish community, along with their non-Jewish compatriots, was subjected to the Reign of Terror  (1793-1794), the period of time when suspected enemies of the revolution were rounded up and executed. A number of Jews from Bordeaux were subject to heavy fines and at least one, Jean Mendes, was among the guillotine’s victims. 

In 1806 Napoleon convened an Assembly of Jewish Notables to consider a set of questions pertaining to the status of the Jews in France, and later a Grand Sanhedrin to ratify their responses. From Bordeaux, Abraham Furtado served as president of the assembly, and Isaac Rodrigues served as secretary. Both also represented the Jews of Bordeaux at the Sanhedrin.

At the beginning of the 19th century Bordeaux was home to nine synagogues. Abraham Furtado became chief rabbi of Bordeaux in 1809; he was succeeded in 1814 by Abraham Andrade. The Great Synagogue of Bordeaux was built in 1882 on Labirat Street (later renamed rue du Grand Rabbin Joseph Cohen), replacing the synagogue on Causserouge Street, which had been destroyed by fire in 1873. When it opened, the Great Synagogue was the largest in France, with a seating capacity of 1,500; it was aso the first synagogue in France to display the Magen David (Star of David).  

 

WINE 

Jews became active in the municipal, commercial, and intellectual life of Bordeaux during the 19th century.  It was during this period that Jews established two of Bordeaux’s most famed wineries: Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, of the English branch of the Rothschild family, founded Château Mouton-Rothschild in the Médoc in 1853, and his cousin Baron James de Rothschild founded Château Lafite-Rothschild in 1867.

Despite these achievements, by the end of the century the Jewish population of Bordeaux had begun to decline, due mainly to emigration. In 1900, the Jewish population of Bordeaux numbered 1,940.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

After the Germans invaded France in May 1940, large numbers of Jews fled from Paris and other points north to  Bordeaux. However, under the Franco-German armistice of June 21, 1940, Bordeaux fell under the Occupied Zone , and became a major center of Nazi police and military activities.

A June 1941 census reported 5,177 Jews living in Bordeaux, 1,198 of whom had lived in the community before the war; the majority were refugees from other parts of France or from abroad.

Between July 1942 and February 1944 two-thirds of the Jewish population were arrested and deported. The Grand Synagogue was used by the German army as a prison, from which many local Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps. In 1944 the synagogue was ransacked and the interior destroyed by French fascists.

 

POSTWAR

Restoration of the Grand Synagogue began after the war and continued through the 1950s. The interior was refurbished according to the original plan, and the synagogue was rededicated in 1956. A memorial wall located in the synagogue’s courtyard listed the names of local Jews who were killed during the Holocaust. The street where the Grand Synagogue is located was subsequently renamed rue du Grand Rabbin Joseph Cohen, in honor of the local rabbi who was hidden by a Catholic bishop during the war, thereby evading capture.

 

Ammerschwihr

In German: Ammerschweier

A village  in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace, France.

Jewish residents in Ammerschwihr are mentioned in 1534 when Joseph (Joselmann) ben Gershom of Rosheim notified them of complaints made by the Colmar magistracy that they were contravening its regulations by introducing foreign currency into the city and selling new clothes there. The municipal regulations of 1561-1563, which refer to the text of a former regulation (of 1440), specify the conditions governing Jewish residence in Ammerschwihr.

The Jews were required to make an annual payment of 16 florins to the city and city guilds, and were prohibited from leaving their homes during the week before Easter, and from fetching water from the wells on Sundays and Christian holy days. Outside their homes they were to wear the Jewish badge. Sale of goods was forbidden to Jews at any place other than in front of the "Stockbrunnen"; they could, however, engage in peddling, and sell their wares at the annual fair; all Jewish visitors to Ammerschwihr had to pay three deniers for each day they spent in the city, and an additional six deniers if they remained overnight.

Jewish residence ceased from the end of the 16th century; the toll was still imposed between 1625 and 1630 on transients (Archives municipales. Bb 17 fol. 82, 103). The "rue des Juifs" was located between the Colmar gate and the market place.

Pontoise

A historic town, part of  in the "new town" of Cergy-Pontoise  in the north-western suburbs of Paris, in the department of Val-d'Oise , France.

Toward the close of the 12th century, the Jews of Pontoise were accused of having murdered a Christian child named Richard. In 1204 there was already an established Jewish community supervised by a Christian provost. Proof of the considerable financial activities transacted by the Jews of Pontoise was the introduction of a special royal seal which was to be affixed to all documents.

Notable among the scholars of Pontoise was Moses b. Abraham of Pontoise, the paytan, tosafist, and commentator on the Pentateuch and Talmud.

Until World War II, there were about 30 Jewish families in Pontoise, but no community was established after the war.

Lautrec

A village in the Tarn department in southern France.

Bourg-en-Bresse

A city and capital of the Ain department in eastern France.

21st Century

Association Culturelle Israélite de l’Ain
1718, Avenue de Lyon
 01960 Peronnas
France

Jewish cemetery
Carré israélite au cimetière municipal
Avenue de l'Egalité
01000 Bourg-en-Bresse

HISTORY

The first mention of Jews in Bourg-en-Bresse dates from 1277 when the Jews and the Cahorsins paid 50 livres to the lady of the manor. An agreement of 1438 between the city guilds and the Jews of Bourg-en-Bresse regarding their share in the expenses for fortifications was signed by 11 heads of families. The Jews then constituted some 3% of the population. The census of 1512 notes that there were no longer Jews living in Bourg-en-Bresse.

At the beginning of World War II, 10 to 15 Jewish families were living in the city. Seven of the Jews arrested during the raids of July 10, 1944, were executed. 

Saint-Denis

A city in the northern suburbs of Paris in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, France.

21st Century

Of the two synagogues of Saint-Denis, only one is open:

Synagogue de Saint Denis 93200 - ACIP Seine Saint Denis
51 Boulevard Marcel Sembat
93200 Saint-Denis
France
Phone: 01.48.20.30.87
E-mail: [email protected]


HISTORY

In 1111 King Louis VI granted the abbot of Saint-Denis jurisdiction over the five Jewish families who lived there. Jews played a considerable role in the economy of the abbey and contributed toward the development of its estates. A special officer, the "provost of the Jews", was in charge of all Jewish affairs. The tax paid by Jews amounted to 40 pounds in 1302.

On the eve of World War II several hundred Jewish families lived in Saint-Denis, and in 1941, 325 Jews were still accounted for. A community was reestablished after the war, and its size increased especially with the arrival of Jews from North Africa.

In 1971 there were about 2,000 Jews in Saint-Denis.

Melun

A commune in the Seine-et-Marne department, France.

HISTORY

The first explicit reference to Jews in Melun dates from the middle of the 12th century; in his will, Simon of Beaugency mentions a Jew of Melun among his creditors.

