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The story of Lislaughtin, Ireland

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Dedicated to Jenny

My  genealogical experience, first in 2019


1 January 2019

Road N 69 between Foynes and Tarbert
The story of Lisaughtin

„The story of Lisaughtin. The part of North Kerry is historical O’Conner country. Here is this inlet of the Shannon estuary are two impressive monuments to their princely power. 

One is the church here before you -Lisaughtin Abbey and the other Carrygafoyle Castle, one mile away across the water . Their stories are intertwined and inseparable, stories of courage and compassion, feuds and friendship, achievement and failure, loyalty and betrayal, sounds of serenity, sounds of battle The Abbey and the Castle.

The construction the church began in 1464, thirteen years later it was dedicated by indult of Pope Sixtus IV. On that day the O’Connor chieftain, John O’Connor saw the realization of his dream – a build of elegant proportions crafted with skill, designed to last centuries, a house for God,  facilitating, prayer and worship and capable of raising hearts and minds to God- an inspirational building even in ruins and after centuries of silence. 

In 1871 a man ploughing his field resurrected the past when he unearthed a silver cross. It had been lost and buried for 400 years. The cross told its own story–made in 1479 and bestowed on the Abbey by Cornelius O’Connor. It is  on displayed ad one of the treasures of the National Museum in Dublin and know and the Lislaughtin  Cross.

History tell the rest of the story. In April 1580 English forces moved vengefully through this area. They laid siege to the O’Conner Castle in Carrigafoyle captured it and killed the defenders. Subsequently their attention was turned towards the Abbey.

The priests fled, carrying what they could with them. In their hurried escape the cross became lost. History also tells us that not all the priests got away safety.  Three elderly men took refuge in the sanctuary of the church. They were killed by the soldiers and the Abbey was looted.

We recall the martyrdom of these men  and record their names- Philip O’Shea, Maurice  O’Scanlon and Donagh O’ Hanrahan.

There are many stories in folklore and tradition about the Abbey and those who enlivened it by their presence and their worship.

Today we bury our dead in the shadow of its wall to wait resurrection.

This is a scared place. „

Lislaughtin Abbey, co Kerry , Ireland
Lislaughtin Abbey, co Kerry , Ireland
Lislaughtin Abbey, co Kerry , Ireland
Lislaughtin Abbey, co Kerry , Ireland
Lislaughtin Abbey, co Kerry , Ireland
Lislaughtin Abbey, co Kerry , Ireland
Lislaughtin Friary, co. Kerry , Ireland

” A community of friars remained and Lislaughtin  until 1580 when, following the murder of three friars and the destruction of the buildings, the friars was abandoned. The buildings were used intermittently until 1629.

The remains here consist of the church, cloister, and fragments of domestic buildings where the community slept, ate and carried on the everyday  business of the friary.  The church is plain except for a north transept  or side chamber. There are two tomb niches in the nave and, near the side of the altar in  the choir, there is a triple sedilia, where priests sat during the celebration of the mass. The original gateway to the friary is still intact. „










Ania Bernat-Mścisz

Zamość, villages XIX

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What was the life like in an old village?

I often ask questions like this. A good source of knowledge are note from over 100 years before, which were available in former publications. I invite you to imagine this world and to travel back in time in a genealogical journey. In one of the digital libraries I have found a description of the Zamość villages. I think that those characteristics can also be used in a big part to describe villages from the other parts of Poland. An article dated 1902, based on the matarials collected for the agri-business exhibition in Lublin in 1901, written by Roman Świdziński.

The population speaks mostly of a pure Polish language, some only use Ruthenian language. They are medium-sized, their hair is fair and their temperament phlegmatic. Families are big in numbers, and the health of all is splendid. The men shave their beards, and trim the mustache over the lip, shaping them closer to the nose (the older people do it, those who smoke tabacco). Women have nice hair, but they do not care about them, only combing them once a week.


mieszkancy wsi zamojskiej.JPG


Cottage built of pine logs, consists of one room, hall and so-called chamber, where they put flour, bacon and clothes. The entrance door is located on the longitudinal wall of the house. Hen cottages are not popular at all. Around the hut there is a barn where the grain is stored and treshed. Perpendicular to the barn, right at its corners, they usually put two buildings: one for livestock, i.e. for cows and horses, and second one for pig stools. Attic connects these buildings by closing the quadrangle, or so-called rubber. Agricultural tools like a plow on „tylyżki”, harrows with iron teeth, wooden flails, iron and wood rakes, shovels, scythes, carts on wooden axes, axes, forks and hoes – they hide under the attic and in the barn. Poultry is usually keep in the hallway.



