Buildings near the main square
|• Mayor||Andrzej Czapski|
|• Total||49.40 km2 (19.07 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||150 m (490 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||137 m (449 ft)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||21-500 to 21-502, 21-506, 21-527|
|Area code(s)||+48 083|
Biała Podlaska [ˈbʲawa pɔdˈlaska] ( ) (Latin: Alba Ducalis), is a town in eastern Poland with 58,047 inhabitants (2005). It is situated in the Lublin Voivodeship (since 1999), having previously been the capital of Biała Podlaska Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Biała Podlaska County.
- 1 History
- 2 Historic buildings
- 3 Media
- 4 Culture and Tourism
- 5 Education
- 6 Notables connected with Biała
- 7 Gallery
- 8 International relations
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The first historical document mentioning Biała Podlaska dates to 1481. In the beginning Biała Podlaska belonged to the Illnicz family. The founder of the city may have been Piotr Janowicz, nicknamed "Biały" (Polish for "white"), who was the hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Biała Podlaska was then a part of Brześć voivodeship in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (then in union with Poland).
In 1569 Biała Podlaska changed hands; the new owners were the Radziwiłł family. Under their rule, Biała Podlaska had been growing for two and half centuries. In 1622 Aleksander Ludwik Radziwiłł has built the fortress and the castle. In 1628 Krzysztof Ciborowicz Wilski established Bialska Academy as a regional center of education (since 1633 it was a branch of the Jagiellonian University, then called Kraków Academy). During this time many churches were erected, as was one hospital. The prosperity period had finished with Swedish invasion in 1655. Then Biała Podlaska was attacked by Cossacks and Rakoczy armies. The town was significantly destroyed; however, thanks to Michał Radziwiłł and his wife Katarzyna Sobieska, it was rebuilt. In 1670 Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł gives Biała Podlaska town rights and the coat of arms, which depicts archangel Michael standing on a dragon.
In 1720 Anna Radziwiłł begins building the tower and the gate - both buildings exist to this day and are the most interesting remains of the castle and palace. In the 18th century the city and the fortress were many times destroyed (mostly as a result of wars) and rebuilt. The last heir, Dominik Radziwiłł, has died 11 November 1813 in France, as a colonel of the Polish army. The palace, which fell into ruin, has been pulled down in 1883.
In 1822-26 a Polish writer, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, received his primary education in the local academy.
At the end of 19th century Biała Podlaska was a large garrison town of the Imperial Russian Army. Near cross-section of Brzeska Str. and Aleje Tysiclecia Ave. is located a cemetery of soldiers killed during World War I.
There was also a garrison of the 34th infantry regiment of the Polish Armed Forces. The regiment, formed in 1919, fought successfully in the Polish–Soviet War, and also fought against Germans and Soviets in September campaign of 1939. The last commander of the regiment, lieutenant colonel Wacław Budrewicz, has been taken prisoner of war by Soviets and murdered by them in 1940 Katyn massacre.
World War II stunted the town's growth because of the Nazi and Soviet repressions. The Germans captured Biała Podlaska on 13 September 1939, but withdrew on 26 September to allow the Soviets to occupy the town. On 10 October 1939, in accordance with the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviets departed and the town was reoccupied by the Germans. By the time, Soviets have managed to completely plunder the aforementioned airplane factory, so that nothing but buildings remained.
After the war Biała Podlaska has been developing into a more modern city but still retains many of the original Polish features in the central old city. From 1975 to 1999 Biała Podlaska was a capital city of voivodeship, later it again became a city county, like it was before 1975.
History of Jewish community in Biała Podlaska
The first mention of Jewish settlement in Biała Podlaska dates from 1621 when 30 Jewish families were granted rights of residence there. In 1841 there were 2,200 Jews out of a total population of 3,588; in 1897, 6,549 out of 13,090; and in 1921, 6,874 out of 13,000. Four Yiddish newspapers were published there between the two world wars.
In the 19th century the chasidic movement established strong roots in Biała Podlaska. A descendant of the Yid Hakodosh of Przysucha established a chasidic court there, and it survive to this day, with communities in London, America and various cities in Israel. The name "Bialer rebbe" was immortalized in the consciousness of Eastern European Jewry, in a story by the secular Yiddish writer Isaac Leib Peretz, Tsvishn Tsvei Berg ("Between Two Mountains"). The chasidim of Kotsk also had a large presence in Biała Podlaska, some of which later became Gerrer chasidim.
