SAINTES, town in the Charente-Maritime department, W. France. The presence of Jews in Saintes is explicitly confirmed from 961. A charter of that date even mentions that they all lived together, probably in the street subsequently called Rue Juive, a name it retained until at least 1629 (it was later known as Rue des Jacobins). In 1236, when the Jews of the whole province of Saintonge, or perhaps only those of Saintes, were attacked by crusaders, Pope Gregory IX called on the bishop of the town to protect them. Although threatened with expulsion by *Alphonse of Poitiers in 1239, Jews were still living in Saintes in 1266. The only scholar of Saintes whose name has survived is a certain R. Isaac who ratified a decision of *Samuel of Evreux. Before 1735 Jewish merchants from *Bordeaux and *Comtat Venaissin were trading in Saintes, with the connivance of an important local personality whose house they used as a warehouse and shop. A few Jews lived in Saintes on the eve of World War II, but in 1970 there was no Jewish community.
Gross, Gal Jud, 659f.; H. See, in: REJ, 80 (1925), 179–81; Bulletin de la Société des arch, de le Saintonge et de l'Aunis, 17 (1897), 456f.; P.F. Fournier and P. Guébin (eds.), Enquêtes Administratives d'Alphonse de Poitiers (1959), 197f.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.