The people feed modestly, they eat meat very rarely. Everyday food is: potatoes, cabbage, peas, dumplings on milk and rye wholemeal bread. They cook twice a day: in the morning a borscht or cabbage soup for breakfast, part of which remains in a warm oven for lunch, and potatoes with pork fat, and for dinner, besides borscht and cabbage soup – a millet, barley or buckwheat groin which, put into a warm oven, is also put away until noon; for supper, they cook wheat or buckwheat dumplings with milk. They eat only pork meat and it is during holidays or special celebrations.

For the lighting a  smolne (salted?) or tallow muzzles on chimneys, today oil lamps with a glass reserve, commonly used. There is a tree for the fuel, which they receive from court forests, 36 furs per year. They cook on chimneys in iron and clay pots. Underwear after boiling in a lye, they wash in running water, beat them with tadpoles, then hang them on fences, after drying they mangle with mags. Groat grinds on mills, rye, wheat in water mills, usually at once, and only at the ceremony they grind on a plate. Each host with 12 to 18 morgas, maintains 2 to 4 horses, 4 to 6 cattle, mainly cows and heifers, and young piglets sell 3 to 4 rubles per piece. They feed cattle very poorly. In the summer, the cattle are running to the court forest, which is mostly gone, so hungry and without milk they return from their pasture. In the mornings, before driving them out to the forest, they run cows on stakes on the crossroads and roads. In winter, they brew husks with a coir and, sprinkling with bran or flour, give cows, and also floc the dish. Overnight, spring straw, and this is the daily feed for milk cows. So they have very little milk: in winter, on average, one quarter of milk from one cow, they milk them twice a day.


The peasants of the village of Łaziska and the surrounding area run a free farm. For cultivation they use a wooden plow „wędzłużkach” with a share and an iron mouldboard, ie the so-called Moravian and wooden harrow with iron teeth. For several years, instead of a grubber the rougue has been used. Because the hosts, due to the constantly practiced chapters, have little land, they do not leave fallow trees. Usually, barley is sown on the fertilizer, and after the harvest of barley, sow or rye is sown. Potatoes in the field are very little sown, mostly in gardens. In recent years, several clever hosts, seeing a beautiful, newly-established garden in the mansion, have also established a larger garden, bringing the strains from Klemensów.

A few years ago, a dozen apiaries carried out in the original way – in logs, in the last year almost all bees died out of the lack of honey for the winter. There are no fish farms. From the annual customs and ceremonies, we mention the following: After the New Year, they go with a goat and a star; the nativity scene currently does not exist in the villages. At Easter, „Easter eggs” also called „kraszankami” are made.


The Harvest Festival (Dożynki) takes place in the following way: After getting to the grain, wreath a wreath of ears of wheat or rye and put it on the head of the most hard-working girl, and surround her in a circle, bring her to the court, singing the appropriate songs. The girl carrying the wreath puts it on the head of the host and dances around him three times, and older women utter the appeals and wishes for a happy ending of the harvest and for the coming year. For this, the host treats a whole crowd of workers with vodka, and gives the girls carrying wreaths a ruble. After that, the host brings music in the evening, and in the courtyard under the porch dances take place; it should be started by the host himself with the girl carrying the wreath. For a party, dumplings with buckwheat groats are baked, and curd with sour milk mixed together is prepared, in which guests dunk dumplings. Vodka is served, and in many places tea. The party usually lasts until after midnight. „


Thanks to this description, we can move back for over a hundred years. With our own imagination see such a village and people who are working there, peasants working on the farm, and maids spinning and dancing during the harvest festival.



