|Gmina||Brańsk (urban gmina)|
|Town rights||18 January 1493|
|• Mayor||Eugeniusz Tomasz Koczewski|
|• Total||32.43 km2 (12.52 sq mi)|
(30 June 2021)
|• Density||110/km2 (290/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Area code||+48 085|
Brańsk is located in the geographical region of Europe known as the Wysoczyzny Podlasko–Białoruskie (English: Podlaskie and Belarus Plateau) and the mesoregion known as the Bielsk Plain (Polish: Równina Bielska). The Nurzec River, a tributary of the Bug River, passes through Brańsk. The town covers an area of 32.43 square kilometres (12.5 sq mi).
It is located approximately:
- 140 kilometres (87.0 mi) northeast of Warsaw, the capital of Poland
- 69 kilometres (42.9 mi) southwest of Białystok, the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship
- 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) west of Bielsk Podlaski, the seat of Bielsk County
The region has a continental climate characterized by high temperatures during summer and long and frosty winters . The average amount of rainfall during the year exceeds 550 millimetres (21.7 in).
Brańsk was a royal town of Poland, administratively located in the Podlaskie Voivodeship in the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown. In 1795, as a result of the Third Partition of Poland, Brańsk was annexed to the Kingdom of Prussia and administered as a part of the newly formed Białystok Department. In 1807, as a result of the Treaties of Tilsit, Brańsk was annexed to the Russian Empire and administered at first as a part of Belostok Oblast and from 1842 on as a part of Grodno Governorate. The town was reintegrated with Poland, after the country regained independence following World War I in 1918.
World War II
On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland and started World War II. Within days of the war's beginning, Brańsk suffered German bombardment. On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Poland from the east, and in partnership with Nazi Germany, partitioned Poland under the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of August 23. Brańsk along with all areas of Poland east of the Bug River was then occupied by the Soviet Union. All Polish and Jewish businesses of substance were confiscated by the Communist State. Several Poles from Brańsk were murdered by the Russians in the large Katyn massacre in 1940. The Soviets remained in control of Brańsk until June 1941 when the Germans invaded their erstwhile Soviet allies.
The German Army occupied the town and ordered the Jewish community to build a ghetto surrounded by barbed wire, to which the Jewish population (some 65% of the town) was confined. On November 8, 1942, the Jews of Brańsk were ordered to report to the town center, forced to march to the nearby town of Bielsk, and then transported by train to Treblinka. Within weeks, the vast majority were murdered by gassing at the Treblinka extermination camp. Several local Jews were hidden and rescued by Poles (including the local parish priest) in Brańsk and nearby villages. Some hiding places in nearby villages were discovered by the Germans, who then murdered captured Jews. Their Polish rescuers were either also murdered or managed to hide from the Germans until the end of the German occupation.
On August 1, 1944, the town was captured by Soviet forces. On August 4, 1944, the Russians arrested 12 officers of the Polish underground Home Army in Brańsk, after they were deceitfully gathered for a supposed formal meeting with the command of the Soviet 65th Army. The town was soon restored to Poland.
According to the 1921 census, the village was inhabited by 3,739 people, among whom 1,474 were Roman Catholic, 100 Orthodox, and 2,165 Mosaic.[clarification needed] At the same time, 1,530 inhabitants declared Polish nationality, 32 Belarusian, 2,165 Jewish and 12 Russian. There were 493 residential buildings in the village.
Detailed data as of 30 June 2021:
The chief executive of the government is the Mayor (Polish: Burmistrz).
