953 W. Carrillo Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Email: secretary@gombinsociety.org

Family Stories

Genealogical and personal accounts of the Jewish families of Gombin.

Click on one of the tabs below to view the story of that name.

February 21, 2010

My name is Lukasz Florkiewicz and I live in village Grabie Polskie – near Gabin. I am 23 years old.
Month ago I found Your page in internet and I am very surprised and interested in history of Gabin.
I never heared about film ‘BACK TO GOMBIN’ – I would like to see this film. I never heard about Gombin Jewish Historical And Genealogical Society.

I saw very interesting photos and I found some special for me photo.
Lea Florkewicz – Do You know something more about this person? I am interested because I have almost the same surname – Florkiewicz.

I found also beautiful poetry. I am shipbuilder and I work in shipyard in Plock but after job I am songwriter and recently I made melody for lyric ‘I REMEMBER’ – By Rajzel Zychlinsky. That was automatic – like a lightning flash.

Rajzel Zychlinsky: I Remember
Dedicated to Jacob Patt
I remember
It was a day
ike today
I was alone in a park.
The benches were empty and abandoned,
as if they knew that never again would anyone sit on them.
Slowly the leaves were falling,
counting the autumns on the earth.
Silence was all around, as before a storm.
In what country was that?
In what city?
It was a temple without a God and without worshipers.
And how did I save myself from there?

Sometimes I dream about wonderful world – ideal world. And in my minds – my beautiful world looks like a small town (like a Gombin), where people live in tolerance and love. Polish, Germans, Jews – market in every Thursday where everybody laugh and wish ‘good day’… unfortunately, that are only my dreams.

gombin society families lukasz florkiewicz gabin pond

Greenbaum Family History in Gabin, Poland

My grandfather was Jacob Leib Greenbaum. He was the oldest of five brothers, sons of Abram and Hinda Greenbaum. The other brothers were, Joshua, Joseph, Simon (Simcha), and David. Like Jacob, Joshua remained in Gabin, married Sarah and had a daughter, Reizele. Joseph and Simon emigrated to Leeds in England just prior to World War I. They married and had families.. The fifth brother, David, was reportedly taken into the Russian Army during WWI and it is not known what happened afterward. It is possible that he returned to Poland, as I have seen someone by that name listed as a resident of the Lodz ghetto during WWII.

Another branch of the family had emigrated to the US earlier. They were connected through my great-grandmother Hinda’s family. Their family names were Rosenberg, and Silberstein. They settled in Detroit and were active in starting the Detroit branch of the Gombin Society. Many years later, in 1939, this branch of the family would save my father by sponsoring his immigration to the US just prior to the German invasion of Poland.

My grandfather, Jacob, was a grain merchant, had a business called Colonial Groceries, and also ran a theatre, the Polonia, in a building in the back of the house where the family lived at the corner of the New Market (Novey Rynek). This theatre showed plays, and later movies. Jacob was described as a Talmudic scholar, but eventually became what was called a “free thinker”, shaved his beard and wore western clothing.

Jacob married Hena Ryster and had three sons and a daughter. My father, Henry Greenbaum, (Haim Grinbaum or Grynbaum) was the oldest. He studied in Plock and then Warsaw, where he became active in the Bund, and eventually studied medicine at the University of Paris where he met my mother. After finishing medical school he was faced with a choice, return to Poland or emigrate to the United States. He chose the latter, was sponsored by the Silberstein family, and arrived in May 1939. His brother, Stas, studied Law at the University of Warsaw, returned to Gabin and married Helen Zayontz. They had a son, Izio, in April 1941.

The two younger siblings, Janek (Albert) and Rozia, left Gabin in the winter of 1942. Yanek had been in the Polish army at the time of the invasion, but returned home when the front collapsed. He was later taken to a labor camp, but escaped. In January 1942 he traveled east a few miles from Gabin where he was taken in by the Grabarek family. He lived in their barn for three years. In March, Rozia traveled north across the Vistula River first to the town of Szczegowo, then posing as an Aryan, worked as a farm laborer, and finally, found refuge with the Ostrowski family. Rosia and Janek were reunited in January 1945. Eventually they traveled to Paris, married and brought their families to the US.

