La Mort aux Juifs

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La Mort aux Juifs in the map of Cassini around 1757.

La Mort aux Juifs was a hamlet under the jurisdiction of the French commune of Courtemaux in the Loiret department in north-central France. Its name has been translated as "Death to Jews"[1][2] or "The death of the Jews".[3]

Origin of the name[edit]

The name dates to the 14th century. According to toponymist Pierre-Henri Billy,[4] the name was initially "la mare au juin″, which means "the liquid manure pond" in local old French. Like in other toponyms in the area, those words evolved, becoming ultimately "la Mort aux Juifs" with an intermediate form "la mare au Juif" quoted by the local historian Paul Gache.[5] The transformation of "mare" (pond) into "mort" (death) is very frequent in old French toponyms, and "juin" (liquid manure) would have become "juif" (Jew) in two steps, first a denasalization turning "juin" into "jui" and then a graphical change into "juif", which had the same pronunciation in old French.[4]

Name change[edit]

In August 2014, the Simon Wiesenthal Center petitioned the French government to change the name.,[6] which it claimed translates as "Death to the Jews", a translation rejected in France.[4][7] A similar request had been denied in 1992.[8] Under pressure from the national authorities however, the municipal council retired the name in January 2015.[9] The area is now split between the nearby hamlets of Les Croisilles and La Dogetterie.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rick Noack, These French villagers want to keep living in a place called ‘Death to Jews’, in the Washington Post, 13 August 2014
  2. ^ Jewish group asks France to rename 'Death to Jews' hamlet, BBC News, 12 August 2014
  3. ^ "Jewish group asks France to rename ‘Death to Jews’ hamlet", France24, 2014-08-12
  4. ^ a b c « La Mort-aux-Juifs : histoire d'un nom propre », article from Pierre-Henri Billy (toponymist, researcher at CNRS, author from Dictionnaire des noms de lieux de la France, published by Errance, 2011) in Le Monde, August 20th 2014 (read online).
  5. ^ Paul Gache, Bulletin de la Société d'émulation de l'arrondissement de Montargis, number 18, March 1972, p. 37 : « On sait que souvent une mare médiévale est devenu un mort, ainsi la mare au Juif (singulier) est devenu la Mort aux Juifs (pluriel) » ("It is known that often a medieval pound (mare) has become a death (mort), as an example "la mare au Juif" (singular) has become "la Mort aux Juifs" (plural)"). See also the article from the same author in the number 7, October 1969, from the same Bulletin p. 4.
  6. ^ Wiesenthal Centre to French Interior Minister: “Loiret Village Name of ‘La Mort aux Juifs’ (‘Death to the Jews’) Must be Renamed”
  7. ^ Coste, Alexandre. "Faut-il rebaptiser La-Mort-aux-Juifs ?". Marianne. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Laura Stampler, "Small French town resistant to change name from ‘Death to Jews’", Time, August 12, 2014.
  9. ^ Rosso, Michel. "Le hameau du Loiret " La Mort-aux-Juifs " débaptisé". La Rep. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 

48°2′12.89″N 2°54′13.05″E / 48.0369139°N 2.9036250°E / 48.0369139; 2.9036250