BELFORT, capital of the territory of Belfort, eastern France. A grant of privilege conferred on the city in 1307 authorized Jewish residence. Persecutions of Jews living in Belfort are recorded in 1336. They were subsequently expelled and readmitted in 1689. During the French Revolution anti-Jewish excesses took place in the region, but the Jews in Belfort remained unharmed. The Jewish population increased considerably after the Franco-Prussian war (1870–71) with the arrival of Jews from Alsace-Lorraine (then annexed to the German Empire) who wished to remain French.
Holocaust and Postwar Periods
The Belfort Jewish community was destroyed under Nazi occupation. Out of a total of 700 Jews, about 245 were killed. A monument bearing the names of those who perished was erected in the Jewish cemetery after the war. The community was rebuilt after World War II, and together with the Montbeliard Jewish community it numbered 1,200 in 1987. It had a synagogue with an acting minister, a communal center, a network of institutions, and a quarterly bulletin.
Salfeld, Martyrol, 68, 240; A. Corret, Histoire pittoresque et anecdotique de Belfort (1855), 263–72; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 165.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.