Antopol is situated in the Polesian Plain, near the towns of Kobrin and Brest (Brisk Litowsk), nearby the river Pripet flows into the Dnieper. The Polesian Plain is a region of lakes and moors, well suited for agriculture. It changed hands frequently between Poland and Russia. Between the two world wars, western Polesia was part of Poland. The local population consisted of Bielorussians, Ukrainians, Poles and Jews.
Jews lived in Polesia in the 14th century. They settled in Antopol in the middle of the 17th Century. The town has an old Jewish Cemetery and a bathhouse. During the Swedish occupation (1706) many Antopol Jews were killed. On the road to the town there are rows of Jewish graves, called "The Swedes."
Two emissaries from Jerusalem visited Antopol in the 1880s and mentioned the Jewish community in their records.
In 1847, there were 1108 Jews in Antopol and in 1897 about 3140, out of a total population of 3870.
From time to time, fires broke out in the town. In 1869, almost the entire town was burned down and then rebuilt. Before the 2nd World War, there were 5 Beth Midrash in the town and also a Hassidic "Stibl." The old synagogue burned down during the 1st world war and a new synagogue was built in its place.
Presiding Judge of Antopol and the nearby town of Horodoff, Rabbi Haim S. Zalman Bressler, Rabbi Pinkas Michalek and Rabbi Mordechaie Wizel Rosenblatt. Rabbi Moshe Neeman Akiva of Antopol came to Eretz Israel and survived the Safed riots of 1834.
Like many other Polesian Jews, the Jewish inhabitants of Antopol made their living from agriculture. They were landowners and leaseholders. They grew corn and potatoes and had vegetable gardens. Peasants living in the vicinity worked for Jewish farmers. Agricultural cooperatives were founded in Antopol. Before the 1st World War, there were 21 Jewish farms in Antopol. After the war, the economic situation of the Jewish farmers worsened and they received assistance from the J.C.A. (Jewish Colonisation Association).
Jews were occupied in fattening geese and imported sickles and scythes from Vienna. Many Jews were carters and hawkers. Under Polish rule, between the two world wars, the economic situation of the Jews deteriorated due to heavy taxes and the hostile attitude of the authorities. At that time, many of the community's young people emigrated.
At the outbreak of the Second World War (September 1939), there were 2300 Jews living in Antopol out of a population of 3000.
The Germans occupied the region in June 1941. They deported the Jews to a concentration camp from which they were taken to a death camp in Bronna Gora. Hundreds of thousands of Polesian Jews were cremated in furnaces originally built for a local limestone quarry.
In an Aktion (Liquidation Action), that started on October
15, 1942 and lasted for four days, the Jews still living in the Antopol
Ghetto were all killed by the Germans.