Late last year Sandra and I visited the small synagogue in the city of Tours (below).
It can be found at 37, Rue Parmentier in Tours and dates from 1907, a gift from the Parisian, Daniel Osiris. Its architect was Victor Tondu and the rabbi’s home, built at the same time, is next to the synagogue. This architectural gem combines Art Nouveau with Oriental influence. The synagogue retains its ceiling painted wooden compartments and a floral frieze painted to resemble a mosaic. Windows by Pierre Lux Fournier were completed post war, in 1949.
On the exterior facade of the synagogue is a large memorial plaque (inaugurated in 2005) dedicated to the thirty-four jews from the Indre-et-Loire (Touraine) region who were murdered during World War II. During World War II the Touraine was host to the detention camp of Lande, in Monts, near Tours (November 1940 -January 1944). It was a camp for French and non-French internees. It was here that almost 600 Jews were committed, deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and exterminated by the Nazis. While three-quarters of the local Jewish community perished, the broad-based resistance movement assisted many Jewish families and individuals to survive the persecution.
What is particularly moving is seeing the list of local Touraine towns and villages from which individuals and whole families were rounded up: Loches; St. Branchs; La Guerche; Tours; Monts; Descartes; Chenonceaux; Betz le Chateau; Chedigny; St. Maure; Manthelan; La Ferrierre; Vertez. Today, being May 8th and Victory Day being marked with parades and church services to celebrate freedom and the end of World War II, it may be a good time to ask why there are not civic commemorative markers at any of the above sites.
The second, smaller, plaque (see end of this blog page) is dedicated to the 700 Jewish victims who were deported, never to return, to the extermination camp at Auschwitz via Drancy or Angers. “Do not forget.”
For a timeline of Jewish history in the Touraine just click here.