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Paris, France

Early History
Louis IX

Hebrew Printing
Holocaust Period
Contemporary Periods
Later Developments
Cultural Life

Early History

Paris is the capital of France. In 582, the date of the first documentary evidence of the presence of Jews in Paris, there was already a community owning at least a synagogue, situated in the neighborhood of the present church of St. Julien le Pauvre. The murder of the Jew Priscus, purveyor to King Chilperic, was avenged by a Christian mob – proof of the good relationship existing between the two religious groups. However, the sixth Council of Paris (614 or 615) decided that Jews who held public office, and their families, must convert to Christianity. When giving the council’s decisions the force of law, King Clothaire II ignored the baptism clause, reiterating the ban on Jews holding public office and laying down severe penalties for any breach of this. Although these two documents are proof not only that there were Jews living in Paris but also that their social standing was high, there is no reason to believe that one Solomon, who is mentioned as a toll-collector in Paris in 633, was a Jew or even an apostate.

In the tenth and 11th centuries the Jews appear to have lived in the present Rue de la Harpe, between the Rue de la Huchette and Rue Saint Sévérin, and a street later known as the Rue de la Vieille Juiverie which lies between Rue Saint Sévérin and Rue Monsieur le Prince. In the tenth century a synagogue stood at the intersection of these two streets. From 1119 at the latest there was a Jewish quarter, the vicus Judaeorum, situated right in the center of Paris on the Ile de la Cité; its boundaries were the present Rue de la Cité (the central part of which was called Rue des Juifs), the Quai de la Corse, and the Rue de Lutèce. The synagogue, which was 8 meters wide and 31 meters long, was built on the site of the present Marché aux Fleurs; after the expulsion of 1182 it was converted into the St. Madeleine Church. According to Rigord, biographer of Philip Augustus and one of the sources of Joseph ha-Kohen’s Emek ha-Bakha, Paris Jews owned about half the land in Paris and the vicinity. They employed many Christian servants, and the objects they took in pledge included even church vessels; jealousy of their prosperity gave rise to the rumor that they used the latter as wine goblets at table.

Far more portentous was the blood libel which arose against the Jews of Blois in 1171, appeared simultaneously in a number of other places, and reached the region of Paris. Even though Louis VII, in answer to the intervention of the leaders of the Paris community, promised to take care that no similar accusation arose in the future and above all that no persecution resulted from it, he was unable to prevent this slander from being deeply engrained in the public mind, even among children. Thus, Philip Augustus was told by a playmate when he was only six years old that Jews killed Christian children; according to his biographer, the hatred he conceived at this time was the origin of his expulsion order of 1182. On this occasion, the crown confiscated the houses of the Jews as well as the synagogue and the king gave 24 of them to the drapers of Paris and 18 to the furriers.

Rabbinical questions were addressed to the scholars of Paris from Rome around 1125. About 20 years later, the rabbis of Paris took part in a synod convened by Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam) and Jacob ben Meir Tam. In the second half of the 12th century Mattathias Gaon was head of a yeshivah in Paris; his son was the posek Jehiel. Among the other scholars of Paris before 1182 were the tosafists Yom Tov and ?ayyim ben Hananel ha-Kohen, the commentator Moses, the posekElijah b. Judah, and Jacob b. Simeon, known for his activities in various fields. That the secular sciences were also studied is attested by the 12th-century epitaph (discovered in the 15th century) of one Zour, physician and astrologer. This stone points to the existence of a Jewish cemetery in Rue Pierre Sarrazin, behind Rue de la Harpe.

When the Jews were permitted to return to the kingdom of France in 1198, they settled in Paris in and around the present Rue Ferdinand Duval, which, coincidentally, became the Jewish quarter once again in the modern era. Around the end of the 12th century they lived especially in the present Rue de Moussy, Rue du Renard Saint Merry, Rue de la Tacherie, and on the Petit Pont; they were probably restricted to the Petit Pont in 1294, the date when residence in Jewish quarters became obligatory. However, the number of streets in Paris where Jews actually lived in the Middle Ages, as well as places named after them (Moulin aux Juifs, Ile aux Juifs, Cour de la Juiverie, etc.), was actually much greater; an exhaustive study of the Jewish settlement in Paris with precise dates is still lacking.

