Welcome to my Polish blog! My Polish great grandpa was orphaned during the Chicago flu epidemic of 1918 & spent his life looking for all of his siblings. Some family stayed in Chicago & some returned to Poland. Some family was Catholic, & some are believed to be Jewish. I post the things I learn in efforts it may help someone else in their research. I also hope this blog helps me connect with others that know about the people I'm learning about. Digital images of records or links are put inside most postings so you can view records full screen. I encourage comments. Feel free to sign the guestbook, stating who you're looking for. Maybe we can all help each other out this way, because there are many challenges with Polish research. I hope you enjoy learning with me. And I hope to be taught more about my Polish heritage.
I have added a few languages to this blog through Google translate. I hope that it may be accurate enough with the communication of ideas.
Thanks! -Julie

Witam! (Polish translation of Welcome)

Witam w moim polskim blogu! Mój pradziadek został osierocony w czasie epidemii grypy w 1918 roku i spędził wiele lat poszukując swojego rodzeństwa. Część rodziny pozostała w Chicago a część wróciła do Polski. Część rodziny była katolikami a część, jak przypuszczam, wyznania mojżeszowego. Piszę w moim blogu o rzeczach które odkrywam i o których dowiaduję się mając nadzieję, że pomogą one wszystkim zainteresowanym w ich własnych poszukiwaniach. Wierzę, że ten blog pomoże mi w skontaktowaniu się z ludźmi którzy wiedzą coś na temat osób ktorych poszukuję. Zdjęcia cyfrowe lub linki umieszczone są w większości moich komentarzy i artykułów, można więc otworzyć je na cały ekran. Gorąco zachęcam do komentarzy. Proszę wpisać się do księgi gości i podać kogo Państwo szukacie. Może będziemy mogli pomóc sobie nawzajem, ponieważ nie jest łatwo znaleźć dane których szukamy. Mam nadzieję, że zainteresuje Państwa odkrywanie ze mną tajemnic przeszłości. Mam rówież nadzieję poznać lepiej moje polskie dziedzictwo.

Dodałam do mojego blogu automatyczne tłumaczenia poprzez Google. Ufam, że będą wystarczające w zrozumieniu o czym jest mowa w artykułach i komentarzach.

Dziękuję! - Julie

Kliknij na flagę, aby zobaczyć w języku polskim

Google Translate

29 August 2010

Auschwitz-Jewish and Catholic records available on-line

I find it challenging to try to find out if some of my ancestors were Jewish or Catholic. I have read stories about Christian-Jewish marriages. Not easy or popular, but it did happen. I find a record, yet it still doesn't tell me which religion they were. I found surnames like Mazurkiewicz and Wandzels in holocaust databases. Yet these names are also in Catholic parish records. Now I think I know the biggest source of my confusion. My discovery, is that being in a concentration camp didn't necessarily mean they were Jewish. And I don't mean someone who might have been considered a political threat or who protected Jews. I already knew those people were in camps.

I told a friend that I haven't found any Sanetras in holocaust or concentration camp records, but I know these records are just starting to go online. He sent me this link to Auschwitz records. I don't know who these Sanetras are yet. But the name Sanetra is not very common, and they lived near my Sanetras. My first reaction was shock. I was stunned at how many Catholics were in Auschwitz! This list (60 thousand) was about half Catholics and half Jews. I never knew it was like that. When I asked other people if they knew it was this bad, (this many Polish Catholics in addition to Polish Jews were killed), they were stunned like I was. I just had no idea the Poles were targeted this severely!  I asked a Polish friend some questions, and she was surprised we didn't know. So today, I write about what I learned this week, in the hopes we may go learn more history and know this part of our history a little better.

I knew that besides Jewish, there were others in the concentration camps, like: gypsies, Russians, and anyone deemed a political threat. Then I wondered, how was it "justified" on paper if they weren't Jewish? Was everyone not Jewish (in Auschwitz) labeled as a political threat? Were Poles targeted because Poland had been a haven to Jews for hundreds of years? I know we can't really understand the insanity of those who murdered millions of people. I was thinking in terms of record keeping, but even that is beyond what I can comprehend.