Jewish scholars from Melun took part in the religious council convened by Samuel b. Meir (the Rashbam) and Jacob b. Meir Tam. Scholars who lived in Melun included Meshullam b. Nathan of Melun, who was previously from Narbonne and lived in Melun from 1150. During the second half of the 12th century, Jedidiah of Melun also lived in Melun. Judah b. David of Melun was one of the four rabbis who confronted Nicholas Donin at the famous disputation organized by Louis IX (St. Louis) in 1240.

There is evidence that a "Rue des Juifs" (“Jewish Street”) existed in the beginning of the 13th century, as well as a synagogue, the "Escole des Juifs.” There is no record of a medieval Jewish community in Melun after the expulsion of the Jews from the Kingdom of France in 1306.

Although there was no Jewish community, a Machzor from the 14th century was preserved in the Carmelite convent of Melun.

On the eve of World War II (1939-1945) there was a very small Jewish community in Melun. After the war, the Jewish population increased, mainly as a result of the arrival of Jews from North Africa. In 1969 the Jewish community numbered over 500.

Besançon 

Capital of the Department of Doubs, in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France.

Designated a Free Imperial City (an autonomous city-state under the Holy Roman Emperor) in 1184. Annexed to France in 1674

EARLY HISTORY

The first documented presence of Jews in Besançon dates from 1245.  Jewish bankers of Besançon are mentioned in the chronicles of the Anglo-French war of 1296-1301.

In 1320, five Jews expelled in the middle of winter from the surrounding area, succeeded in entering Besançon, at that time a Free Imperial City. Based on their previous commercial relations, they obtained consent from the leaders to reside there. There was a price for gaining refuge, however.  They were required to pay a heavy monthly poll tax to the city treasury, were forbidden to appear in the city without a red and white cloth pinned to their chests, and were ordered to live on a specified street with gates that were locked every evening. This street is known today as the Rue de Richebourg.

A record from 1393 shows that 12 Jewish families retained Joseph de Treves as their schoolmaster. From 1394 to 1404 more Jews expelled from the neighboring regions of Franche Comte and Burgundy took refuge in Besançon. The members of the community were butchers, bankers, and goldsmiths. On occasion, the wealthier among them advanced money to the municipality. In 1454 they were given a burial place in Calmoutier, north of the city, in front of the present Porte de Charmont.

Persecution and expulsion orders forced the Jews to leave Besançon not long afterwards, and in 1465 the municipality sold the cemetery land that had been given to the community.

Jews continued to be denied free access to Besançon from then through the 18th century.  The municipal deliberation register of 1693 shows that Jewish traders were forbidden to visit the city without declaring themselves. They could not stay more than three consecutive days, and they could not make any sales independent of the local authorities.  A few temporary residence permits were granted to a limited number of merchants.  In 1768, the Jew Salomon Sax, an engraver of semiprecious stones, was given a more extended permit, but was instructed to exercise his profession only, and refrain from engaging in trading.

POST FRENCH REVOLUTION

As late as the beginning of the French revolution, Jews were still restricted to a three day stay in Besançon.  In December 1790 the mayor, with the approval of the municipality, evicted the Jews Wolf and Cain for having overstayed their trading permit.

After September 27, 1791, when a national decree was promulgated giving Jews French citizenship, the community in Besançon could begin to reestablish itself. Pogroms that broke out in Alsace brought several new families to the community. In 1792 the Jews petitioned the municipality and were granted permission to hold religious services in the former convent of the Cordeliers. This decision soon attacked by the anti-clerical Jacobins in their newspaper “La Vedette” and in 1793 the community was forced to close their synagogue as were the Catholics to close their churches.

In 1796 the community acquired 180 square meters of land for a cemetery. By 1839 it had become too small, and the community acquired an additional parcel of 756 square meters.

By 1807 the community numbered 20 families, and it sent a delegate to the Council of Jewish Notables and to the Sanhedrin convened by Napoleon.

In 1808 the organization of French Jewry was altered by the establishment of consistories, umbrella hierarchal synagogue bodies binding groups of communities together and governing their activities.  Besançon was first part of the consistory of Nancy, but in 1858 became part of the consistory of Lyon.

An imperial decree on May 22, 1867, authorized the community to acquire land on the Quai Napoleon (now the Quai de Strasbourg). The present synagogue of Besançon was constructed in 1869, and was designed by the local architect Pierre Marmotte. The unusual building is constructed in the Moorish style, and since 1984 has been listed as an historical monument.

The French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 led to a new influx into Besançon of Jews from Alsace. Districts were reorganized and in 1872 Besançon became the seat of an independent consistory. By the beginning of the 20th century the Jewish population consisted of 170 families, and it continued to grow until World War II, with the westward movement of Jews from eastern Europe.

THE HOLOCAUST

The community was largely destroyed under the Nazi occupation,  and its members dispersed.  One hundred Jews who had not managed to leave Besançon in May 1940 when Germany invaded France were deported to extermination camps.

POSTWAR

The community slowly revived after World War II, and by 1960 consisted of 120 families.  By 1969 the number had practically doubled due to immigration from North Africa. The community hired a rabbi and a cantor for the synagogue. Today it maintains a community center (Maison Jerome Cahen), an office of the A.C.I. (Association Culturelle Israelite), and its cemetery is located on the Rue Anne Franck.

 

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.

Alsatian: Colmer

German: Kolmar

A town in the Alsace region, northeastern France. Colmar is located near the border with Germany. 
Between 1871-1918, and 1940-1945, Colmar was part of Germany.

 

21ST CENTURY

The synagogue is located on 3 rue de la Cigogne. The synagogue has the distinction of being the only one in the region with a bell tower.

The Katz Room, located in the Musée Bartholdi (located in the home of Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty), has a collection of Jewish ritual objects.

 

HISTORY

Among the earliest written evidence of a Jewish presence in Colmar dates from 1278. During the late 13th and through the 14th century, Colmar became a place of refuge for Jews from Rouffach, Mutzig, and other areas who were escaping persecutions and anti-Jewish violence.

Community institutions included a synagogue, a mikvah (ritual bath), a dance hall, and a cemetery. The synagogue was destroyed in a fire in 1297. The community’s Jews lived in a Jewish Quarter.

In the wake of the Black Death epidemic (1348-1349) the Jews of Colmar, like Jews throughout Europe, were subject to violence and persecutions. A number of Jews from Colmar were burned at the stake at the beginning of 1349; the place of their execution was subsequently known as "Judenloch.” The rest of the Jewish community was expelled from Colmar.

Jews were readmitted to Colmar in 1385 and were granted a cemetery from the town. In 1392 the community included at least 29 adults (possibly heads of families). Colmar’s Jewish population, however, decreased beginning in the second half of the 15th century; by 1468 there were only two Jewish families remaining. Ultimately, in 1510 the town was authorized by the emperor to expel the remaining Jews; the expulsion was officially carried out in 1512.

The Jews from Colmar who had left the town voluntarily or after the expulsion, mostly settled in the surrounding area and continued trading with Colmar’s Christian residents. This ceased, however, in 1534 when the area’s Jews lost the right to trade within Colmar, and in 1541 it became forbidden for Jews to enter the town, even for markets and fairs. In the wake of the latter restriction Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershon of Rosheim brought an action against the town, which continued for several years (the result of the case is unknown). Nonetheless, the Jews of Alsace maintained commercial relations with the burghers of Colmar during the 16th century, as evident from the numerous court cases recorded in that period.