My grandfather, Jacob Lieb was killed in the winter of 1941 after he was taken to a labor camp near Poznan. He was struck and killed by a Gestapo motorcycle while gathering wood. My grandmother Hena, and Stas, Helen and Izio were murdered at Chelmno in April 1942 with most of the remaining Jewish population of Gabin.

Ben Guyer recent photo

It was with great sadness that I learned yesterday of the passing of my Uncle Ben Guyer. I send my condolences to his family and friends.

When Uncle Ben and Aunt Annette came to Detroit after the war they stayed for a time at our house on Taylor Street. It was a two family flat and they lived downstairs with our grandfather, Shmuel Guyer. Upstairs lived my father, Sidney, my mother, Pearl, my sisters, Mae and Joyce and I. My earliest recollections of them are vivid. Uncle Ben was alive with vital energy, a big heart and a wonderful story-teller with a zeal and passion for life. Aunt Annette was warm-hearted, gentle and strikingly beautiful. Their presence in our house filled me with wonder, I loved being around them, it remains beyond my understanding that they could be so warm and kind and filled with life after the horrors they had endured. Uncle Ben was always present at the Gombiner Society meetings that were held in Detroit in those early days. He was always had a positive, magnetic energy, it was wonderful to be around him and Annette. Although I was only eight years old when they arrived in Detroit, I can vividly recall with great pleasure Uncle Ben’s face, and hear his voice. I treasure these memories as I am sure do all who knew Benjamin Guyer.

Melvin Guyer

What sad news. Ben was a very dear friend of my father. I’ve corresponded with him some years ago and he helped me a lot with details about my mother’s family, which I didn’t know at all. His brother Josek Chaja was married to Cirel Sanicki, my mother’s first cousin and they had a little daughter: Hana. Josek sent to my aunt Rachel in Kibbutz Ein Hachores Palestine at the time, a farewell letter, through the Red Cross. I sent a copy to Ben Guyer and he was thrilled, telling us he never new about the existence of this letter.

All perished in the Holocaust.

This is a very difficult day today, Holocaust Day. Day of remembrance, day of pain and sadness, of questions without answers, Why? How? Where was the civilized world? Who will continue to remember after the last survivor die? What lesson(s)?

The appalling testimony of Ben Guyer is always posted in JewishGen web site since year 2000, in their Yizkor Books database.

I attach his photograph, after his arrival to America, right after the war, published in the “Daily Mirror, 21 May 1946 – Ben and Anna Guyer first meet the sister Rywcia who lives in America. Title was “Life Begins Again for 867 Victims of Oppression”. This is a photograph which expresses more than anything the hope, the revival of the survivors, and their way back to new life and new hope in the new country.

I also attach a paragraph from my father’s memoirs about Ben Guyer, in the chapter “My Good Friends in America”, translated from Hebrew.

May he rest in peace and blessed be his memory.



Ben Guyer (Benjamin Chaja)

Written by Meir Holcman, 1998 and published in Hebrew in the book “Meir Holtzman”, private publication, Tel Aviv 1999.

Ben Guyer in a newspaper article after his arrival to America, right after the war

This is Benjamin, my old good friend who lives today in Florida. I knew him since childhood. I used to visit their home and his sister Ester of blessed memory was my first girlfriend at school and in Hashomer Hatzair. Benjamin had 3 brothers: Abraham, Josef and Moshe; and two sisters: Ester the eldest one and Rywcia (today “Rae”) who lives in Detroit. We had a very pleasant meeting when I visited Detroit with Lotka in the early 80s. Benjamin’s brother was Josef Chaja who was married to Cirel Sanicki, first cousin of my late wife Rywcia nee’ Gostinski. He sent us to the Kibbutz two last departing letters during the war. The letters were transferred through the Red Cross and they are the last traces of Rywcia’s family, before liquidation. Josef Chaja and his family all perished in the Holocaust. Abraham Chaja was our “Madrich” (teacher and guide in the Youth Movement Hashomer Hatzair) and he used to accompany us tot he summer camps. Usually our parents objected the trip but finally they agreed. I remember my brothers came to say good bye before one of those trips to Sochopien. One of them, Yosef Lajb secretly gave me some zloty… Let it be… We traveled in the ship (“statek” in Polish) on the Vistula River and the noise of the ship’s machines was unbearable. We went to sleep on the deck in the evening. I secretly sneaked away and ordered a bottle of cold mint orangeade, which I extremely liked. Than all of a sudden appeared Abram Chaja… I was badly reprimanded by him and he later gathered us all and preached about the principle of “Shituf” – sharing everything, the value which later materialized in the shape of the Kibbutz in Eretz Israel… Thus were these days… Mosze Chaja was a very good Yiddish Theater actor and he was the star in the plays of the Bund movement in Gombin.

