Podlaski, Poland, has a long Jewish history. This site
connects you with that
history through first-person accounts, Holocaust testimonies,
photographs, archival materials, and encyclopedic works. It
also contains links
to other resources pertaining to Bielsk Podlaski and to Jewish
life in Poland.
This site can help you learn more about how your ancestors
lived, and perhaps
help you discover names or photos of relatives. A significant
portion of this
material has been shared or translated by others with ties to
Bielsk. If you
have photos, documents, stories or materials related to Bielsk
you would like to share, or if you find any errors, please email the coordinator.
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This site is
hosted at no cost by JewishGen,
Inc., the Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you have been aided in
your research by
this site and wish to further our mission of preserving our
history for future
generations, your JewishGen-erosity is greatly
Learn about the Bielsk Podlaski Yizkor
Book Translation Project
the current translation progress
memorial book of the Jews from Bielsk Podlaski (in Polish:
pamięci Żydów Bielska Podlaskiego) is titled Book in the
of the Bielsk Podliask Jews Whose Lives Were Taken During
the Holocaust Between
1939 and 1944. Through it, survivors and their families
speak about the history
of the town, what life there was like, its people, and their
fate. The book
contains a brief section in English, along with more
extensive Hebrew and
Yiddish sections. There is a project to translate these
sections to English.
Please click here to read about the Bielsk
Podlaski Yizkor Book Translation Project.
- The table
of contents provides access to the complete English
section, the Hebrew and Yiddish chapters that have been
translated into English, and a necrology of over 1,100
- A scan of
the English section of the Bielsk memorial book, with fully
searchable text, can be downloaded in PDF format (44 MB).
- To view a
scan of the entire book, including the English, Hebrew, and
Yiddish sections, download it from the Yiddish Book Center, which also offers reprints.
- Use Google
Translate to read the English translations in other
languages (works best in Google Chrome):
- Polski - Kliknij tutaj, aby skorzystać z
Tłumacza Google i przeczytać przetłumaczone przez
JewishGen księgi pamiątkowe Żydów z Bielska Podlaskiego na
język polski (Księga Świętej Pamięci Żydów z Bielska
Podlaskiego, których życie zostało odebrane podczas
Holokaustu w latach 1939-1944). Księga pamięci Żydów
Bielska Podlaskiego. Działa najlepiej w Google Chrome.
- русский - Нажмите
чтобы использовать Google
Translate, чтобы прочитать переводы JewishGen мемориальной книги евреев из Бельска-Подляского на русский язык (Книга святой памяти евреев Бельского Подляска, чьи жизни были отняты во время Холокоста между 1939 и 1944 годами). Лучше всего работает в Google
тут, щоб скористатися Google Translate, щоб
прочитати переклад JewishGen меморіальної книги євреїв з
Більська Підляського українською мовою (Книга святої
пам’яті євреїв Більська Підляського, чиї життя були
забрані під час Голокосту між 1939 і 1944 роками).
Найкраще працює в Google Chrome.
contain unique stories, perspectives, and photographs of
life in Bielsk. They are presented here as a way supplementing
the Yizkor book.
If you would like to add your family history, please contact the coordinator.
History and Background
- An Introduction to Bielsk, by Mark W. Gordon
- Bielsk Podliasks in the Sources
and the Book of Bielsk: an Historical Survey, by Haim Rabin
- Shabbot in a Small Town (Bielsk)
in Russia Before the First World War, by I. Semiat
Jewish School in Bielsk and Like Children to Their Mother by Libe Utzyski
- Image of a Society, Kehila and
Rabbinate, and Opinions Views and Ideological Movements, by H. Rabin
- Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland (Pinkas Hakehillot Polin), chapter
- Entries in
the early 1900s Jewish Encyclopedia and the 2007 Encyclopedia Judaica
about the Case of Blood Libel in Bielsk in the Yizkor book are found in
the Jewish Encyclopedia
- A brief History of Bielsk
to Herbert Hoover
from the children of the Second Jewish Kitchen in Bielsk,
Jewish Orphanage No. 4, and Jewish Kitchen No. 4 in
- The Bielsker Bruderlicher
Unterstitzungs Verein (BBUV, translated as Bielsker
Brotherly Assistance Society) was a mutual aid society
founded in 1888 in New York by people from Bielsk Podlaski
and surrounding areas. Materials available include a
membership directory, pages from souvenir journals, and
incorporation papers. The souvenir journals are a testament
to the rich social activities of the BBUV.
