BRICHANY (Rom. Briceni), town in Bessarabia, Moldova. Jews first settled there in 1760. There were 137 Jewish families living in the town in 1817; another 47 had previously left the settlement when it was partly destroyed by fire. The community increased in the first half of the 19th century, and by the middle of the 19th century it was among the largest in the region. In 1897 there were 7,184 Jews in Brichany (96.5% of the total population), served by seven synagogues and a Jewish state school, opened in 1847. A branch of Ḥovevei Zion was active there. In February 1917 and particularly in 1918 Romanian soldiers staged pogroms. In 1924, 125 Jews were engaged in agriculture on 641 hectares (approx. 1,600 acres) of land, most of it (500 hectares) held on lease. According to the official census figures, the Jewish population numbered 5,354 in 1930 (95.2% of the total). Between the world wars Jews traded in cattle, hides, and farm produce. Communal institutions on the eve of World War II included a hospital, founded in 1885, and a Hebrew *Tarbut school.
Before the war many Jews from surrounding areas concentrated in Brichany and by 1940 it had a Jewish population of about 10,000. In June 1940, when the city was annexed by the U.S.S.R., Jewish property and community buildings were confiscated and only the synagogue was saved because it was used as a granary. Some 80 Jews, mainly community leaders, were exiled to Siberia. On July 8, 1941, Romanian and German troops passed through Brichany and murdered many Jews. Jews from the neighboring towns of *Lipkany and *Sekiryany were brought to Brichany. On July 28, all Jews were dispatched across the Dniester and several were shot en route. When they arrived in Mogilev, the Germans "selected" the old people and forced the younger ones to dig graves for them. From Mogilev the rest were turned back to *Ataki in Bessarabia and then on to Sekiryany. Hundreds died en route. For a month they stayed in the ghetto, only to be deported again to *Transnistria . All the young Jews were murdered in a forest near Soroca. In 1944–46 about 2,500 Jews from the town and surrounding area returned and reestablished the community.
M. Carp, Cartea Neagrǎ, 3 (1947), 34; M. Mircu, Pogromurile din Basarabia (1947), 1; T. Fuchs, A Vanderung iber Okupirte Gebitn (1947), 119.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.