Eventually, beginning in the 18th century a few Jews were granted authorization to live in Colmar, though they were permitted to live there only in eating houses and inns so that they could prepare kosher food for the Jews who came to Colmar to trade.

Colmar was affected by the Inquisition. In 1547, about 60 Marranos from the low countries were arrested in Colmar. They were released only after swearing that their destination was a Christian country, and not Turkey. Later, in 1754, Mirtzel Levi of Wittelsheim was martyred after an Inquisition trial.

After the French Revolution (1789-1799), Jews were once again allowed to settle in Colmar. The community grew in prominence, and in 1808 it became the seat of a consistory, with 25 dependent communities. In 1823 Colmar also became the seat of the chief rabbinate of Alsace (Haut-Rhin).

A synagogue was built in 1843.

The Jewish population numbered approximately 1,200 in 1929.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

The Jews in Colmar shared the fate of other Jews in Alsace and Moselle during World War II (1939-1945). They were expelled from their homes, and their synagogue was damaged.

 

POSTWAR

After the war the survivors rebuilt the Jewish community. The synagogue was returned to the community, which restored it, in 1959. The renewed community also established new institutions, including a community center. In 1969 there were over 1,000 Jews living in Colmar.

 

Morhange

A town in the department of Moselle, France.

Jews are first mentioned there in 1686. As a result of complaints by the townsmen about the increase in the number of Jewish families, Duke Léopold ordered the Jews not to attract new coreligionists to Morhange. In 1734 the townsmen demanded that Jewish residence should be confined to a single street, and that the number of authorized Jewish families should again be reduced. The Jews were compelled to conform to this order, despite their attempts to circumvent it with the connivance of some of the Christian inhabitants. Only five Jewish families remained in Morhange by 1739, the rest having moved away, mainly to Metz. Their numbers increased slightly after the French Revolution.

The synagogue was built at the beginning of the 19th century, and a larger building was erected in 1864. Subsequently, in 1910, Morhange became the seat of a rabbinate grouping the Jewish communities of Château-Salins, Boulay and Forbach. This rabbinate was abolished in 1920.

Forty-five Jews lived in Morhange in 1939, of them six died in the Holocaust. The synagogue was destroyed by the Germans during World War II. At the end of World War II, the small community gave up the reconstruction of the synagogue. A pillar struck with the Star of David is the only vestige of its existence. In 1956 there were only three young people under the age of twenty.

Morhange has supplied the patronymic of several families of Lorraine.

Blois

City in the Centre-Val de Loire region and capital of the Loir-et-Cher department, north-central France.

21st Century

Association culturelle et cultuelle israelite de Blois (ACCIB)
47, rue Ormeaux
41120 Cormera
France

HISTORY

The earliest information concerning Jews in Blois dates from 992. The community is known in medieval Jewish annals for the tragic consequences of a blood libel in 1171, the first ritual murder accusation to be made in France. Thirty-three men, women and children were burned at the stake on May 26, on the orders of Count Theobald.

Other Jewish communities in northern France coordinated efforts to recover the victims’ bodies for burial and to pay for the release of the small number of Jews who had been imprisoned. They also appealed to King Louis VII and the Count of Champagne, who also happened to be the brother of Count Theobald. The king and the count both declared they did not believe the stories about Jews sacrificing Christian children. The king also gave instructions for the protection of his Jewish subjects from such abuses in the future.

The diplomatic efforts were in large part overseen by Rabbi Jacob Tam of Troyes. Tam died soon after, but before his death he declared the 20th of Sivan, the Hebrew date of the massacre, be observed as a fast day. It is still observed in some communities, especially in Europe. Ephraim b. Jacob of Bonn, his brother Hillel, and others composed elegies on the martyrs. The tragedy was the subject of a Hebrew drama by S.D. Goitein, Pulẓelinah (1927).

Jews possibly settled in Blois again, for in 1345 a quarter known as la Juiverie is reported. The present-day rue des Juifs near the cathedral is probably located on the same site.

WORLD WAR II

During the war, a few Jews from Alsace settled in Blois.

POST-WAR

In 1968, there were 60 Jews living in Blois, mainly from North Africa.

Clermont-Ferrand

A city and capital of the Puy-de-Dome department in Auvergne, France.

21st Century

Synagogue
6 Rue Blatin
63000 Clermont Ferrand
Phone:  04 73 93 36 59 - Fax : 04 73 34 06 33
Website: http://juif-clermont.org
Email: [email protected]
 

HISTORY

The presence of Jews there dates back at least to 470, as attested by several letters of Sidonius Apollinaris, bishop of the town; these are the oldest written records to mention Jews in Clermont-Ferrand. The Jews in the locality maintained fairly friendly relations with bishops Gallus and Cautinus, but the situation changed with bishop Avitus, who in 576 forced over 500 Jews to accept baptism. The remainder fled to Marseilles.

A new community was formed at the latest during the tenth century in the quarter of the town whose name Fontgieve (= font-juifs, "Fountain of the Jews") still preserves their memory. A hillock nearby is known as Montjuzet (= Mons judeorum, "Mountain of the Jews"). Although Jews were to be found in Auvergne in considerable numbers during the remainder of the Middle Ages, there is no evidence that any resided in Clermont- Ferrand itself. A prayer room appears to have been established in about 1780.

A new community was organized at the beginning of the 19th century by Israel Wael and subsequently led by Rabi Moise Wolfowitz (1820-1848). Numbering 25 to 30 families in 1901, it belonged to the consistory of Lyons until 1905.

During World War II, many Jews took refuge in Clermont-Ferrand, as it was situated in the Free Zone. Their number reached 8,500, but from the summer of 1942 they were compelled to leave by the police.

There were approximately 800 Jewish residents in 1969. The community had a synagogue, a cultural association, a Talmud Torah, etc.

Montelimar

A town in the department of Drome, France.

The first explicit mention of the presence of Jews in Montelimar dates from 1222. The community attained considerable importance during the 14th and first half of the 15th centuries. The synagogue, remains of which still existed at the end of the 19th century, was situated in the rue de Juiverie or the rue Puits-neuf; the school (or possibly another synagogue) was near the Porte Saint-Martin and the cemetery to the northwest of the present cemeteries. The community also maintained a special butcher's shop. As late as 1452, the Dauphin granted the Jews of Montelimar, with Jews in several other localities of Dauphine, some advantageous privileges; the municipal authorities, however, endeavored to render the lives of the Jews intolerable, for instance by compelling them to attend missionary sermons from 1453 onward. The same situation had granted letters of protection to the Jews of Montelimar; however, in 1486, when only seven Jewish families remained there, the townsmen accused them of debauchery and shady practices and demanded their expulsion.

From 1489, there no longer appear to have been Jews in Montelimar and the Jewish cemetery was closed. At the beginning of World War II, 150 Jewish families found refuge in Montelimar. There was no organized Jewish community in Montelimar in the 1960s.

