My message in the JEWISHGEN Digest - 28 Mar 1998 to 29 Mar 1998 - Special issue (#1998-198)
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 11:50:19 PST
From: Ada Holtzman
Subject: Re: Saving the jewish cemetery of Gombin (Gabin), Poland
I wish to draw your attention to an initiative our group of descendants from Gombin (Gabin) (near Plock, Warsaw province) has taken.
There are traces of Jewish life in this city since 1500.
Abraham ABELE Ben Hayyim Halevi (c1637-1683), author of "Magen Abraham" was born in Gombin. Rabbi Yehuda Leib Zlotnik ("AVIDA") started in Gombin and Razel Zichlinsky, a famous Yiddish poet lived in that small town. There was one of the oldest and most unique wooden synagogue, which was founded in 1712, to be destroyed by the Nazis on Yom Kippur, 1939, right after occupation.
During WWII there was a ghetto where also other Jews refugees from other nearby cities lived (Kutno, Plock, Gostynin), under most horrible conditions of slavery work, abuses, robberies, murders and humiliations.
In April 1942, the Ghetto was liquidated and the Jews of Gombin were transported to extermination in the notorious death camp: Chelmno where they were murdered by gas vans.
Their fate was the same as all the small shtetls of the Warthegau area.
Thus ended a Jewish community of 400 years, same as thousands others in Poland and east Europe.
During the past year, a group of descendants organised mainly through the internet and formed an organization:
"Gombin Jewish Historical and Genealogical Society" G.J.H.G.S - "Gombin Society" which brought together over 300 of households of Gombin descendants all over the world. We distributed 6 Newsletters, in English and Hebrew, and published various historical publications and booklets, among which are Gombin surnames in a Polish business directory of 1925, aerial map of Gombin taken by the American air force during WWII, Gombin Ghetto materials, correspondence with the Joint in 1940 and reports found in the Ringelbaum underground archive in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
Please read all the information regarding our publications in the site:
We have transformed an old celluloid film taken by a great Gombiner, Sam Rafel, while visiting his beloved old town in 1937 to a video vcr cassette, available now in every Gombiner living-room. Scenes from the lost shtetl are displayed: old and young, khasidim in prayer and bundists in union meeting, ardent youngsters in the zionist youth movements, players in Maccabi sport group, old "boybe" smiling to the camera, little girls dancing the "Hora", the fool of town shows off in front of the loving camera... Amazing joy of life and vitality is captured, in spite of the miserable conditions they suffered of at those times. Needless to remark that nearly all of those filmed, perished five years later in the disaster, and their ashes fill the flourishing flower beds of Chelmno nad Ner in Poland.
Recently we have initiated two memorial projects in Poland.
The first is building a memorial monument in the site of Chelmno, extermination camp. This is subject to Polish proceedings and assistance we get by the Konin Regional Museum, headed by Dr. Lucia Nowak.
The details are available at:
We wish to commemorate the victims, our own flesh and blood, and cry out for eternity that we shall not forget them, as our parents never did. We swear to remember until the last day of our lives, remember what did the Germans do to the Jewish people in WWII, liquidating 6 millions human souls for the only reason of being born Jewish. We have
that burden and that obligation upon our shoulders since we are born so that Shoa will not repeat itself. Never again!
We cannot figure out 6 million victims; we cannot grasp how a whole Jewry of a country was led to the slaughter; we cannot imagine a whole Jewish community of over 2000 human beings, rounded up for three days and nights in the fire brigade square, without food and water, than being pushed into satanic gas vans,
cries, "shma israel", darkness...
But may be we can visualise lovely Channale and Perla, Eli, Andzya and Szajna, Channa, Eli, Hela and Channa, Elja-Chaim Rutka Bajla and Perla... We see them clearly among the tears... They were all my cousins, little Bnai Gombin...
Nothing can sooth that pain, constant memorial in our hearts. Now we wish to commemorate their memory right there, on the cursed land where it happened.
The text is:
"In this place of terror
the valley of the shadow of death Chelmno
in the spring of 1942
over 2,000 Jews from GOMBIN
men and women young and old
were gassed and burned by the German Nazis
"If only my head was filled with water and my eyes were a fountain of
tears then I would weep by day and night over the destruction of the flower of my people"
Jeremiah Ch.8 v.23
Yet we are still here
We shall never forget
Survivors and descendants of Gombin
from all over the world
The second memorial project we initiated is saving and restoring the Jewish cemetery of Gombin, which has been destroyed by the Germans in 1943.
According to testimonies we found, its fence stones used to build a road, a tank trench was built in the northern part of the graveyard, and most of the tombstones were removed to serve as curb stones in the streets, were dumped in cement in a bridge in the center of town and some other matzevot are in Polish yards and houses.
In cooperation with the local Polish Land Lovers Association, we are trying now to overcome the destruction, fence the cemetery, protect it from future possible development, redeem the matzevot from where they are and return them, making a memorial monument inside the holy place.
The next generation will not do it for us... we feel we have a moral obligation to honour and respect our ancestors, lying there in that foreign land, their graves so brutally blemished.
We already managed to mark the boundaries of the cemetery, in cooperation with the local Conserator in Plock, and also more than 80 matzevot were removed from the street of Browarna and are safe now in a local Contractor warehouse. The first steps have been taken towards completing the mission. We have support, both financially and
logistically, from Mr. Zygmunt Nissenbaum's fund and our project will be accomplished with its assistance.
In the cemetery of Gombin were used to be buried also Jews from nearby small towns and villages, such as Dobrzykow, Ilowo, Sannicki and more.
Please visit our WEB page, with more details about the project, at:
We all have one common tragedy in our past which unites us...
All of you who might share our feelings and identify with our goals please contact us at following emails:
or my email.
Our snail address is:
The Gombin Society - G.J.H.G.S
San Diego, CA 92150
Thanking you in advance from the bottom of our hearts,
Representative in Israel
Web site: http://weber.ucsd.edu/~lzamosc/gada.html
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