Rue des Rosiers The Jewish Marais, 1974–1975

21 juillet – 6 octobre 2013

Alécio de Andrade (Rio de Janeiro, 1938 - Paris, 2003), Boucherie Emouna, rue des Rosiers, Paris, 1975

Alécio de Andrade (Rio de Janeiro, 1938 - Paris, 2003), Boucherie Emouna, rue des Rosiers, Paris, 1975

The Jewish Marais, 1974–1975 by Alécio de Andrade

Alécio de AndradeRue des Rosiers, Bouchers, 1975© Alécio de Andrade. ADAGP, Paris, 2013

Alécio de Andrade
Rue des Rosiers, Bouchers, 1975
© Alécio de Andrade. ADAGP, Paris, 2013

The photographer Alécio de Andrade was born in Brazil in 1938. He arrived in Paris in 1964 and lived here until he died in 2003. A poet, pianist and friend of writers and musicians, he took numerous photographs in the Marais in 1974 and 1975, then moved to rue des Rosiers in 1982.
Although the quarter he shows us was still steeped in the Ashkenazi culture of the Pletzl, dating back to the late 19th century, one can see the evolution prompted by the arrival of the North African communities. The synagogue in rue des Tournelles adopted Sephardic ritual, the study room on place des Vosges was devoted to Ashkenazi worship, and alongside Jo Goldenberg’s delicatessen and the Finkelsztajn bakery, there were shops selling North African specialities.
But Andrade’s photographic testimony is above all a spontaneous, tender and poetic vision of everyday life. He knew how to capture the looks and smiles of children and adults, the details that crystallize the humanity of a moment, and his evocation of a now bygone era reveals the life of this emblematic and then still authentic working-class district.

From 1965 to 2002, as a press reporter, Paris correspondent of the weekly Manchete and an associate member of Magnum Photos, Alécio de Andrade did numerous photo-reportages all over the world. His pictures have been published in Newsweek, Fortune, American Photographer, Géo, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Figaro, Stern and Il Tempo, and in his native country in Jornal do Brasil and Fatos e Fotos.

Slide show

The “Pletzl,” the Jewish quarter in the Marais in the 1910s and 1920s

Once known to its inhabitants as the “Pletzl,” or “little square” in Yiddish (although it is unclear to which square this referred: Saint-Paul, Marché Sainte-Catherine, or rue des Hospitalières-Saint-Gervais?), the Jewish quarter in the Marais is still just as famous and emblematic today. Yet this small, rather indistinct urban nucleus clustered around rue des Rosiers was never a ghetto like others that once existed in Europe, i.e. a place reserved solely for Jews.
Early 19th-century archives tell us that there were many Judeo-Alsatian-speaking Jews living there. But it wasn’t until after 1880, with the massive influx of Jews fleeing the Russian pogroms, that the quarter acquired its characteristic physiognomy. For these immigrants, the Pletzl represented a transitional territory where Eastern traditions were perpetuated and where one could familiarise oneself with French culture.
There were inscriptions in both Cyrillic and Hebrew script on the windows of shops selling Sion wines and vodka, religious books and objects, and newspapers and books in Russian and Yiddish*.
The synagogue in rue Pavée, where worship began in October 1913, illustrates the quarter’s sense of identity: it was Agoudas Hakehilos (Union of the Communities), a society composed of Orthodox Jews of primarily Russian and Polish origin, that commissioned the architect Hector Guimard to build it, without seeking authorisation from the Paris Consistory.

* The Germanic language of the Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe

The prints in the exhibition were made from transparencies on glass dating from the 1910s and 1920s
Jean Levantal Donation