Perpignan

In Catalan: Perpinyà 

A city in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales in southwestern France, near the Spanish border.

21st Century

Communauté Israélite
Centre Communautaire David Mordoch
5, rue Montescot
66100 Perpignan
France
Phone: 04 68 66 91 67

Synagogue
54, rue François Arago
66000 Perpignan
Phone: 04 68 34 75 81
Fax: 04 68 51 13 31

HISTORY

Formerly the capital of the counts of Roussillon, in 1172 it passed to the kings of Aragon. The earliest mention of Jews in Perpignan dates from 1185; they are said to have owned real estate around this time. Toward the middle of the 13th century, King James I of Aragon offered the Jews of Perpignan land to settle which they would own in freehold. Endeavoring to attract Jews from France, he granted those of Perpignan a number of privileges and exempted them from the payment of various indirect taxes and tolls (1269). Autonomy in civil law was also granted. In 1271 the annual tax of the community amounted to 15,000 solidos in Barcelona currency. Noteworthy among the scholars of Perpignan were Rabbi Menahem b. Solomon Meiri and Rabbi Abraham Bedersi, pupil of Joseph Ezobi. In response to Rabbi Abraham's petition (1274), the king granted the community a privilege to protect them against the threats of informers. He renewed it in 1275, also forbidding the clergy to expel the Jews or summon them before the church tribunal. At that time the community leadership consisted of 20 to 28 counsellors who were appointed for life.
Infante John authorized them to convene and issue regulations, appoint procurators and other communal officials, to enforce obedience to the regulations within the community, and to punish offenders.


Some members of the community engaged in maritime commerce (in partnership with Jewish merchants of Barcelona, Seville, and other places); others were local merchants; an appreciable number practiced moneylending (including several of the community's trustees). Most important of the crafts was the textile industry, but there were also several silversmiths during the 14th century.
When the Kingdom of Majorca was created after the death of James I and the seat of the monarchy established in Perpignan, the government began to oppress the local Jewish community. From the close of the century, a series of decrees were issued which sought to restrict relations between Jews and Christians; the Jews were ordered to wear special dress (1314). Restrictive decrees issued for the kingdom of Majorca were also applied in Perpignan. A poll tax was imposed and around 1317 the king of Majorca seized the promissory notes of the Jews. There is no doubt that living conditions in Perpignan were influenced by the presence of the royal court in the town and the Jews were particularly conscious of the severity of the crown's persecution of the Jews of the kingdom. During the Pastoureaux persecutions (1320), copies of the Talmud found in the town were burnt. Conditions improved during the reign of Pedro IV. In 1347 he appointed his physician Maestre Crescas as a trustee of the community so as to prevent any inequalities in the financial and tax administration. At the time of the Black Death (1348-1349) several of the community's notables became converted in order to escape persecution. In 1363 Perpignan contributed toward the levy of 10,000 livres in Barcelona currency imposed to further the war against Castile. When the vessel containing the host was stolen from a church and pledged with a Jew, the Infante ordered the bailiff to conduct an inquiry in order to prevent an attack on the Jewish quarter (1367). On June 29, 1370, anti-Jewish riots broke out in Perpignan and the king appointed a procurator to investigate the damage. During the 1360s and 1370s, Perpignan became renowned as a center of astronomers. The astronomical tables prepared by Jacob b. David Yom Tov were translated into Catalan there in 1361. In 1372 Crescas David was made physician to the king and a year later Bonet Maimon of Perpignan was appointed to the same office. The rabbis of this period included Samuel Carcossa, who was invited to Barcelona for debates with the rabbis of Aragon and Catalonia. In 1372 the king authorized the Jews of Perpignan to travel to France on business, and in 1377 protection was also granted to Jews who came to trade in Roussillon and Cerdagne from the exterior. In 1383 Pedro gave the community of Perpignan a privilege which prohibited apostates from entering the Jewish quarter in order to engage in disputes on religious questions. He also granted it permission to try informers. Anti-Jewish riots broke out on August 17, 1391. During their course the Jews were given refuge in the fortress, while the inhabitants looted Jewish property. When representatives of the town demanded the conversion of the Jews, the king replied that forced conversion was prohibited. He nevertheless forbade the Jews to leave Perpignan, where refugees from other parts of Catalonia had also arrived. On September 22 John I ordered the bailiff to draw up a list of property to which there were no heirs, especially that of Jews who had been martyred. On December 19 he ordered the Jews who were in the fortress to return to their homes and decreed that they were not to be molested or forced to accept baptism. The Jews of Perpignan undertook not to leave the country and in practice continued to live in the fortress until 1394.


Although the community was declining, at the beginning of the 14th century there were still 200--250 families living there, but it had lost its importance and most of the members were poor. In 1408 King Martin ratified the administrative arrangements for the election of trustees. Christians were forbidden to interfere in the affairs of the community and extensive rights were given to the trustees. In 1412 Pope Benedict XIII wrote to the community of Perpignan on the subject of the propagation of Christianity among the Jews, writing his instructions in Hebrew so as to leave no doubt about his intentions. The community was called upon to send two delegates to a disputation to be held in Tortosa. At that time, Vicente Ferrer visited the town, preaching to the Jews there. Ferdinand i prohibited the building of a new synagogue or the repair of the existing ones in 1415; he also forbade the Jews to practice medicine and pharmacy or to employ Christians in their service. The papal inquisition was active in Perpignan at the close of the 14th century. In 1346 a converso, Johanan David, a butcher by trade, was condemned to the stake. Many others were condemned during the 1420s and 1440s. After the Spanish inquisition had been set up, 22 conversos were sent to the stake in 1485. The French army led by Louis XI and Charles VIII invaded Roussillon in 1462 and conquered Perpignan in 1475.


Following the edict of expulsion from Spain (1492), a number of Jews sought refuge in Perpignan, then under Charles VIII of France; but an expulsion decree was issued against the Jews of the town in September 1493. The remnants of the large community, 39 families, sailed from Marseilles to Naples and from there to Constantinople.


At the beginning of the 20th century, there were several Jewish families living in Perpignan.

Châlons-en-Champagne

Until 1997 known as Chalons-sur-Marne

A city and capital of the department of Marne, northern France.

21st Century

Synagogue
21, rue Lochet
51000 Châlons-en-Champagne
France

HISTORY

The rue de la Petite Juiverie and the rue des Juifs still exist in the city. The medieval community possessed a cemetery, which was disposed of by Philip IV after the expulsion of the Jews from France in 1306. The custumal of the county of Chalons forbade Jews to sell articles they held in pawn without authorization from the seneschal. A stained glass window in the cathedral from around 1150 depicts one of the oldest and most hostile representations of the allegorical "synagoga".

Jews returned to Chalons after the French Revolution and a new community was established in the middle of the 19th century. The synagogue in a Spanish-Moorish design was built between 1874 and 1875 on the plans of the architect Alexis Vagny (1821-1888) and inaugurated in September 1875. Since 6 May 2004, the synagogue of Châlons-en-Champagne has been a recognized as a protected historical monument.

