Summer travels - 2003
June 29 - July 05, 2003
During our subsequent trip to Poland in June and July 2003, we continued our search, gathered materials for the Family Tree and conducted individual meetings. The main topics were:
Collecting materials concerning our cousins - the 1944 Warsaw Insurgents (see)
Search for the ancestors of Waldemar's grandfather - Albert Herman (see)
Meetings in Waldemar's hometown - Siedlce
Investigating roots of the Wajszczuk family in the vicinity of Sokolow Podlaski (see)
Meeting other Wajszczuks living in Podlasie (Zabce, Aleksandrow, Dminin)
Collecting new materials in the Family nest in Trzebieszow - including a visit to local cemetery (see)
The crowning event - II Gathering of the Podlasie Branch in Trzebieszow - June 6, 2003 (see)
Sunday, June 29
Warszawa. Meeting with Prof. dr. med. Jerzy Swiderski - "Lubicz". He was a member of the Polish Underground during WWII and at the time of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, he was a soldier in the Scout Company of the "Gustaw" Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment of the Academic Legion, Warsaw Corps of the Armia Krajowa (Home Army). Our cousin Barbara, "Baska" (0084) was a combat nurse in the same Company. Prof. Swiderski told us that, unfortunately due to secrecy, which was mandatory in conspiracy, he had no personal contact with Barbara prior to the Uprising and virtually none during the period of fighting. With sorrow, we also learned from him that another surviving member of the same detachment (who was interviewed recently in a newspaper "Zycie Warszawy" - see) - lieutenant "Seb" has died recently! Thus our hopes of learning more details about "Baska's" life and fighting days in Conspiracy, did not materialize. Before we parted, Prof. Swiderski presented us with books and materials describing the struggles of the Polish Scouting Organizations during the German occupation. He also promised to use his extensive contacts to try to find out more about the matters of interest to us.
Monday, June 30
Visit to the Powazki Military Cemetery in Warsaw. We went there with our cousin Alina Filipkowska (0072) - to confirm the localization of the graves of the Fallen in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, and in particular of our cousins Antoni (0083) and Barbara (0084) Wajszczuk . New pictures from this visit and a map of the cemetery (see) - have been now added to their individual pages (see) and (see).
Tuesday, July 01
Wiskitki n/Żyrardów (see map). In the footsteps of our grandfather Albert Herman (see - in polish) - accompanied by my sister Dr Anna Religa (0090). A meeting, previously set up with the county official, did not materialize, because of his unforseen duties, but a brief session with the pastor of the Roman-Catholic Parish, the Rev. Prelate Jan Starszyk turned out to be very informative. His Parish does not have any official documents concerning other religious denominations, but he provided us with information that the early settlers arrived to this region from Germany shortly after the Partitioning of Poland, at the end of the 18th century and the subsequent wave - at the time of industrialization in the middle of the 19th century, in connection with the development of textile industry in this area. Initially, the Evengelical parish and cemetery were localized in Wiskitki, but later in the 19th century they were transferred to the nearby Zyradow. Encouraged by the priest, we visited the abandoned cemetery in Wiskitki (see pictures below).Thanks to the hospitality of the Administration of the "Artist Retreat" (Dom Pracy Twórczej) in the nearby Radziejowice (former residence of the magnate family of Radziejowski), we had our lunch there and visited the palace and the adjoining grounds (see pictures below). http://republika.pl/gimradziejowice/Radziejowice.htm
Radziejowice - old
section of the castle
More recent palace building
One of the commemorative
statues in the park
Żyrardów. The previously planned meeting with the Deacon of the Evangelical-Augsburg (Lutheran)Parish in Zyrardow - the town of birth of my Grandfather - Mrs. Halina Radacz and her husband (http://www.luteranie.pl/www/diecezje/warszawska/
zyrardow.htm) unfortunately did not materialize, because of their last minute calls and duties. In a later telephone conversation, we agreed on the details of subsequent search in their archives concerning the families of Herman and Hildebrandt (http://www.wajszczuk.v.pl/polski/drzewo/tekst/herman.htm).
Parish in Zyrardow
Formerly a Lutheran - at present
(since WWII?) a Catholic Church
Adjacent site of the current
Lutheran Chapel and Parish
Skierniewice. We then drove short distance to Skierniewice to a meeting with Roman Wajszczuk (0945) and his family. Since we met him in Warsaw in September of last year, he was able to gather additional information regarding his branch of the Family. Apparently one of the relatives still lives in Sulow n/Trzebieszow (Zamosc region), but under a name Walczuk (another example of a probable administrative mix-up with the name spelling - we will have to investigate at the time of a visit there some time in the future!). During conversation and while enjoying coffee and deserts, we were able to get current pictures of the whole family.
Thursday, July 03
Siedlce. During a meeting with our cousin Anna Świderska (0079), we discussed reasons for the discrepancies and tried to finally establish the correct spelling of the maiden name of my Grandmother Maria Wajszczuk (0059) - Maciejewska on the gravestone and Maciejczyk in some of the Family documents. Probably a mistake was made engraving the name in the cemetery (see pictures below), but this will have to be checked further in old documents.