In 1931, of the population of 10,697, 6,923 (64.7%) were Jewish. The Jewish community in the town had grown rapidly in the second half of the 19th Century, members owning a nail factory, a tannery, a shoe factory, saw-mills, brick-making furnaces, flour mills, a soap factory, a brewery and various other small factories. However, in common with other towns and shtetls in Poland, there were also many who lived in poverty. The Jews of Biała Podlaska were typical of the small communities of that time; all were religious to a greater or lesser degree, although some were influenced by the Haskalah (Enlightenment), and Zionist movements.
The Germans captured Biała Podlaska on 13 September 1939, but withdrew on 26 September to allow the Soviets to occupy the town. On 10 October 1939, in accordance with the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviets departed and the town was reoccupied by the Germans.
600 Jews left the town at the time of the Soviet departure to reside in that part of eastern Poland then under Soviet control. A Judenrat was formed in November 1939, with Icchak Pirzyc as its head. Insofar as it was possible, the Judenrat attempted to act as the successor to the Kehilla, the pre-war Jewish Community Council, providing a public kitchen for the poor, supervising the Jewish hospital and providing for other communal needs. On 1 December 1939, the Germans published a decree requiring all Jews aged 6 and older to wear an armband on their right arm bearing a yellow Star of David (the colour was later changed to blue). Jews were ordered to move to a separate zone on Grabanow, Janowa, Prosta and Przechodnia Streets. At the same time, a Jewish Ghetto Police (Ordnungsdienst) was established.
At the end of 1939, 2,000 to 3,000 Jews, deported from Suwałki and Serock, arrived in the town, increasing the misery in the already overcrowded Jewish quarter. Although there was not a closed ghetto in Biała Podlaska, because of the numbers crammed into the residential area and the appalling sanitary conditions, there was a typhus epidemic in early 1940, causing many fatalities. At about this time, less than 200 survivors of a death march of Jewish POWs, initially numbering some 880 men, arrived in Biała Podlaska, to be interned in a prisoner-of-war camp there.
In July 1940, a number of Jewish men were sent from Biała Podlaska to the forced labour camps at Belzec. In the autumn of 1940, the Judenrat's employment office began to conscript workers for the factories built by the Germans in Biała Podlaska and its environs. Work camps were built by the Germans nearby the factories. Hundreds of Jewish tradesmen were incarcerated in seven of the Judenrat's labour camps situated at the airfield, the train station, the Wineta camp in the Wola district, and elsewhere. Hundreds of other Jews worked in heavy manual labour paving roads, draining ditches, and constructing sewage facilities, saw mills, and barracks. Many women worked at Duke Potocki's farm “Halas”.
On 15 May 1941, the Jewish POW camp was closed down, and the surviving prisoners were transported by sealed train to Konskowola, further west. During 1940 and 1941, several hundred Jews from Kraków and Mlawa were deported to Biała Podlaska. As a result of the many "resettlements" to the town, the Jewish population of the town had grown to approximately 8,400 in March 1942. On 6 June 1941 an announcement forbade "Aryans" to do business with Jews. At the end of June 1941 a number of Jews were sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz as punishment for giving bread to Soviet prisoners of war marching through the town. They were among the first Jewish victims to perish in Auschwitz.
On 6 June 1942, a rumour spread throughout the ghetto that the Jews were to be forced to leave Biała Podlaska and evacuated to the west. Only workers at the forced labour camps or those employed at German factories as well as those possessing a labour permit would be exempt from the deportation. On 10 June at 5 a.m. 3,000 Jews, among them the elderly, women, and children were assembled in the synagogue courtyard. Many of the Jews did not report as ordered and fled to the forests. German police led the assembled Jews to the railroad station. The next day, 11 June 1942, the deportees were herded into freight cars and were deported to the death camp at Sobibor. When the deportees disembarked from the train, believing they had been sent to a labour camp, a letter was handed to the SS from the municipality of Biała Podlaska requesting decent treatment for the arriving Jews. For this act of “insolence” and “impudence”, 200 of the Jews were selected for “special treatment”; all others were immediately gassed. The “special treatment” consisted of removing luggage from Camp ll and loading it onto a train, whilst running a gauntlet of guards who whipped and clubbed the prisoners as they ran. The Jews who had been the subject of this “special treatment” were then also gassed.
