Topic-icon Search for the roots of the family Nicia, settlers in colony Węglowice

1 tydzień 4 dni temu - 1 tydzień 4 dni temu #38757 przez Molencki (Rafał Molencki)
The triangle Trčkov-Freiwalde (Lesica)-Rokytnice sounds probable. But you won't know for certain until you check in the church records (both Catholic and Protestant) whether the names are attested in the area. You have to find the names of the parishes where the villages belonged and see if the records from the early 19th c. are available on Family Search. If they are not accessible online, you can try at one of Mormon Family History Centers where they should have the microfilms. I believe there must be one in Amsterdam, but there may be more in the Netherlands or elsewhere closer to your home. Even if they don't have the microfilms in the Netherlands, they will bring it for you from Salt Lake City, Utah for a small fee.
One correction: it is Silesia, not Selesia, Schlesien in German and Śląsk in Polish. And one comment: if your father lived in Sucha Góra, he may have been called up to the army in Rokitnica (Rokittnitz), which is now a district of Zabrze (Hindenburg in German) less than 10 km away, i.e. walking distance from Sucha Góra, rather than gone all the way to Rokytnice in the Bohemian Sudetes, more than 200 km away. The only problem here is that during the war Rokittnitz was re-named as Martinau. I know all these places well as I lived all my formative years in Bytom.

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1 tydzień 4 dni temu #38761 przez Nitz (Antonius Nicia)
Very valuable input on how to take up further investigation!!
Indeed Rokittnitz versus Rokitnitz is very confusing and could easily lead to misunderstandings.

By reconstructing Józef’s life story I met some white spots in the period August 1942 – January 1944.
Józef (1925) was from 1 Oktober 1940 till 22 May 1942 apprentice-carpenter at company “Cyzik” and from 23 May 1942 till 1 Oktober 1943 apprentice-carpenter at company “Reitzig”, both are carpentries in nearby Tarnowitz / Tarnowskie Góry. On 27 February 1943 he passed the exam for journeyman-carpenter.

Józef was made prisoner of war by British forces, on 17 August 1944. Shortly afterwards he was interrogated and stated at question 16, the above. The cut-out of Q16 I have attached. The exact dates I obtained from his exam certificate.
Subsequently, at Q17 he had to answer in what way he joined the German army. Also, of Q17 I attached a cut-out. The information he gave was:
(1) Kom. Pob. 28 August 1942 in Bytom (I have no idea what Kom. Pob. means)
(2) Wcielony 30 September 1943 – Rokitnitz– Gren. Ers. Btl. 406 (Wcielony is unclear to me too)
There is anoverlap between his apprentice-time and the army involvement between 28 August 1942 and 30 September 1943, which I don’t understand.
From the Bundesarchiv – Deutsche Dienststelle I received the chronology, that I attached too.
It says similarly Grenadier Ersatz Bataillon 406, Rokitnitz. The web-link below gives some details about this battalion. So, I still think that is meant Rokitnitz in the Adlergebirge and not Rokittnitz nearby Sucha Góra.
… At that time existed the Grenadier Replacement Battalion 406 (Grenadier-Ersatz-Bataillon) and Reserve Grenadier Battalion 406 (Reserve-Grenadier-Bataillon). The reserve battalion was relocated to the Atlantic coast at La Rochelle. The replacement battalion was transferred to Rokitnitz in the Eagle Mountains (Adlergebirge) …

However,Józef was transferred with 18 days to Reserve Grenadier Bataillon 54, located nearby La Rochelle at the Atlantic coast (a huge submarine base).
Hopefully you can give some insight for the period between 28 August 1942 and 30 September 1943.
Best regards, Antonius Nicia.

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1 tydzień 4 dni temu - 1 tydzień 4 dni temu #38762 przez Molencki (Rafał Molencki)
Kom. Pob. is the abbreviation of Komisja Poborowa, which is military draft office. That is where conscripts are only registered and undergo medical checkup to find out if they are fit for service - your Józef turned up for this on Aug 28, 1942. This is not yet actual joining a military unit (in Polish wcielenie - 'wcielony' literally means incorporated (into the unit)), which in his case occurred more than a year later on Sep 30, 1943. From Q 16 in the document  I deduce that your father continued working in the Reitzik (?Germanized Rajczyk?) carpentry in Tarnowskie Góry until that time (Q16 is "what did he do before starting his service in the German army?", which was Sept 1943),  so there are no white spots in his story - his interrogators would never have allowed that!
And I feel convinced concerning Rokytnice - it's not far from Goerlitz, where Grenadier Bat. #406 originated.

