Fold3 has a useful Infographic …
Do not forget Polish-American vets of Haller’s Army were World War I
… A Muse — ing
Fold3 has a useful Infographic …
Do not forget Polish-American vets of Haller’s Army were World War I
Born: 16-OCT-1892, Stopnica, Kieleckie Gubernia, Poland (Russian-Poland partition); Akt #268 in Stopnica 1892 Births
Arrival: 28 May 1910, Age: 17; from his father Leon Pieszczohowicz in Busko, Kielce to his uncle Jan Pieszczohowicz in West Seneca, NJ on SS Kroonland
WWI Draft: 1917
Petition For Naturalization (Granted): 2-October-1918
Discharged From Military Duty: 21-December-1918
Edward gets his citizenship while he is still in the Army (Camp Zachary Taylor, KY)! Notice he did not need to file a Declaration Of Intent – another benefit of serving in the military.
We are an immigrant nation and multicultural, diverse melting pot of people. So from the beginning we controlled the process of who is a citizen with full rights that accrue from being an American.
Citizenship & Naturalization —
Somewhere along the way, the USA developed a tradition of rewarding service in the defense of this nation with easy citizenship. So after almost every war, we amended our laws to allow the citizen-soldier a fast track to citizenship.
Military Naturalization –
Next … Losing Your Citizenship.
Nine days ago, on August 23rd, 1939, Nazi Germany & Soviet Russia signed a Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, formally known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. This was a foreshadow to war. If you were expecting a Labor Day blog then you are mistaken; Not this year. It has been exactly 75 years since World War II began with the invasion of Poland.
The 20th Century’s most heinous death sprees: World War II, The Holocaust, The Korean War and The Cold War are an era when between 30 Million-nearly 100 Million were killed, some genocidally. Truly a century of madness.
But it started with the fifth partition of Poland. FIVE ??? Yes, I said five partitions. The first three partitions (zabiory) in 1772, 1793, 1795 were by: Prussia, Austria, and Russia. These are the reason we see: Ger-Poland, Rus-Poland or Aus-Poland in the US Census during the Great Migration era 1870-1920. This jester likens Napoleon’s Duchy of Warsaw as the 4th partition (1807-1815). So when the Nazis and Soviets invade Poland in 1939 to form the General Government, with its Districts: Warsaw, Radom Lublin, and Krakow (2 years hence, 1941 with Operation Barbarosa, also Galicia) we arrive at the fifth partition.
Stanczyk, mentions those 4 or 5 Districts (Distrikts) as they are important to interpret the administrative hierarchy for the vital records between 1939-1945. It was the same in the prior four partitions of Poland that administrative hierarchy changes occurred.
The largest civil administrative division, what Americans might think of as Province/State was variously known, depending on partition as: Provinz/Kreis, Wojewodztwo, Gubernia, Departament and Distrikt. Knowing the civil administrative hierarchy is important in locating your ancestor’s village.
Let’s hope that Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the support of the Russian Rebels in Ukraine and the Syrian Civil War giving rise to the fascist Islamic State is not the beginning of the 21st century of madness. Think !
Dateline 02-JAN-1943 — Stanczyk was doing some newspaper research for my family tree residents that resided in Ohio, Lucas County, Toledo. On 01-JANUARY-1943 Vincent Eliasz died. From my visit to Calvary Cemetery in Toledo and speaking with one of the caretakers (Bruce) who was very kind to me in search of my ancestors who were buried there that I wanted to pay my respects to. He opened the cemetery’s old books and showed me the info on my relatives; One of whom was Vincent Eliasz. So I knew that Vincent Eliasz died on Stomach Cancer on January 1st of 1943.
So I was searching Google’s History Newspaper Archive for the Toledo Blade in 1943. I did find Vincent’s death notice — it was helpful at documenting relationships and locales of siblings. But I could not help but notice something else. Of course, in January 1943 , we are 13 months into the USA’s involvement in World War II. So I was fascinated by the pictures and names of the local servicemen posted in the paper. The image at the top is the top half of page 10, Toledo Blade newspaper of 02-JAN-1943 (Saturday). Perhaps one of these men are related to you. Here is the rollcall of these men whose picture was in the newspaper that day:
B.W. Beaverson, R.L. Cole, Edward White, C.J. Schultz, R.G. Musser,
John h. Schaub Jr., Paul Beecher, Roland Cordrey, Danny Malecki, A.F. Rutter,
Sam Maccabee, R.L. Powell, E.S. Gallon, Robert Lewis, C.C. Kirbey,
Herbert J. Hall, age 25 was just married and returning back to his aircraft carrier in Midway!
