Please help keep the memory of Skępe's Jews alive in the minds of a new generation of Polish schoolchildren through your donation. Ten percent of Skępe's population in 1939 was Jewish. After the Holocaust Skępe's Jewish community ceased to exist. Your generosity will help purchase up to 1000 history books for Skępe's regional schools and through these books ensure that the woeful history which took place 80 years ago in the same town in which they now live is not forgotten.
The foundation in the photo above is believed to be an Ohel (gravesite for a prominent person) and is all that remains of Skępe's Jewish Cemetery. Ninety years of Matzevot (tombstones) of buried Jewish residents were torn down by the Nazis in WWII.
Perhaps worst of all is that today's generation of Polish schoolchildren have no knowledge or appreciation of the contribution made by the Jews of Skępe. Holocaust history is rarely, if ever, included in the curriculum of Polish schools.
Zyta Wegner, a retired educator, artist, and life long resident of Skępe, wants to make a change. She recently finished her second history of Skępe, entitled Moje Skępe, which includes a portion dedicated to the Jewish community which ceased to exist after the Holocaust.
Ms. Wegner's book is a history of Skępe primarily in the 1900's and her history of the Jews draws upon photographic albums and memories of Holocaust survivors and their families.
I personally know Ms. Wegner, who with the help of her husband Benek, assisted me in locating the descendants of Antoni Puszkiewicz, a Polish Catholic farmer, who hid my great aunt and cousin from the Nazis. He was arrested after securing safe passage for my aunt and cousin and ultimately perished in the Stutthof Concentration Camp.
Mr. Puszkiewicz's descendants received Israel's Righteous Among the Nations award on his behalf in October, 2015. Shortly after the award ceremony, Zyta Wegner decided to do her part to ensure that new generations of Polish students do not forget there was once a Jewish community who gave much to Skępe.
Ms. Wegner hopes to donate up to 1000 copies of her book to area schools. School administrators have already expressed their interest in her plan and are willing to include her work in their curriculum.
Your generous donation will go directly to pay for the books that will be donated to participating schools in the "Skępe gmina" (commune) and those communes in the immediate area, which include: Bobrowniki, Chrostkowo, Dobrzyń nad Wisła, Kikół, Lipno, Tłuchowo, and Wielgie.
In the words of Zyta herself: "Thanks to you our youth will remember the cruel story of the Second World War. I hope the events described in this book will live in the memory of the next generation."
Roberta Fleishman (a descendant of the Gutman and Zamoskiewicz families of Skępe)
PS: For a more thorough history of the Jews of Skępe please visit my website hosted by the Museum of Jewish Heritage at: https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/skepe/
- Jean Moskowitz
- Ilene Matza
- Clayton Heyward
- Memorie Farmer
- Frances Kummer
Eagle River, WI