VESOUL, town in the Haute-Saône department, E. France. There were already a few Jews in Vesoul before the end of the 13th century, but it was at the turn of the century that an important Jewish community was formed. It owned a synagogue in the Grande-Rue, the remains of which could still be seen during the 16th century. One of the leading personalities of this community was Héliot, who, together with a number of other Jews, engaged in banking, moneylending, and commercial and agricultural transactions within a very extensive radius of the town. The names which appear in various documents indicate that there were at least 15 families living there in 1332. When the *Black Death occurred in the autumn of 1348, the duke ordered the Jews to be arrested throughout the duchy and their property seized. Eighty Jews, some of whom may have belonged to neighboring localities, were imprisoned at Toul. Although the sale of their belongings did not raise much, it should not be concluded that the Jews had been impoverished since the days of Héliot, but rather that they succeeded in hiding their precious objects in good time. Condemned to banishment on Jan. 27, 1349, they soon reappeared in Vesoul, though for a short time only. The economically powerful medieval community did not produce any scholars. On the other hand, *Manessier de Vesoul, who negotiated the return of the Jews to France in 1359 and became the syndic of those who established themselves in Langued'oil, was a native of Vesoul. At the time of the French Revolution, at least two Jews lived at No. 3 Place du Palais, and a Renaissance bust in the courtyard of this building is known as "du Juif." A small community existed in Vesoul from the middle of the 19th century until the beginning of World War II.
Gross, Gal Jud, 190; J. Morey, in: REJ, 7 (1883), 10, 16; I. Loeb, ibid., 8 (1884), 161–96; M. Griveaud, Vesoul (1929), 39; L. Monnier, Histoire de … Vesoul (1909), 43–50, 73–75; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 254; L. Gauthier, in: Mémoires de la société d'émulation du Jura, 3 (1914), 57–253.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.