Reconstruction the Old Synagogue of Gombin

By Ada Holtzman, August 2000, revised December 2003

 

 

My beautiful Gombin... Its grand Synagogue, destroyed by the Nazis after 230 years, a pearl in the crown of Jewish Polish folklore art, symbol of Jewish culture gone and destroyed, vanished from the earth...

I wish to rebuild it. It is possible, when Bnai Gombin join hands and work together with all our honorable lecturers, advocates, professors, Rabbis, doctors, businessmen, film makers, princes from the islands and all dedicated people all over the world, united in their wish to keep the memory of ancestors' lost shtetl: GOMBIN...

 

See my web site: http://www.zchor.org/SYN.HTM

 

I once sent this forum some messages in the subject and a whole correspondence with the Canadian architect, Chris Fairbrother. He had original idea to restore the wooden synagogue of Gombin. I guess it was too much even for a man of vision as this man has been...  May be other projects fill his days and may be he might just show up again... I have a feeling he eventually will... I copy him and other who show interest in this message.

 

At the meantime, three things have happened, and are the background to my renewed proposal, sent to your comments/reflection/check/ideas...

 

   Reconstruction the synagogue at Moshe Verbin's Kibbutz: Kibbutz Yakum near Hertzelia Israel. He is the artist who built 26 models of wooden synagogues from the kingdom of Poland and whose works of beauty and art I am proud to host at this URL: http://www.zchor.org/verbin/verbin.htm He had the permission from the Israel Land Registry Office to build on a dedicated plot of land in his Kibbutz Yakum (20 minutes from Tel Aviv) a museum, which will host his synagogues models. In spite of many appeals and efforts, he didn't manage to raise the money needed for this small museum and the permission was withdrawn recently... My original idea was to rebuild Gombin synagogue in his Kibbutz, symbol of the past heritage, restored in the State of Israel, in the middle of a Kibbutz, which is a symbol of the future. But since he lost the plot, it must be rebuilt then in another part of the globe or the Holy Land...

 

    Reconstruction in the original place of the synagogue, at Gombin, Gąbin Poland.  

During our mission to the inauguration of the Gombin Jewish cemetery, August 1999. I saw to my amazement that NOTHING WAS BUILT of the plot of the synagogue. And what made me so bitterly sad was to see that it actually serves as the town's place of rubbish and trash... The idea of rebuilding the synagogue right where it was, stroke me than.

 

   Reconstruction in Chelmno, the site where the extermination of the Jews of Gombin took place. You remember Chelmno and the excavations they do there. Thousands and thousands of personal items of the victims are dug from the earth.  "The Blood of Your Brothers Are Calling You from the Depth of the Earth"...

A group of distinguished scholars and personalities is getting organized now in order to build a museum in the Chelmno site itself (to replace the old small one) and make it a special museum also for the LIFE, before the end, including visits to Jewish Lodz, the main community of the victims.  The group is in its preliminary stage of organization, searching support, ideas and resources.  They wish to change the Israeli Youth Missions traditional itinerary, which does not include Chelmno in any of its routes!  I was honored to meet the lady behind the organization and she was thrilled with the idea of involving a society of successor generation of one small shtetl, which was liquidated in Chelmno in their plans.

 

 Reconstruction of the synagogue in the Holocaust memorial Site in Berlin. More than 10 years passed and the monument is not yet ready! The Germans destroyed, the Germans should reconstruct, making the place a holy site for contemplation and remembrance. At least not only empty stones will fill up the monument site, but also this pearl of Jewish art, place of prayers, place of reconciliation and of love.

 

Who will finance it? The one who financially helped us to restore the cemetery, the one who did just that to endless other Jewish Communities all through Poland, the one who jumped out of the death train headed to  Treblinka, the one who did not forget his roots and his promise to his martyr mother:  Zygmunt Nissenbaum! I was very saddened to learn of his death a few years after this was written, but I believe his children will continue the commemoration activities of the Nissenbaum Foundation.

The synagogue will serve, in part, as a museum to all the cemeteries preservation works completed by the Nissenbaum Foundation in Poland. My idea is to have there also a room  for Gombin - where Minna Packer's documentary film "Back to Gombin" will be on a permanent  display,  as well as the Sam Rafel's 1937 film and all the exhibits now in  Lukaszewski small museum. Another room will be Tolerance Room dedicated to educational seminars, study groups, conventions etc, concentrating on education of the young  generation, in the subjects of the Holocaust, Jewish heritage,  Tolerance, etc.

 

I have no idea what the rabbinical position is, regarding restoration of  an old  synagogue in a foreign country where there are no Jews anymore.. I think  this was  never done before anywhere in Europe although I know in Oswiecim a brick synagogue was rebuilt a few years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The synagogue will be built 1 x 1, exactly as it was and the leading architects will be the couple Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka, Warszawa, the best Polish experts on the subject, writers of many books with drawings  and schemes of wooden synagogues, Gombin's among them.

 

The restored synagogue will put Gąbin  on any Jewish tourism itinerary, and thus the Municipality of Gombin and the Polish various Authorities have to participate  (financially)  in the project.

 

Another idea I have is to make an international symbolic sue case against the  Germans.  They paid reparations to the State of Israel and survivors, but they  never  paid anything for destroying the Jewish culture. It is time they do! We  Shall Not  Forget and We Shall Not Forgive!

 

Many dreams became true. Many ideas which sounded insane at their times, became  reality  in the course of history. Who can grasp the beauty and wisdom of 18th century popular architect  who  built a synagogue at those times,  dimensions: 17x16x18 meters, when no  computers and no cars and no machinery...  If he could, why not we???

 

 

Reconstruction the Wooden Synagogue of Zabludow

 

Last Updated December 12th, 2003

 

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