By the way, I'm in a similar situation: my father passed away 20 years ago, long before I got interested in the family history about which he could have explained a lot to me...

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1 tydzień 2 dni temu #38768 przez Nitz (Antonius Nicia)
You hit the nail on the head! My father passed away in 1981, just at the age of 55. Nevertheless, I had plenty of opportunities to ask him for all details in the past, but didn’t do so. Therefore, we only shared the headlines. Even in Poland there were lots of chances as I was with my parents in Sucha Góra for family visit in 1958, 1962, 1964, 1968. All relatives who could share our family
history were still alive at that time.
Somewhere around 2000 I got a copy of the EXTRACT that I attached when opening this thread. It was the trigger to start investigating our family history, as I now had the “proper” age :-). More recently, I travelled several times to Poland between 2002 and 2010. Together with my cousin in Sucha Góra, who fortunately speaks German, I visited Węglowice, Dlugi Kąt and Bór Zapilski. We found some Nicia’s over there, who were willing to tell us about the local history.
My EXTRACT is dated 5 August 1940. I am curious whether it is based on the Truskolasy records, or that some other archives are involved. Could it be that it is partially based on verbal interrogation, as “Traktdorf” nowhere is mentioned in the Truskolasy records? Furthermore, my guess is that the document is meant for ethnic profiling, i.e. categorizing in Deutsche Volksliste.
My father was captured by the British during the Battle of Caen in Normandie, close to Falaise. His personal documents in the Bundesarchiv (Wehrpass, Wehrstammbuch, Stammrolle) are lost because of war damage. The earlier mentioned questionnaire states location and date in Q24, of which I have a cut-out attached. The handwritten answer is only partially clear to me.
In the same questionnaire in Q19 Józef states that in March 1942 his parents and he were put on the Deutsche Volksliste III. Was this quite common in his region?
Regards Antonius Nicia

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1 tydzień 1 dzień temu #38769 przez Molencki (Rafał Molencki)
The literal translation of Q24 goes like this: 

Question: When and where taken captive? The details and circumstances of being taken captive:
Reply: 17 Aug 1944, near Breteville, by the English. While his unit were retreating, he remained in hiding with two Poles and waited for the arrival of the English troops. He served in 8/981 Inf[anterie] Reg[iment].
My comment: A lot of  Silesians deserted the German army and went over to the Allies side whenever opportunity occurred. My geography teacher was one of them, who with the estimated 90 000 men joined the Polish army and fought the Nazis afterwards.

Q19:  Did he or his parents or any close relatives (voluntarily) join or were compulsorily included in the Volkslisten (enumerated in German) and under what circumstances?  R: His parents and he himself signed Volksliste III in March 1942. His father works in Bytomka Coalmine as a labourer.
My comment: March 1942 was quite late. For Volksliste categories see:
The third category was most numerous: more than a million people in this (Polish) part of Silesia that was annexed to Germany in 1939. The refusal could be punished seriously: eviction, loss of property, resettlement to GG, concentration camps, etc. Poland's government-in-exile in London, Resistance commanders and the church authorities suggested that under the circumstances the Silesians should sign the list so that they might survive in Silesia. March 1942 was quite late, as the Nazis had insisted on that since the beginning of the war.

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1 tydzień 2 godzin temu #38775 przez Nitz (Antonius Nicia)
The late signing of the Volksliste had no consequences, as Antoni could keep his house and his land until his death in 1974. This piece of land he had acquired pre-war, and was located near the cemetery in Sucha Góra. In original state the land was quite useless as it contained some deep pits, remnants of silver (opencast) mining. Antoni managed to equalise the soil and could use it for growing vegetables and holding a large flock of geese. Is it known when this opencast mining near Sucha Góra was stopped?
I didn’t know that my father deserted together with two other Poles, when the Division already was retreating. He just told me that he was hiding in a barn with inside a big hay stack and as soon as British soldiers, who where cleansing the area, entered the barn, he showed the white flag to surrender.
By the way Józef had to go a long way from La Rochelle before arriving at the battle fields of Normandy. From the reserve battalion he was after 3 months transferred to Antwerp – Belgium to join the 272 Infantry Division. Two months later the Division was moved to nearby the Spanish border to guard a sector of the French mediterranean coast, as the allied invasion was expected over there. At 6th June it was clear that the real invasion was in Normandy, subsequently the 272 I.D. was moved with high speed and arrived on 11th July south of Caen.
When Józef was captured, the British officers were aware that many of the prisoners were Polish. They all got the offer to join the 1st Polish Armoured Division of general Maczek. Nearly all of them accepted, including Józef. Mid September 1944 he was moved to Scotland for training as a wireless operator. From that point in time onwards he was given the name Jozef Pełka. Could this be a more or less randomly picked Polish name or has it a certain meaning? The alias was needed because when captured by the Germans he would for for sure get the death penalty. The map of the route of the 1st Polish Armoured Division I have attached.

