BRZESC KUJAWSKI (Rus. Brest Kuyavsk; Yid. Brisk de Koyavi), town in Warsaw district. A Jewish community is mentioned in 1538; the Jews then owned 15 houses there. On April 15, 1656, 100 Jewish families were massacred by Polish soldiers in Brzesc Kujawski after they refused to be baptized. The Jews again suffered in the mid-17th century during the Swedish invasion. Between 1822 and 1862 Jewish residence was restricted to certain parts of the town. The Jewish population numbered 164 in 1765; 678 in 1897; 794 in 1921 (out of a total of 3,813); and 633 in 1939. In the independent Polish Republic (1918–39) the Zionists and the Bund were active. The Jews earned their livelihoods in trade and crafts.
[Shlomo Netzer (2nd ed.)]
Under the Nazi occupation Brzesc Kujawski belonged to the Warthegau. At the outbreak of World War II about 630 Jews were living there. A *Judenrat was created, but no ghetto set up. Jews underwent physical suffering, were plundered of all their property, were compelled to perform humiliating work, and endured acts of religious persecution, e.g., the burning of the synagogue. During January–September 1941, able-bodied men and women were deported to slave labor camps in the Posen region. Most of the remaining 400 Jews were then removed to *Lodz ghetto and the rest were sent to the death camp at *Chelmno.
I. Schipper (ed.), Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; L. Lewin, Die Judenverfolgungen im zweiten schwedisch-polnischen Kriege (1655–1659) (1901); D. Dabrowska, in: BŻIH, 13–14 (1955), 122–84; D. Dabrowska and L. Dobroszycki (eds.), Kronika getta łódzkiego, 1 (1965), 262.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.