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Dauphiné, France

DAUPHINÉ, region and former province of S.E. France covering the present departments of Isère, Hautes-Alpes, and a small part of Drôme. The presence of Jews on its territory is confirmed from at least the beginning of the ninth century when they were to be found in *Vienne and its vicinity. Subsequently, and especially from the beginning of the 14th century, Jews are mentioned in at least 35 localities, including Briançon, *Crémieu , *Grenoble , Nyons, Serres, *Valence , Veynes, and Vizille. As a result of a *blood libel in Valréas in 1247 ten Jews were martyred there; in several other places Jews were imprisoned and their belongings were confiscated. However, when the Jews were expelled from France in 1306, the exiles were welcomed in Dauphiné, as were the Jews who arrived from the *Comtat-Venaissin in 1322. In 1348, the Jews were accused in several localities of Dauphiné of having spread the *Black Death .

In 1349, Dauphiné's existence as an independent state came to an end. In exchange for a considerable payment, the dauphin Humbert II ceded Dauphiné to the king of France, the eldest son of the king of France henceforth assuming the title of "dauphin." The undertaking to respect "the institutions and the customs of the country" was equally honored with regard to the Jews. Though they were now in the Kingdom of France, their residence in Dauphiné was not contested. In 1355 and 1404, it was explicitly stated that the Jews of newly-incorporated regions would continue to enjoy their former liberties and exemptions. However from 1355 the privileges which were granted to the Jews of Dauphiné were only valid for a limited period, even though they were renewable. These privileges specified in particular their freedom of residence, right to acquire houses, freedom of trade, and moneylending. Heavy financial burdens and the complaints against Jewish moneylending made many Jews leave Dauphiné, especially after 1390. The dauphin unsuccessfully attempted to restrain Jewish emigration by granting important fiscal advantages to the Jews who settled in the area, such as in the town of Crémieu in 1449. Yet, without any general expulsion decree ever having been applied and solely as a result of fiscal pressure and local vexations, Dauphiné appears to have had no Jews at the beginning of the 16th century after the continued emigration. At the beginning of the 18th century, some Jews, mainly from Comtat-Venaissin, attempted to settle in localities of Dauphiné, especially Grenoble. They were expelled by a decision of the Dauphiné parliament of Nov. 15, 1717. After the French Revolution Dauphiné ceased to exist as a separate administrative unit.

Sources:B. Blumenkranz, Juifs et Chrétiens… (1960), index S.V. Vienne; Prudhomme, in: Bulletin de l'Académie Delphinoise, 17 (1881–82), 129ff.; idem, in: REJ, 9 (1884), 231ff.; G. Letonnelier, Histoire du Dauphiné (1958), passim; Z. Szajkowski, Franco-Judaica (1962), no. 310.

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]

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