The first scholarly history of Paris, written by Henri Sauval (1623–1676), barrister in the parlement of Paris, contained an important chapter devoted to the Jews (vol. 2, book 10, 508–32). Although permission to publish the Histoire de Paris was granted in 1654, it was not in fact published until 1724.

Louis IX

In the reign of Louis IX, after the denunciations of Nicholas Donin and Pope Gregory IX’s order that Jewish books be examined, the famous disputation on the Talmud was held on June 12, 1240. The Jewish delegation was led by Jehiel ben Joseph of Paris. After the condemnation of the Talmud, 24 cart-loads of Jewish books were burned in public in the Place de Grève, now the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (see Burning of Talmud). A Jewish moneylender called Jonathan was accused of desecrating the Host in 1290, his supposed crime being revealed by various miracles. A commemorative chapel was speedily erected on the site of this alleged desecration (of which not only Jonathan and his family but also the whole Jewish community were accused) and the tale was spread in stories and pictures. It is said that this was the main cause of the expulsion of 1306.

Tax rolls of the Jews of Paris in 1292 and 1296 give a good picture of their economic and social status. One striking fact is that a great many of them originated from the provinces. Despite the prohibition on the settlement of Jews expelled from England (1290), several recent arrivals from that country are listed. As in many other places, the profession of physician figures most prominently among the professions noted. The majority of the rest of the Jews engaged in moneylending and commerce. In the space of only four years, as witnessed by the amount of the tax imposed on them, the Jews became considerably impoverished. During the same period the composition of the Jewish community, which numbered at least 100 heads of families, changed to a large extent through migration and the number also declined to a marked degree.

One of the most illustrious Jewish scholars of medieval France, Judah ben Isaac, known as Sir Leon of Paris, headed the yeshivah of Paris in the early years of the 13th century. He was succeeded by Jehiel ben Joseph, the Jewish leader at the 1240 disputation. After the wholesale destruction of Jewish books on this occasion until the expulsion of 1306, the yeshivah of Paris produced no more scholars of note.

After the return in 1315 the number of Jews who settled in the city and region of Paris – to judge from their contribution to the enormous fine imposed on the Jews of France a year before the expulsion of 1322 – was little greater than those who had lived there before. However, these few were left untouched by both the Pastoureaux persecutions and accusations of having poisoned the wells. Relative to this community, the new one formed in Paris from 1359 was quite large. Notables of this period included Manessier de Vesoul, procureur-général and commissaire of the Jews of Langue-d’oyl; his associate Jacob of Pont-Sainte-Maxence; Mattathias b. Joseph, chief rabbi of France and head of the yeshivah (1360–85); and his successor, his son Jonathan, whose authority was contested by one of his father’s former pupils, Isaiah b. Abba Mari, also known as Astruc de Savoy. Although Hugues Aubriot, the provost of Paris, took the Jews under his protection, this was to no avail against the murderous attacks and looting in 1380 and 1382 perpetrated by a populace in revolt against the tax burden.

King Charles VI relieved the Jews of responsibility for the valuable pledges which had been stolen from them on this occasion and granted them other financial concessions; but the community was unable to recover from those blows, either financially or in number. Not many years later, in 1394, it was further struck by the Denis de Machaut affair. Machaut, a Jewish convert to Christianity, had disappeared and the Jews were accused of having murdered him or, at the very least, of having imprisoned him until he agreed to return to Judaism. Seven Jewish notables were condemned to death, but their sentence was commuted to a heavy fine allied to imprisonment until Machaut reappeared. This affair was a prelude to the “definitive” expulsion of the Jews from France in 1394.