Wikipedia states 146,000 non-Jewish Poles  were estimated to have died in Auschwitz. Wiki also quotes:
German Nazi planners had in November 1939 called for "the complete destruction" of all Poles. "All Poles", Heinrich Himmler swore, "will disappear from the world". 
It then went on to say that about 3-4 million Polish would be left in Poland to serve as slaves to the Germans. Nazi planners even wanted to kill people who spoke the Polish language. It also said that all Polish (and other Slavic nations) were deemed "non Aryan" by Nazis. Wiki articles went on to say German planners decided not to target Poles to the same scale as Jews because of timing, and possible complications in the future, such as reckoning with neighboring countries. The footnote source for this information was given as: Gellately, Robert (2001). Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press. pp. 153–154.

There are now four places I've seen records for Auschwitz, and they're all a little different. The Auschwitz foundation page explains that when Nazi's knew the troops were coming, they started mass destroying records. But multiple records were kept. The Auschwitz Foundation is collecting any record relevant to Auschwitz. They have received other records for other concentration camps in this process. The foundation is working on a way to archive and make those records accessible too.

1) Here is the link I was sent, where I first realized how many Catholics were there too. (Orthodox and Roman Catholic notated). This link is set to the "S" page, for a Sanetra search. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see the alphabet and go to other surnames. This database is about people who died at Auschwitz, with a death certificate issued by camp doctors.  (free record search)

2)  My friend sent me this link to the Auschwitz foundation page. http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/
The site is available in Polish and English. (free record search) This site lists birth, marriage and death information in "the prisoner search" database. There are informational pages on collections, preservation, restorations, goals and finances. It is a well done site that I highly recommend reading through. There is a page about Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton pledging 15 million dollars on the behalf of the United States and encouraging other countries to do so (last month). Art work done secretly by prisoners is posted on this site. The thing I thought most impressive, is that they stated the reason for doing this was to preserve the concentration camp and records. As proof that it happened, so it can never happen again. I was so impressed reading how extensive the preservation efforts were. I believe that a worldwide interest in preserving history and records is so important and so awesome!

3) Footnote.com has 12 holocaust databases. (subscription paid for records) There are also some amazing historical documents about the camps. Including pictures of a camp Hitler had set up for propaganda. Pictures were staged and taken. Then sent out to show how the Jews were being "cared for". One of the databases are War Crimes Records. Here is my Jan Wandzel image I got from Footnote.com. (click on it, to view full screen).

4) Ancestry.com (subscription site) contains 18 holocaust databases. There are 45 Jewish databases on Ancestry.com. Including these 5 databases for Poland listed as free: Jewish birth, death and marriage collections. The Bedzin Jewish Census of 1939, and Jewish Survivors from the Keilce district 1945. All of the non-United States Jewish databases are listed as free. Ancestry.com's site says this information is all free, in cooperation/partnership with the Jewish Gen site.

If you have relatives that you can't find any family information about, and they were in Poland during WWII, I highly recommend checking these records. No matter the race, age, or ethnicity. Then remember to check back again periodically. These records are just at the beginning of being released online. Right now, records available are counted in the thousands. But millions of people will be accounted for with these records.

22 August 2010

2 family pictures: Lugwig Sanetra's wedding picture and an unknown family picture from Ludwig's family

A continuation and update of postings 26 Feb 2009 and 14 Jun 2009. Or click on Ludwig Sanetra tag.

I am thankful that Dirk Varnholt saw my blog this week, and identified this picture on my blog that I had titled "unknown Sanetra wedding picture". He identified the people in this picture as part of his family, and the picture as the wedding of Caroline Strzawi and Ludwig Sanetra. These pictures come from his family, and we somehow got a copy. There was Polish and German writing on the back of the picture, which actually identified the people in the picture. I did not understand the writing, because I only know English. I am very grateful to know who's wedding picture this is. Dirk and I are both searching for people who know about Ludwig's family. Like my Sanetra family, his family was separated during the war. He is trying to figure out who his relatives and ancestors are. We hope to find the relationship between Adam Sanetra and Ludwig Sanetra. If you know of this Sanetra family (or any other Sanetra family), please contact me. Comparing some information with Dirk, we know a little about Ludwig's family. I write this information, in hopes someone may recognize it. Ludwig Sanetra's siblings were separated.We know from some records that they were born in Zywiec, Poland. Some family went to Germany, some to Hungary, some to the United States, and some to the Czech Republic.

Ludwig had a sister name Franciszka Sanetra that married Karol Nasluchasz. He also had a sister named Marianne (Dirk's family) who married a Mr. Stachon. Franciszka and Ludwig immigrated to the United States.  They each married in Chicago. Marianne remained in Europe. Ludwig, Franciszka and Marianne were the children of Jozef Sanetra and Regina Wojcik.They may have had more children.
The picture on the left and right of this paragraph are  Ludwig Sanetra and Karoline Strzawi's marriage picture. Ludwig is also written on records as Ludwik or Louis Sanetra.