While I visited America with Lotka in year 1980, Benjamin Guyer (Chaja) arranged for me a most moving and unforgettable Gombiner’s gathering in New Jersey. I phoned him up there, where he resided at the time. I shall never forget this meeting and I cry even today, recalling it. Natan Weiss (Wojdeslawski) was present and his dear sister Czlova Beila who didn’t stop crying to re-meet her “Madrich “ from Hashomer Hatzair in Gombin. Also her husband Boll from the nearby town of Ilow. Luszinski also from Ilow was also present. After lunch developed a most interesting conversation. Everybody talked about his bitter and awful experiences in the Holocaust, and I talked about Israel and its problems after the rise of the right wing party “Halikud” to power. I heard some strange advises from the people present, mainly supporting Menachem begin z”l. In the end I said that if they have criticism about Israel, the Histadrut (the Union) and other institutions, better they make Aliya (immigration to Israel) and contribute themselves to the improvement of the society and change of the situation. The debate was in a very friendly and good spirit. It was one of the most fascinating conversations in my life. I than, by the way, asked them why after the liberation from the concentration camps didn’t they immigrate to Eretz Israel and not America. They answered me a very sincere reply: “We were shadows, not human beings. We were destroyed, dismantled of all mental powers. We couldn’t have done anything with the lost ideals and dreams of Hashomer Hatzair. We centered only in re-building our families and homes. I would add that now, 18 years later, tears come in to my eyes when I remember the Gombiners re-union of Ben Guyer. I felt shamed when confronting those dear friends of mine who suffered that hell during the Holocaust. When we flew back in the same very night, instead of joy due to the end of the trip I felt that may be we shall never know and understand what happened and that we owe the survivors so much and give them so much of our love which might help in curing the scars of the soul, so burning and painful.

gombin society families ben guyer jews confined behind a wire fence

July 08, 2007

My name is Bernard Guyer. At the time of this writing, I am living in Baltimore Maryland and am 64 years old. My father was Sydney B. Guyer (Simcha Chaja, from Sanniki, a village outside of Gabin); 1904-1980. My mother was Anna (ne: Rissman) Guyer (Chana Ryzman, from Gabin); 1905-2004.

My family has rich connections to Gabin. These I want to document on this family web-page; I hope to add more material to these pages over the next few years. I’m also hoping that my sisters, cousins, children, and nephews and nieces will be willing to add their own perspectives and histories to these pages.

The Matzevah of Pinchus Chaja (1999).

This story of the discovery of the matzevah (head stone) of my older brother, Pinchus Chaja, tells the single most intimate and powerful story of my immediate family. The story spans my parents’ marriage in Gabin in 1929, the births of their first two children- Pinchus (1930) and Evelyn (1932), the migration of my parents to Uruguay and ultimately the U.S., and the destruction of the remaining Rissman family, including my maternal grandfather, Manele Ryzman, at the hands of the Nazis in 1942.

Rissman (Ryzman) family:

With the help of my second cousins, Arrthur Gertzman and Phil Ball, I hope to write more here about our family that descended from Pinchus Rissman (1844-1907). We know that his father was named Moshe Ryzman.