Ania Bernat-Mścisz


Bardzo proszę o uszanowanie mojej pracy i nie kopiowania treści bez podania źródla,autora wpisu, i linku do bloga.


Miesięcznik Wisła rok 1902 tom 3







Wedding in Szreniawa, 1912

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“Travels educate”

My trip to Poland has brought many interesting discoveries.

During my visit to the Ethnographic Museum in Cracow, which I was delighted with, I came across a photo with a signature “Wedding in Szreniawa, 1912”.

With the courtesy of the museum, I could share the picture on my blog.

On the same day of my coming to Miechów, after my visit in Cracow, from the local history enthusiast – author of the Miechowski Kuferek site – I have learned, that this photo and many other interesting memories are described in the book “Opowieści z pamięci” (Stories from memories).

Anna Seweryn was born in 1894 in Poręba Górna. She was the daughter of Wawrzyniec and Katarzyna nee Galicka.

Anna’s wedding took place in Szreniawa, where she lived with her parents for several years.

The guests invited to the wedding were also: the relatives and the godparents, who lived in Poręba Górna.

From the story of Anna Szopa (nee Seweryn):

“It was already past twelve, when one of the guests said:

  • They’re coming, they’re coming!

On the road from Lgota a row of wagons appeared, with flags surrounding the first cart with the groom and bridesmaids and groomsmen in Cracow costumes. The entire wedding cavalcade looked beautiful. Wedding guests especially admired the groomsmen’s gallop on horses, their assistance to the groom. From the highway to our house, the road ran around a pond, and the house stood on the hill.”

III 5323 F-002

“We were married by a young cleric Zdanowski. It was from his father’s parents that parents bought the land on which they now lived.“


Jan and Anna lived in Zagórow, in muncipality of Trzciąż/ Olkusz.



młodzi 2.

zdjęcie cz 1

zdjecie 2

zdjęcie 3

zdjęcie 4

zdjećie 5

zdjecie 6

krakowiacy lewa

zdjecie 7


In the book “Opowieści z pamięci”, Anna recalls that Cracow clothers were ordered and sewn specifically for this occasion at the dressmaker in Miechów.

Szreniawa and Poręba Górska are the areas in which their ancestors lived before 1840.  Mardziołek, Mordziołek, Mordzioł

I hope to add more details about this photo soon.


Anna Bernat-Mścisz




Miechowski Kuferek

About me

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– Do you need help finding your roots?

-Do you need help translating record documents?

-Discovering the names and surnames  of your ancestors?

-Do you want to find out in what region they lived?

-Do you what to know  what kind of outfits they wore/ what kind of traditions they followed? 


About my experience:

I have been passionate about genealogy for over ten years.

Over the years , I have been learning how to find ancestors, how to recreate a family tree. At the time, I indexed  about 60 000 birth, marriages and deaths certificates written in Polish, Russian and Latin.

About 1500 translation (birth, marriages and deaths certificates) from Russian and  Polish and into English.

I managed to discover not only my own roots, but also the roots of many people from Poland and from around the world.

My greatest pride is finding ancestors for the Baranek family, whose members fought for independence of Poland. The Baranek family survived the Volynian Massacre, were deported to Siberia, fought in General Anders army, were pilots in the ranks of the RAF, survived wandering thought many countries like India, Iran, Pakistan, to finally settle in the US and Great Britain. One of the heroes of this family, gave  his life on the Italian soil. The roots of the Baranek family are near Miechów. Baranek family



Another success is finding the ancestors of the Kałwa family, currently living in the USA. and coming from the vicinity of Szreniawa. Among them, Maciej Kałwa,  the hero of January Uprising, 1863. Kałwa’s ancestors lived in the area of Szreniawa at the beginning of the 17th century. photo from Szreniawa


I was also very pleased with the search for the Pasiak family, currently living in the USA, whose roots I discovered in the former Galicia, the Łętownia and Nowa Sarzyna district.

Pasiak family


Another big discovery is the finding of the ancestors for the Kobylec family, one of it’s members, after the route traveled in the Brygada Strzelców Karpackiech / Carpatian Riffle Brigade, settled in Tasmania. Kobylec family  also have their roots in the area of Miechów.

