My Friends Michael & Sebastian
Sebastain and Michael working in recording the broken tombstones removed from Browarna street and are in the warehouse of the Gombin Communal Construction Company .
My email message to Michael Rzeznik and Sebastian Angres, two Polish students of Hebrew Philology in Warsaw University, upon my return from Poland 7.4.98:
I have arrived early this morning and the moment I opened my eyes after a short rest, I am writing to you, first of all.
I have no words to thank you and your dear friend Sebastian Angres, for the incredible work you did yesterday with me.
It is impossible to put into proper words what I felt, being helped like this by two young Polish students, helping me to decipher the inscriptions in Hebrew still available to be read from the fragments of the tombstones removed from the streets of Gombin, after 55 years or more, and put in that warehouse where we spent the whole yesterday together.
You worked so hard, both of you. Physical work, from which I don't understand where you got the powers to perform. Without you I won't be able to do anything as the heavy matzevot were not for display in anyway and each one, out of the pile of 80 or more, had to be turned over, lifted and shifted again and again, cleaned until the Hebrew words could be read and recorded. Many had no inscriptions at all, or just a few letters in Hebrew, without meaning, except that they served once as the matzeva, for eternal memory, for a Jew who lived in Gombin or from the surrounding area. These broken stones are the last traces of Jewish life there, and now are deserted, broken, neglected... Symbol of all the other remnants of the Jewish culture and history in Poland... which should be preserved and saved. You understood the importance of this venture without talking too much about it before, and for this I am so grateful to you and Sebastain!
It was such a difficult and hard work, a real "AVODAT KODESH" which you both did with such dedication and enthusiasm which deserve all the praises in the human vocabulary...
As I told you there, you were my angels and God (what ever religion...) bless you.
I shall soon process the material we gathered, but the discoveries are rather frustrating, as the tombstones are not the real original matzeva. You felt how frustrating it has been, not to be able to find the name or surname, in spite of all the efforts - as they were not readable, not part of the broken stone, or the surname was altogether missing as was the tradition at those times when they just wrote the name and father's name of the pious deceased.
Toda raba mikol halev, beshmi ve'beshem kol "Bnai Gombin", mi'elu shnoldo sham ve'adaiin behaiim, (kmo ha'aba sheli sh'hitragesh ad dmaot lishmno shraiti, zilamti v'nikiti et hamatzeva shel aba shelo, saba sheli, Eliahu Holcman...), ve'beshem kol ha'tzatzaim shel ha'yehudim mi'Gombin - TODA RABA LACHEM!
SHALOM ve'KHAG SAMEACH!
Michael and sebastian with the fragements of Matzevot in a Polish warehouse, April 1998.
Message from Ada - December 28th, 2000
In September 2000, after completing 3 years of study Hebrew in the University of Warsaw, Michael came to ISRAEL.
He worked 2 months in Kibbutz Ein Gev as a volunteer and than last month, he was finally addmitted by Yad Vashem and strated to work there as a vlunteer, a work he highly values and does with all his heart.
Michael knows Hebrew and English very well. He could translate for you any documents from Polish into Hebrew or English for a very reasonable sum, or from Hebrew/English to Polish.