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Who here lost out because of WW2?


Ozi Dan 26 | 569  
3 May 2009 /  #1
Hi all,

I see some interesting discussions have been had on another thread re compensation etc for land/property lost during, or because, of WW2.

It made me think - who here lost out because of WW2 (in terms of tangible property)? There appears to be lots of semantics and theories about these issues but no one that I can see has given hard, personal data, and I for one am interested to hear your stories.

By the same token, I'm keen to hear from those Poles who may have benefited and gained by virtue of WW2 and the post WW2 commo regime. The contrasts should be interesting.

Cheers, Dan
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
3 May 2009 /  #2
On the whole Europe lost.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346  
3 May 2009 /  #3
By the same token, I'm keen to hear from those Poles who may have benefited and gained by virtue of WW2 and the post WW2 commo regime. The contrasts should be interesting.

Benefited shite, we've lost a village and a large city house in Lwów, nine members of the family dead.
Softsong 5 | 495  
3 May 2009 /  #4
In the course of my geneological research, I ran across an old man (ethnic German),who had lived about 30 miles from where my grandmother had lived in Russian-Poland. My grandmother emmigrated to the USA before WWI, but his family stayed in Poland.

I enjoyed hearing his stories of how Polish people and German people got along before WWII. (I am half Polish and half German).

Anyway, they were poor farmers and worked for a Polish nobleman. He recalls that the Polish nobleman had him stay on the manor during the summer to play with his son. The first time he had icecream and went to a movie was with the Polish family.

After a number of years his parents earned the right to their farm. His father was in the Polish armed forces when WWII broke out, and he and his mother were alone. He remembers how they cheered when the Polish planes flew overhead.

During the winter, when Germany was losing the war and the Russians were advancing, he and his mother and their neighbor were told to flee to Germany. All Ethnic Germans were ordered to leave. They put all their clothes layered on their backs and rode the neighbor's horse.

There were bombs exploding, bridges down and people crossing the rivers in wagons and however they could do it. He told me of having to pee and going behind a bush to see a dead man with his eyes open. He was 14 years old at the time. Anyway, with the Pottsdam Treaty in effect they had to leave behind everything, even though they were not part of the Germans who came in with Hitler. Their ancestors had lived in Poland for hundreds of years, and they were Polish citizens.

They made it safely to Germany, but were not fully accepted at first by the Germans as being German, but gradually integrated into post-war Germany. Eventually, he moved to Canada. He tells me that when he hears the German national anthem or the Canadian national anthem, neither move him. It is when he hears the Polish anthem that he feels a sense of pride.

He has had a good life in Canada, but finally in the 1980's he got to go and visit Poland. He looked for his family's old farm, and it was there. Of course, Poles from further east had been settled in his old farmhouse. I wish more people were like him. He never resented them, in fact they had a son of about 14 years of age and he identified with the teen. The family and him have kept in close touch and send birthday and Christmas presents to each other. I think he has become an "honorary part of their family."

I thought I tell this because these threads usually wind up saying that my people suffered more than your people did as a result of WWII. My conclusion is that it was horrible for all. I hope that people can remember, and learn a lesson, but forgive and realize that the people living nowadays did not have anything to do with all the pain and suffering. I am extremely proud of Poland even though I am an American. I admire how it has risen from the ashes so many times and always stood for freedom.
OP Ozi Dan 26 | 569  
4 May 2009 /  #5
Softsong

Awesome story. Thank you.

I don't think enough has been told in respect of the issues of identity and persecution concerning Polish/Germans-German/Poles that you elaborate on. That appears to be another sub strata of misery on one end and and (arguably) triumph through adversity on the other. Thanks again ma'am.

Benefited shite

Can you elaborate on the loss? What is your situation now?
Sokrates 8 | 3,346  
4 May 2009 /  #6
Can you elaborate on the loss? What is your situation now?

Lost a large house, lost an entire village with my great grandfather loaned to people in lifelong contracts in exchange for fixed payment, the family tree was nearly five centuries long and people would get together annualy, over 100 family from all over Poland, since the connections have been broken that went down the drain too.

Save for my gramps sword all family items are lost and so on and so forth, its the same story with every older Polish family its just that most dont remember that since WW2 broke continouity, before that most Poles would trace their family generations back.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
4 May 2009 /  #7
Interesting story Softsong. Ozi,a year or so ago during the course of my work I was in the home of an elderly Polish gent,as you'd expect I had a good chat with him. It turned out that although he was as Polish as Bigos he and his family had been considered as "ethnic Germans" ,quite ironic really as his Father had been killed in the first days of September during the battle of Bzura fighting the nazis. This old fella,as a 15 year old boy had been forced to leave Poland in 45,had tried germany,hated it as he wasnt a german and ended up in Yorkshire eventually working in a coal mine and starting a large family here.

Just before this degenerates into the usual recriminations and counter recriminations I found this on another forum if anyone is interested. As a point of reference,the dodgy living conditions mentioned in the articale were not something exclusive to non natives,most people in the UK didnt have central heating in homes untill the late 70s.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7622866.stm
Softsong 5 | 495  
5 May 2009 /  #8
Thanks Ozi Dan and isthatu2. I was out of town a few days and did not see your comments.

And yes, isthatu2, you're right about many who were at one time ethnic Germans now being completely Polish. Another man that I write to who has a genealogical interest in the same area as me (and is a fifth cousin), found he has Leichnitz relatives still in the area, and they are now known as Lejchmic. And of course, they have married into Polish families over the years.

And Socrates, that is very sad about your family connections being broken. I have something kind of similar, but not so extreme. Since my grandmother who was ethnic German and came to America in 1912, had two brothers and a sister that stayed in Poland, I have lost tract of where they are. Recently, since I am in touch with the descendants of my grandmother's sisters that emmigrated with her, I have been attempting to find my other relatives in Europe.

All I had were unnamed portraits because my grandmother had not labeled them. Evidently, she and her siblings in Europe stayed in touch. When she had a stroke and her home was sold to move into a nursing home, my mother threw out the pictures because they were unlabeled. I retrieved them and always wondered, is that her sister? Or is that a woman who married her brother and where are the children.

Evidently they were expelled to Germany, as that descendant of my grandmother's sister in this country found she had an evelope in her mother's shoebox with an address in a refugee camp in Germany. I've found that one brother's son died, and others lived on, and I have zeroed in an area in Germany where I may find them. Happily, this same lady had all the portraits that I had, but they were labeled and my confusion of who is who was cleared up. And she had other pictures showing grandchildren, etc. So I was happy that some of them lived on.

I am very sorry of your horrible losses. I had a boyfriend from Poland at one time and I learned of all the hardships and losses from him. It breaks my heart.
Salomon 2 | 436  
5 May 2009 /  #9
Im am currious how the hell in 1970s (long after the WWII) form Poland emigrated 1 mln ethnic Germans ...

The truth is that those ethnic Germans or simple people who had German names and were leaving in areas populated mostly by Poles and considered themselves Polish (and their neighbours conisedered them as such just after WWII) weren't forced to leave Poland. In 1970s it was more than clear that life in communist Poland isn't comfortable and 1 mln ethnic Germans left Poland using "blood law".

Of course Germans loyal for Hitler were much different story.

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