The places from which I conducted my research, can be found on the map. research map





contact: feltingparadiseart @

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Ethnography in Krakow

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Genealogy is often a detective search. One has to be attentive and inquisitive, and then a reward awaits.

When I visited the Ethnographic Museum in Cracow, in order to buy a book about fold costumes two months ago, I did not expect that I could also find interesting facts about genealogical research there.

At home

The first exhibition that I visited at the Ethnographic Museum in Cracow was a

reconstructed chamber of a traditional homestead.

Carved and painted wooden bed, benches, chairs and other household appliances placed under the walls of the room. Colourful sacred pictures, wall tapestries with multi-coloured patterns, embroidered pillows stacked on top of each other. Everything seemed to be waiting for the bustling housekeeper and children running around.

Ethnographic Museum in Cracow


At war

Other museum halls showed scenes from life crowned with old photographs.

There were family photos, photographs depicting rural life, field work, school children, teachers and others were associated with working on flax processing.

The scenes at the museum exhibitions changed as in a kaleidoscope.

In one place, an exhibition of crafts and just around the corner soldier attributes from the early twentieth century.

One of the photos depicted a soldier of the 2nd Brigade of Polish Legions.

Place: Zawoja, Suski County, Lesser Poland, voivodeship, 1914



Traditional wedding pastries

exhibition, wedding pastries, Ethnographic Museum in Cracow

An interesting exhibition showing wedding pastries. The first is ‚wedding bark model, Zamość district, Lublin province, turn of the 19th and 20th centuries’

Small baking (by the shot glass) is a ‚wedding cone model (the cake was carried before the wedding procession, placed at the top on the wedding rings, Boguchwała, Rzeszów county  XIX/XX century’

The woven wheel is ‚a model of a wedding cake, Ropczyce, Podkarpackie , the beginning of XX century’

The big cake on the left side of the photo is ‚wedding cake model, Janów , Lubelskie voi., 1905.


Something for the head

Magirka , Ethnographic Museum in Cracow

Magier’s description of the album “Stroje Krakowskie” published by the Ethnographic Museum in Cracow.

“Magierka, is a warm round hat, with an inverted rim, woolen, knitted with a garter stitch, full and turned up.Tyniec was the main center of the product near Cracow”


Clothes like painted

The exhibition of regional costumes is the most colourful corner of the museum.

Striped, flowery, checkered, embroidered, woven, printed – various outfits depicting the old fashion from different areas of Poland.

Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie

Ethnographic Museum in Cracow


Ethnographic Museum in Cracow

The Ethnographic Museum in Krakow is not only interesting exhibitions, you can also use archival resources there.

It was there that I found some interesting photos that are helpful in genealogy searches.

From Kamień to Cracow

In the museum resources I also found photos from Kamień in the Podkarpacie region.

The photographs were taken in 1913.

Mayor from Kamień /Nisko .

IV, 1913.

Ethnographic Museum in Cracow

Peasants from Kamień/ Nisko, April 1913.


Kamień , Nisko rok 1913

Peasants in „sukmanas”, Kamień, Nisko, 1913.


Ethnographic Museum in Cracow

Kamień , powiat Nisko ,w zbiorach Muzuem Etnoraficznego w Krakowie

Ethnographic Museum in Cracow

Girls at the corset sewing course, Kamień, Nisko poviat.

In this entry I presented only a part of what can be admired in the museum.

I hope that thanks to the publication of the photos, it will be possible to recognize at least some of the people in them.

The Ethnographic Museum in Cracow is a place which I highly recommend. Interesting exhibits and friendly service await you.

Previous entries on similar topics.

Wesele w Szreniawie



Zamojskie wsie

Mieszkańcy Jeżowego

Koszyce wiek XIX

 indeks urodzeń Jeżowe/Kamień za lata 1890-1897



Ania B.M

źródła: Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie



Etnografia w Krakowie

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Genealogia to często detektywistyczne poszukiwania. Trzeba być uważnym i dociekliwym, a wtedy czeka nas nagroda.

Kiedy dwa miesiące temu odwiedziłam Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie, w celu zakupienia książki o strojach ludowych, nie podziewałam się, że mogę również w tym miejscu natrafić na ciekawostki pomocne w poszukiwaniach genealogicznych.  


