Henryk Janusz OLKIEWICZ aka Henryk Chęciński
Thank you to everyone I love
Let the truth always be true.
Let us love all those who deserve love.
Let us give special love to our parents, regardless of whether they are biological.
Man sees all faults and flaws – all but his own.
So let us not look for faults, let us find merit and enjoy the daily life that we have received thanks to those who raised us.
For truth, memory and warning!
I don’t know my roots fully, I try to discover them, recover and understand them.
Understand, because in these roots there are tears, suffering, helplessness, homelessness and regret mixed with the bitterness of undiscovered history, covered with a layer of decades-old Stalinist mud
There is hope in this book, however.
The hope of an “open door” through which the truth of those years will be able to enter.
“Open door …” is for all those who, after reading the book, would like to contribute new threads to the biography of its author.
Also for those who have or had a similar life situation to the author of this story and would like to share their observations on similar matters.
The book was created thanks to the suggestion of Michał Moshe Chęciński, whom I will never match, but it was he who persuaded me to write these materials.
Henryk Janusz Olkiewicz, aka Henryk Janusz Chęciński
Calls (not) ended
An autumn rainy morning of 1999. Wake up with bone breakage and a decision to go to the doctor.
Queue, waiting, finally I’m face to face with a doctor, once a friend of the family.
What bothers you, apart from the visible flu, asked the doctor, who gave me the smell of recently drunk alcohol next to the smell of a freshly put out cigarette.
I am starting to worry about my health, because rheumatism and irregular heartbeat as well, it would be good to do a comprehensive examination of my health. I replied, full of uncertainty, waiting for what the doctor who had treated for several years would tell me.
The doctor first looked at the under-extinguished cigarette, perhaps with regret that she had not been allowed to smoke it completely, and perhaps because it did not serve her as a snack, to a recently swallowed glass of vodka. Then she slowly looked at me and in a flat voice replied that I should look for my diseases in the diseases of my biological parents.
I was speechless. I did not know what to say to such a medical advice and, thinking I did not know what I was looking at, the doctor wrote me prescriptions for my flu ailments.
I left the office very quickly. I don’t know if I said thank you and goodbye.
My mind was racing and my spiritual state was as if I didn’t know what was going on and was fucking a proverbial fool who didn’t understand what was said to him.
It was the first (un) ended conversation. However, it was, as it turned out later, the most important thing in my life.
Contrary to appearances, a visit to a drunk doctor who revealed to me the deepest secret of my family meant that my life was no longer the same as before the medical visit, and my attitude towards the world changed dramatically.
Suddenly, in an instant, I became a seeker for (un) finished conversations.
To this day, however, I do not understand the reasons why the doctor sowed me a seed of uncertainty about my roots, and as a consequence, gave rise to so many unanswered questions, (un) completed conversations. After all, I knew this doctor many years before. She never told me outright, as she did in the fall of 1999, about the fact that I was an adopted child.
Perhaps that conversation with the doctor became the beginning of my search for people who found out about their adoption late or did not know about it at all.
I published such interviews as a journalist in one of the local newspapers where I worked. At that time, these conversations seemed complete, finished. Today, after years enriched with my own experiences, they seem different to me – but (not) finished.
At that time, I asked my interlocutors about their reactions to the fact that they were adopted, which they learned as adults.
The opportunity for such talks was, among others, the fact that twenty pupils leaving orphanages came to the nearby town with the magnificent palace of the Radziwiłł princes at the invitation and on the initiative of Renata Szynalska, Member of the Polish Parliament (SLD). The girls spoke out frankly and openly about the painful themes of staying in orphanages, unsuccessful adoptions, and the late period of learning about their adoption, asking only for anonymity. In many conversations with them, however, the topic of their reluctance to admit to the fact that they were adopted or that they stayed in orphanages was mentioned. They believed that the environment treated them differently, they saw evil in orphanages, and very often people thought that children from orphanages were something bad, not good and different. This is Polish racism in a small-town version, my interlocutors said.
We are just like the others
– We are trying to show that we are the same as others, and by our behavior we show that we are no different from others who grew up in normal families, the participants of the meeting in the Antonin palace told me.
– How are you ‘picked up’ by your peers in the schools you attend?
– Very different. Most often, however, we must sadly say that they treat us as … the worst ” because we come from orphanages. And yet we are no different from other youth. We also want to live in a normal society, we have our dreams that are probably the same as our peers, we also have similar plans and expectations from life in the adult world, which we will soon enter. However, there are also such reactions as pity. This is perhaps the worst feeling we can ever experience.
– How do you respond to this type of reaction?
– We are just trying to show that we are the same as others, and by our behavior we show that we are no different from others who grew up in normal families. In this way, we prove that it is not our fault that we had to be brought up in orphanages.
I have no regrets
During one of the many hours of conversations with girls leaving orphanages, I raised with them the problem of informing adoptive children about their adoption by their adoptive parents. I learned that one of them found out about this fact too late from her adoptive family. She experienced a shock, which resulted in her return to the orphanage.
– When did you find out about the fact that you are the adopted child?