Inscription on the tombstone -
"Maria nee Maciejewska"
In the death certificate of the son
Edmund - "Maria nee Maciejczyk"
Old family friend, a resident of Siedlce - Dr. Wladyslaw Stefanoff - arranged visits to the City Hall, Municipal Library and Archives and served as a guide during the next several hours. Their purpose was to gather materials for preparation of short biograhies of my (WJW) parents (0086) including their life and work in Siedlce (http://www.wajszczuk.v.pl/english/drzewo/tekst/0086lucjusz.htm). At the end, we had a rather large collection of books, describing the long history of town and of the Resistance Movement in Siedlce area during WWII, as well as albums showing its interesting architecture. Many thanks to Dr. Stefanoff and to all Town Officials, whom we met, for their warm welcome and help!
A gravestone plaque was ordered at the stone-mason, commemorating our cousin Zbigniew (0062), who emigrated after the war to Argentina and died there - to be installed on the tomb of our Grandprents (see)S†PZbigniew Ireneusz WajszczukOfficer in the Polish Parachute Brigadeborn - 26.VIII.1912 in Warszawadied - 20.VIII.1982 in Quilmes, ArgentinaIn the evening we met with Henryk Wajszczuk (0610), his son Artur (0612) and their families. We never met them before. They belong to the Domaszewnica branch of the Family (see)
From left: Daniela and Artur (0612), Daniela's daughter, Anna Świderska (0079),
Helena & Henryk Wajszczuk (0610)
Artur (0612) & Henryk (0610)
Helena & Henryk (0610)
We learned from them that the previously unidentified children - Mateusz and Marta, who are buried in the old cemetery in Siedlce, are the prematurely born (in the seventh month of pregnancy) twins of Artur - they died a few minutes after their birth.
Friday, July 04Łazów, Łazówek, Seroczyn, Kamieńczyk. After an overnight stay in Siedlce, I was joined next morning by Basia Miszta (0156) and Pawel Stefaniuk (the webmaster) and we drove in the direction of Sokołów Podlaski, in search for the roots of Wajszczuks in Lazow and in Lazowek (see and map). We visited again the former "Village Administrator" (Soltys) in Lazow, Mr. Jozef Boruta and his family (see pictures below)
Youngest son of Jozef Boruta
Barbara Miszta in conversation
with the Boruta women
Mr. Jozef Boruta
writing down information
From left: Mrs. Boruta (Jozef's
mother) and Jozef with childrenMr. Boruta passed on to us some information which he was able to gather during the preceding few months and directed us to the site of the Parish and Marian Sanctuary in Łazówek. Unfortunately the parish priest, Rev. Jozef Gierczynski was absent.Instead, we encountered the wife of a local organist (peering across the fence - picture on the left, above). A relatively recent newcomer, she did not know the Wajszczuks, but she directed us to the cemetery, which we then visited in the company of the "well-informed" wife of a former local mailman - Mrs. Zofia Walendzikowa from the nearby Seroczyn (picture on the right, above).
Cemetery in Łazówek
Grave of Jadwiga
Tombstone of Jadwiga
Grave of Jan
(0925) WajszczukAfter taking Mrs. Walendzikowa home, we visited in Kamieńczyk the "senior" of the neighbourhood - Mr. Kazimierz Krystosiak (see pictures below).
Mr. Kazimierz Krystosiak
Mr. Kazimierz explains...
Waldemar (0089), Mr. and Mrs.
Krystosiak and Barbara Miszta (0156)
Based on the information gathered from several people, we were able to establish that Jan Wajszczuk, who specialized in manufacturing of wooden shingles, arrived in this area to work in the local estate, whose last owner before WWII was Mr. Kulik. Where did Jan Wajszczuk come from - nobody remembers, but Mr. Boruta promised to investigate in the local archives. At present, there are no Wajszczuks living in this area!
On the way back, we stopped in Łazów to see the former property of Jan Wajszczuk - the only visible remnants of their dwelling were the old concrete front steps (see pictures below). A suspicious neighbour - accompanied by several family members, staying at a distance - approached us, but we assured him that our intentions were quite innocent and we did not have any hostile plans.
In the direction of Łazów
Site of former Wajszczuk homestead -
today remain only front door steps
Neighbour watching ...On the way back, we passed through the ancient settlement of Sterdyn, where we visited a restored palace, (previously a property of the noble Ossolinski family - at present housing a convention center) and a beautiful baroque church.