- A collection of materials about the Bielsk
Podlaski Ghetto including first-person accounts,
photographs taken in the ghetto, encyclopedic entries, and a
map of the ghetto with the location of historic Jewish
- Opinions Views and Ideological
- These are the holy names of
a necrology provided by Yad Vashem
histories, photographs, and other materials related to the
Holocaust and Bielsk can be found on the web site of the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This
link will provide search results on the term Bielsk
link will provide search results from their collection
using the word Bielsk.
- “Jews in Bielsk Podlaski County,
1939-1945,” is a chapter in Night Without End, The Fate
of Jews in German-Occupied Poland, released in
September 2022 and reviewed
here. Google Books provides a preview making the
entire chapter, along with the book’s preface, available to
online for free. The chapter on Bielsk Podlaski County
is written by Barbara Engelking, co-editor of the
book with Jan Grabowski. Engelking has been
in the news because of criticism from the Polish
government over comments she made in a TV interview marking
the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April
19, 2023) about the treatment of Jews by Poland and Poles
during the Holocaust.
- This article
about the 1941 pogrom in Jedwabne mentions pogroms in
other towns including Bielsk Podlaski. The paper on which
the article is based, (titled "Wokół Jedwabnego,"
translated as Jedwabne and Beyond) dates the pogrom in
Bielsk Podlaski to July 5–7, 1941. Although no longer
available at the link provided at the bottom of the
article, the paper (a PDF) can be downloaded here. Twelve pages in English
follow the table of contents.
- Report on
the publication of a Polish book titled "The Art of Survival. Soviet
deportations from the Bielsko Poviat 1940–1941. Deportees’
Righteous Among the Nations Database lists 36 results
in a search
for Bielsk Podlaski.
- German Invasion of Poland, 1939
- The Holocaust in Poland on Wikipedia
- Shtetl, on PBS Frontline, "tells the
homecoming story of two elderly Polish-American Jews who
return to their families’ shtetl in Bransk [near Bielsk
Podlaski], Poland, where 2,500 Jews lived before most were
sent to Treblinka’s gas chambers." The site includes the
entire three-hour documentary, information about Treblinka,
and other resources. PBS also provides an educator's primer,
classroom activities, a timeline, and maps for use in the
classroom in conjunction with the documentary.
- A Year in Treblinka, by Jankiel Wiernik. This is a first-person account
of the systematic murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews at
Treblinka. The full text can be read here.
- Treblinka on the Jewish Virtual Library
- Treblinka on JewishGen
- Treblinka on The
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
After the war
- Trials of German Major War
Criminals - A transcript from the Nuremberg Trials
contains a reference to 11,084 Jews executed on November 9,
1941, in Bielsk.
- Testimonies of Treblinka SS-Men, on A Teacher's Guide to the
- Judgment in the Cologne Court of
Justice is a
record of war crimes trials. It refers to the 1942 Jewish
population in Bielsk.
- The Jews in Poland Since the
Liberation is a State Department report
written in 1946. It reports on antisemitism and violence
against Jews in Poland before and after the war. The
report attracted new attention in 2018 with the
introduction of legislation
in Poland that criminalized attributing any
responsibility for the Holocaust to Poland or the Polish
state. The State Department report was summarized in a
2018 Newsweek article titled Poles
Treated Jews As Badly As Nazis, Says Secret 1946 U.S.
Report. Controversy over the Polish law continues,
as covered in this report from January 2022: Polish
official fired after calling Holocaust law ‘stupid’
- The above topic is also covered in a recent
article titled "Poland is one of the most
progressive countries in Holocaust remembrance"
- Anti-Jewish Violence in Poland
After Liberation, on the Yad Vashem website.
- The Attitudes of the Poles
Toward the Jews, on the Jewish
established by Steven Spielberg to videotape and preserve
the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. The
foundation has collected more than 50,000 testimonies.
- Bielsk Podlaski commemorated the
70th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto with the
placement of a memorial plaque. Use your
browser’s translation function to read the article in
English. Enlarged images of the memorial plaque shown in the
article can be seen
- Another article about the memorial
plaque states that it was erected at the site of the former
Shaare Zion Beth Midrash. Use
your browser’s translation function to read the article in
- The Bielsker Sefer Torah: From a
cobbler's bench in 1945 to an Israeli shul in 2013
Photographs of Bielsk
images of Bielsk Podlaski contributed by the JewishGen
- The Ghetto
Fighters House Archives has photographs of individuals,
groups, documents and more available on their web site. Click “Search the Archive,” then
enter your search terms (e.g., Bielsk, or Bielsk Podlaski),
or try this Google search. Let your browser translate the
photographs of Bielsk and other related materials can be
found on the web site of The United States Holocaust
- Search the Ellis Island database for records of immigrants from
Bielsk Podlaski. Searching for Bielsk, without using a
surname, returns 1,171 records. Searching for Billsk returns
- Yad Vashem
holds an extensive collection of materials, many of which
are available online.
