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Alcohol Production and Distribution in the Rural Augustów District in the 19th Century

My interest in this subject area began after I discovered that two ancestors of mine, Stanisław Szociński, living in Rogowo, and Jan Słomka of Dziekanowice, both in the Poznań province, were listed as tabernator, Latin for innkeeper. I thought this was pretty fascinating as I am, let’s say, pretty familiar with the tavern life – the sights and sounds, the comradery and social aspects, and of course, the drinks. It has been part of my life for a long time. To know that I had some ancestors in the business seemed like life coming full-circle.

Early in the 1990s, I was researching a branch of my Orbik family in Barglów-Kościelny parish who held the occupation strzelec lasów, or forest shooter, which led to a nice article about forestry occupations [1]. While researching that article, I noticed a fair amount of non-farming occupations in this otherwise farming community [2]. I examined baptism records between 1855-1867, primarily to see what other occupations existed and whether some of the farming occupations, like gospodarz, pokątnik or luźniak, changed titles after the emancipation of Polish peasantry in 1862. I went through every baptism record from that time period because the Geneteka database, at that time, only occasionally mentioned an occupation, and then, only of the father. This was a very time-consuming process.

Among many different non-farming occupations, I was fascinated to learn about the network of alcohol production and distribution on the various estates and villages. There were distillers, gorzelny/gorzelnik, beer brewers, piwowar, innkeepers, karczmarz, and taverners/bar tenders, szynkarz, wine distributers, winnik, and liquor merchants/distributers, propinators. There were also a host of supporting occupations such as millers, młynarz, barrel makers, bednarz, and coppersmiths, kotlarz. The alcohol production occupations were located near the largest estate manors, while inns and taverns were spread out among the villages.

Typowa polska karczma.
Typical Polish Inn [3].

One of the things that puzzled me was that everyone involved in alcohol production during those years were Christians. Over the years, as part of my curiosity about my ancestral homeland, I had read many non-fiction historical books about Poland, but also, as many literary works I could find in English. In these novels, the innkeepers were always Jewish. But why was this different in my ancestral parish? In 2012, I contacted the managing indexer for the Barglów-Kościelny parish records for Geneteka, Bartosz Choroszewski, and asked him if he would share a spreadsheet of all the people involved with alcohol production and distribution, which he graciously did. What the data showed was that from 1807 to 1812, Jews were listed as the leaseholders of the inns and taverns. After that, the term leaseholder disappeared, as in arendarz karczmy, and the words karczmarz and szynkarzappeared. I had read that sometime around this time, that Jews were banned by the government from running such establishments, mostly because of the anti-Semitic polemics that Jewish taverners and innkeepers were ruining the polish peasanty by luring them to alcohol abuse and then ruining them financially through trickery and deceit [4]. Satisfied with that explanation, I let the matter go for some time, hoping someday to delve back into the topic.

In the meantime, I read a couple of books about the portrayal of Jews in Polish literature, Stranger in Our Midst: Images of the Jew in Polish Literature, by Harold B. Segel [5] and The Jewish Tavern Keeper and His Tavern in Nineteenth-century Polish Literature, by Magdalena Opalski [6]. They seemed to confirm the above-mentioned sentiments, with the exception of Jankiel, the tavern-keeper in Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz, who was described as a good, honest, and patriotic Jew [7]. W zeszłym roku nabyłem książkę Yankel’s Tavern: Jewish Liquor & Life in the Kingdom of Poland , by Glenn Dynner. This was a game-changer for me and helped me understand what was happening in much greater depth. Rather than only relying on Non-Jewish, Polish literature, Dynner researched individual petitions for liquor concessions in the treasury documents from the Polish archives, as well as requests for advice on liquor-related matters from Rabbinic archives [8]. Together, they paint a much different picture of what was really happening in the alcohol production and distribution then literature or official Russian government statistics and legislation could show.

Continue reading Produkcja i dystrybucja alkoholu w powiecie augustowskim w XIX wieku

 

  1. Orbik, Jay M. Forest Guards in Podlasia and Mazuria, East European Genealogist, Journal of the Eastern European Genealogical Society, Inc., Winter, 2010, 6-23.
  2. Orbik, Jay M. Non-Farming Occupations in a Farming Community, Pathways and Passages, Journal of the Polish Genealogy Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Summer 2010-Winter 2011, 26-32.
  3. Chełmoński, Józef. „Przed karczmą – Pejzaż jesienny”, 1882, olej na płótnie, 70,8 x 130,6 cm, Muzeum Okręgowe, Bydgoszcz
  4. Słomka, Jan and William F. Hoffman From Serfdom to Self-government: Memoirs of a Peasant from Serfdom to the Present Day. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society of America., 2019, 124-125, 275, 382.
  5. Segel, Harold B. Stranger in Our Midst: Images of the Jew in Polish Literature. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996.
  6. Opalski, Magdalena. The Jewish Tavern Keeper and His Tavern in Nineteenth-century Polish Literature. Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center; The Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews, 1986.
  7. Mickiewicz, Adam, and Kenneth R. Mackenzie. Pan Tadeusz. 1st American ed. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1992, 164-166.
  8. Dynner, Glenn. Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, 9-13.
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Szubieniczny węzeł małżeński

W przedwojennym szlagierze Tola Mankiewiczówna opowiada „o czym marzy dziewczyna”. Otóż chciałaby „stanąć z nim na ślubnym kobiercu, nawet łzami zalać się”…

Marzenia takie miała pewnie Helena Łuniewska, życiowa partnerka (jak się wtedy mówiło: konkubina) Konstantego Szczudło. Jednak chwilowo na to się nie zanosiło, gdyż oblubieniec prowadził niebezpieczny tryb życia, a to – jak wiadomo – nie sprzyja stabilizacji. Nawet przyjście na świat wspólnego dziecka nie skłoniło pary do zalegalizowania związku. Jakie były tego powody? Dziś możemy tylko spekulować- może to Konstanty, zajęty swoimi kryminalnymi sprawami, nie chciał brać na swoje barki dodatkowego obciążenia w postaci prawowitej małżonki? Może, właśnie że względu na profesję, chciał chronić ukochaną kobietę przed ewentualnymi konsekwencjami swoich działań? Może było odwrotnie: Helena czekała, aż luby się wyszumi i będzie mogła na niego liczyć w stu procentach? Albo w końcu poświęci się czemuś, co zagwarantuje stabilizację i perspektywy? Interpretacji tej historii mogą być setki, ale jedno jest pewne – zakończenie.

Carski agent

Początek XX wieku to niespokojny czas. Pogarszające się warunki pracy skutkowały napiętą sytuacją w ośrodkach przemysłowych. Pokłosie rewolucji rosyjskiej 1905 r. odbiło się szerokim echem na ziemiach polskich. Ruchy robotnicze rosły w siłę, wybuchały strajki i zamieszki. Polska Partia Socjalistyczna powołała swą Organizację Bojową już w maju 1904 r. W kolejnych latach przeprowadziła setki akcji zbrojnych i terrorystycznych (zamachy, odbijanie więźniów, ekspropriacje). W aktywną działalność zaangażowani byli późniejsi politycy z najwyższych szczebli władzy, m.in.: Józef Piłsudski, Ignacy Mościcki, Kazimierz Sosnkowski, Aleksander Prystor, Walery Sławek, Tomasz Arciszewski. Ten ostatni – premier RP na uchodźstwie w latach 1944- 47- był m.in. organizatorem zamachu na rosyjskiego generała Andrieja Margrafskiego. Ten carski urzędnik „ (…) znał doskonale społeczeństwo polskie i mówił językiem polskim jak własnym. Tę właściwość przypisywano […] między innymi bliskiej znajomości ze znaną powieściopisarką Gabrielą Zapolską. Tej znajomości Margrafski zawdzięczał możliwość zapoznania się z duszą polską, co dla niego, jako dla żandarma, miało znaczenie pierwszorzędne. […].

