Back to Gombin, 2002

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.

Packer skillfully incorporates rare archival footage shot in 1937 by an American born in Gombin with contemporary scenes to tell the story of 50 children of Holocaust survivors who return to their parents’ village in Poland. They make friends, unexpectedly, with some of their parents’ former neighbors and together they pay homage to their ancestors in this town where Jews and Christians lived together in peace for centuries. We join them at the rededication of the Jewish cemetery, restoring tombstones desecrated and used as road paving; at the placement of a monument to the Jewish victims at Chełmno, the first extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland; and at the Konin slave labor camp’s mass grave, where the filmmaker’s grandfather is buried. This moving film makes a strong statement about the continuity of life and the need of subsequent generations to remember. (from National Center for Jewish Film).

Visit Minna’s website about the making of “Back to Gombin”

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