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BEREZA (Cartuskaya Bereza):

Town in the district of Pruszhany, government of Grodno, Russia; situated on the river Jazelda, on the road between Brest-Litovsk and Bobruisk. The Jewish population in 1890 was 850, out of a total of 2,625.

Jews first settled in Bereza in 1629, as is evident from a document registered by Solomon Michailevich, superintendent of the Jewish congregation of Brest-Litovsk, at the city hall of that place, April 18, 1680. In this document Grand Duke Sapicha (1557-1633), hetman and chancellor of Lithuania, declares to his officials of Bereza and to his heirs that, as he desires that Jews shall settle in Bereza, he grants them the privilege of building there a house of prayer where they can hold their divine service undisturbed. They shall have the right to build houses and ornament them according to their desire, and shall enjoy all the privileges granted to the Jewish inhabitants on his other estates, as Rozhana and Kosov. All these rights are also to be granted by his heirs. After the signature of Leon Sapieha on the original document is added a confirmation of the contents in the handwriting of his son, Cazimir Leo Sapieha (1609-56).

Bibliography:
  • Akty Wilenskoi Archeograficheskoi Kommissii, v. 142;
  • Regesty i Nadpisi, No. 781;
  • Pamiatnaya Kniga Grodnenskoi Gubernii na 1890.
H. R.
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