Briefe von Rabbinern Ueber Die Materielle Lagr Des Rabbinerstandes in Russland (Letters from Rabbis Concerning the Material Situation of the Rabbinic Profession in Russia). 1920s. American Jewish Joint Distribution Commitee. Accessed 10 Feb 2020.

This collection of letters, written in the 1920s  by rabbis from different areas of Russia, describes the great difficulties they face in a time of secularism. The letters, in German, contain names of individuals and descriptions of local problems. At the end, there is a list of about 100 rabbis (with names and locations) who have written similar letters, requesting aid from the ‘Joint.'

Levin, Shmarya. 1967. Forward From Exile. Translated and edited by Maurice Samuel. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America. Chapter 17 "Beresin and Flight” reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

This is a chapter from the autobiography of Shmarya Levin, the well-known politician (member of the First Russian Duma), orator, teacher and Zionist. Levin describes in wonderfully readable detail the period from 1870 to 1906 in Imperial Russia, and describes the world of Byerazino’s élite.  The book is out of print, but is available in used book stores and is well worth reading in its entirety. 

"Memorandum for Dr. Bogen. Report on Berezino, Minsk Gubernia." American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Accessed 3 March 2018.

Report on Minsk General Resume.” 31 May 1920. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Accessed 19 March 2018

"Report on Pogost, Minsk Gubernia."  American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Accessed 10 Feb 2020.

Wohlnnian Report to the J.D.C.: Pogroms, 1919-1920American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Accessed 10 Feb 2020. 

The four reports (above) were prepared for the “Joint” around 1920-21, during the Russian Civil Wars and Polish-Soviet Wars. They are invaluable as primary historic sources. The Wohlnnian Report, which is made up of eye-witness accounts of pogroms, contains explicit descriptions of terrible events; a list of victims’ names is appended.

The Holocaust in Byerazino: Interview with Liza (Zorina) Ayzendorf

This document, which combines an interview with a report from The Righteous Among The Nations, tells the story of two young girls who escaped the mass murder of the Byerazino ghetto and survived to join the partisans. 

Byerazino - Typical Shtetl by Professor Emanuel Joffe. My Shtetl website, accessed 10 Feb 2020

This is an excellent, detailed history of the town’s Jewish community, written by a scholar who grew up in Byerazino. The original, written in Russian, appears on the My Shetel website (see list of searchable databases, below). The English version provided here was translated by J. Sverzhinsky and C. Murray-Seegert (the latter using Google translate). 

NEW - COMPLETE! Click to download database:

  Gravestone Inscriptions from Byerazino’s “New” Cemetery

This database contains the names, dates and inscriptions from assumed Jewish burials in the town’s present cemetery. Many thanks to Alan Kaul, who took the photos in 2017 and 2019, and to Vitaliy Kosyrkov who translated the inscriptions for us. Many stones bear personal dedications or portraits. Click here to see photos of the individual gravestones.  

Searchable Databases

Russian search terms (thanks to J. Furba)

Погост, Березино евреи 19 век = Pogost, Berezino jews 19th c.

Березино, Погост, евреи, Холокост = Berezin, Pogost, Jews, Holocaust 

Погост, Игуменский уезд = Pogost, Igumen Uyzed

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee: Archives (Search terms : “Berezino”,  “Beresin”,  “Ihumen”)

This is a large, well-organised website, with a great deal of digitized, archival material dating back to the founding of the "Joint'’ in 1914. You can search by personal names as well as by place. Many original reports (such as the three listed above under ‘documents’) have been digitized and are available to download.  

Belarus Special Interest Group

JewishGen sponsors the Belarus Special Interest Group (SIG) - a comprehensive website with numerous links to topics that can help you find ancestors who came from the provinces of Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev, Vitebsk, as well as the Lida and Vilieks uyezds (districts) of the Vilna gubernia. The Igumen District Project is raising money to obtain and translate original records from Byerazino, Pahost and 13 other shtetls. Please help our project and check out the link below!

NEW : 1834 Revision Lists (Russian Census Records) now available through the Igumen District Project! Click here to find out more

My Shtetl: “Voice of Jewish Settlements. (Search term:Березино)

A website with many detailed first-person accounts and family stories. Although “My Stetl” aims to offer stories in both English and Russian, not all the stories are provided in both languages. If you search using English terms, you only get those stories that have been translated into English. It is better to search in Russian, and then use an online translator (like Google Translate). For example, only one story pops up for Berezino (searching in English) but there are seven or eight stories if you use  Березино

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research: Archives

In addition to publishing its superb online "Encyclopedia of the Jews in Eastern Europe" YIVO’s Institute for Jewish Research holds a trove of more than 23 million historic documents, images, posters and films. The online search engine provides some background material, but as far as I can tell, few items have been digitized, so a personal visit is required if you find something of interest.  

For example, by searching for “Berezin” I learned that YIVO has a collection of letters about Byerazino, written by the “Joint” between 1945 and 1948. They are not digitized, but can be read in physical form at the New York archive.  The collection is: RG 335.7 AJDC Lansmanschaftn Dept. SubSeries 6. Box 22. Folder 594. Berlin 1945-1948. 

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Compiled by Carola Murray-Seegert, Ph.D.           Updated February 2020                    Copyright © Carola Murray-Seegert, Ph.D.                     JewishGen Homepage                                  KehilaLinks Directory