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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in France 04: Resettlement until revolution

Spanish and Portuguese Jews - deprivations in Bordeaux in 1625 - taxes - quarters - migrations to Alsace-Lorraine - immigration of Dutch and Ukraine Jews - centers Bordeaux and Paris - discussions about equality

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7,
                  col. 20. The 18th-century Rue des Quatre Passeports in
                  the Jewish quarter of Clermont-Ferrand. Courtesy
                  Clermont-Ferrand Municipality.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7, col. 20. The 18th-century Rue des Quatre Passeports in the
Jewish quarter of Clermont-Ferrand. Courtesy Clermont-Ferrand Municipality.

from: France; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 7

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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<FROM THE EXPULSION FROM PROVENCE TO THE EVE OF THE REVOLUTION.

[Influx of Jews from Spain and Portugal ("Portuguese merchants") - collaboration libel in 1596 - deprivation of the Jews in Bordeaux in 1625 - high taxes for protection patents - limited Jewish quarters]

As soon as the Jews had left the southeast or been converted to Christianity and thus become permanently absorbed within the general population, the southwest witnessed the arrival of secret Jews, the *Conversos [[converted Jews]]. From 1550, these "Portuguese merchants" or "New Christians" were granted letters patent by Henry II, who authorized them to live in France "wherever they desired". They settled mainly in Bordeaux and in Saint-Esprit, near *Bayonne. They were subsequently to be found in small places nearby: *Peyrehorade, *Bidache, and Labastide-Clairence, and toward the north in La *Rochelle, Nantes, and Rouen. However, of all the Marranos who arrived in France from the beginning of the 16th century, only a tiny minority remained faithful to Judaism.

Since they sought to evade detection by externally practicing Catholicism while maintaining their Iberian language and customs, they were suspected in Bordeaux in 1596 of attempting to deliver the town into the hands of the Spaniards, and in 1625 their possessions were confiscated as (col. 20)

a reprisal for the confiscation of French belongings by the king of Spain. They wee also subjected to particularly severe taxes, which rose to 100,000 livres in 1723 in exchange for new letters patent; for the first time these recognized them as Jews, although they did not grant them the right to practice their religion openly.

The Jews of Comtat Venaissin had taken in some Spanish refugees on a temporary basis only, as was the case with the parents of *Joseph ha-Kohen, the author of Emek ha-Bakha, who was born in Avignon but lived there only during his early years. The communities of Comtat Venaissin were themselves threatened with expulsion on several occasions. These decrees were not finally enforced, but the Jews were nevertheless compelled to leave all towns in the Comtat with the exception of Avignon, Carpentras, *Cavaillon, and L'*Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Even there, the quarters assigned to them were constantly reduced in area so as to limit the Jewish population.

Cavaillon
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France,
                          vol. 7, col. 23. Interior of the Cavaillon
                          synagogue, built in 1774. Courtesy Cavaillon
                          Municipality.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7, col. 23. Interior of the Cavaillon synagogue, built in 1774. Courtesy Cavaillon Municipality.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France,
                          vol. 7, col. 15. First page of a prayer book
                          from Cavaillon, containing piyyutim recited at
                          the special Purim celebrating the community's
                          deliverance from a plague in 1631. Cecil Roth
                          Collection.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7, col. 15. First page of a prayer book from Cavaillon, containing piyyutim recited at the special Purim celebrating the community's deliverance from a plague in 1631. Cecil Roth Collection.


[Influx of Jews into French Lorraine and Alsace]

Jews seem to have lived in Lorraine without interruption although in small numbers only. After the French crown had occupied the region, progressively greater facilities were offered to the Jews to induce them to settle there. From three families in Metz in 1565, their number increased to 96 families in 1657.

In the meantime, as a result of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), the three towns and bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun were formally ceded to France.

Although theoretically the expulsion order against the Jews of the kingdom still remained in force and it was even reiterated in 1615 - the Jews in those parts of Lorraine which had become French were allowed to remain.

This was the first time since 1394 that Jews found themselves legally living in the kingdom of France. However, they were still confined to the town, or at best to the province, in which they lived. Considerable areas of Alsace were also incorporated within the kingdom of France by the Treaty of Westphalia. There also a firmly established Jewish population was not put in jeopardy by the new French administration; on the contrary, it was more effectively protected than in the past.