I’m attaching three files: A remembrance of my mother, Anna Guyer (From the B’nai Gombin Newsletter, 2004), a poem written about Anna by one of her grandchildren that summed up the relationship of the grandchildren to their grandmother, and a Rissman family memorial page from the Gombin Yizkor Book (1969).

Guyer (Chaja) family:

With the help of some other cousins I hope to add to this section. Most of my cousins on this side of the family live in Uruguay or Israel.

View our family tree here.

My father Meir Holtzman and my mother Rywcia (Rivka) Gostinska were born in Gombin in 1914 and emigrated to Palestine in August 1939, on an illegal ship “Colorado”. My parents settled in Israel and were “khaluzim”, among the founders of Kibbutz Evron, near the Lebanese border. I was born in the end of 1951, in Naharia, the third daughter out of five. One child Igal, the first born, died when only a baby. I have a brother Avi Holtzman who lives together with his wife and three children in Kiriat Ata Israel, sister Raya, married to Mel Jaffee and lives in California USA with her two children and a sister Oshrit lives in Moshav Rinatya with her man Moshe Salem and has one adorable baby : Alon.

I graduated the Tel Aviv University in 1978 where I studied Economy and Social Sciences. I am divorced and I have a daughter who is 16 and a half and her name is Inbal Katz. “Inbal” means in Hebrew “the tongue of the bell”. My daughter is in the 11th grade in the “Ironi Yud Dalet” High School of Tel Aviv and she is also an excellent pianist. I work as an analyst and programmer for Alitalia, the Italian world airlines in Tel Aviv. I have been to Gombin and I am interested in preserving the memory and heritage of the Jewish Gombin.

My father’s father, Eliahu Holtzman was born in 1866 and died in Gombin in 1923. My father’s mother, Rasha Zlotnik was born in 1870 and died in 1937 at Gombin. She was a descendant of a very well known rabbis family. Rasha Zlotnik was the sister of the most famous Rav of Gombin, the Rav AVIDA – Yehuda Leib Zlotnik, Rabbi of South Africa / Canada and a famous commentator of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Another brother of Rasha Holtzman was the Rabbi of Guwazuv, and another one was the Rabbi of Plock: Yona Mordechai Zlotnik. All the 7 brothers and sisters of my father, with husbands and wives and little children were killed in Chelmno by the Nazis. Two brothers were shot before, in the woods of Gombin.

These were Meir Holtzman brothers and sisters perished in the Holocaust:

  • Avraham Holtzman married to Lea Luidor, hhad a son Eli Holtzman.
  • Faiga Holtzman married Jecheskel Luxenburrg and had four children: Balcza, Rutka, Eli and another boy.
  • Yosef Holtzman married Lea Zolna and had two daughters: Shaina and Andjya.
  • Israel Baruch (“Bucik”) Holtzman, marriedd Ester Mainczik, had a little boy Eli.
  • Golda Itta Holtzman, married Hersh Leib BBauman and had little girls Ella and Channa.
  • Hersz Leizer Holtzman, married Lea Koren and had one child Channa.
  • Mosze Aharon Holtzman married Miril from Wisnogrod, and had two childres: Channale and another one.

My mother’s father was Yaacov Gostinski. Napoleon Bonaparte, so the story goes, when visited Poland in 1812, slept in the Gostinski House… The name comes from the small city Gostynin near Gombin. Yaacov had a sister Perla, who married Zavirowcha and left to Paris from which they were deported to Auschwitz and died in 1942 together with their 2 daughters. Their son, Max Zavier, survived Auschwitz and lived in Paris until he died in 1993. My mother’s mother name was Yochevet Honigstock, and many relatives from this side left to England before and after the war. Both my mother’s parents were killed in the Chelmno Death Camp and her brother Pinhas Gostinsky died in Auschwitz. He had a wife Lea Laski and a little child, both perished in the Holocaust. My mother’s sister Rachel Shechter was born in 1908, immigrated to Palestina in 1930, lived in Kibbutz Ein Hachoresh and died in 1995.

My mother Rifcza died in December 1969 and is buried in Kibbutz Evron. My father, Meir Holtzman remarried Lotka Krzywanoska from Klechew who is the only survivor herself of a family of 11 brothers and sisters all already with families of their own, all killed by the Nazis. My father and Lotka live for the past 25 years in Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet.

