My connection to Gombin is through my paternal great-great-grandfather, Jankiel MANCZYK, who was married to Ryfka ROZENBERG. Jankiel was born in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Chiel Manszyk

Chiel Manczyk

One of their children was Chil (b.1832), who married Hana LEWKOWICZ. They had five sons including Luzer (b. 1867) who married two BAUMAN sisters and remained in Gombin. He fathered 10 children and died in Gombin in 1916. Abram, the second son (b. 1872), married Minnie, a first cousin in Newark, NJ. He also fathered 10 children.

Abram is my grandfather. He immigrated to the US in 1891 along with his parents and three younger brothers. The family settled in Newark where my great grandparents owned and operated a grocery store. My grandfather Abe initially found work on a dairy farm in Irvington, NJ. When the owners of this farm died, he inherited the property and he and his wife (his first cousin Minnie) ran the operation for years before selling it and starting a very successful dairy business on Huntington Street in Newark known as Bloomingdale Dairy (later purchased by Dellwood Farms). My father and his brothers spent their childhoods driving horse drawn milk wagons and selling milk by the scoop.

Abe received a letter from his brother Luzer’s widow in 1920 requesting him to return to Gombin to “settle the estate”, and in 1922 he did return with his wife and one son at which time he contributed a sum of private money along with funds raised by the Gombiners of Newark to the community and encouraged the establishment of the Folks Bank. When Abe returned to the US, he brought one of Luzer’s daughters with him. She married and raised a family in the NJ/NY area. The timing of Abe’s visit bring an infusion of cash allowed one of Luzer’s sons (Jankiel Mojie) to marry and start a family in Gombin. They later sailed for Rio arriving at the end of 1929 where they were welcomed by the resident Gombiners (Luzer’s granddaughter Malka later married a Gombin transplant in Brazil). This branch of the family continues to grow and thrive in Sao Paolo and Rio. Brancha, another of Luzer’s daughters immigrated to Israel and her descendants are there and in France. Frymet another of Luzer’s daughters settled in France and Israel. Nathan, Luzer’s oldest son settled in Newark, married a first cousin and his descendants are scattered across the US.

My father was Abram’s sixth of seven sons. He was aware of the very close connection that his parents had to the Gombiner community in Newark. It was their social life, with endless gatherings– dinners and dances and fundraising activities.

Other maiden names in the family tree are GOLDFARB, LINSKA (possibly the same as MOTYLINSKA), OFENHAJM (from Lodz) and PERCZAK. I also have a connection to Ada Holzman: Luzer’s daughter Estera was married to Ada’s uncle. They had a son Eli. The three of them perished in Chelmo.