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DIJON: (Côte-d'Or, Bourgogne) : 21000 PDF Print E-mail


47°19′26″N, 05°02′34″E. Dijon is the historical capital of the province of Burgundy (Bourgogne). 2005 population: 150,800 for the commune; 236,953 for the greater Dijon area. Dijon, although famous for its mustard, nowadays around 90% of all mustard seeds used are imported, mainly from Canada. Many superb vineyards producing vins d'appellation contrôlée, such as Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin, are within 20 minutes of the city center. The region's architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons (Burgundian roofs) made of tiles glazed in terra cotta, green, yellow and black and arranged in eye-catching geometric patterns. The city is also well known for crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) used in the drink known as "Kir" (white wine, especially Bourgogne aligoté, with the blackcurrant liqueur, named after former mayor of Dijon Félix Kir). Dijon began as a Roman settlement called Divio, located on the road from Lyon to Mainz. This province was home to the Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11th century CE until the late 1400s. Dijon was a place of tremendous wealth and power and one of the great European centers of art, learning and science. Jews have settled in two special quarters: the first and most important comprised the entire Rue Buffon, until the French Revolution called "Rue des Juifs"; the second, "La Petite Juiverie," comprised Rue Piron in the lower part of the town with a section of the Rue Amiral Roussin and of the Rue Charrue. The Jewish community dates back at least to the end of the 12th century, when the Jewish quarter consisted of Rue de la Petite Juiverie (site of the medieval synagogue, now Rue Piron), Rue de la Grande-Juiverie (now Rue Charrue), and the Rue des Juifs (now Rue Buffon). In 1196, Duke Eudes III permitted the Jews from the village of Fénay to live in Dijon, and the same duke "gratified" a certain Vigier with the Jew Hélie and his family in 1197 [sic]. In 1204 he ceded the use of certain revenues to the Jew Valin, his creditor. A Jew of Dijon, Bandit ben Benion, was the creditor of Philippe, Abbot St. Loup of Troyes, in 1216. Another Jew, Salamine, made important loans to the abbeys of Sainte-Bénigne and Sainte-Seine in 1223, for which, however, Duchess Alix of Vergy, widow of Eudes III, made him sign a bill of release. Eudes III annulled a debt due to the Jew Jessuel (1217) and Hugues IV another, due to Dedone, "Judæus meus" (1228). At the request of David Lévy and Joseph of St. Mihiel, Philip the Bold (Duke of Burgundy) permitted twelve Jewish families to settle in his duchy in 1374. In 1379, ten Jewish families settled at Dijon. Burgundy demanded the expulsion of the Jews (1382-1384); but as the latter had lent 3,000 livres to the duke for the continuation of the war in Flanders, they were authorized to remain. The duke even conferred upon them certain privileges: fifty-two families were to be allowed to live in Burgundy during the following twelve years provided they paid a certain sum annually.The leaders of the Jewish community at that time were Joseph de St. Mihiel and David and Solomon de Balme. However, the Jews seemingly were not eager to avail themselves of favors granted by Duke Philip the Bold because in 1387, only fifteen Jewish families lived in Burgundy. Notwithstanding the exile of 1397, there were still some Jews at Dijon after that time: Solomon de Balme was living there as late as 1417. The Parliament of Dijon in 1730 authorized Joseph Raphael from Lazia and other Jewish merchants from Bordeaux to trade for one month in every season of the year in all the towns in its jurisdiction; but the Council of State annulled that privilege in the following year. The Jewish Consistory formed in 1835, but the present Jewish community of Dijon dates from 1789 and included 50 families in 1803 and about 400 individuals in 1902. The ancient synagogue was situated on Rue Buffon. In the third year of the French Revolution, it was on Rue Maison-Rouge; in 1795 in Rue des Champs; in 1820 in Place d'Armes; in 1829 in a part of the apartments of the Prince of Conde; and in 1841 on the ground floor of the Hôtel de Ville. On Boulevard Carnot, in one of the finest quarters of the city, the corner-stone was laid on Sept. 21, 1873 for the last synagogue built, dedicated Sept. 11, 1879. In addition to the synagogue, the Jews of Dijon possessed a large schoolhouse in Rue Buffon. During the Occupation, the Germans used the synagogue as a warehouse. The lovely 19th-century edifice was spared destruction during World War II, but the original pews were lost. Services are celebrated according to Sephardic ritual. The Community Center was dedicated in 1980. Dealers, employees, civil servants and other occupations constitute the majority of the 2006 Jewish population of 240 families, native to a great extent from Maghreb, but also from Alsace and Eastern Europe. Several booklets in the local archives concern this community from the 13th century. There are also very numerous documents concerning the epoch of the Dukes of Burgundy and the period of 1795-1905. A.C.I. and Synagogue, Centre Communautaire at 5, rue de la Synagogue - 21000 DIJON, Tél 03-80-66-46-47. Sources include Jewish Encyclopedia, Wikipedia and others. [January 2008]

  • Medieval cemeteries: Rue du Grand-Patet, behind the Jewish quarter: no longer extant. Although they had a Jewish ghetto, the Jews had difficulties procuring a piece of land for burials. In 1331 Duke Eudes IV presented a part of this cemetery valued at 400 livres, an enormous sum for that time, to the abbey of Bussière. The cemetery located on what is now Rue Berlier or on Grand-Potet Street (rue Buffon) was destroyed after the Jews were expelled from France in 1306. The cemetery in 1250 must have been quite extensive since skeletons were discovered into rue Buffon and many gravestones, whole or broken, were discovered in Plaza Rameau. Musée Archéologique de Dijon (The Dijon Archeology Museum) holds an important collection of 12th- and 13th-century Jewish tombstones and tombstone fragments in the cellars of the Archeological Museum. Open May 15 to September 30, daily except Tuesday, 8:55 A.M.-6 P.M.; October 1 to May 14, daily except Monday and Tuesday, 9 A.M.-12:30 P.M. and 1:35 P.M.-6 P.M. 5, rue du Docteur-Maret, tel. [January 2008]
  • Les Baraques de Gevrey Cemetery: Dates from 1320. Philip the Bold, in consideration of the sum of one franc in gold per capita, authorized the Jews of Dijon to own a cemetery close to the city (1373). After the expulsion of the Jews of France in 1306, Jews remained in Burgundy but their cemetery is no longer tolerated near the city of Dijon: it is transferred 12 km from the city to a locality called "Les Baraques de Gevrey" on the route to Beaune, a hundred paces east of Chemin (called Courtépée). Under the reign of Philippe le Hardi, a cemetery was authorized in 1373, close to the city at the cost of "a golden franc" per head. This continued until 1395, the date of the final expulsion.  A new community was established after the French Revolution.
  • Chemin de Fontaine Cemetery: In 1789, on their return to Dijon, the Jews bought a plot on the Chemin de Fontaine, northwest of the city, which was transformed into a cemetery; but, for hygienic reasons, was closed. The law allowing the establishment of a Jewish cemetery was carefully recorded in the public acts. Jewish tombstones discovered in 1885-1900 came from different Jewish cemeteries of the city. They have no date and were mostly discovered and mistaken for quarry-stone from Castrum. Some stones were discovered in Vauban Street in the cellars of the old hospital of Saint Fiacre and could be dated to the first centuries of the monarchy (discovered in walls of that era). Some were admirably well preserved (in the Archeological museum). [January 2008]
  • Cimitiere municipal: [January 2008]
Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 January 2009 13:20
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