1287.  First mention of Kobryn in historical documents. [source]

13th Century.  The town belonged to the Volhynian Prince Vladimir Vasilevich. [source]

14th Century.  Early in this century the town formed part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. (Not to be confused with the modern country of Lithuania.) [source TBD]

15th Century.   The first local documentation of Jews living in Kobryn: an inscription in the old Kobryn Jewish Cemetery. [source]

1514.    Kobryn is mentioned among the Lithuanian Jewish congregations to whom King Sigismund I renewed privileges granted to them by his brother, Alexander the Yagloni.  [source]

1563.    In Kobryn, the names of 23 Jews are mentioned as holding 25 houses, as well as about 20 orchards and vegetable gardens, and a synagogue. They lived on Pinsker Street, which was surrounded by parks and greens. They made their living primarily by producing beer.  [source]

1563.     The Kobryn ekonomija revision were 22 (25 or 27) Jewish house holders, 12% of all of the Kobryn house holders. [source]

1563.   The majority of Kobryn Jewish people lived in Pinskaya Street, which also was the location of a synagogue. At the end of Pinskaya Street as far as Balotskaya akruga there were about 20 Jewish fruit gardens. At this time, the main occupations of the Kobryn Jewish people were trade, beer-production and lease of customs.  [source]

1589.  Kobryn became a free city of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth according to the Magdeburg Rights (Magdeburg Law). This allowed for a large number of Jews to settle in the area following.  [source]

1589.    Jews were accorded equal rights with the other inhabitants. The Jews of Kobryn mainly earned their livelihood from local and interurban trade with Lublin; the leasing of inns, and the collection of custom duties.  [source]

1623.   During the 1st Assembly of Lithuanian Vaad (Council of Lithuanians Rabbies and Community Leaders) it was decided that the Kobryn kagal (community) would be under the sovereignty of the Brest kagal.  [source]

1648 to 1668.  Jan Kazimir was the King of Poland and the Great Prince of the Great Lithuanian Princedom. [source]

1648.  The great Cossack and Peasant Revolt, one of the most cataclysmic events in Ukrainian history. It is difficult to find a similar revolt of such magnitude, intensity, and impact in the early modern history of all of Europe. The Jews fled to Poland and the general population turned against the Jews. Jewish records estimate that a total of 100,000 Jews were murdered and 300 communities destroyed. [source]

1648.   The year the Thirty Years' War ended, the Ukrainian peasants were organized by Bogdan Chmielnitzky (or Chmielnicki) to avenge the high taxes and poverty. Although the picture is unclear, it appears that Chmielnitzky hoped to establish an independent Poland with the Cossacks in charge. United with the Tatars, and too powerful for the wealthy landowners to stop, Chmielnitzky and the Cossacks fought against the Polish nobles until 1654. While doing so, they devastated the Jews of Poland. [source]

1648. In Spring, the Cossacks under the leadership of Bogdan Chmielnicki massacred an estimated 6,000 Jews of Nemirov, Poland. The Jews of Nemirov and the out lying areas had run for refuge to the fortified castle overlooking the town, but were caught and exterminated. [source]

1648.  During the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-49, a number of Jews from the Ukraine took refuge in Kobryn. [source]

1648. The Cossack uprisings effectively mark the end of Jewish economic security in Lithuania.  [source]

1653.   Kobryn and the small town of Gorodetz (about five miles distant from Kobryn) and once a part of the Kobryn were nearly ruined when they were besieged by the Swedish army. The Jews and their property suffering greatly, especially at the hands of the Polish soldiers, who mutinied on account of non-payment of their salaries and compensated themselves at the cost of the Jews.  [source]

1678.   The death of Bezalel b. Solomon, a spiritual leader of Kobryn.  [source]

1705.    The Kobryn kagal paid a tax of only 315 zloty, indicating that the condition of the kagal was not very good. [source]

1714.     The Kobryn kagal and Michel Itskavich (a wealthy Kobryn Jew) signed an agreement. According to the agreement Itskovich gave to the kagal 8,000 Polish zloty for a period of 8 years. In return the Kobryn kagal released him from the payment of state and communal taxes for this period. Itskovich also received a right to live any place in Kobryn, including Rynachnaya (Market) square and trade freely in thewine industry. [source]

1718.   The death of Jacob b. David Shapira, a spiritual leader of Kobryn. [source

1766.    The poll tax was paid by a total of 924 Jews in Kobryn and the surrounding villages. [source]

1795.    The Russian Army occupied Kobryn. It became a small city (Belarussian  miastechka, Yiddish  shtetl) of Slonim uezd of the Lithuanian gubernia. [source]

1795.   October  After the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the town was annexed by Imperial Russia, under the reign of Catherine II (the Great). [source]

