AUXERRE, capital of the department of Yonne, north central France. The first reference to the presence of Jews in Auxerre is found in a responsum addressed by *Rashi to the scholars of this area. Representatives of the Auxerre community took part in the *synod which met at Troyes around 1160. Jurisdiction over the Jews was divided between the count, the cathedral chapter, and the abbey of Saint-Germain of Auxerre. One of the Jewish quarters was situated near the Féchelle gate; the former Rue du Puits des Juifs is today included in the Rue du Pont. A wall of the clock tower has a stone bearing the Hebrew inscription: "Meir son of R. Solomon the valiant," perhaps referring to a Jew who had been imprisoned there. An anonymous 12th-century work, dedicated to a certain Count Guillaume (perhaps Guillaume II) of Auxerre, deals mainly with circumcision, and supplies the count with arguments for use in religious *disputations with Jews. The Jews were expelled from Auxerre by Count Pierre, between 1184 and 1206. Letters addressed to the bishop of Auxerre and the count of Nevers by Pope *Innocent III in 1207 and 1208, complain that the Jews of Auxerre had refused to pay the ecclesiastical tithe on their fields and vineyards, and that they sold so much of the surplus wine they produced to Christians that the latter were using it for the sacrament of the Mass. The Jews were again expelled in 1306, returning to Auxerre in 1315, and in 1322, returning in 1359. In 1393 the city of Auxerre turned to the authorities in Paris to expedite the expulsion of Jews from its territory. It is not known whether this was effected immediately or in conjunction with the general expulsion of the Jews from France which took place the following year. It was not until 1398 that a royal ordinance declared null and void all the debts owing to Jews by Christian debtors of Auxerre. At the beginning of World War II there were 70 Jews living in Auxerre, most of them refugees from Nazi persecution. There is no Jewish community in Auxerre today.
Gross, Gal Jud, 60–62; Abbé Leboeuf, Mémoires concernant l'histoire d'Auxerre, 3 (1855); S. Grayzel, Church and the Jews (19662), 125–6, 128–9; Dondenne and Molard, in: Bulletin de la société des sciences historiques et naturelles… Yonne, 47 (1893), 573–4; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 290.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.