Wizna was first mentioned in sources in 1113. The village is situated near the bank of the river Biebrza toward the Narew, 25 miles east of Lomza, at 53°13' N and 22°23' E.
In 1435, Wizna received the status of "city." Following the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, Wizna's greatness declined and in 1870, she lost the status of "city."
This is no information about the beginnings of the Jewish settlement in Wizna, but in 1765, there were 16 families there. In 1890, the Jewish community numbered 567, out of a total population of 2,984.
In 1939, Wizna was the site for the Battle of Wizna at the beginning of the Polish-German War of 1939. Although the Polish resistance was finally broken, the heroic struggle against overwhelming odds at the fortified area of Wizna managed to halt the German advance for three days.
The late 1930s brought an increase in anti-semitism. The Germans arrived in 1941 and in July ordered the Jews to leave Wizna. Most reached Jedwabne, where they were burned in a barn. Others reached the Lomza ghetto.
The Family History Library has four microfilms of Jewish vital records for births, marriages, and deaths in Wizna containing the years 1828-1836, 1838-1865, 1868-1873, and 1876-1878. Additional records are located in the Poland State Archives and are still being indexed through the JRI-Poland project. The PSA holds birth records for 1828-1894, marriage records for 1828-1935, and death records for 1828-1935. Many but not all years are represented within the records.
Catholic parish records are also available at the FHL for 1808-1870 for birth (or baptism), marriage, and death records.
My genealogy research conducted for the town of Wizna has been for my own Kurlender family. Beginning with the knowledge of only my great-grandmother, Sarah Kurlender, born in Wizna in 1865, I first obtained her birth record. Using JRI-Poland, I then collected many other Kurlender records from the town, translated them, and compiled the Kurlender Family Tree almost entirely from those records, expanding my Kurlender line from a single person to more than forty, going back to the mid-1700s.
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