JEWISH AND KOSHER FRANCE הקהילה היהודית בצרפת: בתי כנסת, בתי חב"ד, אוכל כשר, מסעדות כשרות, מקוואות, מלונות כשרים, ועוד    


Clermont-Ferrand - Small Synagogue
20, rue des 4 Passports
63 000 CLERMONT-F ERRAND , France
Last updated on: October 24, 2010
Please update us!

Ass Cultuelle Israelite
Clermont-Ferrand - Synagogue

6 Rue Blatin
Clermont-Ferrand, France
Tel: +33 4 73 93 36 59
+33 4 73 34 06 33

Last updated on: October 24, 2010
Please update us!

About the Jewish Community of Clermont-ferrand:

The Jewish presence in CF can be traced back to antiquity. Moreover, some names of neighborhoods or streets remind:

  • Fontgiève Street (fountain of the Jews)
  • Montjuzet hill (Mountain Jews)
  • Rue du Faubourg-des-Jews, etc. ..

In the Middle Ages, Jews leaving Clermont city belonging to the Bishop and they derisively call "Dark Mountain" (Har Hanefel). However, Montferrand, a royal city, they will remain until the Jews are, collectively, driven from the Kingdom of FRANCE.

The community was restructured in the late eighteenth century because of the integration of fellow arrived in this order:

  • the south of France
  • the south of France
  • Turkey
  • Alsace
  • Central Europe
  • in Algeria
  • of Morocco
  • Tunisia

A medieval Jewish cemetery has been updated in the town of Ennezat, a few km from Clermont-Ferrand.

The community has recently acquired, through the gift of a generous benefactor, the building's old synagogue where restoration is under study.

Currently, the community represents about 150 families


The Jews of Clermont
Written by JS  

Can we really speak of a Jewish community? Yes and no. It seems more accurate to use the plural, as it is true that several communities have succeeded without any real continuity. The Jews of Clermont with a fragmented story (1), Dominique Jarrassé (2) makes an important contribution to the formation of the collective memory of the city.
The ancient synagogue of the Rue des Quatre-Passports is a heritage of the Jewish community Clermont.

On what date was the first implantation Clermont? Hard to say, both materials are rare and discontinuous. The existence of a group of Jews is attested from the fifth century and its dispersion in 576, when Bishop Avitus imposes the choice between conversion and expulsion.

However, there is no written record of persecutions caused the Crusades, epidemics and the Hundred Years War. This silence, in contrast to the glut of stories on other provinces raises questions, especially as the presence of Jews in the thirteenth century is located in Fontgiève at the foot of Montjuzet. They are rabbis, craftsmen carpenters, wine merchants, spices, wax, horses and cattle. The Enlightenment is not totally free of prejudices against them, the revolutionaries accusing them of having done nothing for freedom and away from public affairs. The community, of medium height, with over one hundred members in 1872. They live on streets Gras, the hosier, St. Peter's Square and the surrounding suburbs, streets Fontgiève, Sainte-Rose and Champgil are hawkers, (but all hawkers are non-Jews) or traders. City councilors insist they are "blameless", they get the right to install their cemetery in the neighborhood of the Morea and learns, in 1862, a synagogue, rue des Quatre-Passports, all signs of a successful integration. But fragile.

The revival of Catholicism that accompanies the Second Empire, resulting in a contempt of Judaism, and faced with the rapid success of some Jews, anti-Semitism is growing, fueled by the Dreyfus affair. It goes tragically proliferate under the Vichy regime, which applies from 1940 a five-point program: census (the lists are sent to the occupier), house arrests, expulsions, and deportations Aryanization property. The first affected are foreigners and naturalized Jews of recent date, but 1942 sounds the hour of danger for all. The "pickups" the most important taking place in August, February and March of next year, others are the University of Strasbourg and Clermont folded isolated families. The prisoners were taken to school and Amedee-Gasquet F Camp, located near Gerzat then loaded into cattle cars. Branch Drancy, Auschwitz: the same itinerary disaster for all. While not entirely yours, the response should be nuanced Auvergne, Clermont since have often expressed their solidarity, especially after 1942 and saved lives.

After liberation, the life of the community was enlivened by the arrival of Jews from Algeria, the acquisition of a large local street Blatin, became synagogue and the creation of the cultural center John Issac. It is anchored around the traditional Judaism.

(1) published by Presses Universitaires de France, collection Studies in the Massif Central, 278 pages, 180F (e 27.44).
(2) professor at the University of Bordeaux III, he taught several years of art history at the Faculty of Arts, Clermont-Ferrand.


About Synagogue de la rue des 4 Passports

A presence that dates back to ancient times:

After the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem (in 70 CE), Jewish communities implanted in Marseille, then along the Rhone valley before reaching Clermont-Ferrand. In the fifth century, the Jewish Quarter is located around the current street Fontgiève (meaning fountain of Jews) and at the foot of the hill Montjuzet (which means mountain of the Jews). Fontgiève remains the area of Jews during the Middle Ages. From the fourteenth century, we lose track of them. It is likely that following the plague and persecution, they disperse before leaving the Kingdom where they are banned in 1615. In the late eighteenth century, they settled back, still in the neighborhood Fontgiève ...

A modest place of worship:

Under the Second Empire, the Jewish community in Clermont entrust the care Jarrier Louis François (1829-1881), architect of the city, transforming the "home Roger" in place of worship. The synagogue of the Four-Passports will be inaugurated March 20, 1862. Modest size (6m 11m), the building would pass almost unnoticed if not Jarrier had tripartite facade with a central body with a fake stone of Volvic. The door, flanked by two pilasters, is surmounted by the inscription "Temple" and crowned with a pediment at the center of which is a decorative inlaid in white marble surrounded by foliage. Above, two bays pierced the wall in the tables are topped by the Act. They are maintained and enhanced by two side curls which a string is attached.

The breath of Safed mysticism:

In the early days of the occupation, the synagogue underwent regular attendance.

Rabbi Andrew Chekroun says:

"The rabbinical seminary of Paris had fallen to Chamalières under the leadership of Rabbi Maurice Liber, with a handful of students (including André Chekroun) ... Around the seminar and the humble synagogue Four-Passports, regrouped families Alsatian refugees often ... Despite or because of the tragedy, Judaism has rarely been so at Clermont-Ferrand-occupied such a degree of fervor and excitement ... For those who lived through that unforgettable atmosphere, Four-Passports synagogue was the first breath of mystical Safed masters that hung over the Auvergne. "

With the first roundups of Jews in late 1942, the synagogue ceased to be popular. It opened its doors at the end of the war.

The synagogue today:

In 1966, the Shrine is transferred into an apartment Blatin Street and the synagogue of the Four-Passports is sold. It then undergoes big changes: a floor is installed at the rostrum while the furniture is shipped Blatin street. In 1990 the synagogue was sold again. One patron bought it as a gift to the Jewish community of Clermont-Ferrand, too poor it can not be restored. Only existing synagogue in Auvergne, located almost midway between Bordeaux and Lyon, this building should become a memorial dedicated to the memory of the righteous Auvergne and development of Jewish culture in the Auvergne.

Now high in 2006 of obtaining its inclusion in the inventory of historical monuments, it expects a revival in which a whole team working for ten years.

Renaissance worthy of its status as true place of Jewish memory of Auvergne.