La Mort aux Juifs
La Mort aux Juifs (Death to the Jews) village south of Paris(Google Maps)

Jewish organisation Simon Wiesenthal Centre has officially demanded to France interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve that a village south of Paris called La Mort aux Juifs (Death to the Jews) has its name changed.

Shimon Samuels, who is the group's director of international affairs, expressed "shock" at the discovery of the hamlet, located under the regional authority of Courtemaux in the Loiret 58 miles (93km) south of Paris.

"It is extremely shocking that this name has slipped under the radar in the 70 years that have passed since France was liberated from Nazism and the (pro-Nazi) Vichy regime," he wrote.

The name of the village apparently dates back to the 11th century pogroms, linked to the Crusades, that ended with the expulsion of France's 110,000 Jews by King Philippe Le Bel in 1306. Samuels found it startling that the name "remained under Napoleon's emancipation of French Jewry" adding that "it was unnoticed during 70 years since the liberation of France from the Nazis and Vichy".

However, the deputy mayor of Courtemaux, a village of 289 people, told AFP that calls to rename Mort aux Juifs are "ridiculous".

"This name has always existed," Marie-Elizabeth Secretand told AFP."No one has anything against the Jews, of course. It doesn't surprise me that this is coming up again," she added.

"Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names."

"A previous municipal council, at least 20 years ago, already refused to change the name of this hamlet, which consists of a farm and two houses," she explained.

The Jewish community are lamenting a growth in anti-Semitism in France and a rise in communal tensions exacerbated by the conflict in Gaza.

In Paris, troublemakers clashed with police and attacked kosher stores and synagogues, including several that were firebombed.

Earlier in June, Jewish community leaders warned that a record number of Jews were leaving the country due to an increasing anti-Semitic environment.

Two deadly attacks carried out on Jewish targets by French Islamists fuelled fears in the community.

In 2012, four Jews - including three children - and three soldiers were shot dead in Toulouse by 23-year-old radical Mohamed Merah.

Earlier this year Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old of Franco-Algerian origin, shot four people dead at the Brussels Jewish Museum in Belgium.