1797.   Kobryn kluch was a possession of famous Russian Field Marshall Alexander V. Suvorov. Suvorov lived in Kobryn from 1797 until his death in 1800. [source]

1812.  Kobryn was bombarded by the French army and again suffered much. During the war between France and Russia (1812) on the 15th of July, 1812, Russian troops defeated a French detachment of General Klengel (4.000 soldiers). [source TBD]

1847.   There were 4,184 Jews living in Kobryn and approximately 5,000 in the vicinity.  [source]

1882.   The Jewish people were prohibited from leasing farms and rural buildings.  [source]

1887. There were two municipal fairs in Kobryn:  January 6 and September 8.  [source TBD]

1897. The introduction of the government monopoly on liquor distilling severely affected Jewish economic activity in Kobryn. As a result, a Jewish proletariat (a social class comprising of those who do manual labor or work for wages) emerged in Kobryn. Many started to emigrate, especially to America. [source]

1905.  After the Russian revolution of 1905, in Kobryn was founded a local organization of the Union of Jewish Workers in Lithuania, Russia and Poland (Bund). [source TBD]

1906.   Because of the deplorable economic conditions, Kobryn Jews were emigrating in large numbers to America, Palestine and South Africa. Formerly the Jews were mostly engaged in agriculture and distilling; but in 1882, by a ukase of Alexander III., the renting of farms was prohibited to Jews, as was also residence outside the city limits. Further, in 1897 the distillery business had been declared a government monopoly. [source TBD]

1906. Kobryn had many Jewish charitable societies and institutions, a magnificent synagogue, two Jewish schools (batte midrashot), and eleven houses of prayer of different Hasidic sects. [source TBD]

1906.    There was a religious Hebrew school (heder) in this shtetl. It was not a modem school. The school had just one room for about six or seven male students. This room was part of the teacher's residence. The rebbe (teacher) was a tall slim man with a pointy beard of brown and gray, whose name was Krasnitzky. [source]

1910.   Kobryn had a private Jewish school for boys. [source TBD]

1919.  Kobryn was occupied by Polish troops. [source TBD]

1921.  Following the Riga Treaty, Kobryn became a part of a Polish independant state. [source TBD]

1939.   March 28:  Britain and France gave Poland a guarantee that they would fight to protect any threats to Poland’s independence. [source]

1939.   April 2:  Hitler ordered his generals to make plans for the invasion of Poland. Many Germans had been forced to live in Poland as a result of the Versailles Treaty. A major point of contention was Western Prussia, which had been given to Poland in 1919 to allow the new country to have access to the sea . The Poles called it the Polish Corridor  but many Germans lived there. Poland was not willing to hand it back to Germany. [source]

1939.  August 17:  Secret diplomatic discussions start between Germany and Russia. These resulted in the signing of the German-Soviet non-aggression treaty a few days later. The German-Soviet Pact, also known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact after the two foreign ministers who negotiated the agreement. [source TBD]

1939.  August 19:  In a secret speech to the Politburo, Stalin revealed his plan to wage war on Europe and Germany and to Sovietize all Europe as far as the English Channel. [source TBD]

1939.   August 23:  German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop joins Stalin and Molotov in signing the final version of the 10 year German-Soviet mutual non-aggression treaty, including the secret protocols that provided for the partition of Poland and the rest of eastern Europe into Soviet and German spheres of interest. These secret protocols were not announced to the world. The treaty also stated that if Germany were to invade Poland, then the Soviet Union would not interfere. [source TBD]

1939.  September 1:  German armored columns and attack aircraft crossed the Polish border on a broad front and World War II began. The weather that day was an unusually clear , dry, and atypically cool: ideal weather for a surprise attack. German aircraft had perfect visibility, both vehicles and tanks could move rapidly over dirt track roads and across dry river beds. At 4:45 AM Adolph Hitler's operation Fall Weiss (Case White) was launched and 53 divisions of the German Army (1,000,000 soldiers, 880 tanks, 400 aircraft) cut through Poland's frontier at several points supported for the first time in the history of combat by close air and mobile ground support (Blitzkrieg tactics). Poland's initial defenses were overrun in hours and highly mobile German armored formations struck deep into the Polish interior. [source]

1939.   September 13 was Eve of Rosh Hashana. [source]

1939.   September 14 was  Rosh Hashana. [source]

1939.  September 17:  Units of the Red Army, about a million troops,crossed the border into Poland near Minsk, Slutsk, and Polotsk, and began advancing through the territory of Western Byelorussia. Western Byelorussia, including Brest, was annexed by Soviet troops. Western Belarus became a part of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR), part of the USSR. The Red Army suffered 3,000 killed, and captured 240,000 Polish soldiers and 15,400 officers. [source]