There is no evidence of Jews in Paris, not even of lone individuals, in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1611 the physician Elijah of Montalto was called to the court of Marie de Médicis; though he had some contact with Concini, Marshal of Ancre, and his mistress L. Galigaï, there is no reason for supposing that either of these was a Jew. Still less should the old clothes dealers of Paris be taken for secret Jews just because their guild was known as the “synagogue”; in 1652 they murdered a citizen who used this term with reference to them. From the beginning of the 18th century the Jews of Metzapplied to the authorities for permission to enter Paris on their business pursuits; gradually the periods of their stay in the capital increased and were prolonged. At the same time the city saw the arrival of Jews from Bordeaux (the “Portuguese”) and from Avignon.

From 1721 to 1772, a police inspector was given special charge over the Jews, an office which the successive holders used to extort what they could from them in money and goods. After the discontinuation of the office, the trustee of the Jews from 1777 was Jacob Rodrigues Péreire, a Jew from Bordeaux, who had charge over a group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, while the German Jews (from Metz, Alsace, and Lorraine) were led by Moses Eliezer Liefman Calmer, and those from Avignon by Israel Salom. The German Jews lived in the poor quarters of Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis, and those from Bordeaux, Bayonne, and Avignon inhabited the more luxurious quarters of Saint Germain and Saint André. Large numbers of the Jews eked out a miserable living in peddling and selling secondhand clothes and rags. The more well-to-do were moneylenders, military purveyors (especially of horses), and traded in jewels. There were also some craftsmen among them: jewelers, painters, engravers, designers, and embroiderers. Inns preparing kosher food existed from 1721; these also served as prayer rooms since otherwise services could only be held in private houses – in either case strictly forbidden by the police. From at least 1736 an innkeeper from La Villette allowed his garden to be used for burials; after 1780 the Portuguese community acquired an adjoining plot of land which could officially be used for a cemetery. Soon after the Ashkenazim also acquired a cemetery, in Montrouge. Neither continued in use for very long but both were still in existence in 1971.

The first publicly acknowledged synagogue was opened in Rue de Brisemiche in 1788. The number of Jews in Paris just before the Revolution was probably no greater than 500. On Aug. 26, 1789 they presented the Constituent Assembly with a petition asking for the rights of citizens. The Paris commune came to the defense of its Jewish residents, sending a deputation to the assembly to plead for them; full citizenship rights were granted to the Spanish, Portuguese, and Avignon Jews on Jan. 28, 1790.


After the freedom of movement brought about by emancipation, a large influx of Jews arrived in Paris, numbering 2,908 in 1809. These Jews were exempt from the general Jewish disabilities imposed by Napoleon in 1808. Most of them lived in the present third and fourth arrondissements.

In 1819, when the Jewish population of Paris had reached between 6,000 and 7,000 persons, the consistory began to build the first Great Synagogue, in Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth. It stood for no more than 30 years and had barely been rebuilt when, in 1852 (the year of the foundation of the Rothschild Hospital), it became apparent that it was not large enough for a Jewish population which had reached 20,000.

General difficulties beset the building of new synagogues (those in Rue de la Victoire and Rue des Tournelles were completed in 1877), but local difficulties led to the transfer of the Rabbinical Seminary of Metz to Paris in 1859. The consistory had established its first primary school in 1819; a second school was added in 1846, and three others between 1864 and 1867. At the same time charitable associations increased; their buildings frequently also served as prayer rooms for immigrant Jews.

The capital was the seat of the Central Consistory of France (as well as the Consistory of Paris) and from 1860 of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. Two Jewish journals serving all France were published in Paris: L’Univers Israélite and the Archives Israélites. The 30,000 or so Jews who lived in Paris in 1869 constituted about 40% of the Jewish population of France. The great majority originated from Metz, Alsace, Lorraine, and Germany, and there were already a few hundred from Poland. Apart from a very few wealthy capitalists, the great majority of the Jews belonged to the middle economic level. Alongside the peddlers, merchants, and dealers in secondhand goods, the proportion of craftsmen – painters, hat-makers, tailors, and shoemakers – was increasing. Many organizations and societies – the first dating from 1825 – encouraged young Jewish men and women to acquire an aptitude for and pride in manual work. The liberal professions also attracted numerous Jews; the community included an increasing number of professors, lawyers, and physicians.

