Proposal
Briceni, Moldova Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of Yizkor book “Brichany: its Jewry in the first half of our century”

Project Leader
Carla Brauer-Lalezari


JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager
Lance Ackerfeld
Fax: 1-909-259-7005

Project Synopsis

The Yizkor book “Brichany: its Jewry in the first half of our century” was published in 1964 in Hebrew and Yiddish and contains 296 pages. Certain sections of the book have already been translated however considerable portions of the book still remain to be translated. The link for this book appears online at http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Brichany/brichany.html.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in this town constitute the primary audience for the material.  However, the material has the potential to be of broader interest to scholars specializing in Jewish history and society in this region.

Project Importance

Yizkor books are unique sources of information on once vibrant towns, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, whose Jewish populations were destroyed in the Holocaust. Written after World War II by émigrés and Holocaust survivors, yizkor books contain narratives of the history of the town, details of daily life, religious and political figures and movements, religious and secular education, and gripping stories of the major intellectual and Zionist movements of the 20th century. The necrologies and lists of residents are of tremendous genealogical value, as often the names of individuals who were taken to extermination camps or shot in the forests are not recorded elsewhere. Usually written in Hebrew or Yiddish, these important books are not accessible to most users, who cannot read these languages. Thus, the translation of these books into English unlocks this information to many more researchers all over the world. The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project received the award in 2002 for outstanding contribution to Jewish genealogy by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

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 Hovevei 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 (Jewish Virtual Library, 2012).

Project Description

The book has 296 pages. It was edited by Yaakov Amizur et al, former residents of Brichany. It was published in Tel Aviv 1964. The original book can be seen online at the NY Public Library site: Bricheni. Certain sections of the book have already been translated however considerable portions of the book still remain to be translated. The link for this book appears online at http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Brichany/brichany.html.

Estimated Cost

The estimated cost for this project would be in the range of $6,000 to $7,000. JewishGen will be responsible for paying the translator and donations to the fund will be tax-deductible for US citizens.


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Updated 29 Feb 2012 by LA