Following the first deportation, the Germans reduced the area of the ghetto. On the night of 4 August 1942, gendarmes, German police, Jewish Ghetto Police, and Polish police cordoned off the ghetto area, took men out of their homes and gathered them in the market square, where the men’s labour permits were examined. Afterwards the men were freed, but on that same night 19 Jews were executed. On 12 August, German gendarmes and Ukrainian auxiliaries began arresting Jewish men and collected them in a square in the Wola neighbourhood. The Judenrat complained to the German authorities and the workers were released. However after a few days the arrests were renewed. About 400 Jews, including members of the Judenrat were deported to KL Majdanek. 50 Jews remained there. The other 350 men were transferred to work on the railroad at Golab, between Lublin and Pulawy.
In September 1942, 3,000 deportees from the towns of Janow and Konstantynow were transported to Biała Podlaska. The overcrowding in the ghetto became desperate. Glätt, an SD man, took any valuables the Jews still retained and imposed a “fine” of 45,000 zlotys. The Jews sensed that the Germans intended to soon liquidate them. Many attempted to escape to the forests, to dig bunkers, and prepared hiding places for themselves or hid themselves in basements.
The second deportation of the Jews of Biała Podlaska began on 26 September 1942 and ended on 1 October 1942. Gestapo men, the Gendarmerie, the German and Polish police and soldiers from the nearby airport all participated in this Aktion. The night before the Aktion the Germans encircled the ghetto. The following morning the Jews were driven from their homes and concentrated in the New Market Square (Rynek). Jews who resisted deportation were shot on the spot. On the same day, 15 patients and two nurses at the Jewish Hospital were shot by the Gestapo. A number of Jews were removed from the assembly and were sent as slave labourers to the airport at Malaszewicze, near Terespol. Most of the people who were left in the market square were driven to Miedzyrzec Podlaski in the wagons of peasants from the surrounding area. On the way many were murdered in the Woronica Forest. On 6 October 1942, the Germans deported about 1,200 workers from the labour camps in the vicinity of Biała Podlaska to Międzyrzec Podlaski. Only a few managed to escape to the forests. Upon their arrival at the Miedzyrzec train station, the Germans joined most of those who had been deported a few days earlier to the group of workers and brought all of them to the local ghetto, from where they were subsequently deported to the Treblinka death camp.
The fate of the remaining deportees from Biała Podlaska was shared with the rest of the Jews of Miedzyrzec. In July 1943, after several further Aktionen at the end of 1942 and in May 1943, the Miedzyrzec Ghetto was liquidated and its inhabitants were deported to Treblinka, where they were murdered. The Germans left a group of 300 Jewish workers in Biała Podlaska to clear the ghetto and to destroy the synagogue and the small prayer houses. In May 1944, the surviving workers were transferred to KL Majdanek.
Biała Podlaska was captured by the Red Army on 26 July 1944. Of the more than 6,000 Jewish residents of the town in 1939, only 300 remained alive at the war’s end, and most of them left Poland in the years after the war. In 1946 a pogrom resulted in the murder of 2 young Jews who had returned from the Death Camps or the Partisan Units in nearby forests surrounding Minsk, including the members of the Zorin Commandos. Those murdered were buried in the nearby Międzyrzec Podlaski (Mizrich) cemetery as the Jewish cemetery in Biała Podlaska had been destroyed by Germans.
The parts of the city which was originally the Jewish "quarter" are still existing. The Jewish community is commemorated by a memorial erected at the site of the Jewish cemetery destroyed by the Nazis Another memorial was recently erected by Jewish survivors from the town now living in the USA. Two former private prayer houses of the Jewish community are still in existence. The cemetery otherwise stands as an empty reminder of the hole that was ripped out of Biała Podlaska by the Holocaust. Apart from Israel, Melbourne in Australia has the largest number of Jewish Biała Podlaska survivors - all now very aged.
- St. Anne's Church - 1572
- St. Anthony's Church - 1672-1684
- Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 1759
- Building Academy of Biała - 1628, at the present time: I Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Józefa Ignacego Kraszewskiego w Białej Podlaskiej.
