Sedan is well known as a former cloth-making centre and has seen many battles in recent wars.
The Jewish presence in Sedan appears to date back to the Middle Ages. It developed thanks to the arrival of Jews from Amsterdam in the middle of the 17th century. However, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that it became more permanent, following the emancipation of the Jews of France.
The Romanesque-Byzantine synagogue in Sedan was built in 1878 by the architect Alfred Mazuel, following the expansion of the community. This was largely due to the arrival of Jews from Alsace-Lorraine in the aftermath of the 1870 war. Simon Debré, father of the paediatrician Robert Debré, was the first rabbi to officiate there, from 1880 to 1888.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Jewish community numbered around one hundred. Many Jews from Sedan were deported during the Holocaust, as commemorated by the monument to the Resistance fighters and deportees in Place Voltaire. The arrival of Jews from North Africa in the 1960s enabled the community to survive, but their numbers declined over the following decades.
In 2023, the Sedan town council approved the purchase of the synagogue, which is the last in the Ardennes department. It will shortly be converted into an exhibition venue.
Sedan’s Jewish cemetery dates back to 1876. It contains over 150 graves and is located next to the municipal cemetery.
Sources : lardennais.fr, Mémoire des communautés juives de Champagne-Ardenne.