A roots journey to Zaglembie 2016

A roots journey to Zaglembie  2016

wtorek, 05 lipiec 2016 00:00

Zaglembie, Poland

It contains abundant data. For your convenience, we have added a contents' list. Pressing the entry takes you to the appropriate item.
The part "Visits and Ceremonies", adjacent to the site or ceremony, has a link to an explanation or picture gallery. To view them, click the appropriate connection.

a. Introduction
b. Planning and schedule
c. Chairperson of the organization, Mr. Menachem Lior's greetings
d. Visits and Ceremonies:
1. Zawiercie – cemetery
2. Sławków – memorial
3. Dąbrowa Górnicza – memorial stone at the cemetery
4. Czeladź – cemetery
5. Będzin – A memorial stone for the burnt down synagogue
6. Będzin – Jew's rescue by Priest Mieczysław Zawadzki
7. Będzin – The Ghetto Heroes Square – a memorial
8. Będzin – The collective – Kibbutz – bunker
9. Będzin – various sites
10. Sosnowiec – various sites
11. Sosnowiec – the BRACI KOŻUCHÓW Square
12. Sosnowiec – The deportation Square – the Umszlagplatz
13. Sosnowiec – the Dulag
14. Sosnowiec – The Jewish cemetery
15. Auschwitz
e. The letter of the Organization Chairperson to members abroad
f. Letters of thanks
g. Pictures and videos

a. Introduction

Organizing the Zaglembie Tour 2016

Organizing a Root's Journey to Zaglembie requires meticulous arrangements. This year it became even more complex as the Organization board decided to add Organization members from overseas.

Rina Kahan, board member of the organization took it upon herself to begin with these arrangements. The original plan was to have the journey during August, as this was the notorious month in which all Zaglembie ghettoes were annihilated. Due to limited hotel rooms in the area during that month, the journey was re-scheduled for beginning July. Wishing to have overseas Organization members join in Rina decided to fly to New York and meet with the Zaglembie board and member Jeffrey Cymbler in New York especially to that end.
The intended meeting was to locate Zaglembie members to join in on the journey to Poland. At this point in the planning the following people joined the organizers: Chairman Lior and Ariel Yahalomi and board members: Dafna Eldar, Shimshon Jashvitz and Rachel Bebes. Final planning was set.
Unfortunately, Ariel Yahalomi, who has ample experience in organizing such tours was taken ill and couldn't assist us.
Luckily, prior to Ariel being taken ill, Chairman Lior and Rina Kahan met with him to discuss the initial general layout of the journey, how long it is to be and which places people were to visit in Zaglembie so as to suit most of the Zaglembie survivors on the tour (naturally, not all villages could be on tour.)
The next stage of planning had the plan on the internet and timetables in Hebrew and English were sent via e-mails and the Organization website.
Now, more meticulous and detailed planning of all ceremonies was due. Yael Regev, Menahem Lior's daughter took it upon herself to prepare all guided events, both in English and in Hebrew, for all the sites we were to visit in Zagelmbie as well as plan the individual ceremony for each of them.
Dafna Eldar and Rachel Bebes took care of the logistics of participants' registration. Dafna managed all that related to her role as tour agent. Rachel was a 'quiet participant' behind the scenes and offered a helping hand along the journey.
Shimshon Jashvitz took part in the religious segment of the tour and was in direct contact with Karolina Jakoweńko and Aleksandra Namysło in Poland.
Menahem Lior, our chairman, was in charge of everything as well as overall events by the mere fact of having been in direct contact with Polish majors and their representatives, with everyone in Zaglembie that helped us, while making sure that everything was carried out according to plan. Hanka Lior, his wife, agreed to share her live testimony of being an inmate in the Auschwitz extermination camp.
Prior to the journey, Rina Kahan went to Poland to ensure that all plans made in Israel were going to be carried out to the letter: buying wreathes, coordinating instructions, restaurant orders, hotels and more.
The team work of each and every one and all together ensured the precise carrying out of the detailed and meticulous plan and the journey's success.