With the loss of Alsace and Lorraine in 1871, the Jewish population of France numbered only 60,000 persons, almost two-thirds of whom lived in Paris. After 1881 their numbers were augmented by refugees from Poland, Russia, and the Slav provinces of Austria and Romania; this influx led to a noticeable increase in the percentage of manual workers among Parisian Jews. At the same time there was a marked increase in the antisemitic movement, particularly with the foundation of the journal La Croix in 1883 and the agitation of E.A. Drumont. The Dreyfus affair, from 1894, split the intellectuals of Paris into “Dreyfusards” and “anti-Dreyfusards” who frequently clashed on the streets, especially in the Latin Quarter. With the law separating church and state in 1905, the Jewish consistories lost their official status, becoming no more than private religious associations. The growing numbers of Jewish immigrants to Paris resented the heavy hand of a consistory, which was largely under the control of Jews from Alsace and Lorraine, now a minority group.

These immigrants formed the greater part of the 13,000 “foreign” Jews who enlisted in World War I. Especially after 1918, Jews began to arrive from North Africa, Turkey, and the Balkans, and in greatly increased numbers from Eastern Europe. Thus in 1939 there were around 150,000 Jews in Paris (over half the total in France), the overwhelming majority Yiddish-speaking recent immigrants. The Jews lived all over the city but there were large concentrations in the north and east. More than 150 Landsmannschaften composed of immigrants from Eastern Europe and many charitable societies united large numbers of Jews, while at this period the Paris Consistory (which retained the name with its changed function) had no more than 6,000 members.

Only one of the 19th-century Jewish primary schools was still in existence in 1939, but a few years earlier the system of Jewish education – which was strictly private in nature – acquired a secondary school and a properly supervised religious education, for which the consistory was responsible, in the synagogues, prayer rooms, and also in a few state high schools. As well as the French Jewish journals, the Yiddish press became increasingly important. Many great Jewish scholars were born and lived in Paris in the modern period. They included the Nobel prizewinners René Cassin and A. Lwoff . In the plastic arts Jews played an especially prominent part in the School of Paris.

Hebrew Printing

The first books containing Hebrew type issued in Paris were printed by A. Gourmont from 1508; and other works were printed during the next half-century. Robert Stephanus produced particularly beautiful Bibles between 1539 and 1556. Hebrew printing was resumed in 1620 by S. Cramoisy. When Louis XIII established a printing press in 1640, it had a Hebrew department of which, however, little use was subsequently made. Under Napoleon I the printer Setier issued some liturgical items. From the middle of the 19th century until the present day the firm of E. Durlacher, the first Jewish printer in Paris, has printed mainly liturgies.

Holocaust Period

On June 14, 1940, the Wehrmacht entered Paris, which was proclaimed an open city. Most Parisians left, including the Jews. However, the population returned in the following weeks. The German-imposed census of Jewish persons and businesses in November 1940 recorded a total of 149,734 Jews (over six years of age), 7,737 Jewish businesses (private), and 3,456 companies considered Jewish. The Jewish population figure was similar to the prewar one, but large numbers of Parisian Jews had preferred to remain in the southern, unoccupied French territory and a sizable number of well-known Jews fled to England and the U.S. (André Maurois , Georges Gombault, Pierre Lazareff), while some, e.g., René Cassin and Gaston Palewski, joined General De Gaulle’s Free French movement in London.

In August 1940, several Jewish shops on the Champs Elysées were stoned by French Nazis under German protection. The anti-Jewish measures which followed first affected the Parisian Jews. Jews were active from the very first in resistance movements. The march to the Etoile on November 11, 1940, of high school and university students, the first major public manifestation of resistance, included among its organizers Francis Cohen, Suzanne Djian, and Bernard Kirschen (see also Partisans, Jewish, in General Resistance in France).

The first major roundups of Parisian Jews of foreign nationality took place in 1941: about 5,000 “foreign” Jews were deported on May 14, about 8,000 “foreigners” in August, and about 100 “intellectuals” on December 13. On July 16, 1942, 12,884 Jews were rounded up in Paris (including about 4,000 children).