Zapolska znów zawdzięczała znajomości z generałem temat do znanej sensacyjnej sztuki […]. Z rozmów z Margrafskim dowiedziała się Zapolska o wielu ciekawych sprawach, o zawikłanych śledztwach, o denuncjacjach […]. Słyszałem o czasach, gdy Margrafski był jeszcze rotmistrzem żandarmskim, a ona osobą młodą, udawało jej się nieraz ratować młodych studentów, prowadzących pracę nielegalną” .
Carski siepacz w Warszawie rezydował od 1883 roku, najpierw jako lejbgwardzista, potem starszy adiutant Zarządu Warszawskiego Okręgu Żandarmerii, a od 1905 r. – szef tajnej policji i zastępca warszawskiego generała- gubernatora Gieorgija Skałona. „Nie był ani okrutnikiem, ani bezdusznym prześladowcą. Może nawet nie był złym człowiekiem. Był jednak człowiekiem żelaznego systemu”.

Strzały na zakręcie

Margrafski wraz z rodziną mieszkał w podwarszawskim Otwocku, do którego codziennie dojeżdżał z Warszawy pociągiem, podróżując w oddzielnym, doczepianym wagonie. Na stacji czekał na niego powóz zaprzężony w białe konie, którym wracał do domu. Zwyczaje carskiego urzędnika rozpracowali bojowcy z PPS, którzy od kilku tygodni obserwowali teren. Zasadzka została przygotowana na trasie przejazdu generała w lesie, pomiędzy stacją kolejową a domem. Jednak kilka tygodni przed planowanym zamachem pojawiły się komplikacje: w związku z napadem na pociąg w pobliskim Celestynowie, generałowi podczas przejazdów zaczęła towarzyszyć wzmocniona eskorta. Akcję wyznaczono na 2 sierpnia, a ponieważ popołudnie było wyjątkowo upalne, ochrona powozu pozostawała w pewnej odległości za głównym pojazdem, w którym siedział Margrafski z żoną, 6- letnim synkiem i 3- letnią córeczką. Najbliżsi często wyjeżdżali po „papę” na stację. Tak było niestety i tym razem.

„Było dla bojowców polskich świętą zasadą, by według możności ograniczać liczbę ofiar do niezbędnego minimum i za wszelką cenę oszczędzać niewinne osoby. Zasadę tę przestrzegano nieraz z narażeniem własnego życia.”

Gdy powóz mijał gospodę Buczyka i szykował się do skrętu w ulicę Reymonta, do kolasy doskoczyli bojowcy i – z bardzo bliskiej odległości – otworzyli ogień. Gwardziści chroniący powóz uciekli na pierwszy odgłos strzałów. Margrafski zginął na miejscu, kilkukrotnie trafiony w pierś wypadł z powozu, a jego 6-letni syn Koka został ciężko ranny i zmarł tej samej nocy. Zamachowcy zdołali uciec. Jak to wszystko odnosiło się do szlachetnych idei oszczędzania niewinnych? Wersja socjalistów brzmiała nieco inaczej: Arciszewski strzelał z bliska, aby zabić generała, a chłopca trafiła zbłąkana kula, w czasie strzelaniny, jaka wywiązała się pomiędzy zamachowcami a lejbgwardią.

Obiecanki

W Otwocku wybuchła panika- letnicy i część mieszkańców w pośpiechu opuścili miasteczko w obawie przed represjami, a każdy wyjeżdżający poddawany był wnikliwej rewizji.
Śledztwo w sprawie zabójstwa prowadził płk Sobakiński, naczelnik kancelarii Margrafskiego. W letnisku zaroiło się od sołdatów i agentów ochrony. Opierając się na informacjach z przesłuchań i pogłoskach, aresztowano kilkunastu mężczyzn, których przewieziono do Cytadeli. Jednak po kilku tygodniach wszyscy odzyskali wolność- nie znaleziono dowodów jakiejkolwiek winy. Ponieważ latem 1906 r. odbyły się kolejne akcje terrorystyczne (zamach na Skałona, „krwawa środa”), władze carskie miały pełne ręce roboty i śledztwa w sprawie zabójstwa Margrafskiego nie traktowano priorytetowo. Zresztą prasa w Kongresówce niezbyt chętnie informowała o akcjach wymierzonych w działania aparatu carskiej represji.

Jednak sprawa ta doczekała się swojego- trochę absurdalnego, ale przede wszystkim tragicznego- finału. W 1908 r. o zamach w Otwocku oskarżono dwóch mężczyzn: Antoniego Lipskiego i Konstantego Szczudło. Aresztowani zostali przy okazji jakiegoś błahego- w porównaniu z zabójstwem- przestępstwa, a do zabicia generała przyznali się w trakcie przesłuchań, skuszeni łagodnym wymiarem kary. W procesie, obrońcą skazanych był Bronisław Grosser, słynny działacz niepodległościowy i przywódca żydowskiego Bundu. Niestety, system musiał ukarać winnych, choćby przypadkowych – dla obydwu orzeczono karę śmierci przez powieszenie. Datę kaźni wyznaczono na 18 stycznia 1909 r.

Wesela nie było

Dzień wcześniej Helena Łuniewska dostała depeszę. „Przyjeżdżaj zaraz w tej chwili dzisiaj i przyjdź z dzieckiem, bo jest pozwolenie ślub wziąć przed śmiercią, tylko proszę cię zaraz siadaj w dorożkę i przyjeżdżąj bo jutro to już będzie zapóźno. Konstanty Szczudło”

Po przeczytaniu, bez zastanowienia Helena ubrała się, opatuliła dziecko i razem z półtorarocznym maleństwem wybiegła z domu. Ślubu, w kancelarii X pawilonu Cytadeli, udzielił ks. Henryk Staniszewski, wikariusz kościoła pw. Najświętszej Marii Panny. Nie było kobierca, ale były łzy. Godzinę po ceremonii, tuż po północy, pan młody zawisł na szubienicy…


Autor: Opracowała Agnieszka Bogucka, wprowadzenie: Iwona Dybowska

Tekst publikowany 26. stycznia 2017 r. w piśmie Samorządu Województwa Mazowieckiego „Z serca Polski nr 1/17”

Apendix

Powyższy artykuł przypadkowo odszukany przeze mnie w Internecie, opisuje okoliczności, w jakich odszedł z tego świata bratanek mojego pradziadka Adama Szczudło (1847- 1911), Konstanty (1886- 1909), syn Juliana Karola (1844- 1916) i Teresy Szyborskiej (1850- 1903). Zostawił po sobie syna Bolesława Konstantego ur 26.08.1908 r. oraz wdowę Helenę z Łoniewskich (wersja nazwiska z metryki ślubu), córkę Józefa i Franciszki Muchowicz. Poznanie historii tych osób będzie celem dalszych poszukiwań.