W domu

Pierwsza ekspozycja jaką zwiedziłam w Muzuem Etnograficznym w Krakowie to odtworzona izba tradycyjnego domostwa.

Drewniane, rzeźbione i malowane łóżko, ławy, krzesła i inne domowe sprzęty, rozstawione pod ścianami izby.  Kolorowe święte obrazki,  makaty ścienne w wielobarwne wzory, haftowane poduszki, ułożone jedna na drugiej.  Wszystko jakby tylko czekało, aż zawita tu  krzątająca się gospodyni i biegające  wokół niej dzieci. 

Muzuem Etnograficzne w Krakowie, 



Na wojence

Kolejne sale muzuealne ukazywały scenki z życia uwieńczone na dawnej fotografii.

Były fotografie rodzinne, fotografie przedstawiające życie na wsi, pracę na polu, dzieci szkolne , nauczycieli a jeszcze inne związane były z pracą przy obróbce lnu.  

Sceny na wystawach muzealnych zmieniały się jak w kalejdoskopie.

W jedym miejscu wystawa rzemiosła a tuż za rogiem atrybuty żołnierskie z początku XX wieku.

Jedno ze zdjęć przedstawiało żołnierza II Brygady Legionów Polskich

miejsce wykonania: Zawoja, powiat suski, województwo małopolskie, rok 1914 

Żołnierz II brygady Legionów Polskich, Zawoja, powiat suski, 1914 rok, zbiory MEK



Weselne,  tradycyjne wypieki 

ekspozycja w  Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie

Ciekawa ekspozycja przedstawiająca wypieki weselne. Pierwszy to „model korowoja weselnego, pow. Zamość, woj. lubelskie, przełom wieków XIX/XX „

Mały wypiek (przy kieliszku) to „model szyszki weselnej (ciasto takie niesiono przed orszakiem weselnym, ustawiano je na szczycie, na kołaczach weselnych, Boguchwała, powiat rzeszowski, , XIX/XX w. ” 

Plecione koło to „model ciasta weselnego , Ropczyce,woj, podkarpackie, poczatek XX wieku. 

Duże ciasto po lewej stronie zdjęcia to „model korowoja weselnego, powiat Janów, województwo lubelskie, rok 1905.   


Coś na głowę

Magirka , wystawa w Muzuem Etnograficznym w Krakowie

Opis magierki albumie „Stroje Krakowskie” wydanym przez Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie

„Magierki, to ciepła czapka okrągła w wywiniętym otokiem, wełniana, dziana na drutach ściegiem pończoszniczym, folowana i odelowana. Glównym ośrodkiem wyrobu był Tyniec pod Krakowem.”  


Stroje jak malowane 

Wystawa strojów regionalnych to najbardziej kolorowy zakątek muzeum.

Pasiaste, kwieciste, kraciaste, haftowane , tkane, drukowane przeróżne stroje przedstawiające dawną modę z różnych terenów Polski.

Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie

Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie


Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie

Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie to nie tylko ciekawe ekspozycje, można tam również skorzystać z zasobów archiwalnych.

To tam znalazłam kilka ciekawych zdjęć pomocnych w poszukiwaniach genealogicznych.


Z Kamienia do Krakowa 

W zasobach muzuem znalazłam również zdjęcia z Kamienia na podkarpaciu.

Fotografie zostały wykonane  w roku 1913.

Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie

Wójt z Kamienia, powiat Nisko,

IV, 1913 r.  

Muzuem Etnograficzne w Krakowie, 

Chłopi z Kamienia, powiat Nisko, kwiecień rok 1913

Kamień , Nisko rok 1913

Chłopi w sukmanach, Kamień, Nisko rok 1913


Kamień , powiat Nisko ,w zbiorach Muzuem Etnoraficznego w Krakowie

Kamień, powiat Nisko , mieszkańki Kamienia

Dziewczęta na kursie szycia gorsetów, Kamień, powiat Nisko.  Zdjęcie może być wkonane około roku 1913.