The Death Notices & Birth Notices were also on this page. Under the Births let me list two:
Mr & Mrs Clement Plenzler of 1019 Brookley had a boy on Friday [which would be 1/1/1943]
Mr & Mrs Robert Nadolny of 643 Junction had a girl on Friday.
* Click on the picture to go directly to the Google Newspaper Archive page *
Stanczyk has just come to realize that my Polish-American ancestors had such a love for their old country that they found many ways to serve.
Dateline 28-July-1914 — The world went mad again. I am reminded of this century mark in 2014, just five days before the solemn memorial date. In the USA we call it World War I. Obviously there had been other multi-national conflicts dating back at least to the time of the American War For Independence. It is now a century since that fateful day that World War I started. America maintained its neutrality, indeed it was in a period of isolationism. But the Old World does not leave the New World apart and isolated from the Old World. The USA did not enter the war until April 6, 1917. Wilson was unable to rustle the sleeping giant from its slumber and engage in this World War. Not until when a German U-boat sank the British liner Lusitania in 1915, with 128 Americans aboard did we begin to waken from our stupor and our anger rouse us to action. Still something kept us restive for many months more.
So when Russian and/or Russian-Rebels in Ukraine, shot down the Malaysian MH17 airplane on 17 July 2014. Nearly a hundred years to the day! The parallel was not lost on Americans. Many pondered is this it? Are we going to start World War III? How horrific to even write those words, “World War III” — may it never be so. To see those thugs in Eastern Ukraine gleefully pick among the dead and steal their watches or credit cards and then ignore the dead??? Quelle horreur ! If there had been 128 Americans on MH17 like there were upon the Lusitania who knows what may have happened. Still 298 people died in an act of murder. The only thing more sickening to the commission of the murders is to watch the loathsome Russian-speaking thugs in that part of the world try to propagandize the incident and frame innocent people for THEIR crime.
Dear Diary, I have to say that when I hear Russian-speaking thugs say the plane that they shot down was filled with dead people beforehand or that MH17 was the missing MH370 (which was lost over Indian Ocean) was also a further disgusting phlegm spewed by these Russian-speaking thugs who had bragged upon the Russian-Facebook they shot down a Ukrainian cargo plane only to delete their Russian Tweet (on VK [originally VKontakte, Russian: ВКонтакте]) when they realized it was a Dutch filled Malaysian civilian airplane on its way to Kuala Lumpur and then summarily deleted their tweet little realizing it had been saved by media watchers. The EU slumbers while the Russian bear lumbers. Now it is not America who needs to be awakened.
A while ago I wrote about finding another ship manifest about returning Haller’s Army vets returning from World War I. This was a Canadian ship manifest. Like the Poles in America, the French-Speaking Canadians too wished to serve before Canada entered the war (for France). So a Canadian ship was bringing back some Haller’s Army vets with their own Canadian vets who served in France for the French.
It was a short time afterwards that this jester found a Canadian World War I Draft registration for a John Leszczynski [name badly butchered multiple ways]. In fact, I would not have recognized it was one of my own had it not made a reference to a nearest relative living at 417 E. Webber St, Toledo, Ohio. That was an address of another of my great-grandfather’s grandsons. Later on I found a 1916 Toledo City Directory that said John Leszczynski lived at that same address too.
So in my family I had USA ancestors fighting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916, a few Haller’s Army Volunteers who served in France and one in Poland after 1918. I also had some American Army draftees too! So in fact, my family served in three different armies in World War I while being USA residents (soon to be citizens). They served in Canada and the USA and in France for Poland and then in Poland for Poland to fight in the Polish-Russian Border War (1918-1921) settled by the Treaty of Riga. Three Armies, Four countries, Two Wars. My beloved ancestors, so loved their old country, Poland that they found ways to serve it in the war. They served before the USA entered the war, they served after the USA entered the war and they served after the USA left the World War to serve Poland in its fight against the Bolsheviks.