 
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Epidemia dżumy w dobrach Raczki w latach 1710-1711

Od zarania dziejów epidemie chorób zakaźnych i śmierć na Suwalszczyźnie kroczyły w parze. Plagą tych terenów były nader częste pożary, wojny i przemarsze wojsk (szczególnie podczas Potopu szwedzkiego), z którymi wiązały się mniejsze i większe ogniska chorób zakaźnych. Nadmienić należy, że następstwem suchych lat i ostrych zim był nieunikniony niedobór żywności, który w połączeniu z nieprzestrzeganiem jakichkolwiek zasad higieny (mistyczny kołtun i ropiejące wrzody), doprowadzały do przedwczesnej, często głodowej i strasznej agonii. Podczas klęsk żywiołowych i nieurodzajnych lat miejscowa ludność pochłaniała wszystko, co nadawało się do spożycia, np. korę brzozową przerabiano na mąkę, a jedzono nawet trawę, koniczynę i perz, nie wspominając o wszelkim upolowanym ptactwie (bociany, gawrony, kawki, dzikie gołębie), gryzoniach, domowych zwierzętach (psy i koty) i owadach. Niewykluczone są również przejawy kanibalizmu. Najtragiczniejsza w skutkach epidemia dżumy, zwanej czarną śmiercią, trwała od roku 1709 do lat 20. XVIII wieku i zdziesiątkowała miejscową, wyczerpaną głodem ludność. Niektóre ze wsi na Suwalszczyźnie wymarły w stu procentach, inne w ponad 80, jeszcze w innych zostali sami schorowani i wymagający opieki starcy oraz wdowy. Zaraza wyjątkowo roznosiła się „powietrzem” na terenach otwartych, we wsiach nieosłoniętych lasami lub nieoddzielonych od innych osad akwenami wodnymi. Ponowne osadnictwo dóbr zajęło kolejne, nadal niepewne i nieurodzajne dziesięciolecia.

W archiwum parafialnym parafii pw. Zwiastowania Najświętszej Marii Panny w Janówce możemy odnaleźć rejestry zgonów w dawnej parafii Janówka, a także wzmianki o pomorze w dobrach Raczki i tej samej parafii, które miały miejsce podczas wielkiej epidemii w latach 1710-1711. Szalejąca głównie zimą 1710/11 roku epidemia dżumy zwana wtedy „powietrzem morowym„, była największą katastrofą demograficzną w dziejach współczesnego osadnictwa na Suwalszczyźnie, od pierwszej połowy XVI wieku, do czasów nam nieodległych i pandemii grypy zwanej popularnie „Hiszpanką”. Hekatombę z początku XVIII wieku mylnie wiąże się z epidemią cholery, która była zabójcza ponad sto lat później, lecz na znacznie mniejszą skalę. Słabsze ogniska pomorów dotyczyły również innych zabójczych chorób – czerwonki, a także gruźlicy (zwanej niegdyś suchotami).

Spis ofiar zarazy w miejscowości Janówka do wiadomości kolejnych, choć niewielu ocalałych pokoleń miejscowych rodów podaje się w słowach: „Summa facit ludzi pomarłych we wsi Janowie No sto dziesięć. Imć Xiądz Jan Sucharzewski, pleban Janowski, wymarł z ludźmi dwudziestą sześć. Zostało się gospodarzow dworskich w teyże wsi Janowie – dwa. Gospodarz z żoną ieden Plebański, gospodarz ieden y wdów dwie. Karczma janowska tak ze stodołami iako y spichlerzem, zgorzała funditus, przez co vacat.„. O wielkiej zarazie świadczy również tablica pamiątkowa ofiar dżumy, zainstalowana w kościele janowskim. W roku 2008 podczas prac na wyrobisku żwirowym w Janówce odkryto kości należące do 22 osób będących w różnym wieku obojga płci. Dochodzenie i ekspertyza wskazywały na ofiary dżumy, jednakże mało prawdopodobne jest, iż ofiary tej choroby chowano w trumnach, których szczątki również wydobyto. Prawdopodobnie w miejscu tym istniał stary, wiejski cmentarz grzebalny, przeznaczony nie tylko dla ofiar ognisk zarazy, ale przede wszystkim biedocie (z przyczyn „ekonomicznych” nie wszyscy byli chowani na cmentarzu parafialnym) i ludziom wyznań mniejszości religijnych. Do niedawna sądzono, że winowajcą za szybkie rozprzestrzenianie się zarazy były szczury, ale najnowsze badania wykazują, że to nie znienawidzone gryzonie były głównymi roznosicielami choroby, a wszy i pchły. Zatem wracając do punktu wyjścia, jakim jest głód i choroby, to higiena będąca wielkim wrogiem ówczesnych włościan, zamknęła błędne, śmiertelne koło.

Poniżej przedstawiono sporządzony spis poepidemiczny ofiar epidemii w „dobrach Raczki i Szczodrucha„: Małe Raczki zwane wsią Raczki, Bolesty, Witówka, Lipówka, Wasilówka, Wierciochy. Rejestr ofiar w poszczególnych rodzinach gospodarzy: Continue reading Epidemia dżumy w dobrach Raczki w latach 1710-1711

 
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Our folks in Turkestan

When registering marriage certificates, civil registrars often indicated the place of origin of the bride and groom. Until the First World War, migration of the population was not very common. That is why, the majority of newlyweds came either from the parish where the marriage register was from or from neighbouring parishes. Occasionally, there were people from further away. People coming from the deep ends of the Tsarist Russia were even less frequent. The population movements, however, took place in both directions. Inhabitants from areas of our interest were found in the Far East – moving there either voluntarily or being taken away by force.

The gallery of wedding certificates of people found in the parish in Turkestan (the area of today's Kazakhstan) is shown below. Here is the list of them:

1905/18 Anna Witkowska from Szczebra parish
1906/14 Magdalena Blaszko from Rydzewo parish
1906/32 Natalia Rogowska from Bargłów parish
1908/44 Wiktoria Lis from Sylwanowce parish
1913/37 Roman Marcinkiewicz from Bargłów parish
1916/9 Maria Smykowska from Krasnybór parish

and the death certificate

1903/22 Kazimierz Maciukiewicz from Suwałki

It is not a complete list and it is certainly worthwhile to search in detail the metric resources of the Roman Catholic Church in Russia available in  Sankt-Petersburg archives. People from the entire area of the former Republic of Poland can be found there, but we are particularly interested in people from "our" region.

This incredible discovery was made by Magda Wróbel. Thank you for sending us the materials!

 
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Difficult Memories

Edward Orbik (trzyma sztandar).

Childhood is probably the most carefree and happy period in everyone's life. Looking at my younger sister, I can say it with all firmness. I like to look at photos from my childhood. Recently, looking at family photos, I came across a photo of my grandfather. The photo was taken at our school in Netta on February 11, 2008. It was another anniversary commemorating the deportation of the inhabitants of the village of Netta Folwark to Siberia. Grandfather stood proudly in a middle and was holding the banner of the Association of Siberian Deportees, Augustów Division. I know that my grandfather was a Siberian Deportee and always took an active part in all commemorations of all those who stayed in this inhuman land. I decided to learn more about my grandfather and his childhood spent in distant Siberia. Unfortunately, my grandfather died on June 6, 2014, when I was nine years old. So, the most reliable source of information was my grandmother Jadwiga - my grandfather's wife, as well as my mother.

