This small article dedicated to the beginning of Jewish settlement in Brzesko, was written on the basis of 2 sources: (1) the book “Brzesko. The History of the Town and the Region” (in Polish, “Brzesko. Dzieje miasta i regionu”), a collective study edited by F. Kiryk and Jan Lach, Brzesko, 2006 and (2) “Metryka Józefińska” (1787) – the first cadastre of real estate located in Galicia, created on the basis of the patent of Emperor Joseph II of April 12, 1785.
It is difficult to say when the first Jewish families settled in Brzesko, most probably it happened in the 16th-17th centuries.
In 1727, four years after the great fire, when a large part of the wooden buildings burned down, the houses of “Jew Dembiński and Jews Zynek and Zelik” were among the 25 remaining houses in the town.
During the next fire which broke out in Brzesko on Christmas Eve 1752, 10 houses belonging to Catholics and 9 Jewish houses were burnt down – those Jewish houses belonged to “Berek, Icek, Jakub, Józef, the house of another Józef, Juda, Lisman, Muniś and Slamek”.
In 1765, the Jewish community numbered about 180 people over one year of age. Jews lived in 14 houses, 10 of which were their property. They also had a school and a cemetery.
At that time, Jews were known only by their first names, and father’s name was added instead of a surname.
“Metryka Józefińska” (1787, the first land cadastre of Galicia) provides data on 20 Jewish owners of houses and squares in Brzesko. They are: Dawid the Jew, Haszla the Jew, Herszla Jachym, Josef Herszlewicz, Israel the Jew, Jakub the Jew, Josef the Jew, Herszla Józefowicz, Jach Józefowicz, Lewko Józefowicz, Herszl Muniś, Wolf Nosowicz, Mosiek Pinchus, Aron Pinkowicz, Szyja Salamonowicz, Smul the Jew , Szyja Józef, Icek Troynowicz, Jach Troynowicz, Troynowicz son of Jach. At that time, the town also had the “House of the Lord where the Synagogue is”, the Small Synagogue and the Jewish hospital”
In the Franciscan record (“Metryka franciszkańska”, 1820, when 59 out of 149 houses belonged to Israelites), there appear the names of Brzesko Jews known from later years: Jozel Kinsberger, Cyna Trymowicz, Błażej Celnek, Aron Brandstatter, Mojżesz Klausner, Beniamin Blaser, Abraham Mendel, Joachim Heszek, Jake Blonder, Josef Flaneer, Dawid Rabenbauer, Josef Bruchhein, Aron Schwarchoch, Adam Schmalzer, Abraham Spichler, Pinkas Schwarzkachel, Israel Tellerman, Salomon Mendel, Juda Windstrahl, Szlama Nienenberger, Abusier Hiller (from Wiśnicz), Józef Szyja, Icek Karszlowicz, Samuel Stachal, Nojak Schwarzbach, Juda Kleinberger, Leib Lewkowicz, Icko Feigul, Efreim Beidner, Zachariasz niesenberger, Dawid Rothersek, Berko Heichler, Gerson Feldbrander, Dawid Westreich, Leib Sterlicht, Jast Feldbrander, Lewko Harschweld, Icek Freller, Dawid the Jew, Berl Reifsad, Moises Beidner, Samuel Beidner, Leib Liller, Efreim Eichenholz, widow of Josek, Slonik Ninenberger, Wold Perlman, Dawid Seichtal, Beniamin Brandstatter, Nissen Messendchneider, Josch Nieselbaum, Józef Goldstein, Daniel Gutfreund, Jost Westhirsch, Leib Kalner, Jakob Blaugrund. Twelve Jewish owners ran breweries, distilleries and smoking rooms. The breweries were owned by Mojżesz Waiss and Jost Feldbrander; Beniamin Brandstaetter, Isaak Braun, Leib Brandsdorfer, Daniel Gutfreund, Jost Wasthirek, Leib Koelner, Jakob Blaugrund had distilleries, and Slonik Nirenberger, Joszka Nieselbaum and Josef Goldstein ran smoking rooms. At that time, only the Catholic residents of Brzesko were the owners of agricultural land.
The photo shows a fragment of the “Metryka Józefińska” for the town of Brzesko in the Bochnia circular (1787); the original document is kept in the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Lviv, fond 19, description 1, page 5. The photo lists the following positions:
26. Road from the town to the Brewery
27. Lord’s Brewery
28. House of Kasper Gramora
29. House of Aron Pinkowicz
30. House of Paweł Sroka
31. House of the son of Troynowicz
32. House of the Lord where the Synagogue is
33. House of Jach Józefowicz with the Smoking Room
24. Jewish hospital
35. The small synagogue
36. Szyja Salamonowicz’s House with the Smoking Room
37. House of Eliasz Markowicz with the Smoking Room
38. House of Wolf Nosowicz
39. Garden by the house
40. Jachym Herszla’s House with the Smoking Room
41. Garden behind the House
42. House of Jakub Niedarski the Jew
43. House of Herszla Józefowicz
44. Garden behind the House
© Anna Brzyska, 2023