Those men loved Europe, enough to leave the safety of their American homes to return to the Old World and fight for their beloved old country (and/or their new country). I leave this history lesson for the EU to learn from. These men, those who lived, came home to the USA, became citizens and helped build this great nation.
Remember history; So you recognize it when you’re repeating it!
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
Geneteka.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:
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:
Now we have a complete picture of our Polish ancestor by the mash-up of websites:
Recently, while Stanczyk was on Twitter, I saw that Logan Kleinwak (Genealogy Indexer / @gindexer) was again busy, very busy. Perhaps you do not remember that his website: http://genealogyindexer.org , publishes Historical Directories, Yizkor Books, Military Lists, etc.
What I noticed besides he was very busy indexing things and putting them online for searches is two things:
I do not mention his excellent little piece of code to implement a keyboard for implementing whatever language’s special characters that are a might difficult to type on American keyboards. That I posted about before.
The Collection I searched was “Directories” and I saw:
Obviously this is the Gubernia of my paternal ancestors. So I was excited and I knew it was in Russian (i.e. Cyrillic characters) — a challenge. AH, … now we see the need for the 2nd thoughtful feature, ‘Add Latin->Cyrillic’. This feature automatically adds the equivalent Cyrillic characters to the Latin characters you are searching for, in order to locate the equivalent, transliterated string in the Russian Directories. That is well thought out! Indeed Genius!
So my thanks to Logan for his fine piece of programming and history/genealogy indexing that he has done. If you have not done so, you owe it to yourself and your research to check out Genealogy Indexer. Add it to your social network (Facebook and Twitter) and bookmark the website in your browser.
03-May-2012 — Genealogy Indexer – Logan Kleinwak
28 Feb 2012 — Dying for Diacriticals – Beyond ASCII
15 Jun 2011 — Polish Genealogy – Useful Websites …
Dateline 06-April-2014 — Stanczyk has found many of my great-grandfather’s grandsons came to the USA. Tomasz Leszczynski was good for this country. More of his children (sons & daughters) came to the USA and more grandsons came to the USA than I had previously known. You see my great-grandfather, Tomasz Leszczynski had 16 children by two wives from the years 1857 … 1902, across 45 years his two wives bore him 16 children. Even more amazing, only three of my great-grandfather’s children had perished before my grandmother herself was born (the eldest child of the second wife). It should be noted that routinely 25%-50% of the children in that locale, in those years died before puberty. Sometimes the ratio was higher still such as in times epidemics (i.e. cholera). Even more amazing, all of my great-grandfather’s children with his second wife, Aniela Major Leszczynska, survived including my grandmother – whose grandson pens these family stories and recalls these times from before the US Civil War until the present. God had certainly blessed Tomasz Leszczynski and Tomasz’s years were numbered to 104 years of age. All agree in the USA as to the length of his lifespan across the many families descended from this one man. Alas, the great lifespan has been a hinderance to me (his great-grandson) who tries to write the family history and I have not yet found the year of his birth, the year/place of his first marriage (to Julianna Kordos Leszczynska) and I have not found his death date/place either. The 104 year span covered from about 1832-1945 — yes, yes, I know that span is 113 years. But you see I do not know which 104 year span in that range is the life span of Tomasz Leszczynski. I hope to visit Poland and gather his death certificate and put certainty to the end of his lifespan and put an anchor in the estimate of the year of his birth. I now have a very good timeline of info about my great-grandfather’s life and the whereabouts of his children and most of his grandchildren too.
