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TOURS: (Indre-et-Loire département, Touraine région) PDF Print E-mail
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The capital city of the Indre-et-Loire département on the lower reaches of the river Loire between Orléans and the Atlantic coast, the population is 130,000 Touraine, the région around Tours, known for its wines and for the perfection of its local spoken French, is also the site of the cycling race Paris-Tours. A flourishing city in the Middle Ages, Tours is famous for its old part of the city called Le Vieux Tours with medieval style houses in half-timbering and Place Plumereau. Since the first half of the sixth century Jews have lived either in the city or in its environs, especially in Civray. About 580, a Jewish tax-collector of Tours named Amantius, together with his three attendants, one Jew and two Christians, was attacked by a certain _________, stripped, murdered, and thrown into a well. At the close of the eleventh century Philip I of France made over to his wife, Bertrade, half the revenues from the Jews of Tours, while in 1119 and 1143 Louis VI and his son, Louis VII, presented this income as an offering to the Abbey of Saint Martin. In 1141 the Jews were obliged to give the king at Easter the sum of thirty sous, together with half a pound of pepper and other gifts in kind; and at Christmas they were forced to give half a pound of pepper, two loaves of bread, a pitcher of wine, and a certain quantity of meat. In 1171, a notable of Tours intervened in favor of the Jewish community of Blois suspected of ritual murder. Later, the Jews were thrown out several times. Some erudite persons there corresponded with Rashi. At the end of the twelfth century, they were compelled to pay 30 sous annually to Richard, King of England and Count of Tours, and to the Abbey of Saint Martin. After 1202, the kings of France collected the revenues of the Jews, which amounted to 120 livres in 1234, but which increased to 1,024 livres and 5 denarii in 1298, and reached the sum of 2,077 livres, 9 denarii in the following year. In 1306, the Jews were expelled from Tours, but returned in 1315 and were molested four years later by a band of rogues pretending to have a commission from the king to extort money from them. Then came the charge of poisoning the wells; and in 1321 they were again driven from Tours, Amboise, Loches, and Chinon. The Jews of Tours had their own ghetto ("la Juiverie") situated in the parish of Saint-Pierre du Boile in the Rue des Maures, called the Rue des Morts or de la Juiverie in the eighteenth century. In 1306 Philip the Fair presented the Jewish quarter to the archbishop and his clergy.  In the Middle Ages, Jews lived in an area near the Rue de la Caserne where they had a synagogue and leased cemetery land from the archbishop. They were required to bury their own dead as well as the dead from the Jewish communities of nearby towns and villages. During WWII, the région of Tours was particularly marked by the sad camp of Lande, in Monts, near Tours where 490 Jews were committed, deported and exterminated by the Nazis. The Community lost many members during WWII and reconstituted with the arrival of the Jewry of North Africa. The synagogue at Tours, which dates from 1907 benefited at the end of 1994 from landmark status (visits by appointment). Universities and establishments of higher education in Tours have about 30,000 students among whom are numerous young French Jewish students and from the whole world. These students are welcome in the community of about 700 persons. ACIT Synagogue at 37, rue Parmentier, 37000 Tours Cedex, Tél 02-47-05-56-95 and Centre Communautaire at 6, rue Chalmel - 37000 TOURS, Tél 02-47-05-59-07. [January 2008]


No longer extant cemetery: The old cemetery in the Parish of Saint Vincent in front of the "old garden" extended from the vineyards of Saint Vincent to the Rue de la Chèvre and from the vineyards of the vestry of Saint Julian to the street which ran in front of the "old garden." In the thirteenth century, certain disputes arose between the Jews of Tours and Archbishop Pierre de Lamballe, but in 1255 the latter guaranteed them perpetual possession of their cemetery and of a house and the vineyards attached, reserving for himself only the right of jurisdiction and a rent of five gold oboles of the value of 25 sous, payable annually at Christmas. In case of non-payment, the Jews were liable to a fine of 7½ sous and were forbidden to till the ground until they discharged their debt. In return, the archbishop, in guaranteeing the peaceable possession of the cemetery, granted also the right to inter Jews without regard to the place of death. In the house attached to the graveyard, they were permitted to place a guardian exempt from service to the archbishop and from payment of any rental. This agreement was ratified in 1305 by Archbishop Renaud, successor of Pierre de Lamballe; but in the following year the cemetery was confiscated, together with the other property of the Jews, and it disappeared completely in 1359-60. [January 2008]

Cimetière Municipal de Tours-Saint-Symphorien: Jewish section [January 2008]

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