Przedstawiłam w tym wpisie tylko wycinek tego co możecie podziwiać w muzuem.

Mam nadzieję, że dzięki publikacji zdjęć uda się rozpoznać choć część osób.

Muzuem Etnograficzne w Krakowie to miejsce, które  gorąco polecam. Czekają na Was ciekawe eksponaty i miła obsługa.

Wcześniejsze wpisy o podobnej tematyce.

Wesele w Szreniawie



Zamojskie wsie

Mieszkańcy Jeżowego

Koszyce wiek XIX

 indeks urodzeń Jeżowe/Kamień za lata 1890-1897


Autor wpisu

Ania B.M

źródła: Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie



Zawartka family, hope dies last.

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Zawartka, the hope dies last.

With thanks to the Zawartka family for sharing this hurtful story.

In December 2016, the first entry about Zawartka family from Kobryn was published, and it can be read  here .

A few months later, Mr Grzegorz came to me and decided to share the history of the Zawartka family after reading the entry. Mr Grzegorz’ grandmother is Alicja née Zawartka, the baptism photograph of whom was shared in my first article.

I was very keen to faithfully recreate the events, which took place 77 years ago and earlier, which is why the following article is almost entirely an accurate account of history told through the eyes of Alice née Zawartka.

Here is what could be determined about the history of the Zawartka family.

The story of Zawartka family as told by Alicja, the daughter of a policeman murdered in Katyn, written down by her grandson. With the consent of Mrs Alicja, Mr Grzegorz gave me this story. We all hope that the memories of those events will last and will be a warning to the future generations.

1.A photo from the baptism of Alicja, daughter of Jan and Józefa Zawartka.

From the left: sister of Józefa Zawartka – Stefania Rak, child – Alicja Zawartka, mother of the child – Józefa Zawartka, brother – Zdzisław Zawartka, father of the child – Jan Zawartka, a colleague of Jan – p. Kindracki. The last two were policemen in the pre-war Poland.

In reference to the entry from 2016 Mr Grzegorz wrote: “Wujenka(aunt) about who you wrote (article „ Rodzina Zawartka -Kobryńis my grandmother’s mother – Józefa Zawartka (nee Makowska) – and is my great-grandmother. Helena (everyone called her Wanda) Ostrowaska was sometimes a guest at my grandmother’s house in Proszowice. Grandmother was at the funeral of the son of Ostrowski family, she visited Helena (Wanda) in the hospital, she attended Helena’s (Wanda’s) funeral as well as the funeral of Roman. Both passed away and are buried in Prandocin. Ostrowscy family are described here.


Jan Zawartka

He was born in the Proszowice region in Łętkowice, near Kraków in 1902. He attended school there. Between 1923 – 1925 he served in the army. After finishing serving he started working as a policeman in Miechów, then in Jermicz near Kobryn. He got there in 1928 with his wife, who came from Józefin near Słomniki.

Jan and Józefa had two children, Alicja and Zdzisław. Jan also had a sister, Karolina.

Karolina Zawartka married Antoni Gaweł. During the occupation, the Germans shot him as part of the liquidation of the wear, sick and defenseless (he was bedridden, paralyzed – he did not move at all). Karolina and Antoni are burried in Łękowice. They had a daughter Helena Wanda, who later married Roman Ostrowski.

Zdzisław Zawartka got married to Halina Dziuba, then Zawartka. They had two daughters and a son, the son lived in Konskie, but he is no longer alive. His son also died, so the Zawartka family line ends here.


Below is a photograph of a baptism Zdzisław Zawartka


2.Zawartka Family , 1928 , Kobryń

 From the left: Jan Zawartka, then mrs Kindracka (the wife of the godfather of my grandmother, whom you know from another photograph), Józefa Zawartka and mr Furgalski. The baptism took place in 1928.

3.revers , photo from Kobryń, 1928


Alicja discovered in him painful cards from the history of her family.

4.Zawartka Family, 1910(?)

Jan Zawartka

Jan Zawartka was a policeman – a constable.