– I found out about it when I was in the seventh grade of primary school. It was an accident. I received a questionnaire at school to be filled in by my adoptive parents whom I considered up to that point as being born. Among other things, there was a question about the number of children in the family. My parents entered two daughters. This surprised me as the three of us were brought up. Then I asked why my parents entered this data in this way? Then they told me that I was an adopted child.
– How did you get through it?
– I cried all night because it was a shock to me. The result was my rebellion against it and my involvement in an unsuitable environment where alcohol, cigarettes, truancy and drugs were the order of the day. Fortunately, I didn’t try drugs. Unfortunately, the problems I started to create overwhelmed my adoptive parents and I had to return to the orphanage.
– Now, being an adult, do you have a grudge against your adoptive parents that you found out about the fact so late and by accident?
– No, I have no regrets, although another fact was also a shock for me. Until the truth was known, I thought I had grown up in a good and upright family. Meanwhile, when I started asking about my biological family, it turned out that I come from a family from the so-called “social margin”.
– Do you know your biological parents?
– Father, no, mother, yes. When I contacted her, she calls me sporadically, from time to time.
– Can you count on her in the future?
– No, I can only count on my adoptive parents.
With Renata Szynalska, organizer of a meeting with girls from orphanages, Member of the Polish Parliament (SLD)
– On TV Polsat, a program titled “Zerwane ties” is presented. One of the participants of the training, as you said earlier, after finding out too late that she was an adopted child, broke down and, due to educational problems, had to leave the adoptive family and return to the orphanage again. Do you think it should be so that many people who come from orphanages and are adopted by adoptive families are not informed by them that they are adopted children?
– Indeed, one of the participants of the training experienced such a breakdown. However, I would not like to comment on this, in the formula when the adoptive child should be informed about the fact of his adoption. I will only say that the Convention on the Rights of the Child says that if an adult, previously adopted, learns about the fact that he was adopted in the past, then orphanages are obliged to provide information to the person concerned about his biological family. I am saying this in the light of the television program you mentioned, in which viewers very often find out that orphanages make it difficult for people who are looking for their biological relatives to access this type of data.
The last sentence is confirmed not only by the history of young teenage girls from orphanages, but also by my history, and similar to mine – people who, being born at the turn of the forties and fifties, cannot, for surely not objective reasons, reach their family roots . This is evidenced by the letters that I received after the broadcasting of the program “whoever saw, whoever knows …” on December 16, 2003 and repeated on January 7, 2004 on Telewizja Polonia.
… with yourself
When I was talking for hours with girls from orphanages and with Renata Szynalska, Member of the Polish Parliament, I did not know yet that obstructing access to my own family roots would also affect me personally. I did not know that only good human will can help me, because official regulations are just dead, unfeeling written words, covered with a multi-centimeter layer of archival dust.
This fact came to me much later. And its effect was and is anger at covering history with the fear of discovering the truth by people associated with it. People who, while alive, prefer to remain silent out of reluctance or fear of responsibility, or to pretend that they do not know anything, although they have become the perpetrators of grief mixed with the bitterness of undiscovered history.
In the past, I often visited the building of the Wrocław Registry Office at Pl. 1 May. For various needs, I collected my shortened birth certificates. However, it never occurred to me in 45 years to download a complete birth certificate. Because and why… I did not even think that apart from the document received so far in the form of a shortened copy, there is a complete copy of the birth certificate. Simply put, none of the offices to which I had to bring them required a full write-off.
This time a nice lady sitting behind the clerk’s window, I asked for a complete copy of my birth certificate. As it turned out, I can get it, but only after a few hours and paying the appropriate fee in tax stamps.
So I had a few hours of waiting to learn the truth about myself, although, oddly enough, I still did not allow myself to think about the fact that I had been adopted in the past, which was suggested to me by my doctor several days earlier.
These were hours of uncertainty for me. Endless questions flashed through my mind, what would happen if the doctor was right, how would I behave in such a situation and what would I do next? Will I try to find out the truth about myself?
Other rhetorical thoughts fluttered through my mind as well.
If it is true that I have been adopted in the past, how is it possible that until today I did not know it?
If I was adopted why didn’t my parents, whom I have always considered the only ones, tell me about it? Bearing in mind also a number of television programs with the participation of adopted people asking themselves questions about their family roots and their subsequent meetings with biological members of their families after many years, I wondered how would I behave if such situations occur in my life?
Lots of questions were rolling through my head.
Unfortunately, I was unable to answer any of them, because all the time I was under the delusion that the doctor who sowed the seed of uncertainty in my head confused the addressee to whom she directed her malice in her raving.
After a few hours of mindless driving around Wrocław and drinking a few coffees, I stood in the queue again at the Registry Office.
I gave my ID card, and in return I received a complete copy of my birth certificate.
With the document in my hand, I looked quickly and uncertainly at the name entered on the document. Chęciński. At first I felt like a blow to the head. I sat down on one of the vacant chairs in the waiting room, read the name Chęciński again, feeling that I had another person’s document in my hand. I felt as if my eyes were zooming through a document that did not concern me.
Unfortunately, there was only one truth, and it was written on the green background of the complete copy of the birth certificate, which concerned only my person, no one else.
Today I know I was wrong.