That over long pre-amble is to note that GenBaza with their online database: metryki.genbaza.pl that I have written so often of in 2014 has been a great source for my family heritage and I owe a debt of gratitude to genebaza.pl and genealodzy.pl too. It is from this database that I have located many of my great-grandfather’s children getting married and having children of their own! It is from this and my meticulous recording of these facts in my family tree on Ancestry.com that I have located new records in the USA of my great-grandfather’s descendants. I had no idea. I assume that my Polish-American heritage is similar to the vast majority of Polish-Americans. My family arrived, mostly at Ellis Island, and they originally put down roots for their American families in the Great-Lake States of the USA: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan dominate, although I have seen bits and pieces in Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota too! Now a days the family has migrated further in the USA and I will not attempt to enumerate all of the states — suffice it to say that we stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Now we approach the point of this blog article. I have been busy with the Immigration records in Ancestry.com after recording the new finds from GenBaza.pl and was surprised by how many of my great-grandfather’s line had left Poland. This surprise led to a lot of scanning ship manifests for the the somewhat common name: Leszczynski.
Well I landed on a ship manifest of a French Ship landing in New York City. The year was 1919 and I did not giver any particular credence to the year other than I could expect more details in the ship manifests (than say those ship manifests from 1906 and earlier). So as I was reading for a possible ancestor, I noted that a good many men had fought in the Polish Army (or the French Army) and that the majority were Polish names. So it is my assertion that I have discovered a new ship with only a scattering of returning Haller’s Army personnel (listed as both Polish Army and/or French Army). Only a handful of pages, although I am sure there were a good bit more manifests with only one or two soldiers listed among the 30 passengers per page. But below you will find four pages that were almost all or mostly all returning soldiers from WWI.
The late date is not unusual for Polish veterans as many in Haller’s Army stayed past the end of WWI and continued the fight against the Bolsheviks of Russia in the aftermath of WWI. I also learned something new. I had known that the Polish-Americans who signed up to fight in French-Army under General Jozef Haller had trained in Canada. But I had never considered that a good many French-Canadians had trained in Canada too to fight in the French Army. There are a sprinkling of these French-Canadians mixed in too. These French-Canadian soldiers are “In Transit” as they are continuing on to Canada.
Here are the brief details of this new ship delivering Haller’s Army and possibly a few just French Army who may or may not have served under Jozef Haller:
SS: La Tourane Port: La Havre Arrival Date: 25-APRIL-1919
URLS [require Ancestry.com access]:
25 Apr 2013 – The Last Pandemic … 1918 — #Genealogy, #Polish, #War
13, 14, 17 Aug 2011 – [3 parts series on Haller’s Army & the Transport Ships] – Returning Soldiers
NOTE: In the three part series, I have posted the link to middle article which had the other transport ships previously known. You can go forward/backward from the middle article to see the other two articles in series.
Yesterday’s (1st July 2013) Philadelphia Inquirer [go to your local library] had a reproduction of their newspaper from 1863 commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
This is running now along with the Welcome America Festival in Philly. There are Civil War reenactments this week in Gettysburg.
Happy Fourth of July!
Stanczyk loves the history of our nation (USA). The U.S. history is much younger than our European ancestral villages. But, in 2013, we will celebrate and remember the Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3rd, 1863 on its 150th anniversary.
Philadelphia is the cradle of American Civilization. During the Fourth of July Celebration (Welcome America), in addition to the normal July 4th celebrations, there will be additional events this year, the 150th after the battle of Gettysburg.
Philadelphia ‘a living monument’ to the Civil War [Philadelphia Inquirer article]
There are so many historical and genealogical things to experience beyond the fireworks & concerts:
JERUSALEM (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 …
An excellent piece detailing how European Jews fought against the Nazis in the Allied Forces.
week ago Stanczyk wrote about Cholera and its 5th Pandemic. This week I was searching for ‘Status Animarum‘ (Latin for ‘State of the Souls’). That is a type of church census. Often these censuses include three generations. I stopped in a list of Google results. I stopped for Cleveland’s St. Stanislaus’ 1918 Status Animarum.
Now Stanczyk has a branch of the family in Cleveland and at the St Stanislaus parish. 1918 was the tail end of World War I. It was also the main year of the last epidemic, … the flu, sometime called the Spanish Flu. More people died from the flu than from the war. Pestilence won again. I am sure war had something to do with the pestilence and people weakened immune systems.
