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Capital of the dukedom of Lorraine, Nancy was long hostile to the presence of Jews. By 1470, a dozen Jewish families lived in Nancy. Charles the Bold (1476) threatened their lives; Duke René expelled them from the city. In 16th century, a few Jewish families were present. Starting from 1700, a few Jews from Metz were allowed to trade in Nancy but not to settle. Nevertheless, a few families succeeded in settling in Lunéville and Nancy between 1712 and 1721 as shown by a 1721 census that lists 73 authorized (by Duke Leopold) Jewish households in the whole dukedom, but only 4 at Nancy while 180 lived in all of Lorraine. In 1736 Leopold ordered all Jews living in houses adjacent to those of Christians to remove to a special quarter that he assigned to them, under penalty of confiscation of their property. In case they were owners of the houses in which they lived and did not dispose of them or were merely tenants of real estate outside the ghetto, the fine was 2,000 francs. King Stanislaus was friendlier toward the Jews. On Jan. 25, 1753, he suspended the edict of 1728, but maintained all the old laws. He appointed Solomon Alcan, Isaac Berr, and Michael Goudchaux of Nancy syndics of the Jews of Lorraine. This decree was sanctioned in 1762 by the parliament of Lorraine; but the number of Jews authorized to reside in Lorraine was still limited to 180 families. All others were ordered to leave within a month under penalty of expulsion and the confiscation of their goods by the king. At the end of the "Ancien Régime", about 500 Jewish families lived there, i.e. about 2,500 people taking into account "authorized" as well as "illegal" people. In 1789, the Jewish community of Nancy was very prosperous. Bishop la Fare himself, although strongly opposing their eligibility, was obliged to admit before the National Assembly (Dec. 23, 1789) that the Jews had rendered great services to the state and especially to the city of Nancy. In 1791, the Jews of the city addressed a petition to the Legislative Assembly requesting that they might be omitted from the list of those assessed for the liquidation of the debts of the ancient Jewish community of Metz. The petition was granted. The congregation had several charitable societies and maintained a home for the aged. Among the rabbis of Nancy are Jacob Schweisch (end of 18th century), Baruch Guguenheim, Marchand Ennery, D. Marx, S. Ulmann, and Liebermann (19th century). Among its principal Jewish residents, special mention should be made of the physician Berr Isaac Berr of Turique, who took a prominent part in the emancipation of the Jews. On Oct. 14, 1789, he appeared on the floor of the National Assembly and delivered an eloquent discourse in which he demanded the rights of citizens for his coreligionists. With his son Michel Berr, Moïse Levy Gumpel, and Baruch Guguenheim he took part in the Assembly of Notables and in the Great Sanhedrin. In 1904, the Jewish population was 4,500. After WWI, France urgently need to find a work force to rebuild the country, Thus, Jewish immigrants arrived from Poland in 1920 to work in the steel plants of surrounding (Pompey, Pont-à-Mousson, Pont-Saint-Vincent), in chemical industry (Dombasle, Varangéville). In these villages, they live in poor, insalubrious quarters, dedicated to destruction. Later, these streets will become an important center of textiles. Sources: Jewish Encyclopedia and others [January 2008]


Schumann, Henry Schumann. Mémoire des Communautés juives, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Vosges, Ed. Serpenoise, Metz, 2003 (Ref. B295)

Job, Françoise. Les Juifs de Nancy du XIIe au XXe siècle », Presses Universitaires de Nancy, 1991, 172 p. [January 2008]


Cemetery: The imposing city burying ground is located at 2 av. de Boufflers has a burial list in a box near the entrance dated July 21, 2005 with several thousands of graves, listed by alphabetical order of the deceased, with the maiden names for married women, birth and death year and location in the cemetery. Contact the office of the (Jewish) Community at (++33) 3 83 32 10 67. Note that this cemetery contains graves of people born in the whole of Alsace and Lorraine and deceased not only at Lunéville but also in neighboring villages. At its entrance is a memorial to the Shoah in Nancy. has photos and text in French. In 1987, as part of the bicentenary of the synagogue, twenty schoolchildren planted twenty bushes as a memorial to the twenty Jewish children kidnapped from their shelter by the occupying Nazis. Who were deported without return to death camps. The name of every missing child is inscribed on a small marker placed at each tree. has photos and information in French. [January 2008]

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