b. Planning and schedule

Following is the itinerary of the visit to Poland:

Tuesday July 5th

9:00: pick-up from hotel Radisson Blu.
10:00: meeting the Israeli group at Warsaw airport and heading to Zaglembie. On the way we shall stop for lunch.
Upon arrival to Zaglembie region we shall have a memorial ceremony in Zawiercie Cemetery.
Then we shall stop to lay a wreath at the Slawkow Bridge Memorial Site.
Later, we’ll have an early dinner and a welcoming gathering including greetings by the head of our organization, Mr. Menachem Lior. This event will take place at the center of the picturesque town of Slawkow.
Afterwards, we shall stop for a ceremony at the Memorial Site in Dabrowa Gornicza.
By evening we will arrive at Hotel Szafran in Czeladz, where we’ll stay for 3 nights (5th-8th July).

Wednesday July 6th
8:30: leaving the hotel for visits and ceremonies at the Jewish cemetery in Czeladz, Bedzin’s Ghetto Heroes memorial, the bunker of Kibbutz Dror, the Orphanage and the memorial at the Great Synagogue. We then will have a lunch and a walking tour of the city, a visit to the Mizrahi Synagogue, Brama Cukermana, and Café Jerozolima.
Visit to the Old Cemetery of Bedzin conducted by an archeologist.
After dinner, a gathering at the hotel for a special movie about Rutka Laskier.

Thursday July 7th
8:30: leaving the hotel for visits and ceremonies in the city of Sosnowiec, including the Kozuch memorial, the orphanage, the hospital and Dulag Camp. This visit will finish at noon and then there is free time for personal visits in the neighboring towns or staying in the center of Sosnowiec or going to the shopping mall next to our hotel.
17:00 we will gather in our hotel for an activity of sharing family memories and a lecture on genealogy. For this activity please bring an item for show-and-tell (a picture, an object, a song or a letter).

Friday July 8th
8:30: leaving Zaglembie, heading to Krakow. In Krakow we will tour Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter, and the synagogues of Krakow.
Our Friday dinner and celebration will be at the Jewish Kosher center JCC which is close to our hotel.
We will stay at the Golden Tulip Kazimierz Hotel Krakow for 2 nights.

Saturday July 9th
9:00: driving to the old city for a walking tour of its sites: Wawel Palace (the old sitting place of the polish monarchy), Sukiennice, Kosciol Mariacki.
Dinner and returning to the hotel.

Sunday July 10th
7:00: leaving Krakow and driving to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp for a guided visit and ceremonies. After the visit of the camps we will drive to Warsaw.
After dinner we shall arrive at the Radisson Blu Centrum Warsaw, where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

Monday July 11th
8:30: leaving the hotel for visits of the Jewish sites and the new Jewish History Museum ‘POLIN’.
After dinner we shall gather for an evening of sharing personal thoughts followed by sing-along.

Tuesday July 12th
After breakfast, a day tour to Polish Warsaw, including the old city.

Wednesday 13th
Free day in Warsaw.
After early dinner the Israeli delegates will leave for the airport.

Rina Kahan
Coordinator of this visit in the Zaglembie org.


c. Chairperson of the organization, Mr. Menachem Lior's greetings

Dear friends,
My name is Menachem Lior (Liwer),
I am the Chairman of the Zaglembie Organization.
I was born here in Bedzin and represent the first generation in this delegation.
I do not know how many of you have visited Poland before in order to trace your family heritage.
Before the Second World War this area was a lively, active and exciting Jewish and Zionist centre.
Most of your grandfathers were orthodox Jews. Everywhere around there were "Sztibels"- namely, small synagogue, two of which we are going to visit.
Despite the geographical distance, we have a common past, which we are trying pass on to future generations.
We hope you strengthen our friendship and join our activities to become a bridge to other members of your communities.
I wish you all profound and meaningful journey,