- Postpalace complex
- Old city
- Katolickie Radio Podlasie
- Radio Biper (Internet radio)
- Radiobiper.info 
Culture and Tourism
- Galeria Podlaska
- Galeria Ulica Krzywa (en. "Crooked Street" Gallery)
- Galeria Autorska Jakusza Maksymiuka (Janusz Maksymiuk's Gallery)
- Muzeum Południowego Podlasia ( en. Museum of Southern Podlasie)
- Oddział Martyrologiczno-Historyczny (Martyrological and Historic Section)
- Podlasie Jazz Festival
- Biała Blues Festival
- Podlaska Jesień Teatralna (en. Podlasie Theatrical Autumn) 
- Zamiejscowy Wydział Wychowania Fizycznego w Białej Podlaskiej - faculty by Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw
- Państwowa Szkoła Wyższa im. Papieża Jana Pawła II w Białej Podlaskiej
- Branch a Kazimierz Pułaski Technical University of Radom
Notables connected with Biała
- Józef Ignacy Kraszewski (1812–1887) - writer, journalist, author about 200 novels, graduate Biała's college.
- Karol Stanisław "Panie Kochanku" Radziwiłł (1734–1790) - noble, old proprietor Biała.
- Apolinary Hartglas (1883–1953) - lawyer, publicist, Jewish politician, parliament deputy from 1919 to 1930.
- Michael Kazimierski (1989–Present).
Politics - Biała Podlaska/Chełm/Zamość constituency
- Przemysław Andrejuk, LPR
- Tadeusz Badach, SLD-UP
- Arkadiusz Bratkowski, PSL
- Jan Byra, SLD-UP
- Zbigniew Janowski, SLD-UP
- Marian Kwiatkowski, Samoobrona
- Henryk Lewczuk, LPR
- Jerzy Michalski, Samoobrona
- Lech Nikolski, SLD-UP
- Szczepan Skomra, SLD-UP
- Ryszard Stanibuła, PSL
- Franciszek Stefaniuk, PSL
- Wojciech Wierzejski, LPR
- Stanisław Żmijan, PO
Twin towns - Sister cities
Biała Podlaska is twinned with:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Biała Podlaska.|
- Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust – The Jewish Tragedy, William Collins Sons & Co. Limited, London, 1986.
- Arad, Yitzhak. Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka - The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987.
- Sefer Biala Podlaska (Yiddish and Hebrew)
- Joeseph Pell Taking Risks A Jewish Youth in the Soviet Partisans RDR Books Berkeley California 2004
- "Grabanov Street seen from Prosta St. (winter 1944/5).". 2007-11-29. Archived from the original on 2007-11-29. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "e-bialapodlaska.com". e-bialapodlaska.com. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
- "Jewish Travel in Poland - Selected Sites of Jewish Interest in Poland". Jewishtravel.pl. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "IPI Radio BiPeR - Internetowy Portal Informacyjny Radia BiPeR - Biała Podlaska". Radiobiper.info. 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- Łukasz Jakimiuk. "www.slowopodlasia.pl". www.slowopodlasia.pl. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "Galeria Podlaska - News". Galeriapodlaska.mokbp.nazwa.pl. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "Galeria Ulica Krzywa - Biała Podlaska - Główna". Ulicakrzywa.org.pl. 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "Podlasie Jazz Festival". Podlasie Jazz Festival. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "Biała Blues Festival". Bsj.xpx.pl. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "Wiadomości - Biała Podlaska - Xix Podlaska Jesień Teatralna – Inauguracja Plenerowa". Podlasie24.pl. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego w Białej Podlaskiej". Awf-bp.edu.pl. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- Побратимские связи г. Бреста.
- Biała Podlaska Powiat Website On this page are several maps of the powiat and a link table to take you to individual gmina pages, where you will find information about every city, town, village and hamlet in the powiat.
- Biała Podlaska Gmina Website Maps and further information available
- Photos and History of BP today online (Polish website)
- More Photos of BP today online (Polish website)
- Jewish Gen
- Wiesenthal Centre
- Biała Podlaska - Photo Album - 662 photos and 225 digital paintings discovering the beauty of Biała Podlaska region. (Polish website)
- Holokaust na terenie regionu bialskopodlaskiego w czasie II wojny światowe (Polish website)