My grandfather - Edward Orbik was born on May 30, 1935 in Bargłów. He was the youngest child of Józef and Józefa Orbik. His mother, Józefa, died in 1938. Józef, who had to reconcile all duties with farming, took care of the children. They lived very modestly, but peacefully. Grandfather had older siblings - sister Helena, who got married and lived in the neighborhood, brothers Stanisław, Czesław and Mieczysław, and sister Jadwiga, two years older than grandfather.

The outbreak of war caused great confusion and poverty, and the entry of the Soviet Army did not improve the lives of the poor and large families of the local population. At the beginning of the war, the Germans took Helena's husband to work in East Prussia, and she returned with her son Jasio to her family home to help her father look after the siblings.

The first guerrilla organizations began to form and wanted to face the occupiers. Two of grandfather's older brothers - Stanisław and Czesław belonged to the local guerilla group. Both were young and wanted to defend their homeland. Stanisław fell in love with the girl from the neighborhood, Irena, who was very pretty and reciprocated his feelings. Irena also liked another boy who could not stand the fact that she chose Stanisław. Wanting to take revenge on the competitor, he reported to the NKVD that Stanisław and Czesław were in the resistance organization. In May, 1941, the NKVD arrested grandfather's brothers hiding in the barn - Stanisław (21 years old) and Czesław (20 years old) [1]Great-grandfather Józef tried to buy them out of the hands of the NKVD, but it was too late. They were transported to Mińsk and there they weren't heard from again. Grandfather Edward, after 1989 tried to find them by writing numerous letters to the Polish Red Cross and NKVD Archives in Moscow, but to no avail. The answer was: disappeared on the territory of the USSR.

In June 1941, the NKVD knocked on the door at night and told everyone without exception to pack. Great-grandfather Józef packed the most important things: provisions, clothes and a rosary. Together with the children: Edward, Jadwiga, Mieczysław, Helena and her seven-year-old son Jasio, they were transported to the station in Augustów. That's how the grandfather and his family's Gehenna [biblical reference to hell] began. Perhaps if it wasn't for any of Stanisław's ardent feelings, my grandfather would never have been deported to the USSR, but we can't be sure. The fact is that the consequences for the guerilla activity were borne by the whole family.

Completing the entire transport took several days. People were placed in cattle cars, with virtually no windows, and the door was locked tightly. There were several dozen people crammed in the car without water, food, or fresh air. It is hard for me to imagine a six-year-old child who, instead of playing with his peers, sits squeezed into the corner of the wagon, unable to move. In the afternoon the exiles reached Grodno, where other cars were attached. German planes came and the bombing of Grodno and the surrounding area began. There were shots and screams of people everywhere. After crossing the Nieman River, the bridge was destroyed and that ended the deportation of exiles. The cars were shelled from planes, many of the convicts were wounded and killed. It was all terrible, my grandfather as a small child did not understand much of what was happening, but he remembered constant prayers, pious songs, lack of food and water to drink. They got a bucket of water regularly, but food was rare.

The first mountains that my grandfather saw in his life were not the Polish Tatras but the Urals. Years later, he remembered sitting on a bunk and looking through the small barred window to the snowy peaks of the Urals. Finally, after almost three weeks of onerous journey, they arrived. This was their new home - Krasnoyarsk Krai, Khakassia District, thousands of kilometers from home and Poland. They were accommodated in a barrack, where they could at least stretch their legs and sit comfortably on the ground. Then the trucks arrived and the journey continued. Grandfather's family ended up in the kolkhoz [collective farm]. They were accommodated with the Chakas family in a small mud hut. The hosts were not delighted with the new tenants. On the next day, all who could work went to work. Grandfather's father - Józef cut the grass, older brother Mietek also tried with a scythe. My grandfather Edek and his older sister Jadwiga, who was two years older, and nephew Jan remained in the care of their sister Helena. Everyone who worked received a bread allocation of 300-400 g, those who did not work - 150 g per day. They were hungry portions, too much to die, not enough to live. Somehow in the summer something could be collected, and these were mushrooms, some forest fruits or other vegetation that could be cooked. The landlady, who taught them a little about living in these difficult conditions, turned out to be very helpful. Grandfather's sister - Helena went out with her and collected various plants that saved the lives of the exiles more than once. Nettle was the most popular. Soups were cooked from it and dried. During the harvest, everyone went to work without exception. As part of the fun, my grandfather Edek collected ears of grain and hid them carefully in his pants. He brought home and there, in a primitive mill, it was ground into flour and they baked pies on a cast iron stove. In the summer water had to be brought from the stream, and in the winter the snow was scooped up, it was melted then and there was plenty of water. The worst were insects, which gnawed mercilessly in the summer, and in the mud huts, lice and bedbugs teased throughout the year. In the fall there were potato outcrops. Everyone worked without exception to collect as many as possible, because you could get some potatoes home. Some potatoes were buried underground in such small mounds, and under the cover of night, they were taken from the field to have winter supplies. It was theft, but you had to do it to survive. The summer in Siberia was hot and lasted for three months, and then it snowed immediately, which lasted until spring. In winter, temperatures dropped to -50 °C [-58 °F] or even lower. There were snow storms that completely covered the dugout's door and you couldn't go outside. You first had to clear away a mountain of snow to get out of the mud hut. Grandfather Edek did not have shoes, so in the winter he did not go outside, but when he got tired of sitting in the mud hut, he jumped outside and ran barefoot on the snow. Days and weeks went by in hunger and cold. After a year, the whole family moved to the neighboring Biei kolkhoz. Here they lived in a dugout after a family who moved to Abakan. It was a real luxury; they were on their own. Grandfather's father Józef got a job at the mill, brother Mieczysław was thirteen years old and he also became a miller's assistant. It was a real happiness, the work was hard, but you could always bring something home. Grandpa's brother Mieczysław smuggled some flour or cereal in his trouser pockets, and that was something. Grandpa Edek also tried to be very helpful. In the summer, he accumulated fuel for winter with his sister Jadwiga. They collected cow pies called kiziaki and dried them out in the sun so that in winter you can burn them in the stove. They collected brushwood in the forest. It was their job. But happiness did not last long. Helena's son, Jaś, who was eight years old, fell ill. The disease proved fatal. Later, my grandfather's father, Józef, fell ill. He could not go to work anymore and the whole obligation to support his family fell on Mieczysław. Sister Helena could not shake off after the death of her son, only her father's illness caused her to pull herself together and got a job milking cows. This work proved to be beneficial because she could bring a small cup of milk home. Father Józef was slowly recovering. Everything seemed to be all right, but Józef's condition suddenly worsened and the man died early in that year. The winter was so terrible then that it was not possible to bury him, it was only done at the end of May, when the thaw began. In this way my grandfather became an orphan.

Weeks and months passed, and the Orbiks were stuck in this gloomy reality, with no prospects for the future. They lived with the hope of returning home. Grandfather Edward went to work with his brother Mieczysław. He got old felt boots from him, so he already had shoes and could leave the house in the winter. My grandfather's job was cleaning and sweeping the mill. During this activity, you could earn something extra and bring back a bit of groats and flour. After the death of his father, the chairman of the collective farm wanted to take my grandfather and his sister Jadwiga to the orphanage, but sister Helena did not agree. She applied for their adoption, giving them her surname - Jasiński. This saved them, they were still Poles. Completing formalities took a while, but it was already a year when the Poles could move freely. Sister Helena walked several dozen kilometers on foot to arrange all the documents. This proved to be very helpful when returning to Poland.