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6 dni 29 minut temu #38780 przez Molencki (Rafał Molencki)
Answering your questions briefly:

1. I think the name Pełka was picked at random, it is an old Polish name attested as early as the 13th c. It doesn't have any meaning for a modern Polish speaker.
2. From what I read in the Internet, silver mining in the area ceased in the early 20th century.

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1 dzień 6 godzin temu #38848 przez Nitz (Antonius Nicia)
My father served in the Maczek Division from September 1944 until his demobilization in December 1946. From this period several personal military documents (in Polish) are preserved. As much of the contents is handwritten with a lot of abbreviations, I cannot decipher these. Would it be possible to have them translated in English? As an example I have attached one of it. Of course, I will do the preparatory translation work as far as I can, in advance and send this in combination with the related Original document.
My grandmother is Klara Sowionsek. I would like also to do some ancestor research to her family. Could you recommend a genealogic society that is active in the region of Sucha Góra?
Just for curiosity, did my father in formal/legal sense lost his Polish nationality? (In 1951 he got the Dutch nationality). The question is, of course, only of theoretical importance.
To complete the story: My father was, after 3 months training, in December 1944 transferred from Scotland to the city of Breda in the south of The Netherlands, in order to join the operational troops of the 1st Polish Armoured Division. The Division was stuck in Breda from it’s liberation by the Poles on 29th October 1944 until beginning of April 1945, because of the failure of Operation
Market Garden (crossing the Rhine). In these 4 months in Breda he met my mother. After demobilization he settled in Breda for good, married in 1949 and I was born there in 1950. Breda was my home town until my early twenties. Now I live in Utrecht.
Breda still has a lot of Polish connections as be found on the internet. Last October the Polish president Andrzej Duda was in Breda to celebrate together with our king 75 years liberation of the city.

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21 godzin 8 minut temu - 20 godzin 55 minut temu #38857 przez Molencki (Rafał Molencki)
If your father was not officially deprived of the Polish citizenship, theoretically speaking he never lost it. Poland does recognize (and I think did in communist times) double citizenship.
There is a genealogical society in the Upper Silesia. Here is the link to their website (they have Polish, German, English and Czech version):
They do a lot of indexing and send the files to the most important national genealogical site called Geneteka. I just noticed they already indexed the Sucha Góra marriages from 1874 to 1926 and one can learn that Antoni Nicia married Klara [here spelt as] Sowionsek in 1923 (record 31):

The introduction of the European Union GDPR rules a couple of years ago made it more difficult to have access to vital records in both church and state offices. If one is not a (close) family member, one will be refused to have a look at the records which are younger than 100 years. This means that only you yourself can ask for the copy of the marriage record, which I think is kept at the Public Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Bytom. Another copy should be available at the parish office in Sucha Góra and some priests are happy to help genealogists while others are not. Try and contact the Silius Radicum society - the person who did the indexing may have made copies of the records. I go to Bytom at least twice a month, but I may not be allowed to take the photo of the record before 2024...

As for the military document that you attached, there is some info about your father's education, military career including decorations, description of his appearance, etc. I could translate it for you, but not this week. Send me your email address in a private message on this site. I spent a day in Utrecht about three years ago and enjoyed it a lot.

PS: More Sowionseks here, including the marriage record of Marta, your grandma's sister with Jan Dudek in 1919, and the marriage of your great grandparents Johann Sowionsek and Barbara Kowol Dubiel in 1896. Barbara married Johann Sowionsek after she was widowed from her first husband Johann Dubiel (marriage in 1891):
The following user(s) said Thank You: Maria N (Maria Nowicka-Ruman)

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