The Parisian Jews represented more than half the 85,000 Jews deported from France to extermination camps in the East; most of them were sent to Compiègne or Drancy and from there to Auschwitz , while about three convoys, in March 1943, were dispatched to Majdanek and one transport, in May 1944, to Kovno (Kaunas ).

During the night of October 2–3, 1941, seven Parisian synagogues were attacked. After an attempt to place the blame on the Jews themselves, it rapidly transpired that the attacks were instigated by the German SD (security police) in Paris (see Gestapo ) and carried out by French Fascists, led by Eugène Deloncle, with explosives supplied by the SD. SS-Brigadefuehrer Max Thomas, R.T. Heydrich’s representative to Belgium and France, was then recalled to Berlin, but his Paris subordinate, Standarten-fuehrer Helmut Knochen, kept his position and was even promoted.

Several scores of Jews fell in the Paris insurrection in August 1944.

Following the D-Day invasion, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower planned to direct Allied forces to the German border without first liberating Paris. He was afraid of the time it would require to pacify the city and the demands of providing for the needs of four million residents. He was persuaded by de Gaulle, however, to recapture Paris, which delayed the march to Berlin by as much as six months.

Meanwhile, Hitler had ordered the military commander of the Paris region, Dietrich von Choltitz, to all but destroy the city – raze the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the city’s museums and blow up all the bridges – before the Allies reached the city. Von Choltitz was considered one of Hitler’s most loyal generals, one of the few who was not implicated in the July 20 assassination plot, had met with Hitler before taking the position in Paris and came away from the meeting convinced the Führer was deranged and the war was over. He subsequently ignored Hitler’s orders, allowing the city to survive the war largely intact.

Many streets in Paris and the outlying suburbs bear the names of Jewish heroes and martyrs of the Holocaust period and the Memorial to the Unknown Jewish Martyr, a part of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaire, was erected in 1956 in the heart of Paris.

Contemporary Period

In 1968, Paris and its suburbs contained about 60% of the Jewish population of France. Between 1945 and 1950 the Jewish population of the area grew from 125,000 to 150,000, and in 1968 it was estimated at between 300,000 and 350,000 (about 5% of the total population). In 1950 two-thirds of the Jews were concentrated in about a dozen of the poorer or commercial districts in the east of the city.

The social and economic advancement of the second generation of East European immigrants, the influx of North Africans, and the gradual implementation of the urban renewal program caused a considerable change in the once Jewish districts and the dispersal of the Jews throughout other districts of Paris. The greatest change took place in the neighborhoods that in 1956–57 were still inhabited by artisans and small traders of East European origin.

By 1968, the inhabitants of these neighborhoods had been replaced by the most impoverished of the North African immigrants. Between 1945 and 1968, the urbanization of the Paris region became accelerated. In 1941, 10% of the Jews of Paris resided in the inner suburbs of the city; by 1966 about 20% were living outside the city limits. North African Jews were partly relocated in the large housing developments reserved for repatriated citizens. Between 1957 and 1966, the number of Jewish communities in the Paris region rose from 44 to 148. Like other suburban inhabitants, the Jews were employed mostly in Paris.

Paris is the center of Jewish activities in France, as all the major institutions have their headquarters there. The Paris Consistory, traditionally presided over by a member of the Rothschild family, officially provides for all religious needs. Approximately 20 synagogues and meeting places for prayer observing Ashkenazi or Sephardi (North African) rites are affiliated with the consistory, which also provides for the religious needs of new communities in the suburbs. This responsibility is shared by traditional Orthodox elements, who, together with the Reform and other independent groups, maintain another 30 or so synagogues.

The Orientation and Information Office of the Fonds Social Juif Unifié has advised or assisted more than 100,000 refugees from North Africa. It works in close cooperation with government services and social welfare and educational institutions of the community. The numerous educational and cultural activities of various kinds include efforts to draw young people and intellectuals back into the Jewish community.

From 1957, the World Jewish Congress held an annual French-language colloquium of intellectuals. The Centre Universitaire d’Etudes Juives (CUEJ) exists for the purpose of introducing university students to Jewish culture. Paris was one of very few cities in the Diaspora with a full-fledged Israel-type school, conducted by Israel teachers according to the Israel curriculum. It served the relatively large colony of Israelis, as well as some French Jews who aspired to give their children a genuine Hebrew education.