My father has a sister, Channa Bruk who immigrated as “halutza” to Palestina in 1934 and was among the founders of Kibbutz Negba. Her husband Sheika was a volunteer in the Jewish Brigade. Both her husband and her eldest son Yoav, already a father to two little children, died in 1977 from a car accident.

I visited Gombin in 1989, saw the “schule” still there in Warshavska street… I saw some houses still remembered by the Poles to belong to Jews… saw the empty large field, covered by snow, where nothing is in, and that was the Jewish cemetery for hundreds of years, from which the Nazis broke all the stones and made roads from the holy tomb stones…I saw the woods around Gombin, bare and black trees in the white, hiding inside some secrets of murders and most barbaric actions committed not so long ago against my people… I saw the place where once stood the synagogue of Gombin, one of the most splendid synagogues in Poland, burnt by the Nazis… I saw the houses of the Ghetto in Kilinski street, from which the Jews went to their last journey… and I saw a memorial to the Poles who died in the second world war, but no memorial to the 2500 Jews from this city who were deported, tortured, murdered and strangled by the Nazis… I swore than, that if it will ever be possible, I shall help to erect a memorial to the Gombiners Jews, and their tragic history.

Visit Ada Holtzman’s official website here.

*A special thanks to Ada Holtzman and Leon Zamosc for providing historical documents.

Ada Holtzman

“Back to Gombin” Again, Remembering Ada

By Meredith Nelson

As Gombiners plan a 2018 trip to Poland, its excitement and anticipation are tempered. It’s hard to imagine such a journey without Ada Holtzman. September 29th marked the yahrzeit of Ada’s death.

“Ada was larger than life,” said Mindy Prosperi, one of untold numbers of people who discovered their families with Ada’s help. “She was the soul of so much of the work we’ve done. Even people who just called up desperate for information, could always rely on her. She changed their lives.”

Ada’s indefatigable research on Jewish life in Gombin and throughout Eastern Europe was done in devotion to the memory of her parents, Meir and Rivka Holtzman who escaped from Europe on the Colorado in an illegal boatlift of Jews to Palestine in July of 1939. Two months later, the Nazis overtook Gombin, burning the landmark synagogue to the ground. Of Gombin’s Jews who lived through the initial brutality, the able-bodied were conscripted into the Konin work camp, with others sent to their deaths at Chełmno.

Meir Holtzman- a zealous socialist, Zionist, and a leader in the Hashomer Hatzair movement- became a founder of Kibbutz Evron in Israel, where Ada grew up and is now laid to rest. Her mother died too young, in 1969; Ada’s website, www.zchor.org, is dedicated to the beloved Rivka. Before his death in 1998, Meir translated his memoirs and parts of the Gombin Yizkor Book from Yiddish to Hebrew.

Ada considered it one of her most sacred duties, as caretaker of Beit Gombin in Tel Aviv, to honor the dead, meticulously preserving a memorial wall there composed of plaques with the names of Gombiners who perished in the Shoah. Once a year she held a candle-lighting remembrance of the Holocaust, attended by Gombiners from Israel and sometimes from more far-flung places, including Poland, Australia, the United States, and South America.

Moshe Lewenberg from Rishon LeZion, a longtime friend of Ada’s, recalls one of those nights. A striking woman walked in for the ceremony. She had a harrowing story of narrow escape from Gombin during the war, including being rescued and hidden by a non-Jewish woman. When he learned that her name was Wolfovich, Moshe was stunned. He knew the name well from stories of his own mother, whose life in Gombin was one of poverty, hardship and sometimes misery. One day his mother had polished the floors of an opulent home—to her a palace—near the fashionable town square of Gombin. It belonged to the Wolfoviches, one of the wealthiest families in Gombin. Across a chasm of time, in Tel Aviv, the woman lit a candle, and Wolfovich, Lewenberg, Holtzman, united in remembrance as they might never have back in Gombin, across a chasm of social class.