Grandfather remembered the end of the war. Then there was a great holiday in the kolkhoz, the deportees had a day off from work. Everyone was hugging and crying. Poles counted on a quick return home - Poland. The repatriation campaign lasted a long time, because all the necessary documents had to be collected. Grandfather came to Siberia in the name of Orbik, and he left as Jasiński, and the authorities did not like it much. Sister Helena was running around the offices to settle everything and somehow it worked out. Her grandfather was grateful to her for the rest of her life for not leaving them in this inhuman land. In May, 1946, they boarded a train and returned to their homeland. Grandpa said it was the happiest day of his life. After five years of captivity and anguish, they returned home. Grandfather left Poland as a six-year-old boy, and he came back so experienced that many adults could not bear the weight of what he experienced.

Grandpa once wanted to write down everything he had lived through, but the memories were too painful. Experiences meant that he had his "remains" of Siberia: he never ate sorrel soup, saying that he had eaten this vegetable for life, he always had a supply of fuel and flour for the winter, and the bread he worshiped as much as possible.

Grandfather's childhood was tragic. I am glad that I could get to know his interesting fate. One thing I am sure is that we, modern children, bloated and nurtured, could not cope with all this. I am proud that I had such a grandfather. For me he is and will be a hero. He will stay forever in my memory and heart.

The work received the 2nd degree distinction in the competition "History of one photograph" organized by the Siberian Memorial Museum in Bialystok. The competition results were held on February 8, 2018.

Translation and footnotes by Jay M. Orbik

 

  1. An underground organization named "Samoobrona" [Self Defense] was established in the Bargłów gmina, which issued the order to create "piątki" [a team of five]. Each trusted member of the movement was to choose four. At that time, the inquisitors mainly caught teachers, officers, and non-commissioned officers, [plus] peasants suspected of having contact with the partisans. In response to the arrests, young Poles, out of revenge, began to set fire to the buildings of those who agreed to join the kolkhoz [collective farm]. "Every Sunday, the buildings at the next one burned, and after the harvest, the fire consumed heaps of grain from the kolkhoz. The Soviets once again used the informers and arrested, among others, two Orbik brothers ... They also wanted to intimidate the young with conscription. They took those who were 20 years old but not over 50 years old.” "We, together with Kowalczyk, stood on the commission in Augustów. One of the doctors turned out to be friends, so a quiet agreement was enough and we were declared 75 unable to join the army. "

    J. Poziemski: Bohaterowie i zdrajcy, Kurier Podlaski. Nr 177 (1841), 12 IX 1990. Also in: Adam Sudoł, Stalin wobec kresów wschodnich II Rzeczypospolitej (jesień 1939) ZESZYTY NAUKOWE WYŻSZEJ SZKOŁY PEDAGOGICZNEJ W BYDGOSZCZY, Studia Historyczne z. 6. p. 68.

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From Sejny to America

I have known for quite a long time that the sister of my great grandfather Adam Szczudło, Wiktoria married Kazimierz Zielepucha (1835-1905). Then I met this name several times in the registers and records of the Sejny parish, usually written out for the inhabitants of the village of Zagówiec, which from the 1940s was also the village of my ancestors, Szczudłos.

Personally, I didn't know any Zielepucha. Over time, Witek Zielepucha from Sejny came to my Facebook friends, but he wasn't very interested. The topic of the genealogy of this family interested me more when I realized that the Zielepuchas were also associated with Kasperowiczs, on whose family tree also Szczudłos had their "imprints". Antonina Szczudło, daughter of Paweł and Marianna Gorczyńska, in 1863 married Kazimierz Kasperowicz, born in 1840 in the village of Tomasze. However, I did not find any child records of this pair. Antonina Kasperowicz, already being married, in 1870 appears in the baptism records of Anastazja Polens, daughter of Teodor and Konstancja Szczudło, her sister. She dies in 1905 in the village of Wiłkokuk, probably childless.

In mid-June this year, the surname Zielepucha, in a slightly changed version - Zielepuka, unexpectedly appears on the Facebook genealogy forum. This time unknown to me woman from America writes - Yelyzaveta Van Duker. When I write that this is a surname from my pedigree, she mentions that it is also in her husband's family tree. The key person is Bronisława Zielepucha, who emigrated to the USA with her older sister Franciszka. Her emigration document indicates Zagówiec (of course, spelled incorrectly) as the place of birth, while Franciszka's death certificate mentions her parents; Kazimierz Zielepucha and Wiktoria Szczudło (also with errors). Encouraged by the discovery of more cousins ​​in America, I am reviewing the record resources of the Sejny and Berżniki parishes. Quite a few records are found, including the oldest in the region, Benedict, who was born in an unknown location around 1790. He died in Bierżałowce in 1846. He probably had two wives; Anna Byczkowska and Marianna Mackiewicz. Benedict had three children with the first wife; Marianna - born in 1827, Kazimierz - 1835 and Marcella - 1839. Like his father, Kazimierz is also married twice. Rozalia Jachimowicz from Budziewizna, who gives him four children, is his first choice; Antonina - 1862, Franciszek Leopold - 1865, Józef - 1867 and Wincenty. The first two die after a few days, Wincenty at the age of 18, there is no information about Józef in the records available to me. The first wife of Kazimierz Zielepucha dies in 1872-73 and then the widowed man with two minor children decides to enter into a new relationship. Wiktoria Szczudło, daughter of Paweł Szczudło (1812-1895) and Marianna Gorczyńska (1801-1885), is his chosen one. Kazimierz's second marriage is even more fruitful than the first and brings him five children: Kazimiera - 1874, Władysława - 1878, Rozalia - 1880, Franciszka - 1881 and Bronisława - 1886. Kazimiera's fate is not widely known, it is only known that in 1893 she gave birth to a maiden child - Franciszek, who lived only a few weeks. It is not known what future Władysław had. The resources of the Sejny parish have two records of Rozalia, of which it is known that she lived only two days.

The last two children of Kazimierz and Wiktoria Zielepucha, Franciszka and Bronisława, emigrate to America. Franciszka left her homeland as early as 1901, Bronisława only in 1913, 8 years after her father's death. Bronisława emigrated by NECKAR to Philadelphia.

After the life experiences of Benedykt and Kazimierz, double marriages in the Zielepucha family should not come as a surprise. Similarly, Bronisława gets married twice, twice for Lithuanians from the area close to her homeland. Her first choice is Frank Gaidziunas (1877-1925), with whom she has three children; Frank, Jeanne and Pauline.

Bronisława's second husband was Peter Zukaitas (1897-1956), born in the city of Simnas in Lithuania, with whom she had a child at the age of 42. She was named Bronisława after his mother, which in the American version sounded a bit different - Bertha. Bertha Zukaitas (1928- 2014) was already in the first generation of "born American" and grew up in a multilingual family, where father spoke Lithuanian, mother Polish, and she spoke English and everyone understood each other.

Bertha's life partner was Tadeusz Miklas, who lived in the years 1919–2006, certainly also having Polish roots. This marriage brought two children into the world; Lorraine and Tom. Lorraine married Bradford Van Duker. Their family achievements are three children: Scot, Laura and Mark.

Scot Van Duker went to work in Kiev for several months, where he was employed at the US Consulate. In a mean time a work mode of the US Embassy in Warsaw was presented at the Kiev consulate by a young English teacher, Yelyzaveta Avetysian. Enchanted by the presentation and probably more by the charm of a young Ukrainian woman, Scot showed appreciation, after which there was continuation. He took the "presenter" with him to America, where she became his wife. Today they form a happy marriage with two children.

