France / Hauts-de-France


Soissons. Photo by Pierre Porschadel – Wikipedia

Soissons is a town known for its famous vase, as well as its former role as a capital.

The Jewish presence in Soissons goes back at least as far as the 12th century. The community had a synagogue, probably on the ancient rue de la Juiverie, under the castle walls. Many Jews also lived in the surrounding villages. Jewish life in Soissons came to an end with the expulsion of 1306.

Timid returns took place over the centuries, with 80 Jews living in Soissons on the eve of the Second World War. Many Soissons residents were recognised as Righteous Among the Nations, as the town was a major centre of the Resistance. A ceremony was held in 2017 to honour police officer Charles Létoffé, the 14th Soissons resident to be recognised as Righteous, in the presence of his son and the daughter of Charles Knoll, a greengrocer in Soissons, whom the officer saved.

There were two former Jewish cemeteries. The first was near the city walls and the second near the ancient Porte de Saint Christophe.

Sources : Encyclopaedia Judaica, Times of Israel

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