In 1999, on the grounds of Chełmno, before a gathering of Gombin descendants, Ada stated: “Only about 50 years ago, they did not distinguish between Left and Right, between secular and observant, between Hasidim and people of the intelligentsia, between the simple men and the great rabbis. There, everybody with Jewish blood in his veins shared a common fate. But as one survivor once said, ‘What we need is not one day to remember, but one day to forget.”

Throughout her tireless commitment to Jewish genealogy, Holocaust memorial, and resurrecting the stories of our Polish town, Ada never ceased repeating her well-known mantras: “We remember!” and “Never forget.” We remember, Ada, whom we will never forget.

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.

I am Mindy Ballen-Prosperi, the daughter of Samuel and Rosalind Bigeleisen (later changed to Ballen).

gombin society families mindy ballen prosperi father Samuel Bigeleisen

My father, Samuel Bigeleisen (can also be spelled as Bigelajzen) was born either in Gombin Poland or in Ozorkow, Poland (where they originally came from) in either June 1921 or in 1924 (he may have changed the year to meet requirements to come to the United States). As my father did not wish to talk about his very difficult past, most of the following information is derived from bits and pieces of documents and there is room for correction or interpretation. We know that my grandfather was a “felctzer” (perhaps a physician’s assistant) named Yitzhok Bigeleisen. My grandmother was Mindel Parazecewska. Both my grandparents were originally from Ozorkow, Poland… just a few miles from Gombin. My father’s family grew up at 13 Polczka Street in Gombin, Poland. The other children in my father’s family (we hope that this is correct) are:

  • Leah?
  • Hela, born 1925; married to Lipa Blawat
  • Esther born 1923
  • Devorah born 1921
  • Chana born 1927
  • Abraham Yosef born 1930
  • Samuel born 1924 (1921)
  • Sara born 1922

Most of my father’s extended family left Gombin and went to Alexandruv-Lutsly when the war broke out. They later went to Warsaw. in hopes of a better situation. Unfortunately, this was not to be. We believe all who went to Warsaw died there or were sent to Treblinka where they died. As far as we know, my father is the only member of his immediate family to have survived the Holocaust.

In 1949, my father came to the United States and in 1952 he married my mother, Rosalind Katz, an American from Brooklyn, NY. They had two children: my brother, Elliot Ballen of Cranford, NJ and myself. Both Samuel and Rosalind are now deceased.

I do have several pictures of my father and his family. When I brought pictures of my father and myself to Gombin in 1998, he was definitely recognized.

Attached is a picture of my father as a young boy (on bicycle) and his family. Also, here is a picture of my Dad after the war, and his sister and her husband (Hela and Lipa Blawat). It is my hope that someone will see and perhaps recognize this picture. It could happen!

gombin society families mindy ballen prosperi fathers family as a young boy gombin society families mindy ballen prosperi father's sister and her husband (Hela and Lipa Blawat)

View photos from the Sanitt family

These set of documents that were handed down to us from our Grandmother Rose Lewis (wife of Harry Kutcher) as being her family documents.

The family emigrated to the UK some time between 1886 and 1891 and changed their name to Lewis. There are discrepancies in the dates of birth even between UK documents which I assume are due to language problems/ mistranslations, but on the whole the data between the Szkareks and Lewis tie up quite well.

Spelling variations


Abraham; Abram

Icek; Iczek ; Isaac;Yitzak

Surname: Sklarok; Szklarek; Shklarok
Town/City: Gombin; Gambin; Gombyn; (now) Gabin
District: Gostinsk: Gostynsk; Gostinsky:Gostinskij; Gostynin


Army Call Up Papers for Abraham Szklarek

gombin society family sklarok army call up papers for Abraham Szklarek

Age: 21 Years Height: 2-2-2 Chest: 1-2-4 Permanent residence: Gombin Name: Abraham Szklarek Father: Judov/Judah Date of issue: 8th November 1881

This would put Abrahams year of birth ~1860 which is confirmed in the Jewish Records Indexing – Poland and the Old Registration Book of Gombin (AKT454) which also shows his father Judah

ID papers / Passport for Icek Szklarek

gombin society family sklarok ID papers and passport for Icek Szklarek

Page 1 Identity document No. AK23 Belongs to Icek Szklarek……..