World War I was different then almost all other wars in US history. We had citizens training and fighting in two armies against a common enemy. You had Polish-Americans serving in the US Army and you had Polish Americans serving in the French colors (Blue Army), Polish-led (General Haller), Canadian-trained, with men from the USA who were Polish ethnically. So a world war and pestilence both ran amok.
This Status Animarum was not the kind like in European parishes that listed two-three family generations and their home, census-like. This was a Status Animarum Report — summarized at the parish level …
Blessedly, with about one thousand men serving in the military (3/4 USA, 1/4 Polish) and the Flu Pandemic, only 18 men had died!
Statistically, Cleveland’s St. Stanislaus had lucked out. The other statistic, 25% of the men served in Haller’s Army (aka the Blue Army). This device allowed the US men to have a presence in the World War, before the USA was ready … emotionally to end its isolationism and enter the war itself. I wonder if this percentage held true in all Polish parishes in the USA?
What desperate times were those? And yet, is today not like a hundred years ago? We shall see. It has been nearly a century since the last pandemic. Will the Chinese bird-flu be the next pandemic? Time will tell. Certainly, there is plenty of warfare about the globe and plenty of sabre rattling.
is a big fan of Jan III Sobieski. Today’s meme, a continuing meme in this blog came about because Valerie Warunek had posted about Digital Library of Polish and Poland Related News Pamplets. That mention of a new library launched me on another research adventure. When I was looking up other things in Leszno, for Hyam Salomon, I found a Latin text related to Jan Sobieski. This jester loves Jan Sobieski’s letters, particularly those to his beloved wife. This document recounted his victory of 1673 of the Battle of Chocim and was a missive to the pope. This would be a pattern for King Jan III ‘s future battles — letters before and after battle. After the battle, a missive was sent to the pope. King Jan III was a good Catholic monarch.
He claimed the Triumphant Crown in the Name of Poland and the Polish Eagle.
My Latin is not sufficient to render the phrase to the left (I see Polish Eagle = Aquila Polona). But it was signed the Dragon.
Hmmm. Interesting. I know the Transylvanians aided Jan III Sobieski. But I am supposing this is a reference to the Order of the Dragon, a monarchic chivalric order meant to defend Europe’s Christians (from the Ottoman Empire). This battle is a good 100 years after Vlad Tepes (“The Impaler”) aka known as Dracula, son of the Dragon (Vlad II). Vlad II was a member of the Order of the Dragon, but his son Vlad Tepes was not a member of the order. So my thesis is that Jan III Sobieski was a member of the monarchic Order or the Dragon. Note that Wladyslaw II (Jagiellonian dynasty — possible Columbus grandfather) was also a member. So perhaps there was a strong connection of this chivalric order to the kings of Poland.
So here are a list of (source: Wikipedia) …
A few days ago Stanczyk put forth his framework for discussing Polish genealogy, by enumerating the various eras of the many territories that had ever come under the aegis of a Polish nation of some kind of government. This blog tends to a focus upon “Polish” genealogy … in the greater ecumenical, greater geographic and greater ethnicity sense. As I said, when you start upon Polish genealogy, “they” always say you need to learn about the three partitions of Poland. “They” mean the partitions imposed by the neighboring empires: Prussia, Austria, and Russia in the years, 1772, 1793, and 1795.
Over the years the phrase, “The Fourth Partition” has come to mean any annexation/occupation of Polish territories by outside nations. The years are long and getting longer still day by day. So the Fourth Partition can now be used to mean any of a good many events in history. But today I wanted to speak about Napoleon.
I have written with some fondness on the little, French, coffee drinking Emperor. What I most liked about him (besides the coffee drinking) was the suffrage and enfranchisement that he was able to bring about AND the fact that Codex Napoleon specified in detail how vital records were to be recorded and all of us genealogists benefited from his wisdom. The Emperor had held out the hope of restoring the Polish condition, but alas, he used Poland as his pawn for his own ambitions, so Poland would languish for more than a century longer after Napoleon was ultimately defeated.
