Watch this video showing the Day of Commemoration memorializing the 80th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews of Gąbin in 1942. Students from the Staczica School and visiting descendants of Jewish families placed 2100 stones on route to the deportation field. Each stone represents one life taken. You will see the mayor and other speakers in the Old Market Square, hear students singing, and see the closing ceremony at the deportation field. For returning, descendants the commemoration, though bittersweet, marked a renewal of our connection and ties to Gąbin.
As we return to our roots in Gombin and Gostynin in Poland, walk with us, experience the sights of today and hear the stories of yesteryear.
This movie, made by our Polish friends Grzesiek Mart, Michał Sroka and Wojtek Wasilewski, invites you to remember and honor those who have gone before.
Take a digital tour of the Gombin Synagogue model created by Wojciech Wasilewski, Michał Sroka and their team from historic photographs and architectural drawings. Examine the ancient structure, built in the 18th century, both inside and outside. Enter the sanctuary and hear the haunting voice of a Chazan chanting the Kol Nidre. Climb the stairs to the women’s balcony and imagine our grandmothers.
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.
This uncompleted, new motion picture project is from Minna Packer. The dramatic film is inspired by the true story of a Jewish dwarf in Gombin who miraculously survived the Holocaust. The story tells us a great deal about the relationships between Jews and Poles in pre-war Poland. Clips from the trailer are available.
Watch the historic footage of this unique home-made film of the Gombin Jewish community taken by Sam Rafel during his return visit to Gombin in 1937. Intended to remind the American Jewish community of the difficult conditions in Poland after the depression, this film has become a major documentary of Jewish life in the Polish shtetl. It can be seen at The U.S. Holocaust Museum, at The State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, and at the Imperial War Museum in London.
This footage from the camera of Sam Rafel shows several gathering of American-Gombiner Jews in New York. Sam Rafel left Gombin, Poland in 1913 at the age of 17 and immigrated to New York. He became active in efforts to aid both Gombin Jews in the US and those who remained in Poland. He led the effort to provide relief in Gombin and, after the Holocaust, helped to resettle survivors and establish a Gombiner House in Tel Aviv, Israel. Mr. Rafel’s descendants donated the film to the Gombin Jewish Historical and Genealogical Society.
In October 2018, Film maker, Wojciech Wasilewski, accompanied by several Gombiners filmed several elderly Polish witnesses to the invasion of Gąbin by the German Nazi army. Their testimony includes personal memories of Jewish friends, the destruction of the Synagogue, and the deportation of Jews to Chełmno. See the trailer, with subtitles; audio is in Polish.
George Nosal was born in Poland in 1922 and may be the oldest living Jewish Gombiner at the time of this interview filmed during a Gombin Society Board meeting in Cleveland in the summer of 2019. He is a marvelous story-teller and recounts some of his remarkable life, escaping Poland during the Nazi invasion, surviving the Russian internment, joining the British army, and eventually returning to Gombin after the war. George now lives in Toronto, Canada with his son Alex.