[Pages 5-6 - English section]
of the New York Organization
With deep respect and piety we present to our Landsleit and the Yiddish reader this Pincus.
This memorial volume is published as a sacred obligation to the memory of our beloved city, which together with hundreds and hundreds of Jewish cities and towns throughout Poland shared the horrible fate of the Nazi holocaust.
The idea of issuing this Gombiner Pincus was born several years ago at a meeting of our society in New York. Since then our committee has gathered the material that would be representative of the historic past of Gombin from the very earliest days, through the Second World War and the ultimate end. The surviving Jews of Gombin are spread far and wide throughout the world, which increased the time required to assemble the great number of relevant documents concerning our city's past.
We hope that within the framework of our resources we have honored in a dignified manner our tragically vanished city. Our goal was to erect a monument through which the coming generations - the children and grandchildren of the Gombiner Jews - would be able to acquaint themselves with the ancient past of Gombin and the roots of their own origin. In their behalf we have published part of the material in English rather than Yiddish, which was the living tongue of their parents and grandparents.
The work of preparing the publishing of the book was done by many of our landsleit, but it is impossible not to give special mention to our dear Sam our former President. Sam was most active and enthusiastic about this project. He was devoted heart and soul to the idea of the Gombiner Memorial Book as he was previously devoted to helping our needy brethren in a Gombin alive with the vitality of a living Jewish community.
Unfortunately, he did not live to see the appearance of this book, but we want it to be known that it contains much of his effort, loyalty and warm devotion. With the publication of this Memorial Book we pay a debt to his shining memory.
I conclude with the hope that this Pincus will be found in the home of every Gombiner. We shall also see to it that the book is placed with historical societies, research institutes and in Jewish Libraries throughout the world. In this manner the memory of our beloved birthplace will forever survive in the hearts and minds of our people.
for many years of the New Jersey
and the New York Societies
[Pages 9-10 - English section]
He encouraged our activists even in Detroit whenever measures needed to be taken to ascertain a successful monetary campaign.
He brought his dynamic and loyal energy to fruition during the building of the Gombiner House in Israel, to assure a fund for aid to the needy; and to immortalize the names of our martyrs in our own home in Israel.
I recall the year 1941, when we, residents of Detroit recommended a project to raise the sum of 25,000 dollars - we called it the post war fund - and we called all Gombiner Societies to take action immediately, without delay.
Then, during the dark night, during the fearful period, under the shadow of war, we thought the war would soon end (we did not think otherwise) and with the war's termination, the world would live in peace and freedom once more including our town Gombin. Our help must be ready in advance, waiting for the oncoming liberation. Who else, if not us, landsleit, will accommodate and meet the great need that we anticipated for the rebuilding of war-torn Gombin? Who would have imagined at that time that the devastation would be so total, so colossal, and so brutal, that not one living soul would remain alive? At that time, during the projection of our plans for raising this huge fund, we did not have to hold forth with Sam Rafel, with the delegate from Newark and the Newark Societies, about our important task. I have before me a letter dated November 1941, from which I quote: You have a grand project and I am with you wholeheartedly. I shall do everything possible to bring this undertaking to its successful conclusion. We are calling a meeting immediately!
Since then, even more than previously, the personality of Sam Rafel has revealed itself to me. I quote from the letter which followed the first: I am happy to inform you that I have a great deal of support and backing for the fund -and I opine that the sum to be raised should be increased to $35,000. It is a grandiose project and must not remain in the stage of a dream.
The personality of Sam Rafel has revealed itself to me not exclusively in money matters, not only in the realm of material aid and activities in the realm of fund-raising - but, mainly for his individual idealism and heartily warm attitude and devotion to Gombiner activities - that were near and dear to him for many, many years. His profound dedication was equal to Hassidic rapture and ecstasy. He did not seem to know the meaning of defeat. His deep conviction and belief, his urge to help all undertakings, to help other Gombiner activities, were part and parcel of his daily life.
His life's purpose became the rendering of help to our brother's house in Israel through the benevolence fund. Afterward he added to his life-long dream the realization of the Memorial Book in Honor of the Gombin Community. This is a monumental work depicting and reflecting the rise, the growth, the spiritual up swerve, the struggles, the conflicts, the pain and woe, the devastation, the destruction and catastrophe that later befell our home town. He was, until his last breath the leader and symbol of efficiency for this idea.
I had the rare honor and privilege of working with my best friend for over a quarter of a century in behalf of Gombiner activities and never failed to derive inspiration from his optimism and his exaltation and ardor.
I also want to state that he and also his sympathetic, dynamic and charming wife, Yetta, have throughout their lives shown a devoted attitude to everything, pertaining to Gombiner undertaking.
They were both fortunate in having the opportunity to visit Israel several times and to breathe the air of salvation and deliverance. He was destined to reap the joy of seeing his great dream become a reality, to see the turbulent Israel with its intensive life as the creator of energy. There, in Israel, he met with his 'townsfolk of the Gombiner house within the clear white radiant walls that symbolize all that is new and bright and illustrious.
All these impressions he brought with him upon his return home and when he made his reports at meetings he spoke of them as if they were a rare wine to be sipped and enjoyed slowly.
He was always in a jubilant and festive mood; he was a man of the people, our unforgettable Sam Rafel.
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