The number of the local Jews increased after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, when Jews of Alsace-Lorraine who did not want to live under German rule, settled in the region. They were followed by Jews from Central Europe, and finally, in the 1960s, the Jews from North Africa. During 1942-1944, caserne Forgeot, the prison of the city served as an assembly point of the Jews of Marne before they were sent to Drancy and from there to Nazi death and concentration camps. A plaque in the memory of the local Jews who perished in the Holocaust was affixed to the façade of the synagogue in 1993.

In 1968 there were 140 Jews living in Châlons-en-Champagne.

Verdun-sur-Garonne

A commune in the Tarn-et-Garonne department, Occitanie Region, southern France

According to historians, particularly the Dominican French Inquisitor Bernard Gui, 500 Jews took refuge in a local tower during the Shepherds’ Crusade (1320), and committed suicide when they realized the impossibility of escaping from their persecutors. Jewish historians assert that a similar tragedy occurred in nearby Castelsarrasin.

A Jewish community existed in Verdun-sur-Garonne from before 1200 until Jews were expelled from France in 1306; many members from the original community returned to Verdun-sur-Garonne after the Jews were readmitted to France in 1315.

Not much communal development took place during the 19th and 20th centuries. As of the early 21st century, Verdun-sur-Garonne was home to a small Jewish community, which maintained its own synagogue.

Dijon

A city and capital of Côte-d'Or department, France.

21st Century

The Jewish community numbers about 240 families, mostly from North Africa, but also from Alsace region and Eastern Europe. Merchants, employees, civil servants and liberal professionals make up the majority of the Jewish population. The prayers are celebrated according to the Sephardic rite.

Association cultuelle israelite de Dijon (A.C.I.D.)
Synagogue: Phone 03 80 66 46 47

Website: http://www.aci-dijon.org

 

HISTORY

The first explicit evidence concerning the Jews there dates from 1196 when the duke of Burgundy placed the Jews of Dijon under the jurisdiction of the commune, which he authorized to admit additional Jews. Ducal charters of 1197 and 1232 specified the authority of the town over the Jews of Dijon. They lived in the rue de la Petite-Juiverie (today rue Piron), the rue de la Grande-Juiverie (rue Charrue), and the rue des Juifs (rue Buffon). The synagogue and a "sabbath house" were situated in the Petite-Juiverie, while the cemetery was in the present rue Berlier. In this cemetery, which was confiscated after the Jews were expelled from France in 1306, over 50 tombstones were found during the 19th century, apparently dating to the 13th century. Some Jews returned to Dijon in 1315, but after the readmission of the Jews to the Kingdom of France in 1359 a more important community was reestablished. When finally expelled in 1394, the Jews of Dijon left for Franche-Comté.

The only known scholars of Dijon are a certain Rabbi Jacob and Simchah Chazan.

After 1789 Jews again settled permanently in Dijon, coming mainly from upper Alsace. The Jewish population numbered 50 families in 1803, 100 in 1869, and about 400 persons in 1902. The community belonged to the Lyons consistory. Construction of the present synagogue in the rue de la Synagogue was begun in 1873; it was dedicated in 1879. The community also acquired land for a cemetery northwest of the city in 1789.

Dijon, an important railroad center, was under careful German surveillance during the Nazi occupation of World War II. The synagogue was emptied of its interior and served as a Nazi warehouse. Ninety Jews from Dijon perished in Auschwitz.

Dijon's returning Jews rapidly rebuilt their community after the war, and in 1960 the community was again flourishing. When Jews from North Africa settled in Dijon, the Jewish community increased to over 1,000 persons (1969), and owned a combined synagogue-communal center. The Community Center was inaugurated in 1980.

Corbeil

Since 1951, part of the city called Corbeil-Essonnes in the Île-de-France region of France.

21ST CENTURY

The Rue des Juifs, the ancient Judearia, still exists.

HISTORY

Jews lived in Corbeil from at least the second half of the 12th century CE. They were expelled in 1180 with the other Jews in the kingdom of France, but are again mentioned in Corbeil from at least 1203. They owned a synagogue (escholle) whose building was preserved until the 14th–15th centuries.

The Jews were again expelled from Corbeil in 1306 with the other Jews in the kingdom, and returned in 1315. The community ceased to exist in 1321.

In the Middle Ages, Corbeil was an important center of Jewish learning. Its scholars included the tosafist Judah of Corbeil, Jacob of Corbeil "the Saint," Samson of Corbeil, Isaac b. Joseph , and Perez b. Elijah. In 1276-77 Rabbi Isaac b. Joseph authored the Amudei Gola (Pillars of Exile), more widely known as Semak (acronym for Sefer Mitzvot Katan, Small Book of Commandments), one of the most popular halakhic books ever written in northern France.

HOLOCAUST

At the beginning of the German occupation of France in World War II (1941), 13 Jewish families were registered in Corbeil.

POST-WAR

A Jewish community did not exist in Corbeil after World War II.

Montpellier

Capital of the Herault department, southern France.

21st Century

Centre Culturel et Communautaire Juif de Montpellier (CCCJ) (Jewish Cultural and Community Center of Montpellier). The CCCJ's vocation is the dissemination of Jewish culture in Montpellier and its region. It is a place open to all and provides its members with a library of over 1,000 titles. The CCCJ offers a kosher restaurant service once a week; every Wednesday noon. The CCCJ has rooms for rent for family celebrations and seminars.

Address: 500 boulevard d’Antigone
34000 Montpellier
France

Website: http://www.ccj34.com/

HISTORY

The first implicit evidence of the presence of Jews there is found in the will of Guilhem V, lord of Montpellier, who forbade the investiture of a Jew as bailiff. Even though Benjamin of Tudela, in about 1165, does not mention any figure for the Jewish population of Montpellier, its importance can be deduced from the fact that he mentions several yeshivot. Until at least the close of the 12th century the Jews of Montpellier appear to have been particularly active in commerce; they are explicitly mentioned in the trade agreement between Montpellier and Agde; and they appear in the tariff of taxes due from the merchants of Montpellier in Narbonne. Until the close of the 12th century they do not appear to have practiced moneylending. In times of war, particularly when the town was besieged, the Jews helped in its defense by supplying weapons, for instance 20,000 arrows, as noted in an agreement at the beginning of the 13th century. From the middle of the 13th century moneylending was regulated by the ordinances of James I, King of Majorca, who also ruled over the duchy of Montpellier together with the bishop of Lender was called upon to swear that it involved neither fraud nor usury. In addition, the consuls of the town prohibited loans to people under the age of 25 without the consent of their parents. James I's legislation concerning the Jews promulgated in 1267 was fairly favorable, especially the clause prohibiting their prosecution on the basis of an anonymous denunciation. Those who accused or denounced Jews were threatened with being condemned themselves if they could not prove their accusation; bail was to be granted to the accused Jew if he could provide a satisfactory guarantee.