- The Auschwitz searchable database allows you to search for records
of those murdered at Auschwitz.
- The JewishGen All Poland Database, containing over 2 million entries
for individuals from Poland.
Podlaski holdings in Eastern European archives identified by
the Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots
Search the Archive Database for Bielsk to see the inventory
showing holdings in five different archives. Materials
include census records taken in eleven different years,
birth, death, marriage, emigration, army, and notary
- Jewish Records Indexing - Poland has a searchable database of vital
records, including records from Bielsk Podlaski.
InfoFile - Polish Archives Holdings of
Jewish Vital Records.
- Polish State Archives and the State Archives in Bialystok.
chapters excerpted from Jewish Roots in Poland on the Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots
- Writing to Poland JewishGen InfoFile.
- The YIVO Institute for Jewish
Research has the
in the Holy Memory of the Bielsk-Podliask Jews
which contains an English section (see link at the top of
this page to read this section). The main body of the book
consists of Hebrew and Yiddish sections, along with photos
and a necrology.
- 1911 - 1912 Russian Business
- 1928 Business Directory
- 1930 Business Directory
- 1936 Phone Directory
- 1937 Phone Directory
The Rabbis of Bielsk
Kehila and Rabbinate, by Haim Rabin, a chapter of the Bielsk Yizkor book,
information about the Rabbis of Bielsk Podlaski.
Rabbi Aryeh Loeb Yellin, born in Skidel, Lithuania in 1820,
served as the Chief
Rabbi of Bielsk from 1856 until his death in 1886. Yellin's
published works are
sermons, responsa, commentary, and "glosses" to the Babylonian
Talmud. Known as Yefeh Einayim, the glosses were printed in
the back of the
Vilna edition of the Talmud. See the following for references:
Rabbi Ben Zion Sternfeld (1835 – 1917) was appointed Rabbi of
Bielsk after the
death of Rabbi Yellin.
Rabbi Moshe Aharon Bendas (Ben Daat) (1866 – 1943), the last
Rabbi of Bielsk,
was designated by his father-in-law, Rabbi Sternfeld, to be
his successor. According
to this site,
he died at Treblinka. Haim Rabin wrote that “together with his
flock, he was
engulfed by the Holocaust and died the death of a martyr.”
to the year of birth of a native of Bielsk
Sack Full of Memories by Zwi Lewin (who was born in
1934 in Bielsk Podlaski). Published by Hybrid Publishers,
Victoria, Australia, in 2019. A free sample of the book
can be read here.
- History of the Jews in Poland and Russia by Simon Dubnow.
Aryeh Loeb Yellin Author of “Yefeh ‘Einayim,”His Life
and Literary Work, by
Rivka Ziskind. Published by Rubin Mass Publisher,
Jerusalem 1973. Hebrew with a five-page summary in
English. Also see
here, here, and here.
of Stormy Years, Bielsk 1898-1907, by
Beryl Stern. Published by A Committee of the Workmen’s
Circle, Newark New Jersey in 1953. Hebrew. This book has
been digitized and can be read here.
Bialystok and Surrounding in Eastern Poland, by Tomasz Wisniewski. Published
by the Ipswich Press, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1998. Two
pages of this book are specific to the history of and
conditions in Bielsk Podlaski.
specific to Bielsk Podlaski these materials may give us a
glimpse of the lives
of our ancestors.
- The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film
Virtual Cinema has a number of films that you
can view for free on the Internet. These films can provide
an idea of how our ancestors might have lived in Poland
before the Holocaust. Films include the following five taken
in 1939 before the holocaust:
(including footage of
the great synagogue in Bialystok and a young girl eating a
Day In Warsaw
Life In Kracow
Life In Lvov
Life In Vilna
o Other films
about Jewish communities, the Holocaust, early Zionism, and
Search JewishGen Databases
- Search the JewishGen Family
Finder for others researching Bielsk Podlaski. Also search
the discussion group for
references to family names and Bielsk Podlaski.
Compiled by Andrew
Updated April 30, 2023
Copyright © 2002 - 2023 Andrew Blumberg
Home Page | KehilaLinks
This site is
hosted at no cost
by JewishGen, Inc., the Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you have
been aided in
your research by this site and wish to further our mission of
history for future generations, your JewishGen-erosity
is greatly appreciated.