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MULHOUSE: (Haut-Rhin département, Alsace région) see HEGENHEIM PDF Print E-mail
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Alternate German name: Mühlhausen. The proper names recorded prove that the greater part of the Jews who dwelt in Alsace during the fourteenth century came from the right bank of the Rhine. The first document that signals Jewish presence dates from 1290. In 1356, there were Jews again at Mühlhausen; for Petri ("Mühlhauser Geschüchten," p. 45) gives an account of a Jew in that town who had been apprehended by the lord of Neuenstein, thrust into a sack, and carried to Franche-Comté in order that ransom might be extorted from him. http://judaisme.sdv.fr/histoire/villes/mulhouse/mulhouse.htm has photos, engravings, and information in French. During the Republic Switzerland (1515-1798), Jewry was not allowed to reside there, no one but Catholics. One not understand approval granted to a Jew to settle there and to attend to his business (1655). However, those who lived in the neighboring villages: Dornach, Pfastatt, Rixheim, Issenheim, Luemswiller, could come to sell goods from morning till evening on Sundays and Tuesdays in a precarious situation and with restrictions furthermore. More than once, the loss of this favor was threatened, partly at least. On October 15th, 1690, a magistrate abolished their permission for Sundays there. At each of their entries in the city, they had to pay a body toll to enter with animals ("Juden-Vieh-und Brückenzoll") that was abolished, after much ado, only in 1791, even though the Jews of the land already had become French citizens. Mulhouse was the last city of Alsace to support this insulting performance that Louis XVI had abolished from 1784. During this period, the Republic of Mulhouse nevertheless had the opportunity to prove that it had no feeling of humanity regarding Jewry. During the invasion of Alsace by Turenne, the Jews of the région took refuge in Mulhouse. They were accepted there, but a proscription of the magistrate on August 26th, 1674, imposed then on every household the payment of a 10-florin contribution. When danger of war had disappeared, the Council informed the Jews that they had to leave the city within weeks (March 17th, 1675). A century later, similar facts recurred. Moreover, numerous documents establish that in trials between Jews and Christians, the magistrates of the Republic Mulhousienne observed the rules strictly. While the Revolution began in France, the rabble devoted itself in Alsace to numerous excesses. In Sundgau particularly, its explosion was aimed against noblemen and the Jewry. The Council of the Magistrates of Mulhouse decided to accept the local Jews to take refuge in the city. Several people extended their stay beyond of the period of confusion. But the City tried hard to force them back out as soon as the Magistrates believed they had fulfilled their duties of humanity. The Jewry of the région, thankfully, wrote a special request for welcome in the cities of Mulhouse and Basel, this one having also received them. This request was recited for a long time in the synagogues of Sundgau at witching hour after the request to the King. Soon Mulhouse reunited with France. From March 15th, 1798 on, Jews, loyal citizens, could once again reside there. A new community was to form. Mulhouse became French, the local Jewry of Dornach, Pfastatt, Habsheim, Sierentz, Soultz as well as of Sundgau came little by little to settle in the City that opened its doors to them. The first arrival was Meyer Hirsch, who lived on rue des Boulangers (Street of the Bakers), where he had a son named Baer Hirsch in 1798. Joël Bottegay left Dornach in July of the same year. Dread was rampant as Schneider, the famous terrorist, approached Dornach with his guillotine. Joël was on the chosen victims on the list. Pushed by his fellow Jews, he took refuge in Mulhouse and in his residence on rue des Boeufs, he soon installed a prayer room. In 1808, Jews numbered 165 of a complete population of 8.000 to 9.000. In 1822, they were 400 of about 9.000 inhabitants. in 1890, the Jewish Community consisted of 2,132 persons of a population of 78.892. By the end of the 1900s, a thousand Jewish families, 3.000 to 4.000 souls, were part of a population of about 100.000 inhabitants. This is considerable progress of size might have been larger had it not been for the infant mortality during the first decades of tragic proportions when Jews first came to Mulhouse and if a large number of Jews had not emigrated in the course of the 19th century, particularly after 1870 and WWII. Certain communities, in the past important, are now almost nonexistent or gone. No matter how weak the community was in the first years of the 19th century, it was represented by a named Moyses Aron in the Assembly of the Notables and the Grand Sanhédrin called by Napoleon I in 1806 and 1808 in Paris. Of course, it is subject to consequences of decrees by the Emperor in 1808 also. One of these decrees made Jews obtain a kind of brevet of fairness from the Town council of the place in which they resided and from the Consistory on which they depended. Almost all heads of Jewish families of Mulhouse acquired it. All at once, Jews had to adopt fixed surnames. Certain names were selected that remained particular in Jewish families of Mulhousienne origin: Lantz (in the past Lazarus), Paraf (in the past Levy), Javal, (in the past Jacob), Platz (Jenan), Mangold (Jacob), etc. Another