Among immigrants to America, I have a lot of cousins who make colorful international couples, but this one is especially international. The Scot's genealogy line includes Poles, Lithuanians, then Belgians, Dutch and French, but also English, Scots and Irish. At its end is wife Liza, after Armenian father, after Ukrainian mother. Scot's brother Mark Van Duker married a girl from China. As you can see, America is still a good place to live and work for all nations.

 
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Z Solistowskiej Góry do Ameryki

Grzędy Topograficeskaja Karta Carstva Polskago

Nieznany epizod z historii wsi Grzędy

Wieś Grzędy… miejsce niezwykłe i szczególne na historycznej mapie powiatu grajewskiego. Wprawdzie osada nie istnieje już od ponad 75 lat – jednak historia i życie jej mieszkańców ciągle wzbudzają żywe zainteresowanie turystów, miłośników regionu i historyków. Wieś składała się z ponad 20 gospodarstw rozrzuconych na kilku piaszczystych wydmach. I tak na Nowym Świecie mieszkali Łubowie, Kosakowscy, Rowki, Sienkiewicze, Biercie, Milewscy, Grabowi, na Dębowej Górze posadowione były gospodarstwa Zyskowskich, Kuklińskich, Czajków, Kołakowskich, Olendrów, Zawistowskich. Na Pojedynku mieszkali Kaplowie, i dwie rodziny Grabowych. Na Longwi żyli m.in. Kumkowscy i Mońkowie. Na Solistowskiej Górze mieszkali Czajki i nieco dalej Kuklińscy.

Kilka lat temu wpadł mi w ręce list z 1886 roku pisany z Ameryki przez Kazimierza Czajko z Grzęd do Aleksandra Nawrockiego z Rajgrodu. To ciekawe znalezisko dało mi asumpt do poszukiwań historycznych o wsi Grzędy i jej mieszkańcach.

Aby prześledzić proces osadniczy rodziny Czajków na Solistowskiej Górze, warto na początku przybliżyć losy członków tej rodziny. Otóż protoplastami naszych osadników byli pochodzący z Tajenka Jan i Jadwiga z Kuberskich, którzy w 1829 roku w kościele w Bargłowie zawarli związek małżeński. Młodzi mieszkali w Woźnejwsi, gdzie na świat przychodziły kolejne dzieci:Kazimierz (*1837), Wincenty(*1840, urodzony w Ciszewie),Jan (*1843), Józef (*1846),Teofila (*1847), Antoni (*1850).

Pierwszym z tej familii, który osiadł na Solistowskiej Górze był Kazimierz Czajko. W 1856 roku zawarł on związek małżeński z 18 letnia Wiktorią Dobrydnio z Orzechówki. Małżonkowie zamieszkali w Woźnejwsi, gdzie w 1858 roku na świat przychodzi córka Rozalia, w 1862 roku Józef. W 1870 roku umiera żona Kazimierza, który – co wcale nie było rzadkością, jeszcze w tym samym roku ponownie zawiera związek małżeński z 25 letnią Anną Klimont z Tajna. W akcie zaślubin jest zapisany jako Kazimierz Czajkowski. W 1872 roku w Dreństwie przychodzi na świat córka Anna, rok później Feliks, Kazimierz (*1876), Piotr (*1878), Antoni (*1880). Poza Anną, wszystkie dzieci urodziły się już w Grzędach. Można zatem przyjąć, że Kazimierz wraz żoną i liczną rodziną zamieszkał w Grzędach – Solistowska Góra w 1872 lub 1873 roku. Nie znamy niestety statusu majątkowego Czajków. Jest jednak wysoce prawdopodobne, że sytuacja rodzinna, niejako wymusiła przenosiny na Solistowską. Nowa żona, a także powiększająca się rodzina, powodowały bez wątpienia liczne konflikty w przeludnionej chacie. Ciekawe, że kilka lat później w ślady Kazimierza poszedł jego młodszy brat Jan, który z poślubioną w 1873 roku Franciszką ze Skowrońskich oraz z dwójką dzieci, Franciszką (*1874) oraz Karolem (*1875) również zamieszkał na Solistowskiej. Trudno jednoznacznie powiedzieć, czy pomiędzy braćmi była jakaś umowa, i w związku z tym rodzina Jana zamieszkała w chacie Kazimierza, czy też w nowej -wybudowanej przez siebie. Tego nie wiemy. Faktem jest, że w następnych latach w Grzędach na świat przychodzą kolejne jego dzieci. Aniela (*1880), Konstancja (*1882) Jan (*1884), Józef (*1893), Julianna (*1886), Franciszek (*1887), Wiktoria (*1887) i Józef (*1893).

Około 1885 roku nastąpiło ważne wydarzenie w rodzinie Czajków. Kazimierz, jego syn Józef oraz nie mieszkający w Grzędach brat pierwszego Wincenty, postanowili wyjechać do Ameryki. Byli zatem najprawdopodobniej pierwszymi emigrantami z zagubionej wśród bagien wsi Grzędy. Co było przyczyną tak ryzykownego działanie jak wyjazd do dalekiej Ameryki? Bez wątpienia bieda, przeludnienie wsi, brak ziemi i jak to dzisiaj powiedzielibyśmy brak perspektyw.

Według Anny Adasiewicz, która przeglądała ewidencje pochowanych na cmentarzach w Stambaugh, Iron, emigracja z miejscowości nadbiebrzańskich za ocean rozpoczęła się jeszcze na początku lat 80 XIX wieku. Duża część emigrantów pochodziło z Białaszewa, Osowca, Tajna, Rajgrodu. Pani Anna przytacza historię rodziny Konstantego i Rozalii Zyskowskich z Stambaugh, miasta znanego z kopalni złota. Konstanty urodził się w 1837 r i zmarł 15 maja 1920r w Iron River, Michigan. Rozalia Gardecka i Konstanty wzięli ślub w Rajgrodzie w 1864r. Wyemigrowali w 1884r z 4 dzieci (najprawdopodobniej z Rajgrodu). Ich syn Zygmunt, już chyba urodzony w USA, później odziedziczyli parcelę 40 arowe, na której odkryto później złoża żelaza i miedzi. W wyniku konfliktu o złoża cennego kruszcu został zamordowany w 1924r i sprawa morderstwa i praw do ziemi ciągnęła się przez wiele lat w sadach. Praprawnuczek Konstantego, Raymond Bisque napisał na ten temat książkę.

Continue reading Z Solistowskiej Góry do Ameryki

 
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The cross of an unknown soldier

Discovery

Almost exactly 13 years ago, in March 2007, being a ranger in Napiwoda, I found human remains with military equipment in the forest near Moczysko. Among the items I also found a silver cross that believers wear around their necks. Orthodox cross. The site of the find is a place where on the last day of the battle of Tannenberg, on August 30, 1914, the remains of 3 corps withdrew to Russia through the forests between Nidzica and Zimna Woda, in disarray and mostly on their own.

If you look at the maps of East Prussia before the First World War, then not far south from Nidzica was the border between tsarist Russia and imperial Germany. Polish Kingdom - if it is written there, it is only lowercase. To freedom, to live - to the Russian border - the Kingdom of Poland - this soldier only had a few kilometers left, an hour of walking!

