The earliest mention of Bereza Kartuska (currently Biaroza) in historical sources dates back to 1477. The first synagogue in the town was built in 1629. In 1766, the Jewish community comprised 242 people, in 1847 – 515, in 1897 – 2,623 (55% of the total town population). In 1921, 2,163 Jews lived in Bereza. The town became famous thanks to numerous local rabbis, including Isaac Elchanan and Elijahu Klatkin. In September 1939, the local Jewish life became severely restricted under the Soviet administration. After Germans seized the area in 1941, Jews were forced to perform slave labour. In July 1942, a ghetto was set up in the town. Initially, Jews were divided into two groups – “productive” and "non-productive." On 15 July 1942, the "non-productive" Jews were murdered in the village of Bronnaya Gara (a total of ca. 50,000 people from nearby towns and villages were murdered at the site). In October 1942, Germans began to liquidate the ghetto. Some members of the Judenrat committed collective suicide. A small number of Jews survived by escaping and joining partisan units. After the war, the local Jewish community was not reborn.


  • Tomaszewski J., Żbikowski A., Żydzi w Polsce. Dzieje i kultura. Leksykon, Warsaw 2001. 
  • Anka Grupińska: Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce (Recording Jewish World in Poland), a project initiated in 2006 by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews to record conversations with Polish Jews of all generations.