During the 13th century a Jewish quarter existed on the present site of the rue Barralerie (until the 15th century it was named Sabatarie neuve); in the first house on this street there are still some remains of the synagogue and in particular of the mikveh in the cellar. Although the Jews were dispossessed of their ancient cemetery when James I gave it to the Cistercians of Valemagne in 1263, the latter were required to refund the cost of the exhumation and the transfer of the remains to the new cemetery. When the Jews were expelled from France in 1306, the king of Majorca opposed the measure. After considerable delay, the expulsion finally took place, and it was scant comfort to the Jews that the king of France was required to give to the king of Majorca two-thirds of the booty seized from his Jews and one-third of that taken from the other Jews of Montpellier.

In 1315, when the return to France was authorized, the Jews of Montpellier, like those elsewhere, were again placed under the authority of their former lords. In 1319 Sancho I, King of Majorca, permitted them to acquire a cemetery. It is not known in which quarter the Jews lived during this short stay, which lasted until 1322 (or 1323). In 1349 James III of Majorca sold his seigneury over Montpellier to Phillip VI of France. Thus when the Jews reestablished themselves there in 1359 they found themselves under the direct sovereignty of the king of France, Charles V. After their first having been assigned to the Castelmoton quarter, complaints from the Christian inhabitants compelled them to move to the rue de la Vielle intendance quarter, where they owned a synagogue and a school (after 1365). The Jews had to provide large financial contributions to the defense of the town, particularly in 1362 and 1363. In 1374 they were also obliged to participate in guarding the gates. The erection of a new synagogue of great beauty in 1387 gave rise to a lawsuit with the bishop of Maguelonne, to whom the Jews paid the then enormous sum of 400 livres. In Montpellier the final expulsion of the Jews from France in 1394 was preceded by violent accusations against them in the municipal council.
Even though the town had numerous Jewish physicians - who were subjected to a probative examination from 1272 - there is no valid evidence that the Jews had a part in founding and organizing the school of medicine there. Excluding those scholars who only lived temporarily in Montpellier, such as Abraham b. David of Posquieres, the foremost scholar in the town was Solomon b. Abraham b. Samuel, who denounced the work of Maimonides to the Inquisition. One of his leading followers was his disciple, Jonah b. Abraham Gerondi, who died in Toledo. The liturgical poet Aryeh Judah Harari lived there during the second half of the 13th century, as did Aaron b. Joseph ha-Levi, the opponent of Solomon b. Abraham Adret, and Isaac b. Jacob ha-kohen Alfasi. From 1303 to 1306 Montpellier was again the scene of a renewed polemic between the supporters and opponents of the study of philosophy. The latter were led by Jacob b. Machir ibn Tibbon. In the later medieval community of Montpellier, the
physician and philosopher Abraham Avigdor was particularly distinguished.

In the middle of the 16th century the presence in Montpellier of conversos, who chiefly lived among the protestant population, is vouched for by a Swiss traveler, a student named platter. From the beginning of the 16th century Jews from Comtat venaissin traded in the town. In 1653 the attorney general of the parliament of Toulouse directed the town magistrates to expel them. Similar orders were repeated in 1679 and 1680. A special register was opened at the town record office for the Jews who made their way to Montpellier as a result of a general authorization, granted from the end of the 17th century, enabling them to trade for one month during each season.

From 1714 nine Jews were allowed to settle in the town; others followed with the tacit consent of the magistrates, in spite of complaints by the Christian merchants. At the beginning of the 19th century (1805) the Jewish community consisted of 105 persons and was headed by R. Moise Milhau, who represented the department of Vaucluse at the Great Sanhedrin. Thirteen local Jews served in the armies of the Revolution and of the Empire, five as volunteers. The historian and physician Joseph Salvador was born in Montpellier of an old Spanish-Jewish family which had fled the Inquisition.

At the beginning of the 20th century there were about 35 Jewish families in Montpellier.

After the 1940 armistice, Montpellier, which was in the unoccupied zone, became a center for Jewish refugees from the occupied part of France. After the latter was occupied by the Germans, Montpellier became an important relaying station for the Jewish partisans. After the liberation the community was reorganized and by 1960 had 600 members. The arrival of Jews from North Africa increased the number to 2,000 in 1969, when the community had a communal center and a Sephardi synagogue with 300 seats. There were two kosher butchers and a Talmud Torah.

In the 1980s, the Jewish Community Center of Montpellier became the Jewish Community and Cultural Center of Montpellier.

In 1994, the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community and Cultural Center of Montpellier (CCCJ) decided to move and settle at 500 boulevard d'Antigone by becoming the owner of its premises with the help of the FSJU, the Town Hall of Montpellier, the General Council of Hérault and the Languedoc Roussillon Regional Council. we are still in these premises today.

Since its creation, many activities have been carried out, including fifteen trips to Israel, celebrations of the Day of Jerusalem and Yom Haatsmaut (day of independence of the State of Israel) that we celebrate every year. Other activities include the prestigious Jewish and Israeli Film Festival which took place for 10 years, the Night of Letters, the week of memory, weekly activities (oriental dances, computer science, choir, modern Hebrew, biblical Hebrew, krav maga,…) as well as conferences, literary evenings, round tables, exhibitions, theater performances. 

Cadenet

A village  in the Vaucluse department near Avignon, France

The first mention of a Jewish community there dates from 1283.

In 1335 an anti-jewfish riot was accompanied by murder and pillage. Subsequently there is no further evidence of the presence of Jews in Cadenet itself, but Jews originally from Cadenet are found in surrounding cities. The rue de la Juiverie with a gate intended to isolate the Jewish quarter still exists in Cadenet. Jews wishing to settle there in 1775 were forced to leave.

Grenoble

Capital of the Isere department, France, formerly capital of Dauphine.

A lamentation on the martyrdom of ten Jews from Grenoble was incorporated in the bourguignon Machzor in the second half of the 13th century. After the Jews were expelled from France in 1306, Dauphin Humbert I allowed a number of them to settle in Grenoble, offering them relatively favorable privileges. However, at the time of the Black Death in 1348, 74 Jews were arrested and, after a trial lasting three months, were burned at the stake. Apart from isolated individuals, there were no Jews in Grenoble until 1717, when a group from Comtat Venaissin attempted to settle there; they were driven out by the city parliament. A new community was formed after the revolution.

During World War II Grenoble, first occupied by the Italians, and later by the Germans, was an important center offering a base shelter for Jewish resistance of every "camouflage" of adults. The gestapo became especially active from 1943 on, made numerous arrests, and tortured and deported many people. Marc Haguenau (for whom a Jewish group of the French underground was named), was tortured and killed in Grenoble; the young Denis Marx was killed there by Brunner, the former commandant of Drancy. Leonce Bernheim, a noted Zionist leader, and his wife were arrested in the vicinity of Grenoble. The "Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine" was clandestinely created in Grenoble by Isaac Schneersohn.

