Postcards from the Abyss

The Family Gips from Gombin

Mikolai Gibs: Memorials...

A Message to Gombin SIG 20.3.1999

I found a rare a document in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. These are 2 postcards in Polish from the daughters of GIPS, Lusia and Roza from Gombin, to parents: A. GIPS living in Warsaw, on Pawia street 41/4. The postcards dates: 3/3/42 - 28/2/42. These are heartbreaking postcards, cry of love and despair, written while the events took place.

Traces of the GIPS family from Gombin who perished in the Holocaust:

The document in Yad Vashem is archived under ref M10/554. This is transcription made in Polish of two original postcards which are found and kept by the Jewish Institute in Warsaw. Yad Vashem do not have the original document, only the transcription.

Pay attention to an appalling fact. Roza GIPS writes to her parents about "the horrible fate of their "neighbour" ZYCHLINSKI". She means, no doubt about that, to ZYCHLIN and writes in this way for fear of the censorship. The Zychlin Jewish Community was liquidated before Gombin. Some refugees from the massacre came to Gombin and testified. There is reference to this in some of Gombiners Holocaust testimonies, among them Ben Guyer, who wrote:

"Early in 1942, we began receiving the first bits of disturbing news about Jewish extermination. There were some persons who fled from surrounding towns and they told us whole Jewish communities had been driven to Chelmno, where they were put to death by gas, and burning. We did not believe it; none of us wanted to believe that this could be true. Not only didn't we believe it; we didn't want to hear it told. Only after several Zychlin Jews who managed to escape, came to us with stories about their townspeople who had been taken away by horse and wagon to Kvuszniewic and from there by freight train to Chelmno, where they were gassed, only then did our eyes and our minds open to the full extent of the horror awaiting for us all."

There are also other hints of the situation, written among the lines, like "the decease" as reference of the Nazi occupation and more.

There is a discrepancy in the dates. One postcard date was written 28.11.42 and this is impossible, as the Jews were already liquidated at that time. I corrected to read 28.II.42 (February and not November).

There are Gombiners mentioned in the postcards:
YGips A. and his wife
YGips Roza and Lusia, daughters.
YMrs. Alinka
YMrs. Wyrobek and her brother
YThe family Tajfeld
YAbram Stolcman and his sister
YMrs. Markowicz
Y Lichtenstein

May be the last place in the world where they are mentioned... Among them is my father's own brother, "Holcman" about whom she writes: "a truthful and faithful friend" and he helped them so much... I was so sad that I found the document too late for my father to see and learn that his brother was so admired in the Ghetto. It caused him so much pain. At least he would know that his brother was so respected and kept human dignity at those dark times.

The postcard tells about the mood which prevailed, the fear, horror and sense of fate acceptance. The last request is a thick comb, and is evidently against the lice. This is a rare document, last cry from the abyss.

We Remember the GIPS Family from Gombin!

Translation from Polish by Yakov Flinker. Document: Yad Vashem M10/554

Gombin - 3/3/42

To A. Gips
41/2 Pawia Street

Our beloved and dear ones,
Today we received your letter and I immediately rush to reply back.
My beloved, the decease still exists. It is not known if the medicine helps. Horrible things happened to our neighbour Zychlinski. I believe you received the rumours about everything. It is so difficult my dear ones. I plead, do not

Take it too much to the heart. Keep your health and may be there will be still a miracle and our children will be saved.
Look after your health and write often. Why dear father writes so little. Enka and Aron do not write. Your postcards, my loves, are the medicine and give us peace of mind.

Our loved ones, nothing will help anymore. We are helpless about this. Mrs. Alenka receives often news from her brother who made appeals and pleaded for her. Consult with him but he also doesn't believe it will help.

Our darlings, you cannot imagine how sad we are without you. Last year we passed the holidays in a most wretched way but we were at least together with you. My beloved Mamma, don't take it to your heart and don't make troubles. As it seems, it has to be that way. Write how is the situation there with you? How is Klainbard? What do they advise to do? Our warmest greetings and regards form the bottom of our heart and from all the friends and acquaintances. We kiss you strongly and embrace you. Roza who misses you every minute of the day, our dearest and most beloved ones.


Your postcard brought us great joy. We are very nervous and facing hard troubles. To this add the fact that you are so far from us. It is difficult but it is what it has to be. I believe in fate.

How are you? Why Enka and Aron do not add a letter or something? You have no idea what it means to us, every living word from you. We long to you and miss you very much. We miss the warmth of the family and a good word. It is rare nowadays to get good news and from strangers we do hear but it is all faked. Everything is faked. I am sitting at night with Mrs. Wyrobek  and it is 23:00, late in the night. Our beloved cousins are with us. I work a little but we have lot of expenses recently and it is not enough. How is Klainbard and Alinka? I kiss you and embrace you to my heart,

Your Lusia

28. II.42

Our beloved dearest,

Did you receive the 2 postcards of the 17 and 21 of the current month? It makes you wonder why there is no yet reply from you on both letters. The family Tajfeld already received a reply.

Abram Stolcman knows already everything and he is probably making efforts in Krakow for his sister.

My dearest father, tell me exactly everything. Also Mrs. Markowicz is proudly telling everybody that he is trying hard for her and for Dziunia. She is seriously believing in this.

My beloved, there is little better times now, I have no idea if for long. Imagine that I was also forced to pay 8 marks in advance. Only Leon has been released. I have debts up to my ears and it is difficult for me to get out of this distress.

Think how everything has changed since we arrived. There is absolutely no way to survive from our salary. This will do may be for breakfast. Lusia sometimes get one in two weeks 10 marks, but we cannot count on that. So we are deeply grateful to those who give lunch meal which is the basis for our existence. Lusia is even worse beggar than me. Lunch is distributed not on regular hours. On Friday evening, poor and wretched she walks hungry. She is very sensitive and her situation is worse than mine. She often stays with Holcman and he is really a truthful and faithful friend. I got used to them and connected to them. They are really beloved people, helping everybody with all their powers.

My beloved Mamma. I have small request from you. Please buy for me a thick comb from a good brand. Tadelis and Lichtenstein got the same. It is very important for us. I work under terrible hygienic conditions, so that I must have this comb. The sufferings are the same. I got thinner. Write to us, all of you and answer our questions. I send my love, my regards and my kisses.

Be strong,
your Roza


My beloved,

I find it strange that you don't answer our last two letters. We are very nervous and worry. I want to see you as soon as be made possible and talk to you personally about everything.


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