The Jewish School of Gombin (the twenties)


 


 

Meir Holcman recalls that after the second grade, he moved from the "Tarbut" school, which was closed due lack of resources, to the Jewish School. He was born in 1914 and all the children in the picture from this school were of the same age range. It was the general school, authorized by the Polish authorities, and only Jewish children studied there. He studied there from 3rd class to the 7th. And that was all his formal education and of almost all the children in the picture. He met my mother in this class, and they have been together ever since, until she died in Kibbutz Evron, 46 years later.

We believe the picture is taken around 1925-7. A similar picture appears in the Yizkor book of Gombin, page 51.

* Lying on the ground, from left to right: 

1) Meir Holcman,
2) Mosze Nutkewicz -
son of the rabbi Nussen Neta Nutkewicz and Racza Zolna. He lived in Beer Sheva Israel. His father, the rabbi, served in Rypin and perished in the Holocaust. See more about Rabbi Nussen Neta Nutkewicz in Gombin Yizkor book, page 61.

* Sitting, second row, on the ground, from left to right: 

3) -
4) -
5)
6) Dawid Zychlinski
(right above Meir Holcman and Mosze Nutkewicz) - brother of Rajzel Zychlinski, the great Yiddish poet from Gombin.

From Rajzel Zychlinsky poems :

Y

"We go on living" (My free translation)

We go on living on this earth,
which absorbed the blood and the tears,
Green spring will go on being
our bones are crushed into ashes,
and we go on living, a scrap remaining for Kaddish.

  We go on eating from the fields,
still drinking from the stream.
Graceful mother sun,
still touches us with tiny ray of light...
We lead our children by their soft little hands,
near the destroyed houses of our lost childhood.

  We go on living. Snow falls on us again.
We meet the white trees, we see them still.
We go on drinking between the suns and our eyes are dimmed from crying
talking without words to the gray birds above
.

Y

"Mamma looks at me from the cloud" (my free translation)

Mamma looks at me from the cloud
her eyes are full of blood,
my daughter, dress all my wounds,
her gray head is down and bound

My sister cries within the leaves,
reflected from the green trees
"meydele", my daughter, where are you?
Rajzel, gather all her bones.

My brother is swimming in the water
days, weeks, years.
the rivers carry him forward,
the seas drive him backward.

The neighbor wakes me up at night
his voice the voice of bitter cry:
LIFT ME OFF THE GALLOWS
PUT ME IN A GRAVE.

May, I walk within the shadows
my little boy is in my arms
so many lost lives are fighting
towards me, penetrating all my walls and all my corners

So many lives which trembled
in the endless sighs of the children
so many lives are still screaming
May, among the winds of spring.

7)
8)

* The teachers row, from left to right: 

9) Perlgric (given name forgotten) was a teacher for sciences, with very high level of knowledge and broad education.
10)
11)
12) Perlgric
(given name forgotten) the two teachers fell in love and got married.
13)
14) Rembaum -
Was a music teacher. He was loved very much by everybody. He founded a choir in Gombin, where many children participated. He lived in the same house as Gostinsky, my grandfather.
There are contradictory rumors regarding his fate during the Holocaust. Icchak Weicman testified that he remember him in the Konin Concentration camp, where he was already completely broken and sick.

Borysiak, a Pole from Gombin who kept a diary of the War times in Gombin, (he was 13 years of age when the War broke out), wrote that while the Jews were rounded in the Fire Brigade square, where they were kept for 3 days and nights, before being transported to extermination in Chelmno, this noble man, Rembaum, the headmaster, sung with the children Hebrew songs and encouraged them in their last path.
15)
16) Kalmus -
The eldest among the teachers. He was a teacher for handcrafts. He was also the private teacher of Meir Holcman to Yiddish, lessons which Rasza, Meir's mother, insisted that he take, to improve his education.
17)

* The row above the teachers, from left to right: 

18) Rywcia (Rivka) Gostinska - My beloved dear mother. She excelled in every subject and every field in the school. She couldn't continue her studies in the Gymnasium in Plock, although she passed all the entrance exams, due to the limited number of Jewish pupils who could been accepted from the surrounding shtetls.

After the 7th. grade, she stayed at home and looked after her sick mother Yochewet Gostinska, nee Honigstock, from a small village: Kernodzow. This is what she did for many years. My mother was also very active in the youth movement "HaShomer HaZa'ir" in Gombin, and spent a year in Kibbutz Ha'chshara in Kalisz. She left with my father on July 1939, on an illegal ship "Colerado", sailing to Palestine, and all her family who was left behind was murdered later in Chelmno, including her sick mother after whom she looked for so many years.
19)
20)
21)
22)
23)
24)
25)
26)
27)

* The upper row, from left to right: 

28) Balcia (Bella) Tiber - daughter of the banker Abram Tiber, activist in "Linat Zedek" and other institutions of the Jewish Community of Gombin. Balcia married Icchak Cipris in Israel and died a few years ago in Ramat Gan.
Two of her sisters: Mara and Cipra Tiber fought the Nazis, together with Moshe ("Moyshele") Gordon, they were among the Partisans, hiding in the forests surrounding Gombin.
They all perished later in the Holocaust.
29) Zalman Ben Izhak (Borensztejn)
30)
31)
32)
33) Yacov Boll -
connected to Nigel Sannitt from England, who sent me his picture with his family, as part of a series of pictures which are a mystery to her, and how the people in them are connected to her family. The picture was addressed "to Natan Sannicki from his cousin, Mordechai Yosef Boll, the eldest son of your aunt Rachel".
My father identified Yaacov Boll, as one of the children of Mordchai Yosef Boll.
The same Yacov Boll appears here in the picture of the class, in the Jewish School.
My father remembers an episode with the Boll family. One night, after Purim party, he spent the night at the Bolls, as was too late to return to his home. He was wearing a very bulging orange shirt, for the Purim party. In the middle of the night, grandmother Boll woke up and screamed "a FOX! a FOX! a FOX entered the house..." taking Meir Holcman shirt as a new species of foxes who invaded her house...
34)

Nearly all the other pupils anmd teachers are recognized and remembered by my father, Meir Holcman, who will record their names and stories in the future. Most of them perished in the Nazi Holocaust.
Blessed be their memory for eternity.

WE SHALL REMEMBER!

Web Page First Posted on May 9th 1998

Last Updated on October 12th, 2013

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