the Pabiance Landsmanshaft of Melbourne
By Jack Ekstein
The Pabiance Landsmanshaft of Melbourne
was formed in 2006 following my experience on the 2005 adult “March of the
Living”, organised through the Jewish
The “March of the Living” guided tour
comprised two sections. The first section was a seven-day Holocaust tour of
Poland, and the
second was a tour of Israel for another seven days.
It was a roll-coaster of a journey and a
|The Pabianice Jewish cemetery, Poland
Photo taken in 2005.
(click on photo to see enlargement)
While in Poland I visited my father’s
home town of Pabianice and found his family home and place of business, both of
which were confiscated by the Polish government.
The only remnants of a Jewish community
of 9000, was the plaque of the destroyed synagogue and the totally neglected and
dilapidated Pabianice Jewish cemetery, which is labelled a tourist attraction.
Also there is a memorial monument, at the Chelno death camp in Poland.
I was totally shocked and outraged at
what I had discovered at the cemetery, and I was determined to do something
positive about it, at least for the 650 Jews buried there.
On returning to Melbourne, I organised a
meeting of the Pabianice Jewish community at the Holocaust Centre. It was
decided after much discussion to pay for and erect a memorial monument at the
Melbourne Chevra Kadisha cemetery at Springvale.
The Pabianice ghetto was destroyed by
the Nazis on 16 May, 1942, and is why the Pabianice memorial service is held
every May in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.
|The Pabianice memorial
monument in Melbourne.
On 3 June, 2007, the Pabianice memorial
monument was erected and dedicated. The 65th memorial service was
conducted by Rabbi Yirmi Garfunkel.
In 2009, the
Pabianice website (pabianice.com.au) was established by the late Harry
Ciechanowski, and is now administered by his daughter, Debra Belleli.
On 14 July, 2012, the
plaque was erected and dedicated at the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation.
Caulfield shule has a long-standing connection with the Pabianice community: one
of its founding fathers and past-presidents was the late Mr Simon Roth, who was
also a past-president of the Pabianice Society of Victoria. Mr Roth also
organised and conducted the annual Pabianice memorial service at the Caulfield
shule in the 1950s.
The Pabianice Memorial Book was
translated from Yiddish and Hebrew into English by Melbourne translators Bobbi
Zylberman and Sara Brott and was sponsored by the Light family – Dr Ian Light
and Eva Light.
Memorial Book was launched on 30 March, 2014, at the home of Marion and
Max Nowoweiski. Copies of the book were distributed to libraries around the
The English version of the book was
published on the Pabianice website on 1 February, 2017, with the help of
JewishGen.org through their Yizkor Book Project, and Lance Ackerfeld, of Kibbutz Yiftah, Israel.
This was done to make people aware of
their heritage, where they came from, and their ancestors.
More information about the book here...
We want this to be a valuable source for
the descendants of Pabianice and for those who study the history of European
Jewry. It is another link in the chain of our shared Jewish history.
The Pabianice Landsmanshaft of Melbourne
is the only active Pabianice Jewish community group in the world. It is a
non-profit community group run by volunteers.
I make special mention of Max Lasky and
Rachel Engelman, who both help organise the annual Pabianice memorial service.
Also a special mention to all the Past Presidents of the Pabianice Society of
Victoria since its inception in 1950, from the late Mr Simon Roth to Mr Benjamin [Benno]
Ekstein, to Mr Rachmiel [Romek] Alter, all long time activists.
Jack Ekstein has been president of
the Pabianice Landsmanshaft of Melbourne since its inception in 2006.