Complete copy of the birth certificate of Chęciński Henryk Janusz, born on On March 3, 1954 in Wrocław, son of Julian and Eugenia Chęcińska, born On May 19, 1925 in Łódź, it concerned not only Henryk Janusz Olkiewicz, born in On March 3, 1954 in Wrocław.
However, I was to find out about it later, not only once, but each time I reached for the next pages of my history from the period shortly before my birth, until the day of my adoption on October 10, 1955.
My next visit to the Wrocław Registry Office took place after about a week. Before that, however, I made an appointment by phone with the head of this institution. The announced visit was connected with an irresistible desire to look at my documents, which were described in the complete copy of my birth certificate. In particular, I wanted copies of these certificates of my origin, which would clearly show why I was placed in an orphanage, who my biological family was and whether I would somehow find a trace of it in the official records in the Registry Office or in another office in Wrocław . I was interested in the details of the entry in the complete copy of the birth certificate: … at the mother’s request, the father’s name, Julian, was entered in this act. This entry was made, which resulted from the document on March 22, 1954. Further, the records of the birth certificate indicated that that I was adopted by the decision of the County Court for the city of Wrocław on October 10, 1955. So I was then a year, seven months and seven days.
Where was I at that time, what circumstances made my biological mother decide to put me up for adoption?
It took me several years to find the answers to these and other questions. Unfortunately, new and new documentary facts, discovered by me in the following months, not only failed to answer my questions, but also new questions arose. Most likely they were and are rhetorical questions …
In the documents of the Registry Office in Wrocław, in my files, there was a sealed gray envelope on the side of the full birth certificate. The seals on it were the Office of Public Security. I was surprised and intrigued by it very much.
I asked the head of the Registry Office if I could see the contents of the envelope. At the first moment, I received a negative answer with the translation that in order to see the contents of this envelope, there must be a separate permit. However, I had neither the time nor the desire to write another application and wait for someone to consider my request,
At the moment of inattention by the head of the Registry Office, I simply took the envelope in my hand, broke the sealed seals and found the contents of the envelope.
Of course, when the manager saw what I had done, she scared me with criminal liability for this act. After a while, however, she “softened” and allowed my written request to make copies of the contents of the envelope, which she personally confirmed with official seals.
The documents obtained in this way became the beginning of my intensive search for biological roots and revealing the confusing history of Eugenia Chęcińska and mine.
I was born on March 3, 1954 at 8:00 p.m., and my birth was the second full-term delivery of Eugenia Chęcińska, who on that special day, although it was the second such day in her life, could not forget. On my birthday, my biological mother was 29 years old, according to the data of the birth report, she was a virgin born on May 29, 1925 in Łódź, working as a white-collar worker, and my father, according to the data from this document, was to be Julian Suszyński, born on July 26 (no year) in Krakow. According to my birth report, they both lived on March 3, 1954 without getting married in Wrocław at ul. Nasypowa 24 m 27.
The document in question was signed by the midwife Kunecka from the Municipal Gynecology and Obstetrics Hospital in Wrocław at the then Pl. Rectangular 8. My birth was the 21st entry with the symbol Ch. 52/54 no. 3451/54 / I.
Already when analyzing this document, the first questions arise…
Why, Eugenia Chęcińska on March 22, 1954, when providing data to the Registry Office in Wrocław, does not give the name of her son’s father, Julian Suszyński, about which information was contained in one of the three documents in a secret UBP envelope?
But that’s not all.
A few weeks after I read my birth application form, I had a very interesting conversation with one of the oldest tenants at ul. Nasypowa 24 in Wrocław.
The lady lived in this building from the day it was built. She was the widow of one of the officials of the Wrocław magistrate.
Lord, there has never been an apartment number 27 here, because and where. You know, in those years, we had only trouble, because the officials of the then authorities nailed the door to the corridor walls and painted the numbers of the apartments on them. Of course, these apartments never existed. It was similar with the garages located in front of this tenement house. There were also numbers of apartments fictitiously assigned to our block. Neither Eugenia Chęcińska nor Julian Suszyński had ever lived here. The old lady, whose state of mind did not indicate any memory problems, finished her statement. You know, my husband was an employee of the magistrate and told me that here were fictitious apartment numbers entered at the request of the security service – replied the tenant when asked by me how does he know about it?
Unfortunately, as it turned out, based on the official note drawn up by the Population Register Department of the Wrocław City Office for the Wrocław-Krzyki district, as well as the photocopies of the records of this building attached to the note, Eugenia Chęcińska could not live at apartment number 27, as stated in my application birth, because she was registered under number 29, independently, without Julian Suszyński.
In the documents obtained thanks to human kindness, I found confirmation that my biological mother had been registered at this address from July 27, 1953. In the service memo of December 27, 1999, it was stated that the date of Eugenia Chęcińska’s deregistration from this address was missing. The only additional information was that the person who made a note stated that the apartment at ul. Nasypowa 24 Eugenia Chęcińska came from Pl. Staszica in Wrocław. There is no house or flat number – these words ended the work memo.
Following the acquired document regarding registration at ul. Nasypowa 24, I obtained another document. This time from the Population Register Department of the Wrocław City Hall for the Wrocław-Śródmieście district.
The trace of the apartment at Pl. Staszica 20/6 led me to very interesting discoveries.
