Posts tagged ‘Military’

May 22, 2014

Genealogy Websites Mash-up — #Genealogy, #Military, #Church

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

About two years ago Stanczyk wrote about a website, special because it was a Polish-German joint effort at Reconciliation.  The website I am referring to is: http://www.straty.pl/index.php/szukaj-w-bazie — Which takes you to a database search page where you can search for, “Victims of Oppression“.  It for searching for victims of World War II inside Poland.  Originally, I kind of ignored it because I did not have family who was sent to  a  Concentration Camp nor did any of mine get forced relation after the war. So I  MISTAKENLY thought this database was not for me. Last week I learned a few things.

Today’s blog is about the Mash-up of  Geneteka database,  Using Straty.pl (the above database of oppression) and a website of Concentration Camps, with a smidgeon of Genbaza.pl thrown in for good measure.

Here is my Mash-Up …

Straty.pl I went to straty.pl (use above link, for Polish) or paste the above link into Google’s Translator (for English). I put ‘Elijasz’ into the field named “Nazwisko” (Surname) and clicked on the button “Szukaj” (Search). It returned four results for me:

Straty Results - Four Elijasz

Notice the third row, with Stanislaw Elijasz, whose “Miejsce urodzenie” (birth place) was Pacanów. When I clicked on the button with the number “3”.  Remember his birthdate: 1906-04-17 ; We will use this data in Geneteka to get the Akt # and in GenBaza.pl to get the image of the birth record. When I clicked on the number “3” button, I got a lot more info:

Straty Details Stanislaw Elijasz

I immediately, understood my mistake. The oppression database returned data about my ancestor, Stanislaw Elijasz who was a soldier in the Polish Army when World War II started (1-SEP-1939). He is listed as a victim of the September 1939 Campaign, he was caught, in “Russland” [I presume they mean in the Russian Occupied territory as opposed to the German Occupied Poland.], he was the equivalent of a Lance Corporal in a Signal Corps Battalion. At any rate, he was interred in POW Camp (the 1st of three) on September 17, 1939. Imagine that, he spent the entire World War II as a prisoner of war.

The other details were vague and not clear to me from the data. Lucky for me in Facebook, I have a friend, named Jozef Taran (in Poland). He provided me a website for concentration camps:

Small_2http://www.moosburg.org/info/stalag/laglist.html#generalgouvernement

This second mash-up link was website of German Stalags (Concentration Camps) in Poland, Ukraine and Western Russia. This website and wikipedia pages gave me the details to understand the data returned by straty.pl  for Stanislaw. You World War II  military buffs take note !

Ok, but now I wanted to find which Stanislaw Elijasz of Pacanow, born on or about 17-APRIL-1906 was this data about. So I went to:

Small_3Geneteka.pl — to see if Stanislaw was indexed and what his birth record number (Akt #) might be to help me in my search of GenBaza.pl and to confirm the birth date. I found on result number 46,  a result for Stanislaw born in 1906 Pacanow with an Akt # 77. Now I had enough info to locate his birth record in:

Small_4

 GeneBaza.pl  — That link takes you directly to Stanislaw Elijasz, born in Pacanow on 17-April_1906, Akt #77 [assuming you have a GenBaza login id and you are logged in]. This gives the the church birth record image:

GenBaza_Stanislaw

Now we have a complete picture of our Polish ancestor by the mash-up of websites:

  1. straty.pl
  2. http://www.moosburg.org/info/stalag/laglist.html#generalgouvernement
  3. Geneteka.pl
  4. GeneBaza.pl
May 5, 2013

VE Day: Few know story of Jews in Red Army

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

AP: Few Know Story of Jews in Red Army

ap thumbnailJERUSALEM (AP) – Once a year, Israel’s Jewish war veterans don suit jackets and uniforms dripping in Red Army medals, the shiny bronzes and silvers pinned to their chests in tight rows like armor. About 500,000 Jews served in the Soviet Red Army during World War II. Most of those still alive today – about 7,000 – are said to live in Israel. Every year on Victory Day, which falls on Thursday this year …

Read Full Story

An excellent piece detailing how European Jews fought against the Nazis in the Allied Forces.

August 17, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Haller’s Army in My Tree [part three]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

y Family Tree has many heroic men and women or I would not be here blogging today. It is only by standing on the shoulders of giants that I can see farther — Issac Newton borrowed that quote from a much earlier time; But it is still true today. In today’s article, my third of three ( Article1Article2 ) on Haller’s Army and the heroic 25,000 men who volunteered from America to fight for Poland in World War I, by fighting in France’s army (and their blue uniforms).

