VERDUN, town in the department of Meuse, E. France. During the ninth and tenth centuries it was a stronghold and a station on the trading route of slaves captured in Germany or England and who were sold in Spain. According to Christian sources, merchants engaged in this trade were Jews, but from Hebrew sources this appears to be doubtful. On the other hand, the latter mention the tosafists of Verdun, Samuel b. Hayyim, a disciple of Jacob b. Meir Tam (Rabbenu Tam), Samuel b. Joseph the Younger (Ha-Bahur), and his brother Jacob. Later the Jews were no longer authorized to live in Verdun and in the bishopric, and it was in vain that the town appealed to the Council of *Basle, in 1434, for the right to admit them temporarily. During the 18th century some Jews of *Metz unsuccessfully attempted to obtain this same right (in 1710, 1748) and others, who had illegally settled there, were expelled (1752, 1774). The community, which was founded at the time of the Revolution, was affiliated with the consistory of *Nancy in 1808. At first it rapidly increased in numbers, reaching 217 Jews in 1806. From then until the 20th century its size was more or less constant. In 1970 there were about 80 Jews in the town. At Douaumont there is a monument to the 10,000 French Jews who fell between 1914 and 1918. Desecrated by the Nazis, it was restored in 1959.
B. Blumenkranz, Juifs et chrétiens dans le Monde Occidental (1960), 13; C. Verlinden, in: Mélanges Félix Rousseau (1958), 673; Gross, Gal Jud, 205–7; G. Weill, in: REJ, 125 (1966), 297–8.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.