First of all, according to the records of the book, Eugenia Chęcińska was to arrive on May 15, 1953 from Radków in the then Ząbkowice poviat.
I have checked this information. As it turned out, Eugenia Chęcińska lived at the address given, but in … a Jewish underground flat. According to my findings, she lived there with one, maybe two-year-old son.
So did I come across my brother? This was likely based on the record on my birth report that my delivery was a second full term delivery.
Unfortunately, my joy at the time of finding the first real trace of my biological mother and, as it turned out, my brother was premature. First of all, in the population records from those years, there were no records of other people named Chęciński or Chęcińska, especially a child. Confirmation of the information that Eugenia Chęcińska came from Radków also turned out to be impossible. Yes, I found the Chęciński family in this town, but none of them confirmed that a person named Eugenia Chęcińska had ever lived in this town.
Could this be another “blind” trace?
Unfortunately, it was so, although not entirely.
Thanks to the help of the Wrocław historian Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, I obtained the most important information in my research.
Eugenia Chęcińska c. Józef ii Stanisława née Nowacka born on On May 19, 1925 in Łódź, on August 12, 1953, she was imprisoned in the Wrocław prison at ul. Kleczkowska. This was confirmed by the copies of the prison admission book located in the Wrocław Branch of the Institute of National Remembrance. Unfortunately, in the prison books of the prison at ul. Kleczkowska, there were no records of her dismissal.
If you combine this sensational information with the fictitious address of her residence in Wrocław at ul. Nasypowa 24/29 and with an interview with one of the current tenants of the building, who lived there in those years, as well as with the oldest residents of the building at Pl. Staszica 20, which showed that Eugenia Chęcińska lived with a small child in an underground apartment with a Jewish family, the story begins to form a coherent whole describing the dramatic fate of Eugenia Chęcińska and her children.
On the day of Ms Chęcińska’s arrest, she was with me in the first month of her pregnancy, and the UBP’s interest in her has never been explained. In the court files of the Wrocław courts, no procedural traces were found that would explain the reason for her detention in prison or the effect of this in the form of any court case ended with a final court sentence.
Detained Eugenia Chęcińska gave birth to her second son, i.e. she gave birth to me in prison, and not, as the documents indicate in the hospital at Pl. Rectangular 8.
In the prison at ul. Kleczkowska, there was not only a ward for women, but also a prison hospital ward in which a declaration of my birth was prepared, that I should be born in a hospital for freedom.
You can guess this by comparing two signatures on two different documents and the handwriting on my birth certificate. One of them is the signature of the midwife Kunecka, the second is the signature of the person signing Leśniowska in the letter of September 5, 1955 addressed to the State Mother and Child Home in Wrocław from the State Lung Tuberculosis Hospital. Teodor Dunin in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki. I will familiarize readers with the content of both documents later in the book.
It is not known what happened with Eugenia Chęcińska behind the prison walls from August 12, 1953. It is only known that, according to the document from November 5, 1955, signed by Mrs. Leśniowska, found in a sealed gray UBP envelope in the files of the Wrocław Registry Office, Eugenia Chęcińska was to stay at the state Lung Tuberculosis Hospital named after Teodor Dunin in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki, the then district of Ząbkowice Śląskie.
The letter was written at the request of the State Home for Mother and Child in Wrocław of August 31, 1955 (Journal of Laws 446/55) in connection with the most likely initiated procedure for the adoption of a minor Henryk Chęciński by Henryk and Daniela née Szwiling of the Olkiewiczs, my adoptive parents, which is documented by a photocopy of my parents’ application submitted on September 20, 1955 to the County Court for the City of Wrocław.
There is, however, a contradiction in the documents in question.
Namely, an employee of the State Lung Tuberculosis Hospital from Kamieniec Ząbkowicki – Leśniowska replies on September 5, 1955 to a letter sent on August 31, 1955 (No. 446/55) to her hospital by the management of the State Home for Mother and Child in Wrocław at ul. Krakowska 29. Both letters were therefore sent before the date of receipt of the application for my adoption to the County Court for the city of Wrocław (date of receipt on September 20, 1955). The petition was sent to the court by the applicants’ attorney, attorney Aleksander Terej. At the same time, the application for adoption includes a second application for the appointment of a probation officer for the minor H. Chęciński. This is justified by the fact of the death of the mother of the minor E. Chęcińska and the fact that Henryk’s father is unknown.
So there is another contradiction or hiding the truth here. In the documents concerning the birth of H. Chęciński presented so far, the father’s surname was given, even his address. However, since the address details were fictitious, perhaps the father’s name was also fictitious. Although this theory and documents cannot be fully trusted.
In the letter signed by Leśniowska on September 5, 1955, we read your letter of August 31, 55, L.dz.4346/55, the management of the hospital hereby informs that Ob. Eugenia of Chęcińska stayed in the hospital from May 30, 54. She died on November 23, 54.
On admission to the hospital, she announced that the family was gone. The insurance booklet was sent by the local hospital to the Presidium of the City National Council in Wrocław.