Neighbouring political subdivisions
Roads and highways
- National Road DK 66 - Zambrów - Brańsk - Bielsk Podlaski - Kleszczele - Czeremcha - Połowce Border Crossing (Belarus)
- Voivodeship Road DW 681 - Roszki-Wodźki - Łapy - Brańsk - Ciechanowiec
The major streets (Polish: Ulica) in Brańsk are:
- Armii Krajowej (National Road DK 66)
- Jana Pawła II (Voivodeship Road DW 681)
- Kapicy Milewskiego
- Kościuszki (Voivodeship Road DW 681)
The closest passenger train service is provided by Polskie Koleje Państwowe (Polish State Railways, PKP) SA from the following stations:
- Szepietowo - express and local service to Warsaw and Białystok - 28 kilometres (17.4 mi) northwest
- Bielsk Podlaski - express and local service to Siedlce and Białystok - 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) east
The land-use is as follows:
- Agricultural use: 66%
- Forest land: 27%
- City: 2.34%
- Financial:Banking - Bank Spóldzielczy w Brańsku, ul. Kosciuszki 2A, 17-120 Brańsk, Poland
- Manufacturing:Plastics - Wald-Gold, ul. M. Konopnickiej 20, 17-120 Brańsk, Poland
Places of worship
- Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Roman Catholic. The parish is serving Brańsk, Bronka, Brzeźnica, Glinnik, Jarmarkowszczyzna, Kalnica, Kiersnówek, Majerowizna, Oleksin, Otapy, Patoki, Popławy, Świrydy, Załuskie Koronne, Załuskie Kościelne. It is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Drohiczyn.
- St. Simeon Stylites - Polish Orthodox. It is a mission church of the Church of the Apostles St. Peter and Paul in Malesze, part of the Polish Orthodox Diocese of Warsaw-Bielsk.
- Sanktuarium Matki Bożej Pojedniania w Hodyszewie (Our Lady of Hodyszewo Sanctuary) in Hodyzewo - 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) northwest
- Ossoliński Palace in Rudka - 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) west
- Jan Klemens Branicki – Polish nobleman
- Cezary Kosiński – Polish actor
- Ignatius Kapitsa-Milewski – archivist and author
- Shimon Shkop – Jewish scholar and rabbi (1906–1920)
- Moshe Rosen (Nezer HaKodesh) - Jewish scholar and rabbi (1870–1957)
- Zofia Drzewiecka – Recipient of the Righteous among the Nations Medal
- Waclawa and Pawel Sobolewski – posthumous recipients of the Righteous among the Nations Medal
- Antoni Sobolewski – posthumous recipient of the Righteous among the Nations Medal
- Aleksander Sobolewski – posthumous recipient of the Righteous among the Nations Medal
- The Righteous among the Nations Medal has been granted to 14 current and former residents of Brańsk by Yad Vashem.
- "Local Data Bank". Statistics Poland. Retrieved 2022-06-02. Data for territorial unit 2003021.
- Janusz Bakunowicz. "Drzewka dla tych, co zginęli w Katyniu". Kurier Poranny (in Polish). Retrieved 7 November 2021.
- Eva Hoffman. Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews. Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
- Zbigniew Romaniuk. The Story of Two Shtetls: Brańsk and Ejszyszki, Part One. The Polish Educational Foundation in North America, 1998.
- Datner, Szymon (1968). Las sprawiedliwych (in Polish). Warszawa: Książka i Wiedza. pp. 55, 58–59, 62.
- Rejestr faktów represji na obywatelach polskich za pomoc ludności żydowskiej w okresie II wojny światowej (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. 2014. pp. 363, 370–371, 378.
- Zwolski, Marcin (2005). "Deportacje internowanych Polakow z wojewodztwa białostockiego 1944–1945". Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość (in Polish). No. 2 (8). IPN. pp. 91–92. ISSN 1427-7476.
- Skorowidz miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej: opracowany na podstawie wyników pierwszego powszechnego spisu ludności z dn. 30 września 1921 r. i innych źródeł urzędowych., t. T. 5, województwo białostockie, 1924, s. 14.
- "Strona Urzędu Miasta Brańsk - Brańsk Government Website" (in Polish). 2008-06-25. Archived from the original on 2018-11-06. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
- "Parafia Wniebowzięcia Nmp w Brańsku" (in Polish). 2008-08-16. Archived from the original on October 22, 2006.
- "Dekanat Bielsk Podlaski" (in Polish). 2008-08-16. Archived from the original on 2002-10-28.
- "Another Pole added to Righteous among the Nations - Polskie Radio". 2008-06-23.