However, whilst Napoleon was having his madcap adventure upon the European continent, he inadvertently, partitioned “Poland” a fourth time. As a result of Napoleon’s early military victories, he was able to wrest wide swaths of Polish lands and fashion out a French protectorate, he named, The Duchy of Warsaw (notice he did not call it Poland). He carved this duchy out of territories on which the three Empires: Prussia, Austria, and Russia had previously partitioned three times already. So in effect, Napoleon manifested a Fourth Partition that lasted for the years 1807-1815, until the treaty of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 which broke the Duchy of Warsaw up into the Cracovian Republic and Congess Kingdom of Poland (under the hegemony of the Russian Empire). The CracovianRepublic was an independent city-state and included Krakow and some lands surrounding Krakow and this land was not returned to the Austrian Partition, called Galicia until it was folded into Austrian-Poland’s Galicia Crownland in 1846 after much upheaval in the 31 years of the CracowRepublic’s lifetime.
Stanczyk had never seen a map showing the original three partitions and then juxtaposing the Duchy of Warsaw (less the CracowRepublic) upon those areas. So I took an existing map and created a new map to see what it must have looked like. So today’s blog is about the Fourth Partition (by Napoleon) and the resulting map. This jester would like to mention that the 8 years of the Duchy of Warsaw existence had negated the three Empires’ resolution to never have Poland reappear. Of course, after World War I Poland (2nd Republic) did reappear (and after World War II and in 1989 after throwing off the yoke of the Soviet Union, giving rise to the 3rd Republic). Enjoy the map!
Stanczyk’s blog has a blog roll that includes the talented, Donna Pointkouski’s “What’s Past is Prologue”. Her blog’s title is from Shakespeares’ play, “The Tempest”. Today’s article is NOT a paean to her fine works, nor to Shakespeare really though this jester has a fondness for the bard – I know I’ve said that before.
Ok, get out your Shakespeare’s 1st Folio and follow along. You will not have to flip too far. The Tempest is the first play in the tome. Just do it. Donna’s quote (“What’s Past is Prologue”) comes from Act II, Scene 1 and is said by Antonio. Today’s article is about Act I, Scene I and how that scene appears in another case of life imitating art. Never fear this is an historical tale from Russian Poland …
Dateline – Easter Week 1794. Poland has already been partitioned twice, the second time was just last year (1793) following the War of the Second Partition. The Empress of Russia is Ekaterina (Catherine) the Great. This Tsarina seems to have had a ‘soft spot” for the Polish diplomat and it was her seduction of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, whom she had caused to be installed as the last elected King of Poland that brought us to this day. It was Poniatowski’s duplicity in trying to move Poland closer to his lover’s Russian Empire that led to the Four Year Sejm only the Empress did not want Poland to re-arm nor Poland’s help in suppressing Turkish aggressions. So the Sejm left to itself, enacted the world’s 2nd Democratic Constitution on May 3rd, 1791 which led to the War of the Second Partition and finally the 2nd partition in 1793. Violence begets violence and so we find ourselves here Easter Week 1794.
Tadeusz Kosciuszko emboldened by his success in the American Revolution, leads a successful Insurrection in Krakow, where his heroic charge against the Russian General Tormasov results in the capture of the Russian cannons and defeat for the Russian General and his overly small force. This victory results in the ensuing liberation of Warsaw followed by Wilno. Thereby commencing a killing spree led by a tailor whose name (ironically in English) is Jan Kilinski and also by the Guild of Slaughterers (the fascinating occupations of our ancestors). The Russian Ambassador in Warsaw was able to flee eastward across the Vistula bridges just ahead of the Insurrection.
However, the remainder of the Russian sympathizers who were too slow to follow the Russian Ambassador were summarily tried and hung by the Insurrection Council and/or by angry mobs. Amongst those fleeing, was a certain Hetman named Szymon Kossakowski who was caught trying to escape by boat …
Kossakowski was caught and hanged under the rather literate inscription, “He who swings will not drown.”  .
Now compare that quote to Shakespeare’s text in “The Tempest”, published in the 1st Folio in 1623 (performed prior to that publishing in 1610/1611). Near the end of Act I, Scene I Gonzalo says, “He’ll be hanged yet, though every drop of water swear against it …” . That scene also contained more dialog about the loathsome boatswain being hanged rather than drowning.