There are three men in my family tree who volunteered and fought in Haller’s Army:

  • Boleslaw Wlecialowski
  • Wlodzimierz Kendzierski
  • Pawel Elijasz

I do not know how many people have such in their Polish genealogy, but this strikes me as a large number for one family. What is interesting is that the story for each is so different.

Wlecialowski

Last article, I mentioned that you use the PGSA.org database to look-up your ancestors and see if they volunteered. The results should look something like:

So armed with the Name and Location you should be able to tell if it is your ancestor or not without having to order the form(s). However, it is inexpensive enough that you can order multiple people when in doubt. Better yet, go to the Polish Museum of America in Chicago and then you can review the form in person before ordering.

Boleslaw Wlecialowski registered in Hamtramck, MI. on his Form C,  he mentions that his nearest relatives in Poland are Maciej and Katarzyna Wlecialowscy in the Gubernia of Kiecle, Gmina & Miasto of Pacanow. That is invaluable! Of the three forms, Form C is the most valuable because it asks for nearest relatives in both the US and in Poland. Form A has the basic info (name, address, etc.) and Form B (the medical form) is perhaps the least valuable form of the three. Form L is just the collection of all three forms.

Boleslaw Wlecialowski Haller’s Army Form: A

Boleslaw Wlecialowski Haller’s Army Form: C

 When Boleslaw returned his ship manifest on the SS Princess Matoika said he was returning to his sister Rozalia Gawlikowski in Detroit, MI.

The above ship manifest is an image of the manifest header with lines 17-19 spliced in to show Boleslaw’s record on his return from Haller’s Army. He returned 21-July-1920 and his passage was paid for the by the US Government (on page 2 not shown).

Kendzierski

Now Wlodzimierz Kendzierski (aka Kędzierski) is interesting on two accounts. First he registered twice. Once in Detroit and once in Pittsburgh! Now that was helpful because he listed different contacts in the US in the two documents. It was also interesting because I could not find his returning ship manifest (although I did find his brother Ludwik return — but who had not registered?). Genealogical mysteries! Now we know he served because we have a picture of Wlodzimierz in his Haller’s Army uniform.

Wlodzimierz Kedzierski

So he definitely served. I suspect the Ludwik Kedzierski returning (August 1922) to his cousin in Pittsburgh was really Wlodz. But this is interesting. Perhaps the two registrations are because one registration office said ‘no’ to his volunteering and the second office said ‘yes’.

Once again, it was invaluable that we ordered both sets of forms and both forms indicated he was the same person (naming a sister, brother, brother-in-law, and a wife with known addresses). Although Wlodzimierz is an uncommon first name and the complete combination is rare indeed. What it did do was show a family connection to the Pittsburgh Kedzierski which we did not previously know.

Elijasz

Now the third family member was interesting in yet another way. Both Boleslaw (who became Bill) and Wlodzimierz (who became Walter) returned to US and lived full lives as Americans. However, Pawel Elijasz was an enigma. I could never decide how he was related because I only had a ship manifest and a 1910 US Census from Depew, NY. So until I found his registering for Haller’s Army and finding out that he lived with a cousin of my grandfather’s who was Pawel’s brother I did not know how Pawel fit in. Then I found his birth record from Pacanow and his marriage record from Pacanow and the birth record of Pawel’s daughter and his being a God Father to a nephew all in Pacanow. So those church records which connected him with the Pawel in Haller’s Army and which connected him to the Eliasz/Elijasz in America answered many questions for me. Including what happened to Pawel after 1910. I now knew he registered in 1917 in Toledo, OH for Haller’s Army and that he lived with his brother Wincenty Elijasz at 1054 Campbell Street, Toledo, OH (down the road from my grandparents and next door to a married sister Wiktoria, Elijasz Mylek). So now I had a bit more timeline for Pawel. I just assumed he went back to Poland to live with his wife and daughter (and hence why no 1920 or 1930 US Census records). Imagine my shock when I found this last piece of data at a Polish Genealogical Society website. The link just preceding is to a database: “List of Casualties of the Polish Army, killed in action or died from wounds from the years 1918-1920″ . I found out that Pawel had died, while serving in Haller’s Army ( 2/13/1920 in Łuck, Poland )  [see next image of a book page].

So now I knew the rest of Pawel’s story. But it was his Haller’s Army registration that answered so many questions and connected up church records in Poland with US Vital records.

