Bransk, Book of Memories
(Brańsk, Poland)

52°44' / 22°51'

Translation of
Bransk, sefer hazikaron

Editors: Alter Trus and Julius Cohen

Published in New York 1948



Project Coordinator

Rubin Roy Cobb


This is a translation of: Bransk, sefer hazikaron (Bransk, Book of Memories ),
Editors: Alter Trus and Julius Cohen, Brainsker Relief Committee of New York,
Published: New York 1948 (Y 440 pages)

Note: The original book can be seen online at the NY Public Library site: Bransk

Purchase details for a printed copy of this book can be found at

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A written description of her home, people, heroes, leaders of the religious, social, political and economic institutions.
How Bransk lived under the various occupations of both World Wars, her eventual horrific demise as a Jewish community


Rubin Roy Cobb


Based on the Preliminary and Unfinished Translations from the Yiddish by Mindle Crystal Gross and Polish by Ania Zilberkant.
Thanks to Michael Redd and Peggy Mosinger Freedman, President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia,
without whose assistance it would not have been possible to place the Bransk Yizkor Book on the internet.


  1. Extensive corrections and missing pages, paragraphs and words added in the preliminary Yiddish translation and confirming the Polish translation.
  2. Maps - details and anecdotes indicated thereon, drawn up from information given by a survivor, Jack (Yankel) Rubin z”l (passed away on 2/13/2011), a cousin of Rubin Roy Cobb (RRC), on flight from New York to Warsaw to film the documentary “Shtetl” for PBS on 10/11/1991 to RRC; thereafter edited by walk through Bransk a few days later with VHS video by Jack Rubin to RRC and further editing with Jack Rubin on 2/15/1992; and editing audio tapes recorded by RRC on 4/15/1996.
  3. Map of Bransk immediately before the liquidation of the ghetto on November 2, 1942 sketched by Zbigniew Romaniuk, a Polish historian/teacher living in Bransk, as well as sketches of ca 1905 and 1932 obtained by him from the Grodno, Belarus archives after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  4. Comprehensive notes and anecdotes throughout.
  5. References from personal recollections of RRC, Wikipedia, Johannesburg Bransker Society.



Book of Memories

Alter Trus and Julius Cohen

Published by

Under the Sponsorship of
Bransker Young Men's Benevolent Ass'n

Proceeds of this book
Relief purposes for

Coordinated by Not'e Kozlovsky

Printed in the United States of America by
The Shoulson Press, 227 W. 17th St., New York 11, N.Y.
Trades Council New York City 255


Dedicated to the memory of my
deceased father Mordekhay–Abba
deceased mother Sheyne-Yente
my wife Sarah Trus
my children Ruven-Layzer and Nokhman-Aharon
my daughter Khanah
my sisters Zlatke, Bashe-Reyze and Tcheshe
my brother Maishe -Yosl, who fell on the front in
the Soviet military in the battle with the Nazi murderers
my honoured and deceased brother-in-law Khayim-Tsvi Branski
and my nearest who perished in the
gas chambers of the German beasts
  Alter Trus
Stockholm, Sweden



Forward by Alter Trus 9
Forward by Julius Cohen 13
Bransk 19
Beginning of the Jewish community 22
Bransk during the time of the Polish Matyezh[1] 24
Bransk During the Time of the Kantonistn[2] 26
Bransk Synagogues, the Old–Small–Synagogue/House–Of–Study 32
Bransk Rabbinate 35
Town Meat Tax and Management of Synagogue Affairs 49
Bransk Scholars 56
Cantors and Ritual Slaughterers in Bransk 62
Burial Society and Gravediggers 69
Bransk Prayer Leaders 74
Bransk Khasidim 77
Society for the Study of Talmud 82
Talmud Torah Of Bransk 84
Acts of Benevolent Lodging and Visiting the Sick in Bransk 87
Hospitality for Poor Guests – Aid for Poor Brides – Loans Without Interest 91
Psalms Society, Splendour of Young Men, Tailors, Brotherly Love, and Book Correction 96
Sextons and Sub–Sextons 104
Women Synagogue Wardens/Trustees 109
Emigration 114
Epidemics and Fires in Bransk 120
Bransk in 1905 124
Jewish Employment in Bransk Up to the First World War 129
Political Life in Bransk up to the Outbreak Of War in 1914 142
The Cultural Life in Bransk up to the First World War
and the Accomplishments of Bransk Children Through Self–Education

War 1914 165
38 Months of German Occupation in Bransk 169
Bransk at the Beginning of the Polish Government 175
Polish–Soviet War – 20 days of the Soviet Power in Bransk 181
Bransk in the New Poland 184
Merchants' and Artisans' Fareynm (Union) 187
The People's–Bank in Bransk 193
The Interest–Free Loan Bank in the Name of Sholem Dovid Vayn of Chicago 198
Political Activity of Bransk Jews 203
The Cultural Condition in Bransk after the First World War 214
Professional (Trade) Movements in Bransk 224
Shattered Jewish Hopes for a Better Life 230
The Allowed (Ovshem) Anti–Semitic Politics[3] 232

Start of the Second World War 241
Bransk Under the Soviet Regime 246
Hitler's Attack on Soviet–Russia 251
The Yellow Patch 255
Forced Labour in Bransk 258
The Judenrat in Bransk 263
The Bransk Jewish Police 269
Bransk Ghetto 272
The Ghetto is Sealed 276
Liquidation of the Bransk Jews 281
The Tsuker Story 290
The Heroism of Avrume Verpikhovsky 297
The Fire in the Empty Ghetto 301
The Fate of the Bransk Jews in Neighboring Villages 305
1943 Beginning of the Resistance 325
A Small Number of Jews Remain in the Forest 339
The Partizanke 351
Jew–Murderers Sentenced to Death 354
One of the 64 363
Bransk After the Liberation 381
Bransk Jews in Various Armies 387
List of Bransk Jews Who Survived 392
Bransk Relief Organizations 396
Julius Cohen Short Biography 432
In Memory 441
Beneath the photo on the left – instead of Moshe Berel Pelkhovitz, it should be Moshe Penkherzh
Bransk maps
Footnotes (Mindle Crystal Gross)
  1. This was a movement to protect the Polish language by teaching it to children who otherwise would speak Russian. Return
  2. The capture of young Jewish boys for 40 years of military service. Return
  3. The Polish cardinal said that beating Jews was not allowed, but boycotting them was fine with him Return


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