NANCY, capital of Meurthe-et-Moselle department, northeastern France; former capital of the Duchy of *Lorraine. In 1286 the Jews acquired a cemetery at nearby Laxou. In 1341, and later in 1455, several Jews settled in Nancy itself but were expelled from the Duchy in 1477. The Jews temporarily reappeared in Nancy in 1595. Maggino Gabrieli, known as the "consul-general of the Hebrew and Levantine nation," attempted to establish two banks and a pawnshop in 1637–1643. In 1707 and 1712 Duke Leopold authorized three Jewish bankers from *Metz to settle in Nancy, one of whom, Samuel *Lévy, became the duke's chief tax collector in 1715. After Lévy fell into disgrace, there was a hostile reaction toward the Jews. Nevertheless, in 1721 an edict authorized 70 Jewish families to remain in Lorraine, eight of them in Nancy and its surroundings. The 90 Jewish families in Nancy in 1789 (50 of whom were without authorization) included such wealthy merchants and manufacturers as the *Alcan, Goudchaux, and Berr families from whom the trustees of the Duchy's Jewish community were chosen. Herz *Cerfberr became squire of Tomblaine, and *Berr Isaac Berr became the leader of the Ashkenazi Jews in 1789. There was a house of prayer in 1745, but it was not until 1788 that a synagogue was officially built, eight years after the chief rabbi of Lorraine established himself in Nancy. (The synagogue was renovated in 1842 and again in 1935.) Notable among the chief rabbis of the consistory formed in 1808 were Marchand Ennery and Solomon *Ullmann. With the influx of refugees from Alsace and Moselle after 1870, the number of Jews in Nancy increased to some 4,000 by the end of the century. Nancy made important contributions to French Jewish cultural life. The prayer room of the Polish Jews was decorated by the artist *Mané-Katz. Nancy was the birthplace of the writer André *Spire and Nobel Prize winner F. *Jacob.

[Gilbert Cahen]

Holocaust Period

Many of Nancy's prewar Jewish population (about 3,800 in 1939) fled the city under the German occupation. Those who stayed were brutally persecuted. In three Aktionen in 1942–43, 130 Jews of foreign origin were arrested and deported, while over 400 others who had fled to the "free" zone in the south were arrested and deported after it was overrun by the Germans in 1942. Only 22 survivors returned. Among the old French Jewish families, 250 victims were deported, of whom only two survived. The majority were arrested on March 2, 1944, along with 72-year-old Chief Rabbi Haguenauer, who despite his being forewarned, refused to desert the members of his community. A street in postwar Nancy bears his name. The synagogue, as well as other buildings belonging to the Jews, were plundered by the Nazis. The synagogue interior was destroyed, while the holy books were sold to a rag collector. Several of the art works and books in the local Musée Historique Lorrain and departmental archives were saved. After the war the community of Nancy rapidly recovered, and by 1969 it had about 3,000 members with a full range of Jewish communal institutions. A chair for Hebrew studies was set up at the university. In 1987, the community was said to number 4,000.

[Georges Levitte]


Gross, Gal Jud, 400: C. Pfister, Histoire de Nancy, 1 (1902), 678–81; 3 (1908), 310–38; A. Gain et. al., in: Revue juive de Lorraine, 2–3 (1926–27); 9–11 (1933–35), passim; J. Godchot, in: REJ, 86 (1928), 1–35. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Guide de judaîsme français (1987), 39; Jewish Travel Guide (2002), 73.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.