Ossolinski palace in Sterdyn
In front of the church - old linden trees with bees humming loud, collecting the nectar
Parish Church in Sterdyn
Inside the church
see also: http://www.sterdyn.com.plFurther down the road in the direction of Siedlce, we stopped for dinner in a picturesque roadside eatery, interestingly named "Mak Kargul" (after the last name Kargul from a popular Polish TV show, its name patterned after the American MacDonald!).Zabce (see map). After passing through Siedlce, we continued to Zabce where we visited Jan Waszczuk (0667) and his family - we never met them before. He belongs to the Wajszczuk family, but when questioned - did not know the circumstances of the altered spelling of his last name. He has no immediate plans to administratively restore his proper family name! We admired a large and very well kept vegetable garden and orchard, as well as the general neatness of his property including the evenly stacked firewood (see pictures below - one of them also shows an adjacent roadside "trading post" for the Russian travellers).
Before returning for an overnight in Drelow, we visited in Trzebieszow with Mrs. Janina Maczynska (0585) from Warsaw, who was vacationing there with her family (see pictures below). We were attempting to resolve with her and with Basia Miszta, who was also present, some of the problems in identifying the ancestors from the Trzebieszow area and to connect the "loose" branches of the Tree. It appears, that it will be difficult or impossible without further search in the old Parish records.
Janina Mączyńska  ...
Saturday, July 05
Trzebieszów. In the morning, we visited the cemetery in Trzebieszów, accompanied by Basia Miszta and by Mrs. Janina Maczynska. There are many graves of several generations of Wajszczuks - see Special Gallery. The day was hot and steamy already in the morning. While visiting the cemetery, we met unexpectedly distant cousins - the Chomicki brothers. (see) They also have their roots in Trzebieszow and came now from a far-away town of Walbrzych in south-western Poland, to attend the Family Gathering (see report) and to visit their family.
From left: Anna Bernat  with daughter Kinga , Stanis³aw Chomicki , Barbara Miszta , Adam Chomicki 
From left: Janina Mączyńska , Adam Chomicki , Barbara Miszta , Anna Bernat  with daughter Kinga , Stanisław Chomicki In addition to private graves, the Trzebieszow Cemetery has tombstones, which give testimony and honor local freedom fighters, who fought the Nazis or were martyred by the communist regime.
After the cemetery visit and leaving Mrs. Maczynska with her family, we went to the presbytery to discuss with the Vicar, Rev. Wieslaw Nestoruk next day's Special Mass in the intention of the Wajszczuk Family. Since we learned that he was a computer buff, we left with him a copy of a the CD with "The Wajszczuk Family Tree". From there, we proceeded to the meeting hall (Dom Kultury), to check on the preparations for the next day's gathering and then to the nearby town of Lukow, to make some last minute purchases of the decorative materials. While there, we had lunch - outdoors, under a large colorful umbrella, in pouring rain and listening to distant thunders. Then, after taking Basia home to Trzebieszow, we continued with Pawel on the road.Aleksandrów. We stopped there to see the state of reconstruction of the house of Karol (0564) and of his family, after a recent fire. They have already moved in, although there is still a lot left to finish. Everybody is doing fine in Aleksandrow and his sister-in-law (0566) expects a new baby! Karol handed over to us new information about his branch of the Family.
Karol's rebuilt house
Karol Wajszczuk 
Karol's mother - Maria 
and Piotr's  son - Dawid 
Dminin. We went there next, in search of information about the Wajszczuk family, who at one time used to live there. The Village Administrator (Soltys) sent us to the oldest village inhabitant, Mr. Jozef Zalewski, age 96! We found him sitting on a bench in the yard, warming himself in the afternoon sun in the company of his dog. Mr. Zalewski greeted us warmly, but stated that there have been no Wajszczuks living in Dminin already for many years, but if we wanted, we could go and see an old house (or its remnants), on the edge of the forest - not far away, where they used to live many years ago. We decided against it, because of the approaching evening.Roskosz. Close to the town of Biala Podlaska, it is a site of the European Educational Center (Europejskie Centrum Kształcenia i Wychowania OHP), which is located in a former residence of the Radziwills and subsequently of other famous noble families. We went there next, to rent a digital projector for the next day's Family gathering. On the way we saw and paid our respects at the monument honoring the nearly 42,000 American pilots fallen in WWII while bringing freedom to the occupied lands of Europe. It also commemorates the crew of a "Flying Fortress", which had to bail out in this area from a damaged plane, was saved and hidden by the local people and then joined the Polish Resistance forces, before returning to the USA at the end of the War.
Former palace of the Radziwill
family in Roskosz n/Biala Podlaska
Inscription on the monument
Monument expressing gratitude
to the American Airmen
see also: http://www.roskosz.pl/index.htmlDrelów. In the evening, there was a party at the Stefaniuks in celebration of the "Days of Drelow" - there were many local and out-of-town special guests and everybody had a great time!Sunday, July 06
Trzebieszów - II Gathering of the Podlasie Branch of the Wajszczuk Family (see - Special Report)
After the meeting and then after finishing preliminary sorting of the pictures and of the collected data, we started with Pawel in the early evening on our way by car to Warsaw. We were accompanied and enchanted by the beautiful sights of the evening sky of Podlasie and Mazowsze (provinces)!Until the next meeting!!! Many thanks to all participants, and special "thank you" for Basia and for Pawel!