Adolphe Crémieux

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Adolphe Crémieux
Adolphe Crémieux.png
Born 30 April 1796
Nîmes, France
Died 10 February 10 1880
Paris, France
Nationality Jewish
Occupation politician, lawyer
Organization Alliance Israélite Universelle

Term 1870 – 1871
Predecessor Michel Grandperret
Successor Jules Dufaure

Isaac Moïse (30 April 1796 – 10 February 10 1880) best known as Adolphe Crémieux, was a prominent Jewish freemason involved in law and politics as Minister of Justice in France.[1] Extremely influential in extraparliamentary and clandestine political agitation, he founded the Jewish organization Alliance Israélite Universelle and involved himself in the Damascus affair. In freemasonry he was the Grand Master of the Scottish Rite, after being involved in the Rite of Mizraim.[2]

He was prominently involved in the Campagne des banquets which created the ground-work for the overthrow of king Louis Philippe I. Initially an advocate of Napoleon III as an attempt to gain control of the Chief Executive for himself, he later turned against Napoleon III in a terrible rage after General Cavaignac was appointed Prime Minister. Crémieux was imprisoned at Vincennes and Mazas for his agitation and after he was released, he was involved in legally defending communist associates of Karl Marx.


He was born Isaac Moïse in Nîmes to a wealthy Jewish family from the papal enclave of Carpentras which had immigrated to Nîmes. He married a member of the Silny family in 1824.

Political career

After the revolution of 1830 he came to Paris, formed connections with numerous political personages and was involved with the radical Campagne des banquets group which agitated against King Louis Philippe. He was involved in legal activities for examples include his Éloge funèbre of Henri Grégoire an anti-Catholic who was installed as bishop during the revolution (1830), his Mémoire for the political rehabilitation of Marshal Ney (1833), and his plea for the accused of April 1835. Elected deputy in 1842, he was one of the leaders in the campaign against the Guizot ministry, and his eloquence contributed greatly to the success of his party.

From 1834 until his death, Crémieux served as vice-president of the "Consistoire Central des Israélites de France" (Central Consistory of the Jews of France), the administrative agency for all French Jews. On February 24, 1848 he was chosen by the Republicans as a member of the provisional government, and as minister of justice he secured the decrees abolishing the death penalty for political offenses, and making the office of judge immovable. That same year he was instrumental in declaring an end to slavery in all French Colonies, for which some have called him the French Abraham Lincoln. When the conflict between the Republicans and Socialists broke out, he resigned office but continued to sit in the constituent assembly. At first he supported Louis Napoleon, but when he was not awarded the Prime Minster post, he began to agitate with him as Louis became Napoleon III.

Arrested and imprisoned on December 2, 1851, he remained in private life until November 1869, when he was elected as a Republican deputy by Paris. On September 4, 1870 he was again chosen as a member of the government of national defense, and resumed his position in the ministry of justice. He then formed part of the Delegation of Tours, but took no part in the completion of the organization of defense. He resigned with his colleagues on February 14, 1871. Eight months later he was elected deputy, then life senator in 1875.

Crémieux was involved in Jewish political agitation. In 1827, he advocated the repeal of the More judaico.[3] He founded the Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris in 1860, becoming its president four years later. In 1866 Crémieux traveled to Saint Petersburg and controversially managed to get somee Jews of Saratov off the hook after they had been accused in a case of Jewish ritual murder.[3]

Crémieux published a Recueil of his political cases (1869), and the Actes de la délégation de Tours et de Bordeaux (2 vols, 1871).


Crémieux died in Paris in 1880 and was buried at Montparnasse cemetery.


A street is named after him in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood, [1] as well as in central Tel Aviv and the French Carmel district in Haifa.

See also