We have not come across any really positive evidence yet for the thesis that our Family may have reached Spain through France in the 11th or 12th centuries but, - in a few chapters of this survey reference is made to the fact that at least the medical dynasty of our name, - (see Dr. Benardout chapter), - began and quite definitely so in 12th century Navarre - Tudela, - which was then an independant Kingdom with closer connections culturally, ethnically and otherwise to Southern Fance than to Spain itself.

Not necessarily on the negative side, there is a firm determination, (Richard W. Emery:
The Jews in Perpignan in the Thirteenth Century : New York Columbia University Press 1959), that Jews were not active in that particular town as doctors, (which one would have thought they might well have been), even though there is one notarial reference there to the son of a Doctor from Perpignan having become physician to the King of Aragon, (a post Benardouts held for a while),........but this was at a much later time however and he was of the de Castlario family. Your collator feels that this could possibly strengthen the viiability of a general movement into Aragon from the North, but no more than that.

In the modern era, our detailed knowledge is rather strangely sparse with the little we have coming from the Second World War period, despite a couple of earlier 18th and 19th century references to the Family name, - but without any hints as to where they may lead. Two examples are brought later on below :
"one-offs ", so to speak, - but not providing much direction.

One Family in France so-far known of to your collator is one that settled in Marseille, originally from Salonica, remaining there up to and during the Second World War. See
Jean Bandler and his entry on Facebook. Of that older generation only Jean's grandmother remained in Marseilles until her death.
Benardouth is the form that they adopted.

Another, (the two may yet turn out to be connected as one family branch), is represented by surviving heirs of Benardouts some of whom lived in France and survived the War......Raphaelle, now living in Paris, has been in touch and has promised document and detail next month, (February 2017). See the reference below to her Family under

A third has recently come to our notice, brought by Rony Alfandary, living to our mutual surprise in Northern Israel. He has come across family letters referring to a Parisian connection - "Mon Cher Cousin Leon " written by a young Sarah Benardout from Westwick Gardens, (not the Pennard Road mob !), a branch through which Marlene is also descended.

When you consider that some 15,000 Jews are historically recorded as having left Salonica for France in the 1930's, settling in Paris, Marseille and Lyons, - knowing of only such a small number of Benardout families in that country means that we know very little indeed. This is starkly different to the available detail of the Family's 20th century journey to England, it must be noted. But I clearly remember that when visiting Paris on two occasions just after WWW II, we joyously met and dined with Family........but my memory is not up to more detail, alas.

As it is a fact that much of our Family was French-speaking by the beginning of the 20th century through the adoption of a French-language education and culture as offered by the Alliance network in Salonica itself, one must ask why information more easily available in other countries, is so sparse in France ? Even lists of Holocaust victims from France have produced only a very few names - mercifully perhaps.

On Lists of Holocaust deportees directly from France, four Benardout names have been found and these have appeared in more than one Record. The well-known and acknowledged source offered by Serge Klarsfeld in his Record on the expulsions from France to the Camps included only those same few names.

There is a relatively new edition of Klarsfeld's book today - Memorial de la Deportation des Juifs de France, - published by the Sons and Daughters Association - FFDJF, Paris, 2006. Those who understand French might find both great interest and more information in that work.

However, several Benardout names recently found by Marlene allowed us to begin some research, starting from long before the Second World War. But it is still all very patchy and relies only on Search engines for the moment.

One site, - - has thrown up a group of naturalised Benardout's in France but without much detail : Albert naturalised between 1900 and 1963; Vital similarly; as also Floretta, Fortunee and the apparent couple of Alberto Beja Y
Cohen-Benardout and Sara Sarina Beja Y Cohen Benardout. No dates are available.

Quite out of the blue Marlene received an approach from Raphaelle Benardout from Paris explaining that she was the grand-daughter of Albert and the daughter of a little bit more has been learned about us. Raphaelle can be found on the "Appreciation " Facebook pages and she has promised to let us have detail and documents.

Reference can also be found in to what are apparently West Yorkshire Parish records based upon documentation in French referring to Marie Anne Benardot, the daughter of Alphonse Benardot, whose daughter was married in 1826. There are also references to Louis Benardot who died in 1814; Mathilde Marie Benardot who married in 1889, and Antoinette Benardot who was born in France..... but without obtaining copy documents from that source little more can be learnt.

Whether these Englishmen were Family or not, (and why not ?), whether they remained in the north of England, where their descendants are now, - all this is for future study. The question is also inevitable as to the possibility of their having adopted a new Faith. After the French Revolution it was presumably quite possible for Jews to become Christians whilst retaining their original name. English Parish Records would usually imply their being members of the Protestant Faith.

Another fascinating tit-bit of information, - a site devoted to the Chateaux d'Angers in Maine et Loire, discloses a list of persons condemned to death for Treason on the 6th February, 1794, by the Revolutionary Tribunal sitting there which includes these two names : Marie Benardot de la commune de Thouars, - Perine Benardot de la commune de Thouars.

Now, - that cannot be an accident. Whatever the relationship to us may have been, it would be no surprise if the rest of the Benardot Family from the district then fled for its Life, - and where did they all flee to ? History clearly records that the Terror victims first haven of choice was, of course, - Britain.


Another "one-off " item was come across almost entirely by accident - an unusual item on a likely Family Member - an Article, seemingly written in Prague, concerning Postcards and their history. And there, as bright as day, is a section dedicated to the work of one Leon Besnardeuxe, "sometimes spelt as Leo Benardot ".

When during the Franco-Prussian War - 1870 - the Censor demanded that all letters sent by French troops had to be sent in open envelopes, they soon ran out of paper, but in the town of Sille le Guillaume, (southern Brittany), where some 40,000 men were based.
"A local stationer, Leon Besnardeux, - [the surname is spelt in differing French ways, but Benardot can hardly be an accident], - who was holding a stock of cardboard, cut it up into pre-printed postcards....... " and went down in history as their inventor.

These surname variations have been followed-up without positive results, but their very existence is of interest and could be looked into locally by somebody..........Anybody ?

Feel free - I will always relate to what you say