After the war, many refugees stayed in the city, and by 1960 the Jewish population numbered over 1,000. In the 1960s the Jewish population increased rapidly reaching about 5,000 in 1969, including immigrants from North Africa. By the late 1960s, it numbered 5,000; by 1971 it had reached about 8,000, but by the turn of the century it had dropped to somewhat less than 7,000. The community has both Ashkenazi and a Sephardi synagogue, and maintains a range of institutions, including kosher butchers, a Talmud Torah, various youth groups and a community center. A Jewish radio center "Kol Hachalom" (Voice of Peace) has been in operation in Grenoble since 1983.

Limoges

Capital of the Haute-Vienne department, France.

21st Century
Synagogue Limoges
25-27 rue Pierre Leroux
87000 Limoges
France
Phone: 05 55 79 98 26

HISTORY

A Jewish source, Sefer Yeshu'at Elohim (in a. M. Habermann, Gezerotashkenaz ve-Tzarefat (1945), 11--15) contains an account of a semi-legendary anti-Jewish persecution in Limoges in 992 resulting from the activities of an apostate from Blois. The Christian writer Adhemar of Chabannes relates that in 1010 Bishop Alduin of Limoges gave the Jewish community the choice of expulsion or conversion. It is possible that both sources refer to the local manifestation of the general anti-Jewish persecutions which occurred around 1009 and which were followed by baptisms and expulsions. At any rate, whether or not the Jews were expelled from Limoges, the expulsion order was no longer in force from the middle of the 11th century; a certain Petrus Judaeus is mentioned in a local document between 1152 and 1173 and Gentianus Judaeus in 1081. Around the middle of the 11th century R. Joseph b. Samuel Bonfils (Tov Elem) headed the Jewish community of Limoges and Anjou.

The beginnings of the modern Jewish community in Limoges date from 1775. During World War II, Limoges became the largest center of refuge for Alsatian Jews; about 1,500 families and many institutions were transferred to the town. The present community, which was formed in 1949, numbered over 650 in 1970 and possessed a synagogue and community center.

Forcalquiers

A village in the Basses-Alpes department, France

The medieval Jewish community, which existed at least from 1275, occupied a separate quarter and owned a synagogue. The ledger of a single merchant of Forcalquiers records 20 Jews as his customers between 1330 and 1332. In 1351, possibly still in the aftermath of the black death, anti- Jewish disorders broke out in Forcalquiers in which the population of the surrounding villages also took part. It is reported that in 1424 several inhabitants of Forcalquiers and Manosque formed a plot to kill all the Jews in the town. In 1472, a citizen of Forcalquiers was appointed guardian (conservateur) of all the Jews of Provence. The community in Forcalquiers was among the first to feel the effects of the definitive decrees of expulsion of 1486. Toward the end of the 18th century, some Jewish merchants, originating from the Comtat Venaissin, attempted to settle in Forcalquiers but were expelled in 1775. In 1940 there were 72 Jews in the labor camp which had been set up in the district.

About 14 Jewish families, mostly assisted by refugees' organization, were registered in Forcalquiers in 1942.

Ettendorf

A commune  in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace, France.  Ettendorf was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918.

Two Jewish families were recorded in the town in 1449. It seems that during the following centuries Ettendorf was home to a rather large Jewish community. The community maintained a synagogue built in the 17th century and replaced by a new building in the 1860s, a Jewish school, a mikve and a yeshiva established in mid-18th century that attracted tens of students of students from the other communities in Alsace. The community belonged to the rabbinate in Buchsweiler.  

The census of 1784 recorded 124 Jewish inhabitants in Ettendorf. After the French Revolution, the Jewish population of Ettendorf decreased significantly with only 37 Jews living in the town in 1868. In 1900 there were 8 Jews in Ettendorf, 5 in 1910 and only 4 in 1936.

The Jewish community of Ettendorf was dissolved towards the end of the 19th century. The building of the synagogue was sold twenty years after its inauguration and consequently it was used as a barn.

The Jewish cemetery of Ettendorf was opened in the 15th century at the same epoch as the Jewish cemeteries of Dangolsheim   and Rosenwiller and it served as a regional cemetery for more than twenty neighboring communities. The Jewish cemetery of Ettendorf is one of the largest and oldest in the entire region comprising thousands of graves on an area of 18 hectares. The cemetery is still used by about twelve Jewish communities in Alsace.

Vitry-en-Perthois

Vitry, Vitry-le-Brule

(Not to be confused with Vitry-le-Francois)

A town in the department of Marne, northern France.

When Louis VII, king of France, sacked the town in 1142, he is said to have spared the Jews, who therefore constituted the majority of the population for a while. In 1230, when Thibaut IV, count of Champagne, granted a communal charter to Vitry, he retained for himself the "guard and jurisdiction" over a number of categories of its inhabitants, particularly the Jews. In 1321, after having been accused of poisoning the wells together with the lepers, 77 Jews were immediately massacred, a large number succeeded in escaping, and another 40 were imprisoned. Once the prisoners realized the hopelessness of their situation, they chose death at the hands of one of their companions, who was then killed by the Christians.

A small Jewish community was founded n the 16th century in the neighboring Vitry-le- francois, as a refuge for the inhabitants of Vitry-le-Brule which had been destroyed by fire. Vitry-le-Francois was built a few miles away from the burnt town. Simchah b. Samuel, who is said to be the author of the talmudic and liturgical compendium known as Machzor Vitry, was a native of the town.

Le Mans

Capital of the department of Sarthe, France.

Reference to Jewish scholars of Le Mans is found in rabbinical literature from the end of the 9th century, the most celebrated being Avun the great (10th century) and Elijah B. Menahem Ha-Zaken (11th century).

A Jew, Vaslinus, is mentioned as a moneylender there between 1104 and 1115. In 1138, the Jews of Le Mans were the victims of a local persecution. They lived in the quarter formed by Rues Marchande, Saint-Jacques, Falotiers or De Merdereau, Barillerie, Ponts-Neufs and De La Juiverie, and owned a synagogue and a cemetery (in the parish of Sainte-Croix), which was also used by other Jews in the vicinity. They probably also had their own market and a hospital.

Another local persecution may have occurred around 1200, since several Jewish converts are found in Le Mans in 1207, and around 1216, Berengaria, the widow of Richard the Lion- Hearted, lady of Le Mans, disposed of the so- called "school of the juiverie", i.e., the synagogue. There is again mention of a Jewish quarter during the second half of the 13th century, at which time the Jews of Le Mans were under the jurisdiction of the bishop.

The Jews were expelled from Le Mans in 1289, at the same time as those of Maine and Anjou.

During World War II many of the Jews in Le Mans were deported. A new community was formed after the war, with many of its members arriving from North Africa.

The community numbered 400 in 1969.

A stained-glass window dating from the 12th century which depicts the synagogue can be seen in the cathedral of Le Mans.

Bischwiller

Bischweiler, in German

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in northeastern France, some 8 km southeast of Hagenau.

Jews arrived in this small town, of some 12,000 inhabitants, situated in the north of Alsace near the River Rhine and the border between France and Germany, in the first half of the fourteenth century, but many were murdered as a result of the plague of 1348/9.

