Jews in Brest, Belarus
Brest is a regional center in Belarus. It was founded in the 11th century. During the XIV - XVI centuries - was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. From 1569 to 1795, 1920-1939 - under Polish jurisdiction. Since 1795 - under the rule of the Russian Empire.
In the 20s of the XIII century, the Prince Danila of Galicia invited the Jews to settle in their possessions, which included Brest.
In the 1380s, the Lithuanian prince Vitovt issued a charter to the Jews of Brest, and at the beginning of the 16th century issued a decree on the allocation of building materials to the Jews of Brest for the construction of a synagogue. The community developed conflict relations with the Christian population. In 1495, Jews who refused to convert to Christianity were exiled from Brest.
In 1637, a Jewish pogrom took place in the city. A few years later, the Jews were forced to flee Brest due to the Khmelnytsky uprising. According to sources, two thousand Jews remained in the city, who were killed by the Cossacks. In 1660, a Jewish pogrom was staged by Russian troops who captured the settlement. In 1792 there were clashes with the Christian population.
The first information about the number of Jews is found in a source called "Inventory of the eldership of Beresteysky" dated 1566. According to the document, 106 out of 746 houses in the city were owned by Jews. A Jewish quarter was formed in Brest, which was destroyed in the 1830s by order of the Russian authorities. In its place, the Brest Fortress arose. In the 1760s, 3.1 thousand Jews lived in the city.
At the end of the 19th century, Jews controlled the city's crafts and a significant part of the city's trade in Brest. During the second half of the 19th century, the Jewish population of the city increased from 7.9 to 30 thousand people. According to the data of 1897, Jews made up 65.8% of the population of Brest.
During the First World War, Jews were evicted inland twice. In the post-war period, the Jewish population increased again. In 1929, 21.7 thousand Jews lived in Brest, making up 47% of the population. After 10 years, their number increased to 26 thousand. In 1939, Jews made up 50.9% of the inhabitants of Brest.
In September 1939, German troops occupied Brest. Some of the Jews were exiled from the city. Until 1941, Brest was under Soviet control. During this period, the Soviet government destroyed all communal institutions.
The city was taken by the Nazis on June 22, 1941. None of the Brest Jews managed to evacuate. In December 1941, the invaders created a ghetto. In October 1942, the Nazis killed 17,000 Jews.
In the post-war period, the number of Jews in Brest declined. In the 1970s, they made up 2% of the population, and by 1989 - 0.4% of the city's residents.