PAMIERS, town in the department of Ariège, France. The earliest evidence of the presence of Jews in Pamiers goes back to 1256. They were then under the authority of the abbot of Saint Antonin of Pamiers who, in 1274, protested against the Jews having to pay the royal poll tax and claimed their contributions belonged to him alone. The community appears to have been relatively well established by 1279; in that year a series of internal regulations (concerning the restriction of private expenditures, religious discipline, and mutual assistance) were drawn up and immediately approved by the abbot of Saint Antonin. The text of these regulations, the oldest of their type, has been preserved. The community was administered by two or more trustees and internal taxes were levied. The subsequent abbots of Saint Antonin continued to assure the relatively favorable condition of the Jews. When Saint Antonin became a bishopric, the Jews were still protected from the excesses of the inquisitors (1298). However, the bishop was unsuccessful in his opposition to the expulsion order of 1306. A community was reconstituted between 1315 and 1322. Although Bishop Jacques Fournier ordered a relentless search for volumes of the Talmud so as to have them burnt (see *Talmud, Burning of), he nevertheless protected his Jewish subjects from the persecutions of the Pastoureaux to the extent that many Jews from the rest of the region sought refuge in the town. After the expulsion of 1322, Jews occasionally passed through Pamiers and are thus mentioned in the toll tariffs of 1327 and 1340. A third community was formed after 1359. At the close of the 19th century, a Hebrew seal of a certain Solomon Vidal b. Pourtaya was found and survives as the only material trace of the Jews of Pamiers.
G. Saige, Juifs en Languedoc… (1881), index; Gross, Gal Jud, 438; J. de Lahondes, in: Annales de Pamiers, 1 (1882), 38, 86, 144; J. Ourgaud, Notice historique sur… Pamiers (1865), 108, 130, 255; J.A. Blanchet, in: REJ, 18 (1889), 139–41; E. Ferran, in: Bulletin philologique et historique (1903), 184ff.; J.M. Vidal, Le Tribunal d'inquisition à Pamiers (1906), 67, 80; B. Blumenkranz, in: Archives Juives, 5 (1968–69), 38ff., 47ff.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.