Was 29-year-old Eugenia Chęcińska two months after the birth of her son Henryk, whose birth she personally reported on March 22, 1954 at the Registry Office in Wrocław, having a previously born second son, with whom she lived in Wrocław at Pl. Staszica’s morbid state of mind was so advanced that she forgot about her children. After all, according to documents, from May 30, 1954, she was to be in the Pulmonary Tuberculosis Hospital, not a psychiatric one …
Most likely, then, all these documents were fabricated for the purposes of the court. Why? There are only two answers.
One is her death in prison after the birth of Henryk, and the other is, with the permission of the PRL authorities, the possibility of E. Chęcińska leaving the prison and Poland with her first son. The condition was to leave the youngest son in the country for adoption.
This could be so in the light of the order of Marshal Rokossovsky of those years, which clearly stipulated that children should be separated from the families of politically and ethnically suspects and given them for adoption in politically correct families.
And that is why a documentary hoax was needed regarding Eugenia Chęcińska and her son Henryk Janusz Chęciński.
A very important trace confirming this theory was my conversation with the parish priest in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki, who held this function after his predecessor, who died at the end of the nineties, and who was the parish priest of the only Catholic parish in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki.
My predecessor, the parish priest in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki called this place “red city”, and the hospital. Dunin, a “death paper laundry”. He told me that the former director of this hospital had a deal with the UBP authorities and, at their request, wrote out death certificates to people who had previously been murdered in prisons in Wrocław and the surrounding area. This is evidenced by entries in the parish death book of Kamieniec Ząbkowicki. My predecessor, regardless of the religion of the person who died in this hospital, gave the last rites, and then entered each death in the parish death records. The previous parish priest was very careful in this regard. The more so because he described that the hospital authorities were removing some of the bodies in a deep well located in the hospital’s yard. Thanks to the nuns, employed there and my predecessor had access to this data. Hence, his entries in the book of the dead from this parish are certainly detailed and reliable. If there is no record of a given person’s death in these records, it means that the then management of the hospital simply wrote out death forms to people who were murdered elsewhere and it was only necessary to fictitiously confirm the medical reason for their death.
During this conversation, questions flashed through my mind. Had I come across the scene of Stalinist crimes? Could the management of the hospital. Dunina had dirty hands and with even more dirty fingers was she eliminating the traces of Stalinist political murders?
The words of my interlocutor, the current parish priest in Kamieniec, were confirmed very quickly. There was no record of Eugenia Chęcińska’s death in the parish records regarding the deaths in the years 1954-1955. This was also confirmed to me by the Zakład Gospodarki Komunalnej i Mieszkaniowej in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki, stating in a letter addressed to me that they could not find the grave of Eugenia Chęcińska.
I was not surprised by the content of this letter.
The tomb could not be found because the authorities at that time made sure that the tomb was not there.
The method was simple, although it turns out not to be hidden – even after almost fifty years.
On the basis of the certificate of death of November 23, 1954, issued by an employee of the Hospital. Dunina, Mrs. Leśniowska, I found two copies of the death certificates of my biological mother. One was issued on October 8, 1955 in Ząbkowice Śląskie, and the other in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki, 15 km away, the seat of the hospital. Dunin. The last death certificate was dated November 24, 1954. Both, although they have the same number 70/1954, are issued by two different offices: the Registry Office in Ząbkowice Śląskie and the Registry Office in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki. Not only the number of death certificates is the same, but also the time of death of E. Chęcińska. The same place of death was also entered in both files – Kamieniec Ząbkowicki.
These documents confirm how the “intricate” blurring of Stalinist crimes was prepared by UBP officers and their supporters – state officials, including hospital workers who, while fulfilling the content of the Hippocratic Oath, all wanted to conceal the truth about the death of Eugenia Chęcińska and her two sons.
There were many more Eugenia Chęciński at that time. There were many more Henryków Chęciński. And only a few have managed to reach this type of document, as described in the book. Also, few children of the 1950s could boast of such happiness as Henryk Chęciński, with the new name Henryk Olkiewicz, having wonderful parents who probably did not fully meet Rokossowski’s expectations, because they instilled in their son the desire to learn the truth.
The truth is out. Late, because at the end of the 20th century, but before the time that would make it impossible to prosecute the perpetrators of the acts that arouse a feeling of not only disgust but also terror.
How was it possible to live then, if the then politicians accused the Americans that they used racist methods, operated in Klukluxklan or illegally deprived of the Indians’ lands?
How could one be so perverse if these “gold-legged” communist speakers in Poland were simultaneously using “undercover” racism?
How else to call the activities in the 1950s called the “Vistula Action”, how to call Marshal Rokossowski’s order to take children away from their rightful biological parents, only to calmly exterminate their parents in the UB-ji’s casemates, or at best to force them to emigration outside Poland?
There are photos, but I wasn’t there …
I have my photos from the State Home for Mother and Child in Wrocław at ul. Krakowska 28, but according to the official papers, I was not there. My stay in this orphanage is also confirmed by court documents.
Unfortunately, what the official magazines say differently.