We wonder if this next picture could be Ludwig, his sister, her husband and a brother? We are also wondering if Micheal Sanetra that was in Chicago may be related. The Michael Sanetra in Chicago married Stella V. Mathuszewska and had 8 children that I know of. There was a Michael Sanetra who was the godfather to Agnes Sanetra, (Marianne Sanetra's daughter). Does anyone from the Micheal and Stella Sanetra family know if Michael was part of this family and was he the same Michael who was godfather to Agnes Sanetra? Also, does anyone from the Michael Sanetra family know if anyone in this family picture has a family resemblance to the Michael Sanetra in Chicago?

If you know of any other siblings of Ludwig, please email me or sign my guest book. If you know anything about the Ludwig or Michael Sanetra families in Chicago, or anything about these pictures, please email me or sign my guestbook.Thanks!

07 August 2010

Adam Sanetra and Alfreda Mazurkiewicz marriage record

This is Adam Sanetra married to his second wife Alfreda Mazurkiewicz. This picture is believed to be taken when they married.

04 August 2010

Marianna Klosak married Jozef Wojtas-their family (And John Wojtas family)

Note: see posting 22 Feb 09 or tag "Wojtas"
I found on the PGSA website today, that Marianna Klosak married Joseph Wojtas in 1910 in Minneapolis. And Marianna had her first child, Anna in 1910. This census entry was enumerated 25 Apr 1910, see (22 Feb 09 posting) . I would expect that to be married and have a child in the same year, that Marianna and Joseph married the early part of the year, and had the baby Anna later in the year. So I don't think the 1910 Census I found, could be right for my Marianna who traveled as Bronislawa Sanetra's aunt in 1911, because of the marriage and baby in 1910. So instead of being Marianna Klosak on the 1910 Census, I now expect to see her listed as Marianna Wojtas, newly married. But this also means Marianna would have left a young baby to go get Bronislawa Sanetra from Poland. This Marianna Klosak on the 1910 Census is the right age, and has the right father's name, Joseph Klosak. There is a single Mary Wojtas in 1910, and that is her maiden name. That's all I've been able to find in Minnesota so far. So I don't think I'm seeing the right Maryanna on the Census yet. On the PGSA Minnesota birth records database, there two men the same age showing up with the surname Wojtas in Minneapolis. Several Wojtas families are in Chicago, but we know our Wojtas were in Minneapolis. It is John and Joseph Wojtas. Possibly brothers? They both married a Mary. But it seems our lady seems to stay consistently Marianna, except on her death certificate it is shortened to Mary. I spent some time tracking the two men on City Directies, familysearch pilot record search page, looking on the 1910 and 1920 Census, and the PGSA site. For Joseph Wojtas and Marriana there were these children listed: Anna 1910, Rosalie 1913, and Caroline 1915. For John and Mary Wojtas (married 1913) there was Anna 1913, Stella 1915, Joseph 1921, and Robert Edward 1925.
see this link on PGSA site. Type in "Wojtas" and select "start with", instead of "exact".  This is the Minnesota Births database: http://pgsa.org/polmarindex/RysBir.php
(Click on image to view full screen.) It says Joe Wojtas has 4 children. My big question is, did they have another child not on this Minnesota birth index? Or are they counting Bronislawa Sanetra as their fourth child? I really wish I could find them on the Census. I manually looked up the 222nd Ave NE address on the 1920 Census, and they were not at that address. I have the following addresses for Joe, Jozef or Joseph Wojtas, all in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

1911 February-When Bessie & Marianna immigrate, on Ellis Island, Jozef Wojtas is listed as 222 3rd Ave
1915 Minneapolis City Directory: Joseph Wojtas, porter, r 216 3d Ave NE
1917 Minneapolis City Directory: Joseph Wojtas, lab r 222 3rd Ave NE
1917 WWI draft card, gives address as  r 222 3rd Ave NE
(No Joseph Wojtas on the 1919, 1921, or 1922 directories)
1923 Maryanna's death certificate, gives the address as 813 Marshall St NE
1964 Joseph's death certificate, gives address as 15 Growland Terrace, Minneapolis

Note, John Wojtas was on the 1920 Census and several Minneapolis City Directories at the address of: 965 Central Ave.