As an aside, finding out that Pawel was a brother of Wincenty and Wiktoria Elijasz and not a brother of my grandfather was still a great find.  For Pawel’s sister Wiktoria is the only ELIASZ in the whole family tree with the following distinction.

Wiktoria has Vital records in US/Poland with her last name spelled as: ELIASZ, ELIJASZ and HELIASZ.

So now you know why the family tree acknowledges all three names as one family name.

I have had ELIASZ and HELIASZ combos (modern and historical). I have had ELIASZ and ELIJASZ combos in my own family. But Wiktoria is unqiue in that she was the only ELIASZ who has used all three versions of the family name at one time or another in her life.

Wiktoria is also God Mother to two of my uncles. Wiktoria is also related to the lovely Elzbieta Heliasz Kapusta who sent to me, my grandparent’s marriage records (both civil and church) from Poland where Elzbieta lives and who does not speak a single  word of English. So it is a small world indeed.

I do not have a Polish Consulate newspaper article saying any of my three ancestors earned land from Poland for their service. I also do not have any info from PAVA, but the next time I travel to NYC, I will look them up and see if Boleslaw or Wlodzimierz were ever PAVA members. I will try and find an example of the Polish Consulate messages to an American-Pole in a Polish Language US newspaper where they were seeking an Haller’s Army veteran now living in the USA and post it here for you my good readers to see. I hope this series of postings has motivated you the Polish Genealogist to seek out this unique Polish genealogical resource and then track down the other connecting pieces to this puzzle.

Let Stanczyk know!

August 14, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Haller’s Army (aka Blue Army / Polish Army in France) [part 2]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Gentle readers, today’s article is about the many genealogical or personal ties to the history of Haller’s Army. The focus is on what the genealogist may want to pursue to flesh out his/her family tree.

Background

The era was World War I  (1914-1918) and the world was mad with war and carnage and pestilence. There were 16.5 million deaths and 21 million wounded making it the 6th deadliest conflict (or possibly 2nd/3rd worse if you include the Flu Pandemic deaths). [See: this cheery web page on the estimate of Wars, Pandemics, Disasters,  and Genocides that caused the greatest number of deaths.] Out of this madness, was an army of diaspora Poles formed, of which over 25,0001

came from the US via a US sanctioned formation of a foreign force, which had to be constituted in Canada due to USA fears and its isolationist policies that limited President Wilson.

These brave 25,000 men were added to another contingent of 35,000 Polish men formed largely from prisoners of war from the German and Austria-Hungarian armies inside France,  who were now willing to fight against Central Powers as a part of the Allied/Central Powers.  They fought bravely in World War I,  before the USA entered the war and for nearly four more years (1918-1922) after World War I officially ended in the Polish-Bolshevik War (aka Polish-Soviet War).

Poster — from wiki

More Background can be found here (Haller’s Army website) or at the wiki page (Blue Army).

Registration Centers

The recruitment centers were in the Polish Falcons centers. The Polish Falcons were called the Związek Sokołów Polskich w Ameryce (ZSP)  and this is what you will find on Haller’s Army enlistment forms. The Polish Falcons still exist and are headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. There are reportedly 115 Polish Falcon Nests across 15 states. Each Nest has its own history that it maintains.

PGSA Database

The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA.org) maintains a database of the Haller’s Army registrations that can be searched for your ancestor(s). It is free to search and there is a modest charge to get a copy of the actual documents. The search page is here: (http://www.pgsa.org/haller.php) . These documents are archived by the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. This data is also on LDS Microfilm by region see this page for details .

There are three types of forms. These forms are in Polish. You need not worry about that as the PGSA offers example forms in English (FormA | FormC) in PDF format.  On the forms you find the following info:

  • Form A is an intention to volunteer and contains the name, address, age, and marital status.
  • Form B is a medical examination report for the volunteer.
  • Form C is the final commitment paper. It includes date and place of birth and usually the name and address of a parent or other close relative.  The Form’s family notes include close family in USA and in Poland.

Returning Soldiers

The Allies issued medals to their victorious soldiers so you may have in your family heirlooms one of these. This website has an index of the various medals (with images). Many of the websites whose links are in this article also have pictures of men in uniforms — which included their distinctive hats.

We tend to think the soldiers were all Polish men and that these men were Catholics, but our Polish-Jewish brethren also served in Haller’s Army. This page from Polish Roots is about the Jewish soldiers who served and provides a table of many of the men known to be Jewish.