The Jewish settlement was renewed only in the early 19th century. In 1826 there were just 7 Jews in the town. By 1866 there were 246. The community established a synagogue in 1859, there was a school, a ritual bath and a cemetery. They employed a teacher who functioned also as a shochet and cantor.

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the annexation of Alsace by Germany led to many Jews moving to France proper. They took with them stocks from their shops and machinery for making clothing. In 1910 they appointed a rabbi, who had studied in Colmar. During the Second World War many community members either fled or were expelled to camps in the south of France.

The synagogue was reestablished only in 1956 amid high hopes of a thriving community being reestablished. Many younger members, however, began to move to larger towns and some moved to Israel. The community dwindled, it became more and more difficult to hold regular services with a minyan, and the synagogue finally closed in 1987. The building was sold to the town in 2008.

Orange 

Previously a principality and later a town in Vaucluse department, France

The earliest evidence of the presence of Jews in Orange dates from 1282 and in the locality of Courthezon from 1328, at the latest. In 1353 Raymond V, Prince of Orange, granted the Jews of his principality a charter which in effect constituted a series of privileges which were remarkable, indeed almost exceptional, for the 14th century. Even before Raymond's time, however, some precedent had been set in this direction by other princes of Orange, who had, for example, already employed Jews as toll collectors. Because of these favorable conditions, a constant stream of Jews came from Comtat Venaissin to Orange, among them the physician Durand de Cavaillon who arrived there in 1387. This situation lasted until the latter half of the 15th century. In 1477 the municipal council sought to remove Jews from the grain trade in which they were engaged in addition to money lending (Jews frequently acted as brokers for the wealthy burghers of Orange or for Italian financiers). When the council demanded the expulsion of the Jews in 1484, the prince of Orange refused unless the town could indemnify him for the taxes that would be lost by such an action. Jewish houses were openly attacked in 1490 and the expulsion was carried out in 1505.

On several occasions during the first half of the 17th century the parliament of Orange renewed the expulsion decree. Despite this, by 1643 several Jewish families had "clandestinely" resettled in Orange. Their numbers slowly increased, until by 1731 there were 21 families (16 in Orange, 4 in Courthezon, 1 in Jonquieres). The new expulsion orders were only partially applied, and from 1774 on there was a massive influx of Jews from Comtat Veniassin. With the onset of the French revolution, however, the departure of the Jews was almost as rapid. Using the newly acquired liberties, they left Orange for more important towns. In 1808 only 36 Jews remained in Orange and almost all of them bore the name Mosse. The Jewish community rapidly dissolved and was never reconstituted.
Several eminent scholars, particularly Levi b. Gershom, lived in Orange for varying lengths of time. Another such scholar was Mordechai, also named En Crescas, or Ezobi, of Orange, who settled in Carcassonne toward the close of the 13th century. The surname Ezobi, borne by a large number of other scholars, points to a more or less distant origin in Orange. An anonymous scholar and translator of the late 12th century and one Gershom b. Hezekiah, author of medical books in the first half of the 15th century, are intimately connected with the town of Orange.

Thionville

A town in the department of Moselle, France

There is evidence confirming the presence of Jews in Thionville from the 15th century. In 1546 the physician of the count of Nassau-Sarrebruck was a Jew who originated from Thionville. A place known as the "cemetery of the Jews" is mentioned about 1560, but by then the Jews had disappeared from the town. After the French conquest, two Jewish families from Metz were authorized to settle in the town in 1656, in spite of the objections of the inhabitants. In 1780 there were about 20 Jewish inhabitants. Four Thionville Jews were compelled to give up their merchant licenses, which they had purchased in 1767, in spite of a famous speech by their counsel Pierre Louis de Lacretelle. There were 14 Jewish families in Thionville in 1795; 40 in 1812; 310 persons in 1831; 183 in 1880; 332 in 1910; and 281 in 1931. From 1909 to 1940, Thionville was the seat of a rabbinate.

During the Nazi occupation five Jews were shot and about 30 families were deported. In 1970 the Jewish community consisted of some 450 people. The synagogue, established in 1805, has been rebuilt on several occasions, most recently in 1957, after it had been burned down by the Nazis during World War II.

Sospel

A town in the Alpes-Maritimes department, France.

Duppigheim 

A village in the Bas-Rhin department, France.

Le Havre

Major port in northwestern France on the shore of the English Channel and the mouth of the Seine river.

 

21st Century

There is an Association Cultuelle Israelite du Havre. The community has a Chabad Lubavitch center with a rabbi who serves as spiritual leader of Le Havre’s synagogue.

 

History

From about the beginning of the 18th century, Jews, especially from Bordeaux and its environs, wished to settle in Le Havre. In 1714, Louis XIV ordered the town to expel all foreign Jews except "those who call themselves 'Portuguese.”

 Around 1725, however, a Jewish family of German origin, the Hombergs, and their relatives the Lallemends, settled in Le Havre. They were not a community but a group of individuals practicing their Judaism privately. The Hombergs became very wealthy merchants involved in armaments, shipping, and international commerce with Russia, the West Indies, as well as several northern countries. They also took part in the slave trade, and created a successful insurance company. The family made every effort to integrate and assimilate into the society around them. They received French nationality in 1775 and converted to Catholicism in 1785-86.

 In 1776 the town refused several Jews permission to reside in Le Havre in spite of their "royal passports" (actually valid for Paris).

An organized community was first founded in the middle of the 19th century. A synagogue was constructed in 1864.

It was a heterogenous community, with merchants, middle class professionals, shopkeepers, and craftsmen, for the most part Ashkenazim.

The mayor of Le Havre from 1919 to 1940, Leon Meyer (1868-1948) was a Jew. A Radical Socialist, he was elected to the National Chamber of Deputies in 1923 as the candidate of the Union of the Left.

 

The Holocaust

In 1939, the number of Jews in Le Havre was approximately 320.  In addition to those who had settled there during the 19th century including those from Alsace who chose French nationality after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), there were immigrants escaping persecution from Poland, Romania, Russia, and Turkey. There were also recent arrivals from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia who were fleeing the Nazis. An official count in 1940 identified 39 foreign Jews.

Le Havre was occupied by the Germans on June 13, 1940, and transformed by them into a naval base. The Jewish mayor and other Jewish public officials were removed from their posts. Property and businesses owned by Jews were confiscated.  Some Jews fled but most were rounded up in 1942 and 1943 and deported to the Nazi death camps.

Le Havre was liberated by the Allies on September 12, 1944.

 

Post War

 A new Jewish community was reconstituted after World War II. The synagogue on the Rue Victor Hugo that had been destroyed during bombardments in 1944 was rebuilt and a community center opened.

The community was invigorated by the arrival of Jews from North Africa after 1962.  In February 1957 the Jewish population numbered 265, but by February 1963 it had grown to 520, The new arrivals were much more religiously committed. The synagogue that had only been open on the high holidays began to hold services every week. Now that there was a demand, kosher food became available.

 In 1969 Le Havre had a Jewish population of about 1,000. 

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