This is a photograph of my father, Meir Holcman, together with the children of his brothers and sisters, taken in 1939, a short time before he left with my mother to Eretz Israel.
All the children perished in the Jewish Holocaust, together with another million and a half children, murdered by the Nazi oppressor, Yimach Shmo. They were gassed and burnt in Chelmno by the Germans, April 1942 and their ashes were spread on the cursed land of Poland.
55 years have passed and my father has not stopped mourning them, day and night, as he mourns all his brothers and sisters, brothers and sisters in law, his wife's family, Riwcia Gostinska and all his beloved friends and acquaintances from Gombin.
Eli, the older and Eli the baby, Channa (three Channa) Szajna and Andjya do not have a tomb... Who remembers the magical moment when they were born? Their first smile, baby smiles to mamma, the ball they played with, the dresses they wore, the first word they uttered, the period of adolescence with its beautiful secrets, the walks in the woods around, the holidays when all the family sat together to the table, the moment of farewell from uncle Meir, who left them on his way to Eretz Israel, to build a better world for their People...
These are the children, grandchildren of Rasza ne'e Zlotnik & Eliahu Holcman, my cousins, whose only fault was that they were born Jewish. Their memory will never be forgotten.
Top - from right to left:
Eli Holcman - son of Ester Mainczik and Israel Baruch Holcman ("Bucik").
Andjya (Channa) Holcman - daughter of Lea Zolna and Yosef Holcman.
Hela Bauman - daughter of Golda Itta Holcman and Hersz Lajb Bauman.
Middle - from right to left:
Channa Bauman - daughter of Golda Itta ne'e Holcman and Hersz Lajb Bauman.
Szajna Holcman - daughter of Lea Zolna and Yosef Holcman.
Bottom - from right to left:
Channa Holcman - daughter of Sara-Chaja Koren from Zychlin and Hersz Lajb Holcman.
The baby Eli Holcman - son of Lea Luidor and the first-born brother: Abraham Icchak Holcman.
Channa Holcman - daughter of Miril from Wyszogrod and Mosze Aron Holcman.
Missing from the picture, are the four children of his seventh sister who perished with her husband, Fajga ne'e Holcman and Yechezkel Luksenburg who lived in Lodz. All the family perished in Chelmno. Their children were: Balcia (Bella), Rutka (Ruth), Eli and Perla.
Missing also little Perla Holcman, daughter of Miril and Mosze Aron who was not born yet when the picture was taken. Perla was named after another daughter of Rasza & Eliahu Holcman who died at the age of 9 years old before the Holocaust.
The photograph was taken by the Jewish photographer of the shtetl Rudnik. He and his family also perished. Only his photographs with images of innocent living human beings remained for ever, silent testimony of a world which has been and is no more..
Their memory be blessed for eternity.
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