“Brok” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume IV
(Brok, Poland)

52°42' / 21°51'

Translation of “Brok” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1989


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Acknowledgments

Project Coordinator

Ada Holtzman

 

Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem for permission
to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Polin:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume IV, pages 151-152,
published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1989


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[Pages 151-152]

Brok, Poland
(District of Ostrów Mazowiecka, Region of Białystok)

Translated by Ada Holtzman

Brok is a tourism resort on the bank of the Bug River. In the year of 1939 there lived about 3000 inhabitants, 1000 among them were Jews. The first natives settled there in the 17th century. Their livelihood was small commerce and leasing of orchards and craftsmanship.

The first Jews of the place were Jews from Płock. With the development of Brok as a resort town by the end of the 19th century, new sources of livelihood and economic opportunities opened to the Jews. Part of the Jews of Brok started with services to the vacationers. New Kosher inns and restaurants were built and the existing shops prospered. Brok was well known by its matzah for Passover (unleavened bread) bakery and it supplied them also in Warsaw and Łódź. These bakeries operated a few months in the year, near Passover. In the small town prevailed traditional and religious way of life. There were 3 Bathei Midrash, Houses of Study. The central synagogue was made of wood and was build by the end of the 19th century. Among the known Rabbis who served in Brok were R' Abraham Lajb (from the Kock Hassidim) who served in 1890, R' Nachman Shmuel Jakob (in 1908), R' Shmuel Icchak Miadasar (in 1925) and R' Jakob Meir Pomeranc (immigrated to Eretz Israel).

The following Societies were active in relief and social welfare: “Linath Hatzedek”, which took care of the poor sick people, “Hachnasat Orhim” (hospitality of the poor) and “Kupat Gmiloth Hassadim” which gave loans free of interest. In the period between the two World Wars, branches of Zionim Klaliim, “Hamizrachi” and the Revisionists, as well as Zionist youth movements – “Hashomer Hatzair” “The Zionist Youth, “Hashomer Hadati” (The Religious Hashomer) and Beit”r were founded in Brok. In the year of 1938 was founded in Brok the center of Hachshara (preparatory) of Hakhalutz (The Pioneer). The local branch of “Agudath Israel” relied mainly on Gerrer Hassidim.

A few of the local Jewish youth belonged to the “Bund” and the Communist movement which were illegal. In the election to the local Council, the Jews of Brok won 3 mandates (2 the “Bund” and one of the civil movement). Most of the Jewish boys of Israel studied in traditional Heders (religious elementary schools) and the girls in Beth Jakob schools. During the period between the two World wars, the education became obligatory so many of the Jewish children studied in the Polish elementary school in Brok.

Brok was occupied by the German Army on 8th of September 1939. The following day the conquerors set fire in town, burning almost all the wood made houses of Brok. Many of the local people were burnt alive, among them about 40 Jews. The Jews who tries to escape were herded to the local church and men age 15–45 were led to Ostrów–Mazowiecka and Komorówo. They were freed after 2 weeks.

The abuses and persecutions intensified and by the end of September 1939. Robberies and murders were the daily share of the Jews in Brok. Anti–Semite Poles, local inhabitants of Brok cooperated with the German with all these abuses. Most of the Jews escaped and reached Ostrów–Mazowiecka. Even then, murders of the remaining Jews happened all the time.

On Hol Umoed Succuot (the intermediate days of Tabernacles) (1939) the Germans ordered all the refugees from Brok to leave Ostrów–Mazowiecka and move to the Soviet zone. Most of the refugees arrived to towns and village is the eastern part of Poland. Most of them were killed in the years of 1941–1942, during the war of Germany and the Soviet Union. About 300 survivors from Brok survived the War in the interior lands of Russia.

Bibliography:

Bibliography Yad Vashem Archive M–11/1357
The Central Zionist Archive, Jerusalem Z–4/3569 III, IV, V, Z–4/3740
a. III 38 file 13.
The memorial book of the Jewish Community of Ostrów–Mazowiecka, Tel Aviv 1960, pages 546–544.
“Haynt” (the daily Yiddish newspaper in Warsaw) 17.12.1918, 10.1.1919, 13.1.1919, 4.2.1929, 12.3.1935.
“Neue Folks Zeitung” 29.7.1927, 5.8.1927.


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