High in the hills of Nice on the French Riviera is an Israelite Cemetery which includes a moving and poignant memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

A small organge building with trees behind it and urns in front of it as part of the memorial to victims of World War II

The Jewish community in Nice is long established, with the first synagogue being built in 1418. When the town of Nice outgrew its city walls and had to relocate in the later Middle Ages, the Jewish community was forced to live in a gated street called ‘The Street of the Jews’ (now called Rue Benoit Bunico) which was locked every night.

The locals were unhappy about this, and so built tunnels with secret doors so that Jewish and non-Jewish could continue to integrate as they had always done. (France was the first European nation to emancipate its Jewish residents, just after the French Revolution of 1789.)

An assortment of ornate white graves in the Israelite Cemetery in Nice
Neo-classical monuments stand side by side with simple headstones in the Israelite Cemetery at the Colline du Chateau in Nice

In 1783 the burial grounds for Catholics and Jews had to be moved due to the introduction