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HELLIMER: (Hellimer-Diffembach) (Forbach arrondissemont, Moselle département, Lorraine régio: 57660. PDF Print E-mail


48° 59′ 54″ N 06° 49′ 50″ E. 1999 population was 486. LOCATION: Hellimer, or rather the double village Hellimer-Diffembach, is located on an south-north axis linking to 18th century Nancy in Sarrebrück, a minor road but commercially seen frequently because it links up cities with fairs between them (Saint-Nicolas-de-Port near Nancy and Frankfurt in Germany), cities where the Jewish traders went to buy twice a year for goods that they sold in next months on the Lorraine market. Metz to the West, as Saverne meets Alsace in the east, is only about sixty kilometers from Hellimer. HISTORY: In the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of France stopped at the boundaries of the Champagne région. Lorraine was a dukedom dependent on the Holy Roman Empire, inside which stretched territories of various status: from villages being recovering from the dukedom of Luxembourg, seigniorials belonging to German princes, and the bishopric of Metz. The bishops of Metz had rather vast temporal wealth which included the village of Hellimer. This village was committed to families of gentry, successively the counts Folmar of Metz, Varsberg, Torcheville-Marimont (or Mörsberg), the Schelm de Fénétrange seigniory was divided up between several feudal landowners including the Duke of Lorraine. In 1571, a treaty was signed between the Duke and the Bishop. Various territories were exchanged including the village of Hellimer, with Diffembach and the farm of Ackerbach shared: three-quarters to the Duke and a quarter to the Bishop. Since then, the bishopric of Metz, with those of Toul and Verdun, became royal ground in 1552. The said "bishopric" of Hellimer belonged to the King of France consequently. In 1766, on the death of the last Duke, Stanislas Leczynski, Lorraine was attached to the Kingdom of France, but in Hellimer remained for numerous years "bishopric" in part and "ducal" in part. The village, devastated as many others were during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), was uninhabited until 1660. It became repopulated slowly with people mostly from the Tyrol, Switzerland and centeral Germany. The migratory wave saw a few Jewish peddlers in the Lorraine villages before 1700. A second factor can be responsible for this: Louis XIV's war in the Palatinate in 1689 destroyed numerous localities including the city of Worms where the ghetto was reduced to ash. With the agreement of Minister Louvois, several dozen families were received in Metz, but the ghetto became overcrowded. They redeployed them rapidly to the villages of the countryside with names from 1702 and 1705 testifying to this arrival of families from Germany. We see WORMS for instance in Delme (of the king) and COBLENTZ in Bouquenom (ducale Lorraine). The first Jew established in Hellimer is undoubtedly Marcus Polac around year 1710. In 1728, eight families lived in Hellimer and Diffembach, representing about 10% of the total population; in 1808, they numbered 217 or 25% of the population of both villages. The 18th century therefore is a century of important demographic development, marked by strong immigration in this community. Although nonexistent in 1710, this became one of the most important periods to Lorraine.[January 2008]

Jewish presence in Hellimer (and Diffembach) normally put in an obvious place in inventories as used for other localities show: For part of the dukedom of Lorraine: 180 Jewish families were authorized to live in the dukedom in 1753. Four are mentioned: Joseph Salomon, Aaron Moyse, Lazare Salomon and boy Elias; while no family is mentioned in the place in 1721. For the "bishopric" or royal lands, the Brancas tax (20,000 pound tax) was instituted for the Regent during the minority of Louis XV, Duke of Brancas, and split Jews living in "messin" country according to the incomes of each. These documents, kept in the départemental Archives of Moselle, while two others are kept to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, cover 1747-1785 and name eight to twelve families. All do not appear on these lists since certain Jews became established without legal approval while others often moved. In Départemental Archives are notarial sources (series 3 E) consist of wedding contracts, obligations, purchases or sales of houses, sometimes inventories and successions. Eleven marriage contracts are mentioned in the documents of Fleury and one in that of Fraenckel between 1745 and 1789 that show the origin of the spouse: from Hellimer: 3; from Albestroff, Baudrecourt, Erstroff, Nelling, Imling, and close to Hellimer: 5; from Metz and vicinity (Vallières, Vantoux): 3; and from Alsace, Ingwiller 1. Seemingly, there was no notary in Hellimer before 1770. People moved most often from Albestroff, but also from Insming. These twelve contracts are incomplete, either because certain notarial archives were lost or destroyed or because (frum) Jews do not make contracts. An important Alsatian document, the wedding tables of period 1793 - 1811, found 26 celebrated marriages in which 7 of 26 spouses were originally from Alsace. These figures in the notarized contracts and show Jews of Hellimer interacted with the messine community but also with Alsatian communities. Two contracts illustrate existing social difference even within a small village community: On 9 August 1745 in Metz, a contract between Manesse LEVY, living of Hellimer, son of the late Bernard LEVY, living and working in Binzwangen in Souabe married Ann CAHEN, daughter of Lajeunesse CAHEN of Vantoux: the bridegroom gave a ring worth 20 pounds and brought 45 pounds (his savings), while the bride brought a 650 pound dower. On 4 June 1754 in Insming, Aron, son of the late Abraham de Morhange and nephew of Real WEIL, [?] and on the other side: Sara, daughter of Joachim (Jachil) Polac; Rélle Weil for the dower of future: a golden ring, a silver service, and 900 pounds; the father of the bride brings 1000 pounds, clothes, food for the couple during one year, accommodation for the couple during 4 years (common clauses at the time) with 7 signatures at the bottom of the agreement, among which six were in Hebrew. [January 2008]


Cemetery: Located on rue de Kirchweg, the site bears witness to this important community that on Saturdays and holidays assembled Jews of the villages in the région. The cemetery was saved from destruction during WWII by the intervention of the mayor of the village when the Nazis had put the burying ground up for auction; and the mayor acquired it. Source: Mémoire des communautés juives de Moselle, Henry Schumann, Editions Serpenoise 1999). at least 650 graves [January 2008]


Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 January 2009 15:01
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