Numerous cultural and Zionist associations also present varied programs for the Jewish public each evening. However, only one-third of the Jewish population maintains any relations with community institutions. The Six-Day War (1967), which drew thousands of Jews into debates and pro-Israel demonstrations, was an opportunity for many of them to reassess their personal attitude toward the Jewish people.

During the “students’ revolution” of 1968 in nearby Nanterre and in the Sorbonne, young Jews played an outstanding role in the leadership of left-wing activists (see New Left ) and often identified with Arab anti-Israel propaganda extolling the Palestinian organizations, particularly the terrorist Popular Front, as an example of the Third World struggle against imperialism. Eventually, however, when the “revolutionary” wave subsided, it appeared that the bulk of Jewish students in Paris, including many supporters of various New Left groups, remained loyal to Israel and strongly opposed Arab terrorism, although many of them criticized the Israel government for “ignoring the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”

The tension created by the Six-Day War also exacerbated frictions and led to several violent clashes between North African Arabs and Jews in lower middle class and proletarian quarters of Paris. Young Jews began to organize for self-defense against physical attacks, but the clashes ceased mainly through the intervention of the local police.

Later Developments

Since the 1970s Paris has undergone important urbanization which has transformed the countryside. One can no longer separate the 20 arrondissements within the confines of the capital which in 2005 contained 2.15 million inhabitants out of the 10.5 million residents of the Parisian (Ile de France) megalopolis. The Greater Paris economic and social conurbation covers 12,000 square kilometers in which, however, the numerous municipalities retain their autonomous administration.

Estimated at 300,000–350,000 persons, the Jewish community of Greater Paris ranks third (after Greater New York and Los Angeles) among the Jewish cities in the Diaspora. Paris and its environs have always attracted migrants and immigrants: it is a cosmopolitan city in which there live together people of every origin, race, color, and creed.

Within this mixture, the Jews constitute a sizable minority in Paris proper (about 6%–8% of the total population) and in several suburban towns. The great wave of immigration of Jews originating from North Africa in 1955–65 changed the ethnic composition of the Jewish community in the Paris area: Sephardi Jews are now the majority, even if, with the exception of Alsace, the Ashkenazi Jews are more numerous than in the other regions of France. Within Paris proper, the formerly typically Jewish neighborhoods have taken on a Sephardi nature. Some of them are on the way to disappearing, while others have been “Judaized.” Parisian Jews, however, live in every district in the city. The Jewish population of the Paris region is very mobile, partly due to constant urban renewal. In their new places of residence, they establish new communities, most often with Sephardi majorities.

Moreover, the best-known Jewish livelihoods – petty craftsman, small tradesman – have practically disappeared. The Jews are found in every type of occupation and practice in all professions. They play an important role in the Paris intelligentsia.


All the large Jewish organizations have their offices in Paris. Even if some of them intentionally focus their activities in the provinces, Paris remains the main decision-making center of community life. This Jacobinism, a constant of French political life, does not strengthen community unity.

In principle, the main religious organization is the Association consistoriale israélite de Paris (ACIP) comprising the community synagogues of the Paris area. The ACIP, however, is skirted by several ultra-Orthodox groupings such as Lubavitch, which form highly visible groups on the Paris scene. The ACIP fails in controlling its synagogues, their kashrut, and certain of their public manifestations. At the other end of the scale Liberal and Conservative movements are developing which are modern and open to Jews in search of identity; they play an increasingly significant role in the return to Judaism and in transmitting it among milieu recognized by neither the ultra-Orthodox nor by the Orthodox consistory. The religious sector faces serious competition from the large number of associations offering cultural activities, all types of recreational or even political events. These associations may number a few dozen, a few hundred, or even a few thousand members. Large or small, they are the place for frequent meetings among Jews of all religious, Zionist, secular, and political trends. They are the expression of the broad ideological diversity found among the Jewry of the Paris area.

