BRZEZINY (Yid. Brezin ), town 2 mi. (3 km.) E. of Lodz in central Poland. Jews are mentioned there in 1564. In 1656, 40 Jewish families were massacred in Brzeziny by Polish soldiers (Czarnecki units). At the beginning of the 20th century, Brzeziny became a big Jewish garment-manufacturing center, exporting to Russia and the Far East. In the early 1920s the economic situation deteriorated when the town was cut off from its Russian markets. Most of the Jewish tailors were unemployed and left the town. In the interwar period the Zionist organizations were very active, taking part in the elections to Parliament, to Zionist Congresses, and the community and local councils. In 1930s there was a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents.
The Jewish population numbered 243 in 1765, 3,917 in 1897 (over half of the total population), 8,214 in 1912, and 4,980 in 1925.
[Sara Neshamith /
Shlomo Netzer (2nd ed.)]
In 1939 there was still a Jewish majority in Brzeziny – 6,850 out of a total population of 13,000. During the Nazi occupation Jewish property was confiscated and pillaged; people in the streets or in their homes were kidnapped for forced labor; and community leaders and members of the liberal professions were deported to unknown destinations. In February 1940, a ghetto was established and included over 6,000 inhabitants. In 1942 (Purim?) there was a public execution of ten Jews. The final liquidation of the ghetto took place on May 19–20, 1942. Elderly Jews were sent to *Chelmno extermination camps and others to *Lodz ghetto.
I. Schipper (ed.), Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; L. Lewin, Die Judenverfolgungen im zweiten schwedisch-polnischen Kriege (1655–1659) (1901), 14; Bzheshin Yisker-Bukh (1961); J.J. Kermisz, "Akcje" i "Wysiedlenia," 2 (1946), index; D. Dąbrowska and L. Dobroszycki (eds.), Kronika getta łodzkiego, 2 vols. (1965–66), passim; D. Dąbrowska, in: bŻih, no. 13–14 (1955), 122–84. add. bibliography: Lovitsch, A shtot in Mazovie (1966).