A small Orthodox cross, a soldier's mother, somewhere far from here, hung her son going to war, with the blessing and hope that he would bring his son home. It happened differently. The cross lay here in former East Prussia, on foreign land, for over 90 years.

Meaning

Description of the meaning of the symbolism contained on this Cross obtained from Museum of the Icon in Supraśl, a branch of the Podlasie Museum in Bialystok:

It is an Orthodox cross, with arms ended with a three-note leaf. It was probably decorated with enamel. Inside is a smaller cross with eight ends, characteristic of Orthodoxy. The lower diagonal bar refers to the scene of the Crucifixion from the Gospel according to St. Łukasz, where two rogues were crucified next to Jesus. One end is raised, it points to the sky, which is the place where the Good Thief goes. The other end points to hell, or the place where the other villain, full of pride, goes.

Letters in Cyrillic, which are on the shoulders in the Polish alphabet, mean: IS (Jesus), XS (Christ), letters at the top CS (King of Glory).

The letters at the bottom are GA (Adam's Tomb or Golgotha). According to apocryphal sources, the first man Adam was buried in this place and Jesus was crucified in this place to redeem his and our sins. The motif under the cross is Adam's skull.

Unfortunately, the lower part of the cross is very blurred and it is difficult to say what else is there. Punches, which are on the back of the cross, can tell which city in Russia he came from. Unfortunately, which place in Russia is difficult to say.

signed by Maciej Ćwiklewski.

Information on the origin of the cross received from Bogusław Perzyk read from the signatures on the reverse:

  1. The object was manufactured in the studio of Wasilij Nikolajewicz Czułkow (WNCz)
  2. The manufacturer was registered at the Assay Office of the Kostroma Governorate.
  3. The object was made of silver "84"

Commemoration

Near my find is the village of Zimna Woda. On the edge of this village is one of the many battle cemeteries of this war, where 37 Russian soldiers were buried. Closer to the village, at the stone monument, there is a grave of 7 German soldiers. They all died on August 30, 1914.

The church in Zimna Woda, built among forests, is a good place for this cross - souvenir after young people from 100 years ago - soldiers for whom our forests were home in their last days of life. A cross was solemnly suspended in this church against the background of a carved, enlarged copy of it.

 
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Marcin Bernatowicz and his closest relatives

The oldest ancestor whose identity we were able to establish is Marcin Bernatowicz. He was born around 1734 probably in the village of Kunicha (formerly Kunica). In addition to Marcin, Zofia Bernatowicz, born around 1727, also lived in Kunicha. Searching for the oldest inhabitants of these regions is extremely difficult. In the Krasnybór parish, the oldest preserved records come from 1760. It was a period of shaping the parish identity of the inhabitants of this area. In 1755 a wooden church was built in nearby Jaminach. From Kunicha to Jaminy is much closer than to Krasnybór, so we are convinced that the oldest Bernatowiczs sometimes attended a closer church, as evidenced by some records written in Jaminy, although Kunicha belonged to the Krasnybór parish. The oldest records from the Jaminy parish come from 1759 and are baptism registers. It is not excluded that at the same time or earlier the inhabitants of these areas also attended the church in Dolistowo, which was the oldest parish in this area. However, we were unable to access the books from the Dolistowo parish from the 18th century.

So it is in vain to look for the birth or marriage records of the aforementioned Zofia Bernatowicz. The first traces of this person appear in 1761, when on January 22 twins in the Krasnobór church were baptized with the names of Piotr and Paweł born in the village of Janówek not far from Kunicha. Mateusz Zagórski was the father and Zofia Bernatowicz was the mother. The wedding had to be earlier. No wonder you can't find any mention of it. There is also no information about the fate of the twins. They probably died in early infancy. Zofia Zagórska does not appear again in the record books until 1807, when her death certificate was written. Five years later, Mateusz Zagórski, widower of Zofia, dies. Interestingly, the informants were his sons Maciej and Michał.

We will not continue to tell stories about the Zagórski families here. In the same period, there were much more of them than Bernatowiczs, and establishing relationships between them on the basis of scanty documentary material is much more difficult.

Let's return to Marcin Barnatowicz. He was a serf in the lands belonging to the Chreptowiczs. At that time, the estate belonged to Antoni Chreptowicz and his brothers who were known for their adventurous lifestyle. It was the period of the greatest fall and debt of these lands, from which it was only slightly raised by Joachim Chreptowicz in 1764.

Marcin married Dorota Zagórska, a twenty-five-year-old girl, in 1763. The wedding took place in Krasnybór. Witnesses were Józef Zagórski, Andrzej Zagórski and Andrzej Puciłowski, but it is not known who they were for the bride and groom. Usually it was the closest family: young couple's siblings, cousins or trusted neighbors and friends.

Akt ślubu Marcina Bernatowicza i Doroty Zagórskiej z 5 lutego 1763 roku
Marriage certificate of Marcin Bernatowicz and Dorota Zagórska from February 5, 1763

The couple lived in Kunicha in the house number 1 belonging to the Bernatowicz family. Their first (documented) child was Krystyna born in 1770. She married Mateusz Mróz and they lived in Sztabin. All their children were also born there. It was not until nine years after the marriage that Bernatowicz's son was born, who got the name after his father. Two years later, in 1774, they had a daughter Marianna, who married Gotlib Mróz, brother of Mateusz. This couple also lived in Sztabin and all their children were also born there.

Next child was Maciej Bernatowicz born in 1784.

Marcin Barnatowicz and Dorota Zagórska probably had a daughter Jadwiga. Most likely, because Jadwiga's birth certificate is missing, and in her marriage certificate her parents are not mentioned. However, given Jadwiga's approximate age, based on the date of marriage, and the fact that Marcin was the only male representative of the Bernatowicz family in this area, it should be assumed that Jadwiga was his daughter. Jadwiga Bernatowicz got married to Maciej Chodorowski. Initially they lived in Jaziewo in the Jaminy parish, where their first child Franciszek (1797) was born. However another child Tomasz (1808) was baptized in the Dolistowo church. In 1809, the son Kazimierz was born again in Jaziewo, but all the next children were baptized in Dolistowo and the family probably settled there permanently.

In the following chapters we will follow in more detail the fate of Marcin and Maciej, two sons of Marcin Bernatowicz - the family's senior.

 
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Assault on the presbytery in Jaminy

Plebania w Jaminach pobudowana w 1880 roku. Zdjęcie z 1938 roku.

In 1882, the local community was shaken by the assault of a group of thugs on the presbytery in Jaminy and the severe beating of the local priest, Fr. Józef Bacewicz. Fr. Bacewicz was born in 1836 in the town of Pejlany, and administered the Jaminy parish from 1874. He was a pastor valued by the community, as evidenced by the description of his job published in the newspaper by one of the faithful:

"He was a good man and a priest who, despite his poor health, but worked as much as he could to moralize the people and help anyone in need, both with advice and donation. It was his and the then head of the village, the late Mr. Ostapowicz, effort who gathered donations and the church was renovated, its interior was repainted with oil paint; three altars were renovated and gilded: a stone wall was built around the church and a burial cemetery after which non-cattle stopped roaming today opposite to the past, a new presbytery was built, and the roofs and all presbytery buildings were improved"[1]

One of the newspapers of the time reported in 1882 about the robbery: "In the village of Jaminy, Augustów pov., on the night of 8 to 9 this month. z dozen villains attacked the presbytery, tied up the sleeping priest and threw him into the hall and took the robbery themselves. When, however, the host closest to the presbytery informed about the assault by the priest's hostess, an old woman who managed to slip away, hurried to help the priest with a pitchfork, at the sight the bodyguard fired a few shots from a revolver, on the sound of which the whole band got out of the presbytery quickly and escaped."[2]

The assault was an indirect cause of the premature death of Fr. Bacewicz. He died at the age of 50, on October 3, 1886, and his grave is still today in the Jaminy cemetery and is probably one of the last gravestones cast in the declining Huta Sztabińska.

