Brzeziny ([bʐɛˈʑinɨ]; Yiddish: ברעזין, Brezin) is a town in Poland, in Łódź Voivodeship, about 20 km east of Łódź. It is the capital of Brzeziny County and has a population of 12,514 (2016). It once was a thriving Jewish shtetl noted for its tailors.
Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
|Gmina||Brzeziny (urban gmina)|
|• Mayor||Ilona Skipor|
|• Total||29.58 km2 (11.42 sq mi)|
|• Density||420/km2 (1,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Car plates||ELW (to 2002); EBR (since 2002)|
The first settlement on the site of the present town of Brzeziny was during the 13th Century. The first documentary evidence of the town charter dates from 1332. The town played an important role in the development of trade between Russia and the Polish town of Toruń from the 15th to 17th centuries. Of particular economic importance was craft and tailoring.
Brzeziny was one of the oldest Jewish settlements in Poland, and was known as Krakówek ("Little Krakow"). Polish noblewoman Anna Łasocka brought the first Jewish weavers to Brzeziny, and in 1547 was the first reference to a Jewish population.
In 1793, following the Second Partition of Poland, the town and region was annexed into the Kingdom of Prussia as South Prussia. In July 1807, following the Treaty of Tilsit, the town was transferred to the Duchy of Warsaw and after June 1815, became part of the Russian Congress Poland to 1916. During World War I Austrian and German armies were very active in the region. The Prussian General Karl Litzmann won an important battle here against the Russian army and earned the nickname "the lion of Brzeziny". From November 1916, with Poland mostly occupied by Austrian and German armies, the autonomous Regency Kingdom of Poland (Królestwo Regencyjne) governed the area until the declaration of the Second Polish Republic in 1918.
During World War II the entire region was part of the notorious Reichsgau Wartheland governed by SS Obergruppenfuhrer Arthur Greiser. The town was renamed Löwenstadt to honour Karl Litzmann and a small ghetto was established in 1940 for local Jews almost all of whom were later murdered.
On 18 January 1945 the Red Army reached Brzeziny.
Brzeziny is twinned with:
- Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski (1503-1572), Polish Renaissance scholar, humanist and theologian, called "the father of Polish democracy."
- Grzegorz Paweł z Brzezin (ca. 1525-1591), Socinian writer and theologian
- Adam Burski or Bursius (ca. 1560–1611), Polish philosopher
- Abraham Icek Tuschinski (1886-1942), businessman
- Georg Wannagat (1916-2006), jurist
- Zbigniew Zamachowski (1961-), Polish actor
- Population. Size and Structure and Vital Statistics in Poland by Territorial Division in 2016, as of December 31 (PDF). Warszawa: Główny Urząd Statystyczny. 2017. p. 114. ISSN 2451-2087.
- Tuszynski, David. "Brzeziny, Poland [Pages 144-147]". Yizkor Book Project. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "History - Jewish community in Brzeziny". Virtual Shtetl. sztetl.org.pl (in Polish). POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Retrieved 7 November 2018.