LAUSANNE, capital of canton Vaud, W. Switzerland. Jews were present in the canton of Vaud from 1278; those living in the vicinity of Lausanne suffered during the persecutions of 1348/49. The presence of Jews in Lausanne itself is first mentioned only in 1408, when several Jewish families – at first nine, then six – were authorized to settle there against payment of a regular tax. They were exempted from all other taxes and guaranteed liberty of trade, movement, and the right to practice ritual slaughter. The number had grown to 19 in 1419 when they were put under the protection of Bishop William of Challant. A Rue des Juifs is noted and a Jewish cemetery as well. The Jews left Lausanne in 1484 and are not recorded there again until the end of the 18th century. The prohibition on residence issued against the Jews was renewed in 1787. The proclamation of the Lemanic Republic, later incorporated in the Helvetian Republic (1798), opened the city to Jewish residents. Mostly Alsatian Jews conducted business in the canton. In the town of Avenches a new Jewish community was founded in 1826, with 262 heads of families (in 1870), making the Jews a seventh of the local population. In 1865 they built a synagogue and engaged a rabbi. All the Jews came from Alsace and many were horse dealers. The community dispersed after 1945, young members having moved to Lausanne and Berne. The synagogue was demolished in 1958 and a memorial erected in 1979. Also in Yverdon a small community existed between 1850 and 1980. Here Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi taught young Jews pedagogics around 1807.
The Lausanne community developed slowly, however, even though the anti-Jewish measures were rapidly abrogated. After a first attempt in 1848, an organized community was established in 1865. Jews were not admitted to full citizenship until 1891. Among the Russian Jewish students in residence at the University of Lausanne was Saul *Tchernikowsky. The synagogue was consecrated in 1912 and the first rabbi appointed in 1928. Rabbi Georges Vadnai served the community from 1940 until 1990. The Jewish population numbered, according to the census, 1,186 in 1920, 1,009 in 1933, and 1,288 in 1960. During the course of World War II the community was active in aiding refugees from Nazism. From 1948 it received Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Consequently, once a month a Sephardi service is offered. In 2000 the Jewish population of Vaud was 2,062, while the community of Lausanne numbers 608 persons and families. The rabbinate of Lausanne also covered the area of Montreux and Vevey (a separate community established in 1905), which had a variety of philanthropic organizations. In Montreux, E. Botschko (d. 1956) founded a yeshivah (Eẓ Ḥayyim) in 1927, which during World War II had as many as 120 students, and served as a refuge for many who escaped from the Nazi terror. The yeshivah attracted pupils from all over Western Europe until 1985, when it was closed and its leader, Moshe Botschko, went on aliyah to Jerusalem. AJewish home for the aged with 120 places is situated in Vevey. A community council was established in 1963 to coordinate its varied cultural, religious, and educational programs. In 2003 legal state recognition of the community was achieved.
A. Nordmann, in: REJ, 81 (1925), 158–68; C. Lauener, La communauté juive d'Avenches: organisation et intégration (1826–1900) (1993); L. Leitenberg, "Evolution et perspectives des communautés en Suisse romande," in: Schweiz. Isr. Gemeindebund, Jüd. Lebenswelt Schweiz. 100 Jahre Schweiz. Isr. Gemeindebund (2004), 153–66; Musée Historique de Lausanne and A. Kamis-Mueller, Vie Juive en Suisse (1992); Schweiz. Isr. Gemeindebund, Festschrift zum 50-Jaehrigen Bestehen (1954).
[Simon R. Schwarzfuchs /
Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.