1939.   September 20:  The Red Army entered and took control of the city of Kobryn. The Zionist youth there tried to reach Vilna, which was then in independent Lithuania. Of those who were successful, many of them continued on to Palestine. [source]

1939. September 22 was Eve of Yom Kippur. [source]

1939.  September 23 was Yom Kippur. [source]

1939.    During the Polish Defence War of 1939 the town was the scene of heavy fighting between the Polish 60th Infantry Division of Colonel Adam Epler and the German XIX Panzer Corps of General Heinz Guderian.
[source TBD]

1941.   June 21st: Germany declare war and what the Russians called The Great Patriotic War (WWII) begins. In 1941, June 22nd at 3:15 in the morning Germany launches a massive blitzkrieg and invaded Russia, crossing the border in Belarus. This wasHitler's Barbarossa Plan, a preemptive strike with 3 million soldiers, before Stalin was ready to start his offensive war. Operation Barbarossa was the largest German military operation of World War II. Three army groups, including more than three million German soldiers, supported by half a million troops from Germany's allies (Finland, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, and Croatia), attacked the Soviet Union across a broad front, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. For months, the Soviet leadership had refused to heed warnings from the western powers of the German troop buildup. Germany thus achieved almost complete tactical surprise and the Soviet armies were initially overwhelmed. Millions of Soviet soldiers were encircled, cut off from supplies and reinforcements, and forced to surrender. The whole territory of the republic of Belarus has been occupied within 2 months. [source TBD]

1941.   June 24th: two days after the war had broken out between Germany and the Soviet Union, the Germans captured Kobryn. [source TBD]

1941.   Soon after the occupation, the bet ha-midrash Hayyei Adam was set on fire. At the same time, about 170 Jews were murdered not far from the village of Patryki. [source]

1941.  Late June, with the Nazi invasion of Russia, Germany began its first systematic efforts to exterminate the Jews. With territorial solutions having failed to rid the Germans of the Jews, the Nazis embarked on an all out assault to destroy every Jewish man, woman and child. Four Einsatzgruppen (A, B, C, and D action groups) followed front line German army units to find and liquidate Jews, saboteurs, Communist political leaders and anyone deemed a threat to the Third Reich. From the outset of this campaign the Jewish press provided wide coverage and fairly accurate accounts of atrocities committed against the Jews. The Jewish press reported that hundreds of Jews had been massacred by Nazi soldiers in Minsk, Brest-Litovsk, Lvov, Prezemyl, and in almost every city in the area. Reports also told of how Nazi bombs and artillery had destroyed many Russian villages and cities, killing thousands of Jews. Tens of thousands of Jews fled the Nazi onslaught. [source TBD]

1941.  June 24th or a few days later: the Germans killed about 170 prominent Kobryn Jewish people. Osher Moiseevich Zisman from Brest remembers: The Germans burnt a Jewish hospital and the house of the Rabbi. They commanded local fire -brigades not to put out the fires. The fire embraced all Kobryn. The Germans threw Jewish people into the fire alive. [source TBD]

1941.   August the Germans imposed a fine of 6 kg of gold and 12 kg of silver on the Jews. [source TBD]

1941.  September 22nd was Rosh Hashana. [source TBD]

1941.  Autumn. German orders were issued for the creation of the Kobryn ghetto. 8.000 Kobryn Jewish people (including the refugees from occupied Poland) and the Jews from neighboring Shtetls (including Hajnowka and Bialowieza) were forced into the ghetto. It was divided into two sections: part A for those fit for work, and part B for the ill, aged, and all those considered unfit for work. The ghetto was greatly overcrowded. [source TBD]

1941.  October 1st was Yom Kippur. [source TBD]

1942.  Early in the year the Kobryn ghetto had to supply workers for the labor camps of Khodosy or Chodosy (about 8 miles to the West) and Zaprudy (about 13 miles to the Northeast). [source TBD]

1942.   June 2: Ghetto B was surrounded, and a Selection was carried out in Ghetto A. All victims were put to death in Bronna Gora. Half of the Jewish community of Kobryn perished on that day. The youth organized and began to collect ammunition. [source TBD]

1942.   October 14th: the balance of the ghetto was exterminated about 2.5 mi. (4 kilometers) from Kobryn on the road to Dywin. The Jews attempted an active self-defense, the Germans were attacked, and attempts were made to take their arms. A group of about 100 persons managed to escape to the forests and joined the partisans. They were active in the Voroshilov Partisan Brigade (Vitebsk Region) and Suvorov Partisan Brigade (Khoinike district, Polesye region). There was also a small group of Jewish craftsmen who were not exterminated. These craftsmen survived until the Summer of 1943 when they were shot in the yard of the Kobryn prison. [source TBD]

1944. July 20th: the Red Army liberated Kobryn. After the war, the Jewish community was not revived.  [source TBD]

Page Last Updated: 01-Feb-2010