Menachem Lior

d. Visits and Ceremonies

(* The Zaglembie internet site is abundant with explanations about places visited. Following are links to "Towns and Villages". We recommend returning to this page for further reading. )

1. Zawiercie – the cemetery
a. The story of the event(on the bus) – see * + click here for the story behind the event
b. Placing the memorial wreath, Kaddish
c. Lighting a memorial candle
d. A reading segment – "A moment of silence"

2. Sławków – memorial
a. Placing a memorial wreath
b. Lighting the memorial candle
c. The story of the event – see * + click here for the story of the event

3. Dąbrowa Górnicza – a memeorial stone in the cemetery
a. Placing a wreath
b. Lighting a memorial candle
d. Dąbrowa Górnicza – see* + click here for the story of the event

4. Czeladź – cemetery
a. Placing the wreath
b. A Psalms chapter
c. Kaddish
d. Memorial candle
e. The story of the event – see* + click here for the story of the event described on the website
                                                    + click here for the picture gallery
f. A reading segment: Yizkor (We shall remember) by Abba Kovner
Yizkor (We shall remember) by Abba Kovner
g. A song – Ani Ma'amin – I Believe (background music with the audience participation)

5. Będzin – a memorial stone for the burnt down synagogue
a. Placing the wreath
b. Lighting the memorial candle
c. A story about the synagogue – click here for the story about the burning of the synagogue
d. A reading segment: "I am your tombstone" by Hila Birinbaum

6. Będzin – the rescue of Jews by Priest Mieczysław Zawadzki
a. The event – for the story click here

7. Będzin – The Ghetto Heroes Square – memorial
a. Placing the wreath
b. Lighting memorial candle
c. The story of the event – click here for the story
d. Reading segment
e. Song : Eli, Eli – My God, My God – background music and with the audience

8. Będzin – The collective – Kibbutz – bunker
a. The story of the event – click here for the Będzin Jewish uprising
b. The event story – click here for the story of the last letter from the underground
c. Reading segment – Create a World of Space for me by Baruch Gepteck

9. Będzin – various sites
a. The Jewish Orphanage – story of the event – click here
b. The Mizrachi Synagogue – click here for picture gallery
c. The Brama Cukermana Synagogue – click here for picture gallery
d. The Jerusalem Café - Café Jerozolima – click here for picture gallery
e. The old Jewish cemetery in Będzin – click here for picture gallery

10. Sosnowiec – various sites
a. A brief description of the city - *

11. Sosnowiec – The BRACI KOŻUCHÓW Square
a. Placing of the wreath
b. Lighting the memorial candle
c. Story of the event – click here

12. Sosnowiec – the deportation Square – the Umszlagplatz
a. Placing the wreath
b. Lighting the memorial candle
c. The story of the event – click here

13. Sosnowiec – the Dulag
a. The story of the event – click here

14. Sosnowiec – The Jewish cemetery
Click here for the video in which Jeff Chimbler talks at the Jewish Sosnowiec cemetery
Click for picture gallery

15. Auschwitz
a. Kaddish
b. Psalms chapter
c. Lighting of memorial candle
d. Placing of wreath
e. Reading segment
f. Reading segment
g. Hanke Lior – a personal witness account + song : A Jewish Child– by Hannah Hetin (in Yiddish, Hebrew and English)
    To listen to the song on the Yad Vashem website – click here
h. Calling out loud the names of the victims by members of the journey

A visit to the Auschwitz camp – picture gallery - click here for picture gallery
A visit to the Auschwitz – Birkenau – for picture gallery – click here
The Organization members' ceremony at the death camp – for picture gallery – click here

