COSENZA, town in Calabria, southern Italy. Jews were apparently living in Cosenza in 1093 or even earlier. It is reported that in 1311 pledges belonging to the Jewish moneylenders there were stolen. Repeated attempts were made in the 15th century by the bishops of Cosenza to tax Jewish assets. An important source of revenue was the fair of Maddalena di Cosenza, which also attracted foreign Jews journeying to Calabria. The presence of Jews at the fair of Cosenza is mentioned in the ordinances of King Ferrante I in 1465. In 1473 the Jews of Rossano complained that the Jews of Cosenza had fixed the tax rate for the other communities of the Duchy of Crotone, and in 1487 the Jews of Cosenza loaned money to the royal treasury. In 1495 almost all the Jews in Cosenza, then part of the kingdom of Naples, were forced to accept baptism. In 1540–41 the few remaining were expelled with the rest of the Jews from the kingdom. During World War II, in 1940, 1,500 Jews whom the Fascist authorities had declared aliens were sent to a detention camp at Ferramonti near Cosenza.
Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Colafemmina, Per la storia degli ebrei in Calabria (1996); idem, "Presenza ebraica nel Marchesato di Crotone," in: Studi Storici Meridionali, 9 (1989), 287–308; idem, "Le iscrizioni ebraiche nel cimitero di Tarsia," in: F. Volpe (ed.), Ferramonti: un lager nel Sud, Atti del convegno internazionale di studi (1990), 101–16.
[Attilio Milano /
Nadia Zeldes (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.