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LYON: (Rhônes, Alpes Centre) PDF Print E-mail

Population: 415,000. Lyon (traditionally Lyons in English), a city in east central France and  third largest French city, is a major center of business, situated between Paris and Marseille with a reputation as the French capital of gastronomy and a significant role in the history of cinema. This important transportation hub between Paris to northwest and Alps, Rhone valley, Marseille, and French Riviera to south and east is a major industrial center and river port at confluence of Saône and Rhone rivers. The first Jewish presence is in the year 39: Hérode ANTIPATER, son of the king of Judaea, exiled by EMPEROR CALIGULA. But if it does not mean inevitably that Jewry lived in the city in those days, it is known that under the Roman control, Lyons already sheltered a Jewish community. Toward the year 800, the community was even thriving and had a synagogue in Fourvière. Under the reign of Charlemagne and his successors, the market day was put back from Saturday to the middle of the week for the convenience of the Jewry. Royal tolerance and harmony that reigned between Jews and Christians attracted the reprimands of the clergy. Two bishops of Lyons, AGOBARD (in 825) and his successor, AMOLON (in 846), led violent campaigns against the Jews. This launched a long period of persecutions that lead to their expulsion in 1420. Toward the end of the reign of Louis XV, a small community of comtadins Jewry from Bordeaux and Alsace was formed in Lyons and acquired the right even to have a burying ground. In 1857, the Consistory of Lyons was created. In 1864, they established a synagogue on the quay Tilsitt. During WWII, the Central Consistory moved its seat to Lyons from 1940-1944. New synagogues created are Chaaré Tsedek since the repatriation of Jews from North Africa, notably the Centre Rav Hida, Neve Chalom. Numerous personalities marked the life in a community of Lyons: Grand Rabbi Albert LEVY (1884), Salomon REINACH, Salomon MUNK, and Grand Rabbi Abraham BLOCH. There are numerous works and studies on the Jewry of Lyons, including: Around the Jewry of Lyons and Vicinity by Eliane DREYFUS and Lise MARX (1958); on Jewry by FRANÇOIS DELPECH (University Presses of Lyons, 1984); an article b Roger BERG in the magazine "Amitiés France-Israël", May-June, 1976. Greater Lyons holds a Jewish community of about 35,000. Rue Juiverie is just behind the Church of St-Paul and is a remnant of an old Jewish quarter that once contained a synagogue, cemetery, and other community institutions. Today, nothing but the street name remains. Two hours south of Paris, Lyon is known for culinary delights and silk and fabrics. During World War II, Lyon was a free city. As a result, all Jewish life in France was centralized there and the city was able to provide safe refuge to a number of Jews. Many Jewish resistance fighters hid in the city during World War II leading Klaus Barbie, "Butcher of Lyon," to set up operations there. On the eve of World War II, 5,000 Jews lived in Lyons, many of whom perished. After WWII, many Jewish immigrants settled there leaving a currently a sizeable Jewish population of 20,000. Lyon has over 20 synagogues including the Grand Synagogue and Neve Shalom. The Grand Synagogue, located on quai Tilsitt 14, was built in 1864. Neve Shalom is a Sephardic synagogue and community center. has the contact information for the remainder. Neveh Shalom, 317 Rue Duguesclin, 69007 Lyon Tél: 04 78 58 18 74 e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [January 2008]

Database of burials in Lyon's Jewish cemetery between 1940 and 1945 can be searched through the search form or the French search form and soon through Steve Morse search engine. Some names from Auschwitz appear in the list as mentioned on other graves. The 
complete census ( burials until 2004) published by the French JGS the Cercle de Genealogie Juive in Paris and we gave a copy to the Jewish community of Lyon. For lookups for other dates, please contact me privately. Manuela Wyler, Lyon, France.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [April 2009]

Le Cimetiere de la Mouche: 11, rue Abraham Bloch (7e). Jewish Section: Dating from 1790: tombs of killed resistance fighters (Rabbi Samy KLEIN, Aron WOLFF and the martyrs of the le Ferme Saint German, Léon PFEFFER, etc). On 9 August 2004, some 60 graves were desecrated in the Jewish cemetery. The graves were covered with anti-Semitic epithets and Celtic crosses. In addition to that, graffiti against the Muslim community was also found. The incident was denounced by the entire political spectrum. [January 2008]

Cimetière de Champagne au Mont d'Or: acquired in 1968. January 2008]

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2009 11:47
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