e. The letter of the Organization Chairperson to members abroad

Dear friends,
Two weeks have passed since our return from the special and influential journey to Poland. I am thrilled and excited by your warm words and acknowledgment following the journey. The E-mails you sent filled me with joy, satisfaction and pride.
It is amazing how, in such a short period of time, 65 people from Israel and outside Israel became a warm and close family. I felt it during our journey. Your warm words only intensified these strong feelings. The good spirit you have all brought with you created excitement and closeness that we shared during our time in Poland.
I hope these new bonds of friendship continue despite the physical distance.
The motif of the journey was to bring tradition and memories of our ancestors to all, and I believe this goal has been attained. The respect for the past and its memories help us to learn more, to cherish and remember the lost culture of Zaglembie, whom the Nazis tried to eliminate during the Holocaust.
Saying all this, I must admit that this is not enough. Our vision to promote our message about the tradition of our ancestors to the next generations is of top priority.
Our organization will do the best it can to reach this important goal.
I hope that you visit Israel soon. We will be more than happy to meet you and strengthen the friendship we have established.

Sincerely, yours
Menachem Lior

f. Letters of thanks

To: Participants of our delegation

Thank you for being part of our delegation to Poland

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank each and every one of you for joining us. Your participation created this special visit to Poland, to Zaglembie.

Very special thanks to our Jeff Cymbler who is always there for so many people to find their roots: this visit wouldn't be the same for many of us without your help, Jeff !

Many thanks to our good friends in Zaglembie: Marcin, Karolina, Piotr, Alexandra, Mirek, Edyta, Darius and Janusz. You welcomed and guided us, invited the representatives of the cities and helped us in many details at the ceremonies in Zaglembie.

Thank you our very excellent guides, Marcelina and David who gave us a lot of good spirit and humor in such a meaningful, not easy journey.

Thank you our travel agents: Daphna, Chris and Magda for arranging the flights and excellent hotels and restaurants.

Thank you my partners to the organizing of our way in Zaglembie, ceremonies and evenings: Menahem and Hanka, Rachel, Shimshon, Yael, Rafi, Daphna and Benny.

Please friends, send as many as possible pictures and impressions to our facebook page : second, third generation Zaglembie.

I hope we shall all stay in touch - it really feels as we are one big family,


Rina Kahan

Coordinator of this visit in the Zaglembie org.


Shalom Haverim (friends),

Rina said it all - thank you all.

I was asked how I enjoyed the trip to Poland - I answered it wasn't a trip, this was a very special tour to our roots with very special people.

Thank you,

Rachel Bebes

Organization secretary


Hello Rina, Rachel and every one,

This was indeed a special journey, not a usual trip for sightseeing, etc. Everyone on this journey had a common factor of roots in Poland, especially in Zaglembie as for my wife Rachel Shapira-Korn who has roots in Bedzin. As for me, all my RIP grandparents who were murdered in the holocaust were from other parts of Poland, (My parents survived, TG) but this journey was a memorial for them too just as if I was at their towns.

This was an unforgettable emotional experience.


Rachel and Baruch Shapira


Hello Everyone,

We also wanted to express our thanks for turning what could have been a very sad time into a most positive shared experience. This has been a once in a lifetime trip to do together and it was well worth all the shlepping and hours in the air to become a part of this inspiring group!

We look forward to hearing only good things from all and wish you all the best futures,


Rita Feder & Marilyn Pruce (- the Jersey Girls)


Dear Friends,

We had a wonderful trip with everyone and so many memories to keep.

Our thanks to everyone who worked so hard to organise this very special trip. Sharing such a memorable trip with everyone made it so special and we felt part of a wonderful family.

We will keep in contact and hope to see some of you very soon. You are all so welcome to our home anytime (before or after Brexit !).

With love,

Gay and David Chesover


Thank you For a Most Memorable Journey

Dear Friends,

Warmest greetings to my new adopted family! Who could imagine that my family and I would come together with a group of people from around the world and across three generations and form such strong bonds in just eight days. This was truly a most extraordinary journey and we will carry these memories forever. Thank you so much to all involved in the planning and organizing of the trip. It so exceeded expectations and we will be eternally grateful for having shared this experience.

Here is a link to a gallery of photographs from Poland:


We look forward to being in touch with you all!

