TOULON, port in the Var department, S.E. France. In the second half of the 13th century the Jews made up an appreciable proportion of the population of Toulon: at a general municipal assembly held in 1285, 11 of the 155 participants were Jews. They shared the same rights and duties as the other citizens. The community came to a brutal end on the night of April 12/13, 1348 (Palm Sunday), when the Jewish street, "Carriera de la Juteria," was attacked, the houses pillaged, and 40 Jews slain; this attack was probably related to the *Black Death persecutions. Faced with an enquiry set up by a judge from Hyères, the assailants fled; however, they were soon pardoned. After this date, in addition to a few converted Jews, there were in Toulon only individual Jews who stayed for short periods; one such man was Vitalis of Marseilles, who was engaged as a town physician in 1440. The medieval Jewish street corresponded largely to the present Rue des Tombades. In 1760 the merchants' guild of Toulon successfully prevented the arrival of Jewish merchants. On being granted rights of citizenship, a Jew from *Avignon requested permission to settle in Toulon. The community formed in the 19th century remained small. At the beginning of World War II around 50 Jewish families lived in the town, two-thirds of them refugees from *Alsace. In 1971 there were some 2,000 Jews in Toulon, the majority being from North Africa. An estimated 2,000 Jewish families lived there at the outset of the 21st century. In 2004 the community center with its synagogue was firebombed in an antisemitic incident.
Gross, Gal Jud, 212f.; A. Crémieux, in: REJ, 89 (1930), 33–72; 90 (1931), 43–64; L. Mangin, Toulon, 1 (1901), index; G. Le Bellegou-Beguin, L'Evolution des Institutions Municipales Toulonnaises (1959), 123.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.