[Jews from Holland - Thirty Years' War: Jewish refugees in Alsace and Lorraine fleeing from the Chmielnicki massacres - Jews arriving in Nice - and expulsion]

In 1651, Jews from Holland settled in *Charleville, which belonged to the Gonzaga dukes (they had already admitted Dutch Jews for the first time from 1609 to 1633). Jews fleeing from the *Chmielnicki massacres in the Ukraine and Poland in 1648 arrived in Alsace and Lorraine. the general demographic decline which was a result of the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) explains the tolerance they encountered.

Jews also arrived in the extreme southeast of France, where the duke of Savoy, to whom the county of Nice belonged, issued in 1648 an edict making Nice and *Villefranche-de-Conflent free ports. Once more this was an indirect result of the Thirty Years' War, a search for an effective method of filling the economic vacuum it had created. Jews from Italy and North Africa immediately profited from the settlement facilities offered by this edict, strengthening the old Jewish community which had existed without interruption from the Middle Ages. However, Italian Jews who hoped to benefit from the apparently similar facilities offered in Marseilles by the edict of *Louis XIV in 1669 were disappointed; they were compelled to leave after a few years.

[Fight for trade in Avignon and Comtat Venaissin - attractive Bordeaux provoking influx of Jews from Avignon, Comtat Venaissin, and Alsace]

From the 17th century, the Jews of Avignon and Comtat Venaissin extended their commercial activity: besides frequenting the fairs and markets, mainly in Languedoc and Provence, they also attempted to remain in those towns and even to settle there. Following complaints from local merchants, the stewards of the king intervened on every occasion to remove them and restrict their presence at the fairs and markets as much as possible.

With greater success, some Jews of Avignon and Comtat Venaissin - soon (col. 21)

followed by Jews of Alsace - exploited the facilities granted to the "Portuguese" Jews, and from the beginning of the 18th century settled in Bordeaux. there they traded in the town or its environs, principally in textiles and to a lesser degree in livestock and old clothes.

[Jews settling in Paris in 18th century - southern Jews and Ashkenazim Jews]

From the beginning of the 18th century, some Jews began to settle in Paris, arriving not only from Alsace, Metz, and Lorraine, from Bordeaux, and from Avignon and Comtat Venaissin, but also from beyond the borders of France, mainly Germany and Holland. They were tolerated in Paris but no more. Even though they had benefited from most civil rights in their provinces of origin, they enjoyed no such privileges in the capital. In theory, if a Jew died in Paris his estate was confiscated in favor of the king and his burial had to be quasi-clandestine.

In order to protect their rights and, initially, to obtain their own cemeteries, the Jews organized themselves into two distinct groups: southern Jews from Bordeaux, Avignon, and Comtat Venaissin, and Ashkenazim from Alsace, Lorraine, and a few other places. This was an early manifestation of the split which was later evident during the struggle for emancipation and afterward.

[The question of Jews in the guilds - the lawsuit of Nancy of 1775 - large discussion since 1775 - competition 1785 in Metz]

Just before the whole of Lorraine became part of France (1766), the request of some Jews of Lorraine to be admitted to the guilds gave rise to a lawsuit in which the advocate of Nancy, Pierre Louis de Lacretelle (1756-1824), called for their recognition as Frenchmen with rights equal to those of other citizens (1775). Although this suit was lost, nevertheless it left a powerful impression on the public who, from the beginning of the century, had become aware of the Jewish problem through the pronouncements of the great thinkers of the century, beginning with *Montesquieu. In 1781, Herz *Cerfberr, the representative of the Jews of Alsace, had the work of Christian Wilhelm von *Dohm (1751-1820), Ueber die buergerliche Verbesserung der Juden ("On the Civic Amelioration of the Jews"), translated into French. The first concrete result was Louis XVI's edict,drawn up in 1783 and published in January 1784, abolishing the humiliating "body tax" which for centuries had likened the Jews to cattle.

In 1785 a competition by the Metz Société Royale des Arts et Sciences [[Royal Arts and Sciences Society]] on the subject "Is there any way of rendering the Jews more useful and happier in France?" reflected this new trend of opinion, while strengthening it even further. The competition was initiated by P.L. *Roederer, a member of the parlement [[parliament]] of Metz, and the best answers were submitted by the royal librarian Zalkind *Hourwitz (who defined himself as a "Polish Jew"), the advocate Thierry, and Abbé *Grégoire. Finally in 1788, the minister *Malesherbes, who had successfully headed the commission charged with arranging civic rights for Protestants, was entrusted by Louis XVI with a similar mission with regard to the Jews.

[B.BL.]> (col. 22)
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Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7,
                    col. 19-20
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7, col. 19-20
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7,
                    col. 21-22
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): France, vol. 7, col. 21-22


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