Notes on the Polish Language
Polish is not an easy language for Americans. We call our ancestral town “Gom-bin” because this is the correct pronunciation of the name that in Polish is spelled “Gąbin”; the emphasis is on the first syllable. The Polish letter “ą” is pronounced as “om”; it is not correct to pronounce this name as “gabin”. In the Gombin Society, we continue to use the spelling “Gombin” because it is close to the way our ancestors spelled the name of their town in Yiddish, גאמבין.
Similarly, the Polish letter “ł” as in Płock and Łodz is actually pronounced more like a “w” sound; so the correct pronunciations would be “Pwotsk” and “Wodge”. Finally, the Polish letter “c” is pronounced “ts”, as noted in Płock.
Get a good, recent road map of Poland as the roads have changed enormously since Poland entered the European Union. They are very improved with decent signage. It’s hard to find a good street map of Gąbin. Try this Google map.
Preparation for trip
Surf all the relevant websites; there’s lots of information available.
Start with information found on our website
- Watch the Videos from previous trips to Poland.
- Read Gombin. Restoring a Jewish Presence. Published by the Forum for Dialogue Among Nation’s School of Dialogue, this project is the work of 22 Gąbin middle school students during a four-day educational program in 2012.
- Read Information for the English-speaking Jewish tourist in Warsaw, from the Jewish Community of Warsaw.
- View self-guided tours of Gąbin – there are two on the page Visit Poland > Past Trip Reports:
- 2019 Mutlicultural Tour of Gąbin. Contains a walking map with important Jewish locations marked. There is also a comprehensive annotated description of the history and geography of Jewish Gombin. From Leon Zamosc.
- 2018 Poland Trip. There are links at this site for the itinerary of that 2018 visit, a trip blog from Anita Greenbaum-Brush, and a walking tour guide with historic map and sites noted.
- Read Relevant articles in the B’nai Gombin Newsletter.
- Issue #37: October, 2016. Several articles about the group trip and conference in Gąbin. Shows the town as it is now with many sites identified.
- Issue #35, July 2015. Feature on the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw. This museum is less well known than Polin, but has a significant exhibit that features Gombin.
Other sites to visit to help you build a sense of Jewish History in Poland
- Mazovian Jewish Museum. Located in a surviving synagogue building in nearby Płock, this Museum has a small but interesting collection and is located near the larger Mazovian Museum with its Archives. Płock is worth seeing and has the nearest hotels to Gąbin and the best local restaurants.
- Warsaw’s Polin Museum, chronicling 1,000 years of the history of Polish Jews. See the permanent collection. (closed on Tuesdays).
- Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. This museum is the repository of the Ringelblum collection of documents from the Warsaw Ghetto.
- Ethnographic Museum, Warsaw. This museum of folk-life throughout Poland has a gallery devoted to Jewish ethnography. They use materials and videos of artifacts from Gombin, including the scale model of the Gombin Synagogue. State Ethnographic Museum.
- Chełmno: The extermination camp where many Gombiners were murdered is hard to find, but worth the trip. There is a small museum and an archeological site at the “castle camp” where people were killed, and large burial fields and commemorative monuments in the “forest camp” where people were buried in mass graves. You can see a monument dedicated to the Jews of Gombin as well as Gombin family plaques on the Wall of Remembrance. It is located south of Gąbin and Gostinyn, near Highway E2, the main east West highway in Poland between Warsaw and the German border.