The director of the current Specialist Mother and Child Healthcare Team in Wrocław, which in the past housed the State Mother and Child Home, wrote on December 3, 1999 .. in the archives of the records of the charges of the State Orphanage at 28 Krakowska Street, there are no documents confirming your stay in the above-mentioned said facility. This legal status, as a result of my reminder, was upheld by the director of this institution on December 15, 1999. Unfortunately, in the same letter, the director of the institution refused to answer my detailed questions regarding the disclosure of nurses’ data shown in the photos of this orphanage, justifying it with the protection of personal data. Although the legal provisions referred to by the director of the facility are heartless, it was thanks to people of good will that I reached one of the people in the photo through them. Unfortunately, the nurse at the time did not want to meet me and talk about adoptions at the time.
Perhaps because the adoptions in the then Mother and Children’s Home were not entirely legal …
If, according to the official documentation, I was not there, although some photos have been preserved, then there is only one answer. Home for Mother and Child in Wrocław at ul. Krakowska 28 was in the 1950s only a “storage” for children taken from their parents, locked up and exhausted in the prison cells of the UBP.
For this purpose, the documents of the children were prepared, but only for the needs of the courts, because the records of the orphanage did not contain information about the children’s stay, and they were only stored there illegally to make the legal actions of the then authorities more probable. And this was unconsciously made plausible by the director of this institution. In the letter of December 20, 1999 it was written that … There is no documentation in this Archive, either – correspondence from the 1950s.
The theory of the preparation of documentation by the then UBP and the fact that the State Home of Mother and Child at that time was a safe house for children taken from their rightful parents and their short-term stay in this facility is very probable, taking into account two pieces of information I have. The first was that my brother, who was temporarily staying with my current parents before my adoption, was also in the same orphanage. Why he returned to an orphanage and I was adopted – I will probably never find out.
How many parents who adopted children from the Wrocław State Home for Mother and Child in the 1950s knew that their dearest children came from exterminated families, inconvenient of the authorities of the time? How many of them knew that the institution aimed at the children’s welfare was most likely one of the many institutions camouflaging Stalinist crimes?
IPN – what is it for?
I presented in writing the case of Eugenia Chęcińska and her two sons of the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation of the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw.
As a result, the case was transferred to the Branch Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Wrocław.
On October 24, 2000, I received a letter from one of the Wrocław prosecutors of the IPN Branch, which stated that only an entry was found in the book of prisoners from Prison No. 1 in Wrocław at ul. Kleczkowska and entries in the report of the former County Court in Wrocław from 1954 on adoption proceedings.
Later in the letter, I was informed that, having checked all available archival materials in Wrocław, I would like to kindly inform you that there are no grounds to assume that the death of Eugenia Chęcińska could be related to political repressions or crimes of the Stalinist period … And further in the end of the letter, the IPN prosecutor wrote. We cannot comment on a number of other topics raised in your letter due to the lack of any archival materials, and their scope goes beyond the tasks of the Institute of National Remembrance – the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation.
For such statements, the only thing left to consider is the purposefulness of Polish taxpayers’ money spent …
However, a second, most important statement emerges. What can Poles, especially young people, count on to learn the truth about the Stalinist-Bierutian years, their crimes, victims and executioners?
Research and new contacts and facts
Honestly, when I first decided to start searching for my roots, I was a great optimist. It resulted, among other things, from a number of publications that I got my hands on about mutual meetings after years of separated families.
My optimism also resulted from a series of television and radio programs.
At the same time, I was aware that I had not much data on the biological family of the Chęciński family, and the only data I had obtained from the Registry Office in Wrocław and the local court archives.
So it wasn’t much, and yet I was an optimist. At the same time, as the years went by, I assumed the pose of a “patient Chinese” who adheres to the principle that the truth itself falls into your hands at the least expected moment. You only need to believe in it.
Whether this is the case, it is difficult for me to judge today. I am still patient and I believe in the truth and in the proverb that as long as there is no grave, one should not lose hope in finding the people sought.
The first steps that I directed to the most important institution were the Institute of National Remembrance. Unfortunately, to no avail. Eugenia Chęcińska also did not appear on the lists of people sentenced to death by the Military District Courts in the years 1946-1955.
The other institution that spread my hands in my case was the Polish Red Cross. Yes, the first correspondence was optimistic, but the next ones were less so.
In 2000, I started an intensive search using what seems to be the greatest media opportunity – the Internet. I posted my website in the first days of November 2000.
The first days of November are special days. When visiting the graves of our relatives, friends and friends, let us stop over abandoned graves, covered with yellowed grass and withered leaves. Let us look at the tombs covered with the rust of oblivion. Let us light a candle there. Let us think that thanks to those who have passed away, we owe our lives. Respect and memory belong to everyone: both the known and the forgotten. Someone would like to know where to light a candle and find his brother – I wrote on a specially created website, further describing a short story of Eugenia Chęcińska and the brother I am looking for, whom I know was born and stayed in the same orphanage as me.
Unfortunately, not a single e-mail to the e-mail address provided by me has not been received.
Also, the publication of the same month and year of extensive material on the website of the Web Express Internet Magazine entitled “Memory and Hope” did nothing.
My requests for help in the search also turned out to be ineffective. The editors of the program did not even deign to answer the requests I sent several times in my case.
Only the editor Andrzej Minko and the editors of the program of the 1st TVP Program “Whoever has seen, whoever knows …” responded to my request, which I addressed to this program on August 6, 2003.
The program describing my story was broadcast on December 16, 2003 on TVP 1 and it was repeated on TV Polonia on January 7, 2004.
