[Pages 94 - 96]
Translated from Yiddish by Meir Holtzman and to English by Ada Holtzman
Picture from the Album of Meir Holtzman.
6th person in the top row is Hersz Lazer Holcman, my uncle, who perished in the Holocaust.
The dwarf, Umcza Kerber is also in the picture
The most important Sport Association in Gombin was no doubt MACCABI. But there were other associations, like Morgenstern (Jutrznia) and in recent years: Ha'poel Gombin.
The beginning belongs to Maccabi, which was founded, if I am not mistaken in 1921. Among the founders of Maccabi were Abram Zychlinski, the sons of Glass Stolcman, Teyfeld, Holcman, Baum and others.
The early activities of Maccabi centered in two sports groups: football (soccer) and gymnastics. The football team was very strong and popular in the surrounding shtetls. Except members, they had many fans, who, during any match, clapped their hands with enthusiasm and cheered the players with all their hearts. In the flourishing period, the team consists of the following players: Zeidman Benyamin, Szmaja Maintczik 2 , Herszek Stolczman, Ignesz Stolczman, Motel Pelka, Dawid Toyber, Abrahamele Stolcman, Israel Moshe Zolna, Icze Szreks, Dawid Hodys, Zelig Rochberger and Szmulik Luszinski.
In the reserve played: Szimon Toyber, Gerszon Klinger, Mendel Kilbert, Dan Tayfeld and Reuven Tayfeld. Of course that during the course of time the players changed. The senior left and youngsters appeared on the field. Later appeared very talented players as Arcze Tiber, Dawid Zychlinsky, Moshe Hodys and Moniek Laski. A great talent as the goalkeeper showed Benyamin Chaja 1.
The games at this periods were against amateur teams, and herewith are some examples:
Maccabi won the Christian football team Sokol 3:0. It was an exceptional victory, since in Sokol played professionals such as the brothers Stille, Frank Kopiczki and Bulek Mrozek. In spite of the fact that Sokol was a stronger team, Maccabi won and it raised a lot of joy among the fans and all the Jews of the Shtetl.
Since this occurrence, Maccabi didn't play for along time on the football field in Gombin, but in other towns, form fear of the Poles. This was the reason for it to become weak. The good players retired and Maccabi was not considered anymore to be the best in the neighborhood.
Maccabi had also a gymnastics team, which didn't excel specially and couldn't be compared to the brilliant gymnastic team of Jucznia 7 . So when there was a show of gymnastics, Maccabi invited the teams of Maccabi Plock and Wloclawek to participate instead of itself.
It is worthwhile mentioning that Maccabi had an independent wind instruments orchestra. The conductor was Moshe Hodys 8 . The orchestra had public concerts in the woods and in town. The concerts in the woods took place usually on Lag Ba'omer. Among the participants in the Maccabi orchestra were: Azriel Tatarka (played the Clarinet), Meir Zelig Kerber (played the lyric tenor), Tiber, Zychlinsky and Wruble.
In 1938, the football game strengthened once again and had important role to play. It attracted few of very good players like Benyamin Chaja, Moshe Grziwacz, Yosel Blawat, Szimon Spodek, Fajwisz Boll, Moniek Laski, Yankel'e Zolna, Mechle Ber and many others.
During this period and until the break of WWII, the team had many victories over Jewish teams from Gombin and the surrounding area.
When the Nazis conquered Gombin' only very few fled to the Soviet USSR. Most of the members shared the same terrible fate as all the Jewry of Poland.
Parallel to Maccabi, the Bund's Sport organization: JUTRZNIA was very active in the sport life of the shtetl. It had 2 teams as well: football and gymnastics.
The gymnastic team was excellent. They had few good coaches: Kroy in the beginning, and later: Abram Frenkel. The Jutrznia made a few public shows under the slogan: In healthy body - healthy spirit. The welcome message they used to have was: New-Free - Strong-Faithful (frish - frei - stark - trei).
The football team of Jutrznia played only amateurs games. It was not a strong team, but very ambitious. I remember the names of their players: Somel Szczerb, Hersz Natan Zeidman, Fajwisz Gurker, Szlomo Blawat, Chaim Gurker, Zalman Klinger, Moshe Schwarcz, Moshe Tipiel, Israel Stupai and Lazer Kuczinski.
I remember a game between the two Gombiner groups: Maccabi and Jutrznia. Maccabi won 3:1, while it appeared with its strongest team. Most of the members of Juczinia shared the destiny of their brothers in Poland and perished in the Holocaust, except very few who survived. All the others were killed by the hands of the Nazi murderers.
Chaja Benyamin (Ben Guyer)
Holcman Hersz Lazer
Jutrznia - The Bund Sports Organization
Kerber Meir Zelig
Zeidman Hersz Natan
Zolna Israel Moshe
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