The ship manifests in Ellis Island record the return Haller’s Army soldiers, who returned en masse. You can see the soldiers who are listed on pages together with a note on the bottom, “Reservists”. That notation should eliminate any confusion with other possible passengers/crew members. The soldiers returning from the European theater are known to have arrived via Ellis Island on the following ships:

  • SS Antigone (from Danzig – April 18, 1920)
  • SS Princess Matoika (from Danzig – May 23, 1920)
  • SS Pocahontas (from Danzig – June 16, 1920)
  • SAT  Mercury (US Army Transport), from Danzig, June 16, 1920 / arrived in New York, June 28 1920
  • SS President Grant (from Danzig) – February 16, 1921
  • SS Latvia  – August 17, 1922

 Links to the Ship Manifests

http://bit.ly/rlVaaQ  SS Princess Matoika from Danzig in 1920 [more dates than shown above] 4253 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/p3ViM2 SS Pocahontas from Danzig  in 1920 [please note the ship name is P-O-C-A-H-O-N-T-A-S. It was misspelled on the PGSA.org website].   4199 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/nwYwsx SAT Mercury from Danzig June 1920.  2074 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/n6YRot SS Antigone from Danzig April 1920. 1628 Returning Troops

http://goo.gl/F48dg5 SS President Grant from Danzig February1921. ~1900 Returning Troops3

http://bit.ly/pGwQa5 SS Latvia from Danzig  August 1922. 1517 Returning Troops

Returning passage – Payment of passage was split between the Polish and United States Governments. [see column 16] on ship manifest. It appears some soldiers returned with wives and children too [so those numbers above are not all soldiers].

One more connection. Similar to  the VFW for US veterans, there is a Polish-American organization in NYC called POLISH ARMY VETERANS ASSOCIATION2

They (PAVA  or SWAP) have genealogical data from their membership forms. According to Dr Valasek, the membership application for the association has the usual, date, place of birth, current address, and occupation; It also had something most descendants of Hallerczycy desperately want to know:  the unit in which the man fought, and his rank upon leaving the army. There is also the identification of which post the soldier joined.  Each post has its own history, as well as photos, banquet books, anniversary booklets, etc. All valuable adjuncts to your research once you identify the correct post, (or, as it’s known in Polish, placówka). There is also a question on the form, Do jakich organizacji należy? , to what organizations does he belong. More avenues for research.

Fallen Soldiers

In any war, there are casualties. Haller’s Army is no different. Stanczyk likes this Polish Genealogical Society (http://genealodzy.pl/name-Straty.phtml) named aptly, The Polish Genealogical Society. They have many databases, but they have search front-ends for two related to Haller’s Army. The one from the link above is for:  List of Casualties of the Polish Army, killed in action or died from wounds from the years 1918-1920.

With this link I was finally able to determine that one of my ancestors who was in America up through the 1910 census, but was missing from the 1920/1930 censuses, whom I had previously thought had returned to Poland — had really died while serving in Haller’s Army. I found his Haller’s Army Forms at PGSA and then from this Polish website I found a scanned image of a Polish book listing his name, date/place of death.

Soldier Benefits

Some soldiers who came to America who served in Haller’s Army, earned benefits from the new Polish nation. I have seen land grants awarded (not to my ancestors). They often had to be contacted through the Polish Consulates in America. This leads to my final recommendation — using Historical Polish Language Newspapers from that era to find out about your soldier. The newspaper may write about the returning units in a story and possibly a picture. I have also seen that the Polish Consulate took out listings in the newspaper and referred to Haller’s Army veterans they were seeking to inform them of their veteran benefits. See my Dziennik Polski (Detroit) page at the top menu-tabs for an example what these Polish Consulate ads might look like.

Let me finish today’s article by mentioning Dr. Paul S. Valasek’s book on the subject matter: Haller’s Polish Army in France http://www.amazon.com/Hallers-Polish-Army-France-Valasek/dp/0977975703 and also another book entitled: Remembrance http://www.hallersarmy.com/store/Remembrance.php. written by Charles Casimer Krawczyk.

Tomorrow … Haller’s Army in My Family Tree

–Stanczyk

Notes:

1=Polish Falcons History page . Paul Valasek says the number is above 24,000. The wikipedia says the number is 23,000.

2=PAVA,   address: 119 East 15th Street,  New York,  NY 10003   –   e-mail:  <info@pava-swap.org>,  telephone:  212-358-0306

3= The addition of the President Grant came about from a Newspaper Article mentioned by Daniel Wolinski. A picture of the article has been appended after these notes.

FortDixNJ_HallersArmy_Returnees_1921

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