The Holocaust in France

The Holocaust In France

The history of the Jews of France dates back to the early Middle Ages. France was once a center of Jewish learning, but persecution increased as the Middle Ages wore on. France was the first country in Europe to emancipate its Jewish population during the French Revolution, but, despite legal equality antisemitism remained an issue, as illustrated in the Dreyfus affair of the late 19th century.

France currently has the largest Jewish population in Europe and the third largest Jewish population in the world, after Israel and the United States.

The Jewish community in France is estimated as of 2010 ranging from a core population 483,500 according to the Jewish Virtual Library to 500,000 according to the Appel Unifié Juif de France to an enlarged population of 600,000. The French Jewish community is found mainly in the metropolitan areas of Paris, Marseille, Strasbourg, Lyon, and Toulouse.

Today, French Jews are mostly Sephardi and Mizrahi who came from North Africa and the Mediterranean region and span a range of religious affiliations, from the ultra-Orthodox Haredi communities to the large segment of Jews who are entirely secular.

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