On September 1st, 2019, the Gąbin community commemorated the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, when the German Nazi army marched into the town bringing destruction to a life that had existed for centuries. The impact and consequences were profound and lasting for the Polish Catholic and Evangelical populations, but especially for the Jews of Gąbin. For the 2019 commemoration, Michael Shade led a small delegation of Jewish Gombiners to participate and spoke at the ceremony. Read his comments and view photographs.
In May 2019 a group of Jewish Gombiners from the US, UK and Israel joined a similar group of Jewish descendants of Gostynin to hold multicultural tours of the two towns. The event was organized by Leon Zamosc on behalf of the Gombin Society and with the collaboration of a large group of civil society activists and officials in Gostynin and the Gąbin Land Lovers historical society (TMZG). In Gostynin, hundreds of citizens marched to the sites of the Grand Synagogue, the Jewish cemetery, a monument recognizing one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” and to hear speeches and testimonies. In Gąbin, the Jewish and Polish groups shared a march to the Jewish sites and time to talk about common interests. The Multicultural tour document is a valuable guide to the important Jewish locations of Gąbin. [Photo with permission from Teraz Gąbin]
In August 2018, a group of Jewish Gombiners from the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Israel visited Poland, meeting many Polish friends from Gąbin, Warsaw and Krakow. About 12 of the visitors were “3rd generation” Gombiners, under age 40, most of whom had never before visited their ancestral home. Read a participant’s travel blog, follow the walking tour map of “Jewish” Gąbin and see the photo gallery.
In our efforts to recuperate Jewish Gombin, a group of Gombiners and Polish friends participated in the State Ethnographic Museum’s conference on multiculturalism in Mazovia, viewed the virtual tour of the digital model of the Gabin Synagogue, and reengaged with the current Gabin community. We learned about the community of Mennonite “Olanders” who once lived in this region. We are now “recuperating” Jewish Gombin, that is, not attempting to rebuild what it was that existed formerly, but evoking its multicultural heritage in new modern forms. Read about it in our newsletter, B’nai Gombin Issue #37, 2016.
The Gombin Society was represented at this important 2-day conference by President Arthur Gertzman and his wife Gloria and Bernie and Jane Guyer. This landmark conference was the first scientific program held in Poland to focus on Jewish Ethnography since 1938. All the conference papers and photographs are available in an issue of the Museum’s publication Etnografia Nowa. Featured in our newsletter, B’nai Gombin Issue #35.
Our first stop was the Jewish cemetery, which was a bit shocking at first. Here is a list of the issues, in no particular order. The front gate no longer closes properly, because one side has subsided and the bolt no longer lines up. There are also tiles missing from the wall above the plaque. The area between the gate and the monument is completely overgrown with weeds, which is not entirely bad because the wild flowers are very attractive. We found the monument in quite bad shape, mostly from the effects of weather…
Read more in the 2011 Gombin Trip Report
The site of the Gombin synagogue is now a graveled parking area for a new small food market that has been built on Kilinskega Street. The area going down to the river, where the mikvah stood, is still open brush. Houses back on to this area. We need to follow-up on the ownership of this land.
The cemetery looks fine, vegetation is cut back. The face of the lapidarium has been cleaned, but there is a lot of debris around the stones. The entire concrete area and the remaining matzevot need to be cleaned. There is no graffiti or evidence of any vandalism. The gate is always left open. There were old yorzheit candles around…
Read more in the 2005 Presidents Report
Minna Packer’s documentary returns us to the town of Gombin, the shtetl of our families and ancestors, with a group of Gombiners from all over the world. There have no Jews living in Gombin itself since 1942. We see the town as it was in 1998. Participate in the rededication of the Jewish Cemetery and the establishment of a monument to Gombiners killed in the Holocaust at Chełmno. Share the joyful stories and painful memories of survivors, children of Gombiners and the next generation.
Watch the documentary Back to Gombin