Finally, one cannot forget those Jews considered “peripheral” by the organized community: they rarely, almost never, have any connection to any Jewish organization whatsoever. Parisian cosmopolitanism clearly favors the formation of free unions, mixed marriages, and divorces, most often without a get. These Jews are nevertheless Jews, perhaps not according to halakha, but through their affirmation of their attachment to their Jewish identity. They probably constitute most of the Jewish population in the Greater Paris region.

Cultural Life

Paris remains the center of the intellectual and cultural life of French Jewry. Conferences, colloquia, exhibitions, and other focal manifestations of Judaism in all its multifacetedness proceed apace. Paris is the home of the largest Jewish library in Europe, that of the Alliance Israélite Universelle; another very important library devoted to Yiddish literature, Bibliothèque MEDEM; and significant archival collections concerning the history of Jews in France. The Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine and its Memorial des Martyrs Juifs is one of the leading memorial sites for the Holocaust created after World War II. A new Musée d’Art Juif is under construction. Yet, most research carried out on Judaism, its history, its culture, and Jewish languages is to a large degree integrated within institutes of higher learning. Numerous teams at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique deal with research which may be called the “science of Judaism and Jewishness.” A dozen Paris universities have departments or courses of study devoted to Hebrew, to other Jewish languages, or more generally to teaching and research related to Judaism and Jewish studies. Paris today is one of the main centers for Jewish intellectual life in the Diaspora.

In October 2021, the Dreyfus Museum opened in the Paris suburb Médan. The museum contains documents, photos, court papers, and personal objects related to the Dreyfus Affair. The museum is in the Zola House, a cultural institution devoted to preserving the memory of Émile Zola, the renowned French writer who spoke out on Dreyfus’ behalf in the article “J’accuse.”

The director of the museum and institution, Louis Gautier, said the new space “will show and tell about the affair but also pose questions on vital issues of tolerance, othering, human rights, women’s rights, the separation of church and state and the contract between the republic and its citizens.”


Gross, Gal Jud, 496ff.; B. Blumenkranz, Bibliographie des Juifs en France (1963), S.V. L. Kahn for 10 works and many periodical articles; J. Hillairet, Evocation du vieux Paris, 1 (1951), 361f.; idem, Dictionnaire historique des rues de Paris(19642), index; idem, L’Ile de la Cité (1969), 34–37; I. Loeb, in: REJ, 1 (1880), 60–71; M. Ginsburger, ibid., 78 (1924), 156ff.; P. Hildenfinger, Documents sur les Juifs à Paris au XVIIIe siècle (1913); L. Berman, Histoire des Juifs de France(1937), passim; Z. Szajkowski, in: Yidn in Frankraykh (1942), passim; idem, Franco-Judaica (1962), index; idem,Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer 19391945 (1966), index; R. Anchel, Les Juifs de France (1946), passim; U. Issembert-Gannat, Guide de Judaïsme à Paris (1964); C. Korenchandler, Yidn in Paris (1970); David H. Weinberg, The Jews in Paris in the 1930s: A Community on Trial (1977). HOLOCAUST PERIOD: J. Billig, Le Commissariat Général aux questions Juives, 3 vols. (1955–60), incl. bibl. index; L. Steinberg, Les autorités allemandes en France occupée(1966), incl. bibl. index; C. Lévy and P. Tillard, Betrayal at the Vel d’Hiv (1969); Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine Bibliothèque, Catalogue No. 1: La France… (1964), index; G. Reitlinger, Final Solution (19682), 327–51 and passim; L. Steinberg, La révolte des Justes (1970), incl. bibl. 1945–1970: M. Roblin, Juifs de Paris (1952); C. Roland,Du ghetto à l’Occident (1962).

Sources: Bernhard Blumenkranz, Lucien Steinberg and Doris Bensimon-Donath, Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
Charles Trueheart, “The Allies who liberated Paris, and the Nazi who saved it,” Washington Post, (August 22, 2019).
Cnaan Liphshiz, “The Alfred Dreyfus affair shocked Jews in France. Now there’s a museum devoted to it,” JTA, (October 26, 2021).