The town of Brest (formerly called "Brzesc nad Bugiem", in Poland between the wars; and "Brest Litovsk", in Russia before that), now lies in the independent country of Belarus, on the border with Poland.
At 6:00 am on the morning of October 15th 1942, one of the non-Jewish neighbors informed the Jews of Brest that the ghetto was completely surrounded by the Nazis. Some of the Jews tried to hide in predetermined hiding places, but they were found by the soldiers and taken to the Brest train station at gun point, loaded into cattle cars and transported to the village of Bereza Kartuzka (68 miles, 114 km northeast of Brest). Upon arrival, the Jews were unloaded and marched to an area where a large trench had already been excavated. The entire group was forced to remove their clothes. They were then pushed into the trench and machine gunned by the Nazi soldiers who surrounded the trench. The action continued all day and it is estimated that 50,000 Jews were killed that day, most of them from the city of Brest.
About the Original Records:
The Brest Ghetto Passport Collection consists of documents prepared at the order of the Nazi authorities after the capture of Brest in the summer of 1941. All Jews of 14 years of age and above living in the Brest Ghetto were required to obtain and sign for identity papers, which included their names, ages, and the names and dates of birth of their parents. A photo of each person was taken and all those receiving these internal passports were required to sign for them.
A total of over 12,000 people received the passports. These passports survived in the archives captured by advancing Soviet troops in 1944. Also captured among many other valuable documents was a ledger recording the distribution of passports and again the signature of all those receiving them. By the time Brest was liberated, all the people living in the Brest Ghetto had been murdered, including many children under the age of 14. Only a very few former Jewish inhabitants of Brest survived the Nazi occupation.
About the Database:
There are 12,260 people listed in this passport collection and because of a mistake on the part of the scribes there are only 12,258 actual names and some of them are duplicated. All of these people lived in the Brest Ghetto.
Fields included in the database are:
- Parents' names
- Birth year
- Date passport issued
- Signature info
- Record number
For more information regarding the documents, the database and/or errors, please write to:John and Carol Garrard
Russian Department, University of Arizona