Warm Regards,

Helen, Richard, Beth and Stacey


Thank you For a Most Memorable Journey

Dear Friends,

I want to say thanks to all of the organizers of the journey to Poland and to all of the precious Members of the Zaglebie Association for a touching journey. We had an amazing experience of nine days in which we traveled to Bedzin, Sosnowiec, Krakow and Warsaw. All of the places we went to, and all of the ceremonies we participated accompanied with strong feelings and with a lot of respect and tolerance from all of the group's members.

I'm glad I had the honor to respect the memory of my loved ones, and I feel this journey really brought us all together to feel like a big family with a lot of responsibility to always remember and pass forward the stories of horrors and braveness.

Dear Members of the Zaglebie Association, thank you of an amazing journey. I will never forget it.

Sincerely yours,

Lea and David Gdanski.


Dear Zaglembie friends,

I am very grateful to have shared the Zaglembie experience with you and hope that we can stay in touch.

Today, I fly home from Israel after spending a wonderful week visiting with my family here in Israel. What an amazing experience we shared!

All the best,

Sima Zeiger
Subject: A Reflection on Poland Trip
Dear Journey Companions,

Just a month ago we were in the middle of our heartfelt journey in Poland. Over the past two weeks I have spent some 'quality time' reflecting on our trip. Here is the results of my efforts.

I am so honored to have been able to share trip and this reflection with you all. I truly hope that this is just one of the many times that we can find ways to build community around our shared love of our families from Zaglembie, Poland.......Zaglembie Lives!!!

Best Wishes
Rick Feldman
August 9, 2016
Bronx, New York

A Reflection on Poland Trip
By: Rick Feldman
5-13 July 2016

Just a month ago we headed to Poland with anticipation of a trip to remember. Having spent the last ten years connecting to the stories of our familial and communal past, I was prepared to experience this adventure on many levels. The following is an account of what I discovered and how this trip exceeded my expectations. I hope in telling the story I will be a catalyst for my readers to explore their family roots and look for the connections and meaning to which these journeys can lead us.

Our trip to Poland was not an ordinary vacation. We were fifty plus people gathered from all corners of the US, Canada, Europe and Israel.... Continue reading...

P.S. I am most grateful to those folks who have helped us in our research efforts. I have listed many of them at the bottom of my reflections. I hope that we can all make a plan on how help them financially to continue their efforts on our behalf......Below is just one example of how the efforts of many have helped me to begin to recreate some of the connections of the Szpiegelman family in Zaglembie. Thanks you all.

I'm reading in the Zaglembie Brochure that the "Zaglembie Newsletter...is named after the Jewish newspaper that was published pre-WWII in Zaglembie - 'Zaglembier Zeitung'.- With the help of Jeff Cymbler I learned that the editor of this newspaper was Leon Szpiegelman and it was published at Będzin, Kołłątaja 34...Then we went to the Emanuel Ringelbaum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, where we met with Marta Mackowiak in the Jewish Genealogy and Family Heritage Center********. She helped us recover the copy of a page from the Zaglembier Zietung.


g. Pictures and videos

• Please find link to the picture gallery and videos taken by Icaacson Hellen:

• Please find link to the picture gallery and videos taken by Huber Negba:

• The pictures on these and other related pages were taken by:
   Huber Negba
   Revital & Boaz Liwer
   Icaacson Hellen
   Henry Spitz
   David Gdanski



ארכיון האירועים

Datki dla Związku

Działalność Związku wymaga niemałych kosztów pieniężnych.
Głównym źródłem na pokrycie kosztów są składki członkowskie.

Wasz udział jest decydujący.

Darowizny dla Związku sᶏ mile widziane.

Wpłata bezpośrednia do banku:

Konto "Irgun Jocei Zagłᶒbie". Leumi Bank, Herclija, IZRAEL, oddział 783, numer konta: 3460062

  • בית התפוצות
  • לוחמי הגטאות
  • fundacja
  • JRI
  • משואה - המכון ללימודי שואה
  • usa holocaust museun
  • יד ושם
  • Museum of the History of Polish Jews