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Komarno, a virtual trip to the past

When we were little children we used to listen to family stories told by old people. These stories build up our world. Then comes the day when we realize that some questions will no longer be answered and some facts will never be explained.

Bronisława Partyka, my grandmother sister. She left a collection of photographs described by her on the back side. / Fot. family archiveMy family originated from the former Polish eastern borderlands and after World War II my relatives had to move out from there. Thus, my grandparents left Lviv (today in Ukraina) and found their new home in the city of Gliwice in Silesia.

I was born in Gliwice many years after the war and formally I am Silesian. But I've never felt one. Why? My grandparents and all my relatives were always talking only about the borderlands. They had no doubts that they belonged to the land they left tens of years earlier. As a child I learned to love those places, which I have never seen. When I was older, I learned also to love my birthplace. Today, I appreciate the fact that the complicated history of my family has enriched me with the mixture of two different cultures.

Old stories and new puzzles

Since my older relatives have died I still miss their talks about Lviv and Komarno. I remember the stories they told me hundreds of times and I watch old photographs they left over and over again. Some pictures are described on the back side by aunt Bronia – my grandmothers' sister. She was a teacher and this was probably a teacher habit to make precise notes. When I started to study those descriptions many years later, I discovered some new and surprising facts. I discovered many names that I've never heard before. Some unknown to me people were described as “cousins”. No wonder, as my grandmother birthplace, little town of Komarno had only 5 thousand inhabitants, that might were all be somehow related. But, I started to wonder, where were they?
What happened to them after the Second World War and where do they live now?

Search for Komarno

Searching “Komarno” on the web is not easy unless you know that it was located in the district Rudki close to The pupils and teachers from the school in village Chłopy, 1928. Bronisława Partyka is sitting on the bench, third from the left. / Fot. family archiveLviv. Otherwise you will find many hits concerning Hungarian castle-town by the same name. Slowly I learned how to look for the very scant information about “my” Komarno. I found that the holy picture of mother Mary was saved from the church in Komarno and was placed in the sanctuary of Nowolesie, a village in Strzelin district, 100 km from the place where I live. During evacuation from the east the picture was hidden in the chest full of grain and taken by two priests Wołczański and Czech. They accompanied their parish on the long journey on a stock-car to the new life in the strange place.

I went to visit the villages in the western Poland Nowolesie, Dankowice and Biały Kosciół, where people from Komarno and neighbouring places were moved. I met people who could remember my grandmother and her sister Bronia. One lady told me that Bronia was her mother's teacher. Since evacuation, her mother had never met Bronia again, but she used to recall her every year on the Teachers Day in October.

Many people from Komarno and surroundings moved to the west after the war but some stayed, especially those who were in the mixed Polish-Ukrainian marriages. In Biały Kościół, I got addresses and names of several people who still lived in Komarno. The following holidays I went to visit my grandmother’s birthplace and to talk with Komarno citizens.

The power of internet

Waleria Piskorz and other friends of my aunt Bronia (Bronisława Partyka) / Fot. family archives of Piskorz and Partyka familiesI wrote three articles describing the story of my ancestral search – the one about my family from Komarno named Partyka, second one about the visit to the Strzelin district. The third one describes my trip to Ukraine. Thanks to webmaster of the official web site of Bialy Kościół these articles were placed on the web. And from this moment an another chapter of the story begun. I started receiving e-mails from all around the world. Who would write? Poeople who have their family roots in Komarno and who search for information about this place and the people who lived there. This way I discovered the story about Edward Partykiewicz, who is described by Bronia at some pictures as a “friend and cousin”. It appeared that about 100 years ago my family name was Partykiewicz. However, after suggestions of the priest saying that the name sounds to Lithuanian, two out of three brothers changed their names to Partyka. I received this information first by an e-mail from the lady of Partykiewicz family. This information proved to be true when I had the opportunity to study birth certificates from Komarno that were deposited in the metropolitan curia archive in Przemyśl.

In November last year I have received a message written in French. There was a question in it, whether I can write French or English. The author understood only two phrases from one of my articles – “Komarno” and “Waleria Piskorz”. It appeared that Waleria Piskorz, about whom I knew nothing except that she was present at some pictures from Bronia's collection, was his father’s sister. The girls, Bronia and Waleria were in the same age (both born in 1899) and were probably school friends and neighbours. Today, I know almost everything about her family, her brothers and sisters as well as I know her two nephews who are my pen friends and help me collect further information about Komarno and its former citizens.

Not everything is lost?

When my grandmother died I thought that everything was lost. It seemed that there was no one left to ask questions about Komarno and to resolve the puzzle of so many “friends and cousins”. Surprisingly, with a little luck and with the help of internet I was able to rediscover so many facts from the past. And I met so many people who share similar family memories as I… Sometimes I wonder whether my grandmother and aunt Bronia would believe it. After 60 year gap, I continue their friendships from Komarno with the people I have never seen. I do it via internet and sometimes in English…

Recently, with the help of my home webmaster, my son Jędrek, I have made my own website devoted to Komarno . I try to put there all information about this place and its people. There is also a forum where one can place his photos and his advertisements concerning the ancestors from Komarno and surroundings.

Calling old friends

About 1930. I recognize only my grandmother sister, Bronisława Partyka and two priests, Marian Czech (the older one) and Władysław Kulczycki. I would like to discover where this picture was taken and at what occasion and who are other people... / Fot. family archiveMy idée fixe is to identify the people who are at two photographs taken at two different gatherings. One in Chłopy, the village near Komarno and the second one in an unknown place. The one from Chłopy was taken on the occasion of foundation of the co-operate bank called Kasa Stefczyka in 1926.
So if you are a descendant of somebody who lived in Komarno, in a village of Chłopy, Buczały, Andrianów, Podzwierzyniec, Katarynice or other place in the former district Rudki near Lviv and if you know somebody from those pictures – let me know. I hope that as it happened so many times so far, we will meet again and talk about our relatives and discover new facts from the old times and remember our beloved dead. Those who inoculated us with this nostalgia and this strange love to the place and time that no longer exists in the real world.

Komentarze (6):

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  • Rysio
  • 05.03.2011 21:39

Hi I'm trasing roots of my family. Does anybody remember any names of people from Rudki , Sambor or Stary Sambor. Mayby photos egsist.

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  • hsemknLttjwBl
  • 27.08.2010 18:06

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jestem tez z komarno m moia mama helena kuta mishakala kolo polskiego cmentarza.

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Great story... amazing how the modern Internet revolution allows people to trace back their roots. It's a shame it came too late for most of the actual displaced.

Well done!

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Thanks a lot :)
Pomyślę nad polską wersją.

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Kasieńko, zawsze wiedziałam jak dbasz o język polski, z angielskim też radzisz sobie :)) Świetny tekst. Poproszę o polską wersję dla wszystkich

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