This program provoked the first reactions of viewers watching it.
The first to react was Michał Mosze Chęciński.
I would like to quote his correspondence with me.
Everything is possible. The post-war years in Poland were so tangled and human fate
so confused that by today’s standards difficult to understand.
Recently, a close cousin and cousin found themselves in Israel after 60 years, and they lived not very far from each other. Pure coincidence helped. So don’t let the living give up hope. I, on the other hand, are looking for a brother who has certainly survived the extermination period, was seen in Łódź in 1945, but has disappeared without a trace. While searching on the Internet, I found a huge list of the Chęciny family both in Poland and around the world. According to the Lord’s data, it does not seem that our family roots are intertwined anywhere. But… nothing is entirely clear.
To throw one more pebble to the Lord of the unknown, or maybe just a trace for the search, is it not possible that the Lord’s Mother did not die in the hospital, but was sent with her brother to one of the gulags. I do not rule out that my brother Salek (born 1922) could have ended up there as well. The Soviet authorities liked to send thousands of (not only) thousands of people, sometimes quite accidentally arrested, from Poland. You know there are UB and militia archives, and it seems impossible that no trace of the Lord’s mother could be found there. Maybe it was the Russians who exiled her, together with the Lord’s brother, and he ended up in Magadan, wrote Michał Mosze Chęciński, who lived in Łódź from 1939 and survived the war in the Łódź ghetto, where he was one of the co-organizers of the resistance movement. In 1944 he was sent to Auschwitz. During the “death march”, in January 1945, he fled. After being liberated by the Red Army, he volunteered for the army and took part in the frontline battles against the Germans. He returned to Poland in December 1946. Until 1959 he was an officer of the Military Information, and from 1953 he was a lecturer at the Information School of the Polish Army. In the years 1959-1967 he was a researcher and lecturer in defense economics at the Military Political Academy. After the Polish “March events” in 1967-1969, he emigrated with his family to Israel. Dr. Chęciński has published 7 books and about 200 articles in Polish, English, German and Hebrew in Poland and in the West. His book “Poland: Communism, Nationalism, Antisemitism”, which was published in 1980, is often quoted in Poland. Michał Mosze Chęciński, who persuaded me to write a book describing my history, is also the author of the book entitled “My Father’s Watch”, in which, in the first chapter, he describes the origin of the Chęciński family, i.e. from Chęciny and from several generations of rabbis of Chęciny.
Returning to Michał M. Chęciński’s letter, in my research I came across a fact pointing to the deportation of Poles of nationality and origin inconsistent with the policy of the Stalin and Bierut governments, not only to Siberia, but also to the territories of north-western Poland, as part of the Operation “Vistula”. As a result, in the period from April 27 to July 27, 1947, about 150,000 Poles of Ukrainian origin were forcibly deported, and the Central Transition Camp in Jaworzno and the sub-camps scattered around this town, including children, were a disgrace to Poles.
Mr. Zbigniew Felicki, whose original name was also Chęciński, told me about these facts by phone. Mr. Felicki was born in Legnica in 1947 and, as he claimed, until his adoption, he stayed in one of the Jaworzyna sub-camps, and then in the Orphanage in Legnica until November 1951. He also found out about his adoption in adulthood.
Unfortunately, the information he gave did not indicate a family relationship with me, although he is also looking for a brother. Today I am sure that the history of my biological family, the Chęciński family, was connected with the Operation “Vistula” and that it caused me to be orphaned and transferred to an orphanage. I was brought up in a very good family, because I am doctors, and I am grateful to them for my upbringing. I bestowed on them and I bestow my love, but in my subconscious there is, next to the will to search for family roots, a grief to the post-war authorities of the Polish People’s Republic that perhaps it irretrievably separated my biological family – said Zbigniew in an interview with me.
Thanks to Mr. Michał M. Chęciński, I also obtained several other addresses of people from the Chęciński families. Unfortunately, after establishing contacts with them, I did not come one step closer in my search for my family roots.
I must admit, however, that in my quest to learn about the past, the profession of a journalist that I performed came in handy.
In January 2003, to the e-mail address of the editorial office of the weekly where I worked, I received a letter from Mr. Ryszard Marceli Chęciński from Warsaw, co-organizer of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, who came across my name on websites (I used and use the name Janusz Chęciński as the second, next to Olkiewicz by signing some of my materials).
Mr. Ryszard, dealing with heraldry and genealogy, collects data concerning, inter alia, or mainly families appearing under the surname of Chęcińscy.
He sent me several dozen surnames directly from the Chęciński line, of which the oldest representative of the Chęciński family, coming from Chęciny in Sandomierz and Podolia, was ennobled according to Mr. Ryszard’s data in 1460. Another representative of the Chęciński family, according to these data, is the canon of Kujawski (around 1763) Marcin Chęciński, ennobled for his merits in 1768.
The oldest known Chęciński family include: Jan Chęciński (1796-1873), a lawyer – attorney – publicist, literary critic. Jan Konstanty Chęciński, son of Jan (1826 – 1874) – an outstanding translator, promoter of Stanisław Moniuszko, director in Warsaw theaters, lived in Warsaw at ul. Długa 32. Tomasz Chęciński (1825–1906), lived in Krakow, Kasper Chęciński – non-commissioned officer of the 2nd Foot Rifle Regiment, decorated on September 17, 1831 with the silver Cross of the Polish Army, Wincenty Chęciński – the founder of a book rental in Płońsk in the mid-1850s.
