Bereza-Kartzuz (in Belarussian - Biaroza-Kartuz)-
since 1940 - Bereza - today - the center of Biaroza region, sintuated
on the river Yaselda, about 100 km from Brest. In 1992 Biaroza had 26.000
The first mention of Biaroza in written sources is 1477. This time, it was a village in Slonim, since 1521 - in Kobrin povet of Grodna voevodstvo in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Biaroza was the possession of Gamshey, Veshtartovich, Gastouski and Rudzinski families. In the end of 16th cetury this village became a possession of famous belarussian magnat family - Sapega. Since 1629 - Biaroza is a miastechka (Yiddish - shtetl).
In the middle of 17th century padkantsler ( a deputy of chancellor) Kazimir Lyavon Sapega invited the monks of catholic Cartezian (Cartuzian) order to Biaroza. They bulit a church. Sapega presented to the monks a small plot of land with the 800 peasants houses. In honour of the monks Biaroza recieved a new name - Biaroza-Kartuz.(Cartuzian).
Jews lived in Biaroza-Kartuz since the end of 17th cnetury. An owner of miastechka Great Getman (chief of army) of the Grand Duchy Lyavon Sapega permited jews to build a prayer house in Biaroza. Jews hadn`t any obstackes in their religious life in Sapega`s possession. Great Getman did all to atract jews in his miastechka. Jews built houses. Sapega gave them all rights that jews had in his other possessions. He ordered to all his heirs (an owners of Biaroza) to protect jewish rights. As the result of Sapega`s policy more then 242 jews lived in Biaroza-Kartuz in 1766.
During the war between Russia of Peter the Great and Rech Paspalitaya (a union of Polish kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, formed in 1569) and Sweden of Karl IX, Swedish army destroyed Biaroza-Kartuz and plundered a church of Cartuzian monks.
Since 1795 Biaroza-Kartuz - a part of Pruzhany uezd in Slonim, since 1797 - Lithuanian, since 1801 - Grodna gubernias. In the first half of 19th century Biroza-Kartuz had 8 fairs per year, 2 leather and cloth manufactures, 36 shops.
In 1831 Russian authorities confiscated Biaroza-Kartuz from Sapega family and closed a catholic church. During the 1831 insurrection against Russia and for independence Poland , Sapega and the staff of chucrch gave their support to the rebells . This confiscation was a punishment for Sapega.
In 1833 Biaroza-Kartuz had 1.200 inhabitants and 200 wooden houses.
515 jews lived in Biaroza-Kartuz according to the revision of 1847. The resultsof the famous Russian cenusu of 1897 for bereza-Kartuz were: 6.226 inhabitants (2.623 jews). In 1897 shtetl had 5 stone and 1.070 wooden houses, male and female people schools, a chemist`s shop and so on. A great impuls to the Biaroza-Kartuz economy in the second part was a building of a railway Moscow-Brest. The main occupations of Biaoza-Kartuz Jewry were trade and handicraft.
During World War I German troops occupied the shtetl in 1915. After the February and Bolshevik revolutions Polish army occupied Biaroza from 1919 till June, 1920, and from August, 1920. According to the Riga treaty (March, 1921) Biaroza-Kartuz became the part of Pruzhany povet in Pales`se voevodstvo of Poland.
On the 17th of June, 1934, Polish president ordered to create a special concentration camp for isolation of communists, comsomol members and supporters of left parties. This camp was situated in barracks of Polish army in Biaroza-Kartuz. Polish authorities put prisoners to this camp without any trails and investigations, on denunciation. The conditions in camp were very bed. The administration beat and mocked at prisoners.On the 17th of September, 1939, Red Army invaded Poland. Biaroza-Kartuz became the part of Belarussian Soviet Socialist republic and Soviet Union. Concentration camp was closed. During 5 yaears of existance more then 10.000 people were in Biaroza camp.
In 1939 Biaroza-Kartuz had 5.000 inhabitants. Since the 1st of January, 1940 Biaroza was the center of a region.
On the 22nd of June, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union. On the 23th of June, they occupied Biaroza. They created a ghetto and later a death camp. In the military diary of 322 police devisiom we can read about the destruction of Biaroza Jewry: "24.08.1941. Company N8 sent to Biaroza-Kartuz for the execution of special mission... 31.08.1941. After the execution of special mission Company N8 returned from Biaroza-Kartuz to Minsk". All jews of Biaroza were killed. During the War the fascists killed more then 7.000 people. On the 15th of July, 1944, during the Belarussian operation, Red Army liberated Biaroza.