Limoges is capital of the Haute-Vienne department, central France. A Jewish source, Sefer Yeshu’at Elohim (in A.M. Habermann, Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Zarefat (1945), 11–15) contains an account of a semi-legendary anti-Jewish persecution in Limoges in 992 resulting from the activities of an apostate from Blois.
The Christian writer Adhémar of Chabannes relates that in 1010 Bishop Alduin of Limoges gave the Jewish community the choice of expulsion or conversion. It is possible that both sources refer to the local manifestation of the general anti-Jewish persecutions which occurred around 1009 and which were followed by baptisms and expulsions. At any rate, whether or not the Jews were expelled from Limoges, the expulsion order was no longer in force from the middle of the 11th century; a certain Petrus Judaeus is mentioned in a local document between 1152 and 1173 and Gentianus Judaeus in 1081.
Around the middle of the 11th century R. Joseph b. Samuel Bonfils (Tov Elem) headed the Jewish community of Limoges and Anjou. The beginnings of the modern Jewish community in Limoges date from 1775.
During World War II, Limoges became the largest center of refuge for Alsatian Jews; about 1,500 families and many institutions were transferred to the town. The present community, which was formed in 1949, grew to more than 650 by 1970 and possessed a synagogue and community center.
Gross, Gal Jud (1897), 308–9; J. de Font-Reaulx (ed.), Cartulaire du Chapître de St.-Etienne de Limoges (1919), passim; La Vie Juive, 51 (1959), 15; B. Blumenkranz, Juifs et Chrétiens… (1960), index; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco – Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 286; Roth, Dark Ages, index.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.