Mr. Ryszard mentions many Chęcińskis of both sexes in his list, representing the most prominent Poles since 1763. Unfortunately, among the list of names I did not find any that would bring me closer to my family roots in any way.
Will I ever be able to reach them – I don’t know?
However, I am proud of two facts: the first is that my second name and the origin of the Olkiewicz family (by the sword) and Szwiling family (by my mother) and the Adamczak family (by my maternal grandmother) was equally patriotic and related to the fate of Poland and the struggle for its independence.
The second fact that I am proud of is that today, when I have learned at least a bit the truth about the fate of the Chęciński family, I am aware that the authorities of the 1950s, when taking me away from my biological mother, may have failed in their intentions for political purposes.
Not only because I found myself in an equally patriotic family, but also the family, which perhaps was to teach me socialist humility and faith in everything that the authorities say, instilled in me a strong faith in learning about history and truth, no matter what it might be or what it is. .
An unfinished story
In February 2004, my Godfather died in Wrocław at the age of 88.
A man, thanks to whom I had a happy childhood, loving parents and great care from him.
A man of great heart died, who was the only one who could know about the fate of my biological mother and my brother, because thanks to him from the Mother and Child Home in Wrocław at ul. Krakowska 28, I found myself with Daniela and Henryk Olkiewicz in Ostrów Wielkopolski.
On February 25, 2004, along with the ashes of Tadeusz P., my past was burnt, which most probably will not be recreated.
However, I will keep repeating with the stubbornness of a maniac:
Until I found the grave – I will believe in finding at least some of my family roots.
Each first day of November is a special day.
When visiting the graves of our relatives, acquaintances and friends, let us stop sometimes over abandoned graves covered with yellowed grass and withered leaves.
Let us look at the tombs covered with the rust of oblivion. Let us light a candle there, let us think that thanks to those who have passed away, we owe our lives.
Respect and memory belong to everyone: both the known and the forgotten.
Someone would like to know where to light a candle and find a brother!
On November 23, 1954, according to the documents in her possession, she died in the Tuberculous Hospital. Teodor Dunin in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki:
Eugenia Chęcińska, c. Józef and Stanisława, née Nowacka
born May 19, 1925 in Łodzi.
Also according to of data it was from August 12, 1953. imprisoned in the Wrocław prison at ul. Kleczkowska.
Most likely it was in this prison on March 3, 1954. she gave birth to a son, Henryk, having already had a first son, probably born in 1952 or 1953. They were both dedicated to the State Home for Mother and Child in Wrocław at 28 Krakowska Street.
Whoever knows about the fate of Eugenia Chęcińska or her first son, please provide information by e-mail: email@example.com
Thank you to all those who will help me popularize the text.
Thank you to those who will have the patience to read this text.
Thank you to those who, having any knowledge that will bring me closer to getting to know my and my family’s past, will share it by sending a letter to my e-mail via e-mail.
Henryk Janusz OLKIEWICZ vel. Henryk CHĘCIŃSKI
While looking for data on the Internet about Jan Chęciński, I found your website.
Well, recently I have been doing research and genealogical research, concerning, inter alia, the Chęciński family. I am personally the great-great-granddaughter of Konrad Chęciński, s. Antoni Chęciński and Katarzyna née Teresinska. Konrad was born in Warsaw in 1857.
I invite you to my little genealogy trip at http://albumrodzinny.fm.interia.pl/
I was prompted to write this e-mail by a detailed description of Mr. Ryszard Chęcinski, which provided a lot of interesting information. Namely, in our family, we talked about our relations with the exchanged ”Jan Chęciński (1796-1873), lawyer – attorney – journalist, literary critic. Jan Konstanty Chęciński, son of Jan (1826 – 1874) – an outstanding translator, promoter of Stanisław Moniuszko, director in Warsaw theaters, lived in Warsaw at ul. Długa 32. ”
While the figure of the librettist Jan Ch. He is very well known, so we thought his father’s name was Karol and he was Antoni’s brother. Maybe this is the third brother of the Chęciny family. Anyway, Jan Chęciński’s wife – Franciszek is buried in Bródno in Warsaw and the grave still exists today.
I would like to confront my information and I have a great request for any news regarding this trunk of the Chęciński family. Could you please share them? Are you in touch with P. Ryszard Chęciński?
Regards and eagerly awaits your reply.
Beata Kuźmińska, granddaughter of Sabina née Chęcińska.
Today onet.pl has an archival episode with your story. I wonder if you tried to look for the biological trace of your father, as you say on the website Narodowa.pl of Julian Suszyński. I found in the archival Polish Monitor, No. 14 of December 18, 1996, information about the President’s Decision to award decorations for people who have been married for 50 years. Julian Suszyński, the son of Władysław and Suszyńska Bronisława, the daughter of Franciszek, is at number 1077. So they had to get married in 1946. The decoration was at the request of the Toruń Voivode.
Regards and I will follow further entries on Narodowa.pl