MONTÉLIMAR, town in the department of Drôme, S.E. France. The first explicit mention of the presence of Jews in Montélimar dates from 1222. The community attained considerable importance during the 14th and first half of the 15th centuries. The synagogue, remains of which still existed at the end of the 19th century, was situated in the Rue de Juiverie or the Rue Puits-Neuf; the school (or possibly another synagogue) was near the Porte Saint-Martin and the cemetery to the northwest of the present cemeteries. The community also maintained a special butcher's shop. As late as 1452, the dauphin granted the Jews of Montélimar, with Jews in several other localities of Dauphiné, some advantageous privileges; the municipal authorities, however, endeavored to render the lives of the Jews intolerable, for instance by compelling them to attend missionary sermons from 1453 onward. The same situation occurred at the end of the century: in 1476, King Louis XI had granted letters of protection to the Jews of Montélimar; however, in 1486, when only seven Jewish families remained there, the townsmen accused them of debauchery and shady practices and demanded their expulsion. From 1489, there no longer appear to have been Jews in Montélimar and the Jewish cemetery was closed. At the beginning of World War II, 150 Jewish families found refuge in Montélimar. There was no organized Jewish community in Montélimar in the 1960s. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gross, Gal Jud, 319; de Coston, Histoire de Montélimar, 1 (1878), 516ff., 4 (1891), 521; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer 1939–1945 (1966), 186. (Bernhard Blumenkranz)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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