Now we have arrived at the point of Stanczyk’s thesis. That Poland’s rebels were literate and familiar with Shakespeare’s Tempest. They cleverly used this paraphrase in proper context and it was directed at Poniatowski and of course the hangings left no doubt what would happen to other Russian sympathizers when caught. How do I come to suppose such a thing?
Poniatowski, despite his flaws was linguistically talented and mastered many languages, including English due to his mentorship in Russia by the British Ambassador, Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams, who was responsible for introducing Poniatowski to the Russian Empress. Poniatowski was so enamored of the bard he erected a statue at Lazienki Palace of Shakespeare ! Poniatowski’s brother, Michal Poniatowski (a Polish Primate) committed suicide rather than meet his fate at the hands of the Insurrection Council. So the Primate knew more certainly than most what Kossakowski’s hanging meant to all Russian sympathizers.
The Insurrection was short lived and was put down by the Catherine the Great and her Russian Generals. This historical story is what led to the third Partition of Poland.
However, it appears 171 years was ample time for the 1st Folio to be transported to Poland, translated to Polish and understood and used in appropriate context during a rebellion. So Stanczyk lays the events of Easter Week 1794 squarely at the foot of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, including the rebels literate scholarship, and the resulting third Partition of Poland which made Poland’s borders (not her people or her culture) disappear for 123 years (1795-1918). Poniatowski had to abdicate in 1795 (at the 3rd Partition) and he died 3 years later … in St Petersburg, Russia.
I’ll have you know that today’s article was inspired by my wife, Tereza. She is reading the above named book by Robert K. Massie and because she knows my interest in and knowledge of matters about Poland and our shared Slavic genealogies, we have had many wonderfully animated conversations about this book she is reading. It was nice for her to hear another viewpoint and for me to be further informed by Massie’s scholarly work. We both recommend the book to biography/history readers. My wife reads the book as Catherine, and Stanczyk pretends he is Potemkin !!!
That is my meme for today.
Most of the Greatest Generation of Americans would be 83 years old or older — my own father is now 85 (center, front Navy man). It is just him and my uncle Ted (back, left Army man) who remain alive now.
How fortunate for my Busia, that her four sons returned to her (in Detroit) alive. My uncle Joe (2nd from left in back Army) was stationed in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor was attacked. My uncle Steve (left-most, front Navy man) joined Joe there in Hawaii briefly for a war time reunion / shore leave.
From 1941 to 1945, receiving a telegram was something to dread. My grand-aunt, Antonina (Toledo) awaited her four sons too. God Bless my family, but eight men returned from the war safely to resume their lives. Alas, for Antonina and her ailing heart, receiving a telegram about one her sons was too much for her sickly heart and though her sons survived the war, she did not survive that telegram bringing news from the war.
In my wife’s family her uncle Milton, a 2nd Lt. in the Army is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (he had survived WWII too). Her own father had finished his service to country in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyards — just two weeks. He died from that service. He contracted mesothelioma (asbestos poisoning) from his final two weeks — but was fortunate enough to raise a family before succumbing 42 years later to this hidden War-time scourge.
Detroit was the Arsenal of Democracy, shifting from cars to tanks/planes. Many people do not realize that population shift that war caused. A Huge migration from the South swelled the population of Detroit as workers were required to keep the factories running 24x7x365. I still remember eating Southern “cuisine” in diners in the greater Detroit area decades after the war.
Back East, the Shipyards were busy building the warships with their armaments. The USS Dixie (AD-14), Tender Destroyer that my own father served on was built right here in Philadelphia (launched on 27 May 1939) — probably in that Navy Ship Yard. A far cry from that 1913 September day that my grandmother arrived in Philadelphia. How funny for a Midwestern boy, that Philadelphia would be where my grandmother arrived, where my father’s WWII ship was made and where I would wind up living and raising a family with my Philly girl.
Before, I started genealogy 15-16 years ago, I did not know my grandmother arrived in Phillly (we thought Ellis Island like my grandfather and so many others). I did not know that ship my father served on was built here. I had not even moved to Philly yet. Destiny draws you to these places and then you discover that the history of your family preceded you. Full circle.
Remember the Day of Infamy (70 years ago) ! Remember 9/11/2001 too, now ten years ago. Family History Marches on.