Page 2 Place of birth: Gombin District: Gostinsk Province: Warsaw Nationality: Jewish Position in Society: Petty bourgeois Profession: Tailor Height: Small Face: Round Hair: Dark Brown Eyes: Brown Mouth: Average Chin: Special Features: Scar on 2nd finger of the right hand Age: 21 Years Height: 2-2-2 Chest: 1-2-4 Permanent residence: Gombin Name: Abraham Szklarek Father: Judov/Judah Date of issue: 8th November 1881

Page 3 The Identity of Icek is verified by the Mayor of Gombin, his age being 19 years old on the 5th Febuary 1884. This would put Icek’s year of birth as ~ 1864/5 which is confirmed in the Jewish Records Indexing – Poland and the Old Registry Book of Gombin.


Emigrated to the UK sometime between 1886 (when Rose was born) and 1891 (UK Census records)

Abraham Lewis (Abraham Szklarek) – The UK Census of 1891 puts his age at 28 and therefore year of birth ~ 1863 – According to his death certificate, he died in 1923 at the age of 62, putting his year of birth ~1861

Isaac Lewis (Icek Szklarek ) – In the UK Census of 1891 at the same address as Abraham, there is an Isaac Lewis aged 26, which would put his year of birth ~ 1865

Esther Lewis (nee Ester Kon, Abraham’s wife) – The UK Census of 1891 puts her age at 26 and therefore year of birth ~ 1865 – According to her Death Certificate she died in 1935 aged 68 years with the word ‘poss’ or ‘pass’ written underneath implying they were not too sure ?? Otherwise this puts her year of birth at 1866/7

Esther Szklarek is in the Registration Book of Gombin.(on the same page as Abraham) – year of birth 1863 and also establishes Esther as Abraham’s wife Her date of birth May 11th 1863 Her maiden name as Kon Her father’s name as Naim – On Esther’s (Lewis’s) death certificate her father’s name is given as Hyman Cohen (anglisized Naim Kon??) If anyone has any further information on the Szklarek family do please make contact: Jeff.Kutcher@gmail.com

P.S My location on the family tree below ? I’m Jack’s second son.

View our family tree here.

View Survival by Devotion,
“A brief bio of my father”, Samuel Frankel, by Gayle (Frankel) Sokoloff

Shane-Teifeld H: Memoir of My Survival; The Life of Hania Shane-Teifeld. As told to niece, Aida (Guyer) Cutler

This memoir was written by Hania (neé Teifeld) Shane over a period of years and dictated to her niece, Aida (neé Guyer) Cutler, between 2000 and 2002, in Detroit. Hania died in 2002. Aida is the daughter of Hania’s sister, Zelda, who is mentioned in the memoir, but who had already emigrated to Argentina when the Second World War began. Tragically, the two sisters never saw each other after the War.

Hania also wrote a short article that appears in Yiddish in the Gombin Yizkor book, “De ShulBrent ” (The Synagogue is Burning), page 115. (1)

Hania did not want this memoir published until after her death because it reveals the identity of her Polish Gentile “boyfriend” from Gombin, with whom she spent a significant part of the War and who helped her and other Jews survive the Holocaust. He is identified, however, in the “Wilhelm Bachner Story” as Tadeusz (Tadek) Kazaniecki. The book has numerous descriptions of his important role as a courageous and loyal courier and contact. He disappeared and was presumably killed by the Nazis. We honor his memory as one of the many unrecognized “Righteous” who risked all and gave their own lives to save Jews!

This is truly Hania’s story. May her memory, and the memory of all of those, Polish Jews and ‘just’ Christians alike, mentioned by her, be for a blessing. We are incredibly fortunate that this memoir itself has survived to become part of our Gombin legacy.

Featured in B’nail Gombin Issue #36.

Esther, Hania, Zelda, Genia, and Sara Teifeld Esther, Hania, Zelda, Genia, and Sara Teifeld