All of the policeman in the area were ordered to go to Romania. Every policeman, teacher and all of those who were associated with a wider culture knowledge or intelligence had to report. Jan cycled to the assembly point. On the way he was chased by a dog that broke free from its closure. Jan turned around and walked the dog back home.At that time, his wife wanted to persuade him to desertion and escape to Poland. Jan refused. Grandmother (Alicja nee Zawartka) says,that he always abided by the law, and apart from that he knew that desertion equalled being shot to death . And so he escorted the dog back to home and went to the assembly point. There, it turned out that it was a mystification, a hoax done by the Russians and everyone who came to the assembly were transported to the  Ostaszków.

Some time later a letter arrived addressed to the family of Jan, in which because of the censorship he only wrote that he was in a camp and asked Alicja to pray for him. Then it was only Katyń, the months of hunger and ‚imprisonment’ before ending with a deportation to Katyń.

Jan Zawartka died in 1940.

His life ended in Katyń (publications like “Katyń: Lista ofiar i zaginionych jeńców obozów Kozielsk, Ostaszków, Starobielsk (Katyn: A list of victims and missing prisoners of camps in Kozielsk, Ostaszków, Starobielsk) published by ALFA – Warsaw 1989, p. 85 confirm his fate. An obelisk with a list of people murdered during the war is erected in Piotrkowice near Kraków. On that obelisk also, the name of Jan Zawartka can be found. The information can also be found here.

The family of Jan realized that they were first in the line, as a family of a policeman, to be deported to Siberia. They knew that their days were numbered, the NKVD operated in the area and were writing down everyone in order to prepare the grounds for the purge.

The man with whom Jan and his family rented a room moved in with Józefa, stating that since Jan is not there he will be the ‚ruler’ and will replace Józefa’s husband for her. His story ended terribly, because after the change of power in Russia he was accused of something, he asked some favors from Józefa, but was finally shot by the representatives of his homeland.

The Polish border has  shiftedand an escape.

Józefa reported herself to the commission which resettled the repatriates. As a proof of having relatives, she has submitted a letter from her son Zdzisław, who was staying with his grandparents in Poland waiting for the beginning of the school year (which, of course did not happen because of the military plans of our neighbors in 1939). It was a good luck that Józefa sent her son on holiday to her family. He was to return to the east in September 1939 to begin school. The war broke out, he did not go home. He sent a letter thanks to which his mother and sister were not sent to Siberia.

Eventually, they managed to get a Soviet train to Poland. To make sure that the NKVD would not stop them at the last minute, they went to the station early in the morning. And they made it.

The Russians took all of their valuables at the border check, but they managed to reach Poland, to Biała Podlaska, where they had to change to a German train. There too, they could wash – the army carried our the order for the bathhouse with lethal efficiency – large chambers for adults of both sexes and for children. Gray soap, Russian supervision.

Eventually, Józefa and Alicja got off the train in Słomniki and lived with uncle Makowski in the area of Słomniki. There, they lived with 11 people in one room with a separate kitchen. Jan’s wife, Józefa looked for him for many years, hoping that Jan was still alive. Her hope, however, died when, after many years a book published in London with a list of the victims of Kozielsk, Starobielsk and Ostaszków come into her hands.The book was hidden for a long time in fear of the repression of the communist authorities. Only after 1989, the family could officially seek to obtain information about Jan Zawartka.

In a letter from October 12, 1992 from the Archives of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, the family received an official confirmation that Jan Zawartka was a prisoner of war in the Ostaszków camp, murdered in Tver by the NKVD and buried in the forest near the village of Miednoje. The family never managed to get back the mementos of Jan, but they did receive two bags of soil from Katyń. One was put in the coffin of Józefa, and the other in the grave of their son Zdzisław. That was his last will.

Alicja, the daughter of Jan, married Józef Popiołek and moved to Proszowice where she lives to this day.

On April 19, 2008 an article describing the history of the Zawartka family, also presented by Alicja, appeared in the Dziennik Polski – Dziennik Proszowicki edition. The article was entitled “Adresata niet”.

Alicja shared the painful card from the history of her family.


Author of the entry:

Ania Bernat- Mścisz
History written from the stories from Zawartka family.
Information and photographs are published in this entry with the consent from Zawartka family.

The photographs are family-owned.