decree organized Jewish worship. From this moment, the community of Mulhouse depended on the Consistory of the Haut-Rhin that belonged then to Wintzenheim (near Colmar). To the main collector for the Consistory of the district of Wintzenheim, the Jewry of Mulhouse was compelled, by legal remedy if necessary, to pay " taxes established for expenses of Mosaic worship and for payment of the debt of the Jewry of former Province of Alsace". From its beginning, the community got down to work. Being still 160 members, it already had three teachers. Besides many Mulhousiens, Jews in the 19th century when granted took the title Reb: Reb Aaron Paraf, Reb Mayer Honig, Reb Seligmann, Reb Joseph Reiss, Reb Seligman Kahn, Reb Susskind, Reb Totter, Reb Seligman Blum, Reb Simon Bing, Reb Jekel Dreyfus (ancestor of the captain Alfred Dreyfus), Reb Jekel Hirsch, Reb Leimah, Reb Moche Weill, Reb Abraham Ikelheimer. In the first half of the century, two of them were "morenou": David Moche Bernheim and Reb Baruch Wahl, elected rabbi of the Community in 1822, who both held an important place in the life of the community. In 1820, the now too small small prayerhouse established in the home of Joël Bategay was transferred to a home located in an alleyway named for the Place that it enlarged - Spitalplatz, which is a part of a rue Sainte-Claire today and who carried for a long time Rue de la Synagogue. In 1821, the Synagogue moved to a home of the same street (nowadays no 25), acquired by the community. Until 1830, the Jewry of Mulhouse was buried in the old burying grounds of the région, in Jungholtz particularly. To the post left vacant by the death of David Berheim in 1831, the distinguished, active man, Samuel Dreyfus, dedicated all of his life to the development of the community despite numerous difficulties. Born in Ribeauvillé in 1805, he had been the first pupil to enter the Rabbinical Central School of France, then in Metz and founded in 1830. He graduated in 1831. His masters held big hopes for him. Alone of all his friends, he was graduate ès-lettres and at the same time he finished his rabbinical studies, he taught his fellow students Latin and French. Mulhouse was the first community of France to provide a rabbi with modern training. Sometimes conflicts between the rabbi and certain elements of the community seem to have been aimed by Rabbi Baruch Wahl. Apparently at a time they cannot specify, the very orthodox grouped, without being separate from the bigerg community, and still remain. Samuel Dreyfus justified the hopes that put in him. He left a large number of historical articles, commentaries and rabbinic comments that appeared in the "Regeneration", a Jewish newspaper of Strasbourg, and in the "Link of Israel"[ Lien d'Israël"] which he founded, wrote and edited for several years in Mulhouse. At the instigation of Samuel Dreyfus, the Community of Mulhouse, continuously growing, constructed the synagogue in 1848, which was dedicated on December 13th, 1849. Among the founders of two organizations never ceased to return considerable services to the community and very early put them at the head of social progress in French Judaism were la Société Philanthropique du Haut- Rhin on Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines which, at the initiative of Mr. Werth, was created in 1842; l'Ecole Israélite des Arts et Métiers (acknowledged to be of public utility on August 18th, 1850), the first one in France after that of Strasbourg; l'Hôpital Israélite founded in 1862 and acknowledged to be of public utility in 1870. The Lantz family was very closely linked to the founding and development of these two institutions. Lazare Lantz, particularly, who had been elected president of particularly of the Consistory of the Haut-Rhin. Other organizations still remain that were created then also. La Société des Jeunes Gens Israélites, founded by the Rabbi Samuel Dreyfus in 1853 and confirmed in 1855 had as its first president the tireless Crow Bernheim, who was in charge and was benefactor for intellectual and artistic activities. In 1860, a Société des Enfants d'Israël also began a mutual insurance system conducted by Salomon Wahl. In 1859, the Community of Mulhouse, the most important of the département, asked to become the seat of the Consistory and the Grand Rabbinate of Haut Rhine, This period of community development shows respectability, devoutness and initiative of its leaders and of its members. http://judaisme.sdv.fr/histoire/villes/mulhouse/hirschl/jmulh3.htm continues with community history in French including the Dreyfus Affair and both World Wars. In 1930 the Jewish hospital was transferred to Pfastatt. The same year, a fundraising financed the building of a Jewish place in the crypt of the National Monument of Harmanswillerkopf (old Armand), where every year from that time an ecumenical service was celebrated in memory of soldiers fallen during First World War. [January 2008]

 

First Jewish Cemetery: In 1830, a Jewish cemetery was established in Mulhouse on the site occupied today by the Garden Salvator. Rabbi David Bernheim dedicated the cemetery in 1830. He was the first buried in 1831 there also. With him ended the period of the establishment of the Jewry that founded the second Jewish community of Mulhouse. In 1890, it was discontinued and tombs transported in the current cemetery. [January 2008]

Second Jewish Cemetery: in the quarter "Wolff" on the border of the city. [January 2008]

 
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