The entire description of the villains' trial was published in "Kurier Poranny" No. 104 of 4/16 April 1883 in the following article:

From the Court Room

The three peasants of the Suwałki Governorate Ostrowski, Wolf Szwartz and Tomasz Trzciański were accused. The first two of robbery assault on Father Bacewicz's house and the last of them of hiding things from this crime. On 28 January at night, the criminals in the village of Jaminy together with other people, in order to rob the property, broke off the entrance door of the house of priest B. attacked his apartment and beating and tying him with a rope, openly robbed various things and money belonging to B. One of the accomplices of the crime at the time of the robbery had a revolver, from which two shots were given to people who came to help Father B. This crime refers to art. 1629 of P.C. This case in the first instance was tried by the Suwałki regional court.

... None of the accused pleaded guilty.

Father Bacewicz, questioned at a court hearing, testified that on the night of January 28, at about midnight, he was suddenly awakened by a stab to the entrance door. When the candle was lit, the witness wanted to investigate the reason for this patter, but at the moment the louder patter could be heard from the back entrance to the kitchen. Under strong pressure from the outside, the door opened and the witness heard several people burst into the kitchen with terrible abuse and hurried toward his bedroom. Guessing that they were robbers, the witness wanted to escape through the front door, but in the hall he was attacked by three unknown people who began to beat him on the face, back and whole body with wooden clubs brought with them. The witness began to shout, Jesus, Mother of God, two more villains came in from the inner rooms and all five pushed him out into the corridor, tied up with ropes. and tied to the door handle so that his face hung to the ground and the hands for which he was tied were stretched up, in this position they asked him where the money and papers were, but he replied that he had nothing. The robbery lasted about a quarter of an hour, until the arrival of the neighbors Joka and Kunda who forced the villains to move away with those things and money they managed to rob. Looking around, the witness noticed the theft of a silver watch and snuffbox, various papers and money for the sum of over rubles 1,000 of which rubles 50 were church money. Money and papers were in drawers of the dresser and in two chests in the closet. The locks on these drawers and trunks were broken, somehow with a chisel-like tool.

Some papers lay on the floor and had traces of blood left behind by one of the villains. From the number of villains the witness saw only five. Four of them had beards, they could be between 30 and 40 years old, and were Jews due to the fact that although they abused and spoke in Russian, the Jewish accent was clearly heard in the pronouncement, especially in the word "papiry". These people are completely unknown to the witness and he can't remember them now because he was very scared. The fifth was apparently a Catholic because he had no beard. He had a mask on his face that covered half his face. From the height, composition of the head and general impression, the fifth one strongly resembles the accused Ostrowski, but whether he was him, the witness can not say firmly, because he did not know Ostrowski personally. The villains left a glove amongst others, which the witness recognizes in the number of material evidence.

A month after this crime, the witness received from the head of the Szczuczyn poviat the documents that were in the drawer of the dresser and were probably stolen during the robbery along with other papers and money. Besides, the witness had not seen them in his home for many years, because he did not need them.

The maid Sobolewska and Fedrowska recognized Ostrowski and Szwartz and O. was in a mask, but his eyes, forehead and lower face were visible. They noticed Szwartz well because he was holding Sobolewska when others ran after Bacewicz. Sobolewska heard shots in the priest's house. Witness Kunda and Soha testified that when they were heading towards the priest's house, they noticed a man dozens of steps away from the house who shot them twice, but to no avail. When Sobolewska and Fedrowska said that they had met other Ostrowski's villains from the village of Czarny Las, they were immediately sent to the village head, but he did not find him at home.

The head of village, Mr. Ostapowicz, when received information about the robbery, arrived at the priest at 3 am, whom he found in the bed sick and beaten, then, when learned from his servants that in the number of villains they had met Ostrowski, he went straight to him and found him at home still asleep. On his bed lay a gray capote with metal buttons of steel color (in such capote Sobolewska had just seen him at the time of the robbery), and on his shoes he had traces of not yet melted snow. Ostrowski explained that he was coming back from the tavern Wozgał, where he went to buy wool, and when a witness brought him to the village of Jaminy, he asked if he was arrested for a robbery of the priest. The witness found traces of several people in the snow by the priest's kitchen, and two clubs by the fence. A few days later, the witness again searched the house of O. and found two iron nails, which later the investigating judge matched to holes made when breaking drawers and found that they completely fit. Ostrowski's job was nothing more than theft and he was in prison more than once.

Witness Nowicki testified that the day before the robbery in Jaminy, a Jew from the city of Suchowola, named Wolfko, whom the witness recognizes in the accused Szwartz arrived to him.

This Wolfko came to him, said that he wanted to buy hay, and in the past he never came to Czarniewo. Not buying, he went to Czarny Las for the same thing, and returned home from there in two hours. Witness Kunda also saw a Jew with a little boy, he was at her father's to buy hay the day before the robbery. The witness did not look at this Jew, but when the Jew asked for a bucket to water his horse, she followed him with a bucket onto the road and they talked to each other at the well.

Returning to the room O. quickly called for a supper, and then declared that he has to go to purchase oxen and maybe he would not be back in three or four days. Late at night, O. returned and entered the room and called out: "Oh, let the damn kill you" and when his daughter Anna asked him what had happened, he said: "He has robbed the priest in Jaminy, morover they killed him, they almost killed him." Asked quietly if he was not recognized, he said that he could not be recognized because he had a mask on his face. Shortly afterwards, the head of the village arrived and arrested Ostrowski.

Against Trzciański, there is a circumstantial evidence that he was hiding the items of Fr. B, however this has not been proven by the court. The fact that one and a half verst from his apartment papers of no value belonging to Father B. were found, is no evidence against him when there is no evidence that he put them under the bridge; the more that this place is very busy, and it could have been someone to mislead the police with proper traces of the crime.

After hearing the entire investigation, the District Court found Ostrowski and Szwartz guilty and sentenced them to deprive them of all rights and to send them to heavy labor in fortresses for 10 years each, and after that time to settle in Siberia. Trzciański was completely released from punishment.

Since that judgment, Ostrowski and Szwartz have appellated to the Warsaw court chamber which heard with the lawsuit yesterday. The court chamber, after hearing the course of the case in the first instance, followed by prosecutor Kowalewski and for weapons. after Ostrowski, sworn lawyer Wagner and behind Szwartz, adv. Gluksberg, decided that the judgment of the Łomża District Court was quite properly issued and approved, thus dismissing the defendand's appellate. Defender of Szwartz adv. Gluksberg intends to submit a cassation complaint to the Senate regarding his client because of an improper investigation of the case by the investigating judge.

(Original spelling retained)

The text also appeared in 3/2020 issue of the monthly Nasz Sztabiński Dom.

[1] "Gazeta Świąteczna”, 1887, no 229-330, p. 6.

[2] „Wiek, Gazeta polityczna, literacka i społeczna”, Warszawa 1882, no 38, p. 3