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Thirteenth Century.

Former province of France, now absorbed in the departments Isère, Hautes-Alpes, and La Drôme. It is supposed that Jews settled here in the first centuries of the common era (Bédarride, "Les Juifs en France, en Espagne, et en Italie," xxviii.); but nothing is known of their history down to the thirteenth century. Six Jews of Valréas, department of Vaucluse, were accused in 1247 of having murdered a Christian child for ritual purposes. The investigation, which was set on foot by two Franciscan monks, was conducted with ferocity. The unfortunate accused, who unanimously protested their innocence, were horribly tortured for eight days, and finally condemned by the judges—creatures of Dragonet de Montauban, Lord of Valréas—"to be burned, without the crime charged against them having been legally proved, or having been confessed by them" (Elie Berger, "Les Registres d'Innocent IV." i. 424). Profiting by the sentiment aroused by this alleged crime, the Bishop of St. Paul-Trois-Châteaux, the constable of Valence, and a few other noblemen of the province imprisoned the Jews living on their estates and despoiled them of all their possessions.

Pope Innocent IV. intervened in their behalf, and, in a letter addressed to the Archbishop of Vienne, he enjoined that prelate "to bring to the bar of equity all the wrongs that had been so inconsiderately inflicted upon the Jews, and not to suffer them in the future to be arbitrarily molested on account of these and similar accusations" (Elie Berger, l.c.).

In 1253, however, the same pope, yielding to the importunity of the archbishop Jean, authorized him to expel the Jews from the province ("Gallia Christiana, Prov. Vienne," instr.l., li.). They came back in 1289, but in that year the council of Vienne compelled them to wear the yellow badge in the shape of a quoit, and forbade them to employ Christian servants.

Fourteenth Century.

The dauphin Humbert I. favorably received the Jews driven from France in 1306, and authorized them to establish banking-houses within his states, on payment of considerable taxes (Prudhomme, "Les Juifs en Dauphinéaux XIV⊇ et XV⊇ Siècles," p. 12; compare "Revue Etudes Juives,", ix. 254, and Depping, "Les Juifs dans le Moyen-Age," p. 161). He entrusted them also with public offices and admitted them into his court (Prudhomme, l.c. pp. 14, 18, 72).

The Black Death.

During the Black Death, having been accused of poisoning the cisterns and wells, the Jews of St. Saturnin and Ste. Euphémie were butchered and their possessions plundered (1348). At Veyne ninety-three were massacred. At La Mure a Jew accused of having kidnaped a Christian child was condemned to a horrible death; being cut in two and his quivering limbs hanged on a gallows (l.c. 30). Urged by the need of money, the dauphin Humbert, between 1350 and 1365, confiscated all the outstanding credits of the Jews in the county of Gap and in the baronies of Montauban and Meuillon ("Revue Etudes Juives," ix. 247); and in 1388 he annulled the privileges which he had granted to the Jews of Dauphiné, who, in order to have them restored, had to pay him the sum of 1,000 florins (Valbonais, "Histoire du Dauphiné," vol. ii., preures No. 9; compare Prudhomme, l.c. p. 23, and Depping, l.c. p. 162). In the same year he imposed upon them a special tax of 10,000 francs, and in 1390 he laid upon them an additional tollage of 2,000 francs.

Fifteenth Century.

On March 4, 1413, the dauphin's council compelled the Jews to have their synagogues, their ovens, their wells, and their markets separate from those of the Christians (Prudhomme, l.c. p. 58; Depping, l.c. p. 196). The dauphin Louis (1461-83), afterward King Louis XI. of France, accused them of excessive usury and of dealings with his enemies during his exile in Flanders and Brabant, and condemned them to a fine of 1,500 gold crowns ("Revue Etudes Juives," ix. 239). In consequence of this they emigrated in great numbers from Dauphiné.

From the seventeenth century onward they were no longer allowed to reside in that province. A decree of Parliament (Jan. 10, 1665) granted them a sojourn there of not more than three days, under penalty of being whipped and of having their merchandise, money, and chattels confiscated (Prudhomme,l.c. p. 69). Jews lived in all the important places of Dauphiné, but the principal congregations were in Vienne, Nyons, Grenoble, St. Symphorien d'Ozon, Crémieu, Montélimar, Valence, and Etoile.

Jews were resident in the following places also:

Graisivaudan District:

A Hebrew document dated Adar 6, 5106 (Jan. 30, 1346), states that the officers of the Jewish communities of the district had pledged themselves under oath to pay to the dauphin, in addition to their share of the money needful for the expenses of the country, such further taxes as should be levied upon them ("Revue Etudes Juives," x. 239, 240).

Crest or Crest-Arnault:

Here, in 1296, R. Menahem ben Aaron copied the Pentateuch with the five Megillot and the Hafṭarot, for Jacob of Crest, son of Solomon the Saint, the martyr of Grenoble (Zunz, "Z. G." p. 208; Gross, "Gallia Judaica," p. 143).


R. Eliezer ben Jehiel, , copied here, at the end of the thirteenth century, the manuscript of the "Semaḳ" now preserved at Paris (Gross, l.c. p. 318). The dauphin Humbert II. gave orders in 1339 to all his officers in the baronies of Montauban and of Meuillon to compel all the debtors of the Jews to settle their debts when due (Prudhomme, l.c. p. 19).


The wealthy Astrug Macip, or Astrugon Mancip, one of the familiars of the dauphin Humbert II., lived here. In a document of the year 1346 he calls himself the dauphin's "garderium specialem" (Prudhomme, l.c. pp. 25, 76).


The home of R. Solomon ben Eliezer Ḥayyim ha-Kohen, called "Diéau" or "Deuaye," who about 1340 copied the Pentateuch with Onkelos and the commentary of Rashi (Prudhomme, l.c. p. 18; Gross, l.c. p. 269).


The physician David Levi lived here. Raoul, lord of the manor of Gaucourt and governor of Dauphiné, granted him in 1445, on the recommendation of King René, Count of Provence and Forcalquier, the right to practise medicine in the baronies, the counties of Gap and Embrun, and the districts of Champsaur ("Revue Etudes Juives," ix. 261).


Home of Moses, the surgeon, to whom the governor of Dauphiné in 1370 granted the unrestricted right to practise medicine in the whole province, "where the lack of physicians is daily deplored" (ib. ix. 251).

Jews also dwelt at La Salette (Carmoly, "Revue Orientale," iii. 460), La Tour-du-Pin," Villeneuve de Royban (Prudhomme, l.c. pp. 16, 58, and 76), Aoûste, Oriol-en-Royan, Bordeaux, Communay, Albon, Tullins, Beaucroissant, St. Christophe, Chatte, Grane, Moutiers, Le Pont, Bourgoin, St. Sorlin, La Roche-sur-le-Buis, Moirans, Voiron, Roy bon, St. Nazaire, Laval, and Montrigaud ("Revue Etudes Juives," ix. 240-247).

All these communities have entirely disappeared. To-day in the ancient province of Dauphiné only a few Jewish families remain, and these are scattered at Grenoble, Valence, Nyons, and Valréas.

  • Prudhomme, Les Juifs en Dauphiné aux XIVe et XVe Siècles, in Acad. Delphinale, xvii. 129et seq.;
  • idem, Notes et Documents sur les Juifs du Dauphiné, in Revue Etudes Juives, ix. 231et seq.
G.S. K.
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