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Uncle Mietek

  1. Jul 10, 2015 #1

    Borek

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    When I was a kid my Dad told me stories about uncle Mietek – brother of his mom (and my grandmom). Not that he remembered him – uncle Mietek joined Polish Army somewhere in nineteen thirties, went to Military Academy, and was killed in early September, just a few days after the WWII started. Dad was abut three at the time Uncle died, so most of these stories he must have repeated after what he was told by the elders later. Still, uncle Mietek was an iconic part of his childhood and in a way became an iconic part of my childhood too.

    I believe I was told family wasn't aware of where Uncle died, nor where his grave was. They just put a small, symbolic sign mentioning Uncle on the grave of his father. I think I have seen this sign somewhere in seventies or eighties.

    Last year I have spent hundreds of hours browsing archives in a search of my ancestors – suprisingly many documents were scanned and can be seen on the internet. In some cases I traced the lines back to 17th century. However, I wasn't able to find anything on the uncle Mietek – his birth certficate is not yet 100 years old, so it is not public yet, and I couldn't request the certificate through official channels, as technically I am not his descendant. Besides, birth office (or whatever it is called) is swamped with requests and they don't have time to locate people not knowing at least approximate date of birth.

    Then I thought about Red Cross. For sure my grandgrandma was looking for her son, and for sure he was in their records as a sought after. So I wrote a letter to Polish Red Cross, giving them all the data I had. And to be honest, I forgot about it.

    I got a surprising answer on Monday. Not only there are records about the place and date of the uncle death, there is also his grave, an hour and a half drive from Warsaw.

    There are many questions here, and not only I don't know answers, I am the latest living person others will ask looking for answers. I actually already interviewed myself - but nope, sorry, can't help you further. Still, a huge find.

    Dziadkowie_z_Mietkiem.jpg

    Thirties, but precise date unknown. Uncle (in an officer cadet uniform), my grandmom, my granddad.

    wujek_mietek_cemetary.jpg

    Military section of a cemetery in Wola Cyrusowa.

    wujek_mietek_grave.jpg

    Wujek Mietek grave. This is on the opposite side of the alley than the graves on the other picture. Dates given DDMMYYYY style. 36PP - 36th Infantry Regiment, 26 DP - 28th Infantry Division.

    Edit: ppor means podporucznik, the lowest officer rank in the Polish army. According to wikipedia it is more or less equivalent to the Second Lieutenant.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
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  3. Jul 10, 2015 #2

    Bandersnatch

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    Nice job there, detective Borek. Can you tell us where was he killed? In what circumstances?

    The family name is of no relation to the more well known Anders, I presume?
     
  4. Jul 10, 2015 #3

    Borek

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    He died not far from the Wola Cyrusowa where the cemetery is. No idea about the circumstances - all I know is Germans were attacking, and 36PP tried to keep the positions. But that's how most of the September looked like. Next day the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bzura started.

    No relation, just a coincidence.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  5. Jul 10, 2015 #4
    Wow, that's amazing that you tracked him down.

    They had very spiffy uniforms. First time I've seen one.
     
  6. Jul 10, 2015 #5
    Share some?
    :oldsmile:
     
  7. Jul 10, 2015 #6

    Borek

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    Short before a war there was some kind of a military parade on the Wilson Square in Warsaw. My grandparents lived there on the second floor, but their windows and the balcony faced a side street, and it was not possible to see the parade without leaning out. My dad was too small to see anything and uncle Mietek took him in his hands and put him outside of the balcony, so that he could take a look :nb)
     
  8. Jul 10, 2015 #7

    lisab

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    That's a great story! Just 22 years old :frown:.
     
  9. Jul 10, 2015 #8

    Lisa!

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    Yeah, I noticed that too! Too young to die:oldfrown:
     
  10. Jul 10, 2015 #9
    Wow. That's a very moving history.

    Makes me think: What if the world leaders spent more time holding new born babies? We might think of wars fought by large armies, but wars are really fought by individuals. Individual people put their lives on the line, and many have lost their lives. I'm not a pacifist; I think at times war is necessary. But world leaders should always be mindful that every individual who fights in a war has a story. That individual is someone's son, and very likely someone's brother, someone's spouse, someone's relative, someone's friend. Every individual who fights in a war was born of a woman somewhere.

    My wife and I are currently reading a Jeff Shaara book on World War I - "To the Last Man." I have three kids of my own - two girls and a boy. Our boy is 18 months old. The other day when my wife was changing his diaper, she told me, "I'm not doing this so that he can go die in some ditch when he's 25 years old." He's our little boy!

    Like I said, I'm no pacifist - not by any means. But these kinds of personal histories are a great reminder that war is waged by human beings. Each individual is an individual - with a name - with a life - not just a number.

    Thanks for sharing this story with us.
     
  11. Jul 10, 2015 #10

    Borek

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    Actually I wondered who will be the first to notice.
     
  12. Jul 10, 2015 #11

    Mark44

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    I did that calculation when I saw the picture of his marker. Your "uncle" (actually your great-uncle, as he was your father's uncle) was only about a year and half older than my dad, who died in 1997. Unlike Mietek, my dad made it through WW II, and was in France or Belgium when I was born. He didn't see me until I was almost 18 months old.
     
  13. Jul 10, 2015 #12

    Evo

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    Wonderful story Borek, so sad to be so young, and very clever to check with the Red Cross.
     
  14. Jul 10, 2015 #13

    dlgoff

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    So your dad was probably 2 years old then. I wonder how long uncle Mietek held him out there?
     
  15. Jul 10, 2015 #14

    Borek

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    No more than 2 and 9 months, just by looking at dates. And I don't think such a parade was organized in the winter, probably in the summer, or late spring, so not less than 2 and a half.
     
  16. Jul 10, 2015 #15

    jim hardy

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    thread reminds me of a sad, moving , old song, seems apropos

    ,
     
  17. Jul 14, 2015 #16

    Borg

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    I just ran across this today - The Fallen of World War II. It's long but goes into great statistical detail about deaths by country separated by civilian and military deaths. It didn't say it outright but it seems as though Poland suffered the largest percentage of population killed.
     
  18. Jul 18, 2015 #17

    Borek

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    Yes - we do lead in many similar statistics (not in terms of raw numbers). Overall death count is very high for Poland because of the holocaust and the huge Jewish community that lived here, plus Nazi terror killed many civilians (about 250 thousands during two months of Warsaw uprising alone). OTOH our military loses were surprisingly low. There were no conscriptions in Poland between late 1939 and 1944, so only some small part of the population fought.
     
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