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My grandmother's last name was Krolik, is this name Jewish?

19 Feb 2014 #1
Hi, my sister and I were wondering if the name Krolik was a Jewish name. My grandmother's name was Eugenia Krolik. We don't know anything about her or her family, except that she died in Warsaw during WW2 air raid. There was a big split in my family, and we did not know the existence of several relatives. We are wondering if her being Jewish, may have had something to do with that. Our grandfather was Catholic, and my mom identified herself as a Catholic, but we are wondering if her mother may have hid her possible Jewish identity, hence the split. My grandmother was from Kalisz, where there was a large Jewish population at the time. Can anyone enlighten us????
Nathan 18 | 1,363
19 Feb 2014 #2
It's anyone's guess. There could have been tens of reasons for this split. Hundreds of thousands of families were split this way just because they found themselves on the different side of the Berlin wall. Sometimes religion, national identity, bickering between the family members about property or naming a child or planting a wrong tree in the garden can lead to the inter-familial wars of a century long span. I would suggest looking into some personal records, because this as any other last name doesn't say who, what and from where exactly a given person is. Krolik itself, as a word, is of Slavic origin though.
OP Marina1989
19 Feb 2014 #3
I also see that it is also a German name. That could answer some reasons. My mother never acknowledged her sister, and we did not of her existence till recently. We have only just located our cousins. They are as mystified as we are about it all. My mother did not even use her real name, but her code name from the war, and claimed that as her own. She took this secret to her grave, and now we are trying to unravel the mystery. I wonder if we will ever find our answers.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
19 Feb 2014 #4
I wonder if we will ever find our answers.

It is worth trying, although sometimes the old quarrels and its reasons are better left alone. That's why some people take them to the grave.
Marek11111 9 | 816
19 Feb 2014 #5
My grandmother was from Kalisz, where there was a large Jewish population at the time

maybe one side of family wanted to be German other wanted to be Polish so maybe you are a German.
OP Marina1989
19 Feb 2014 #6
My sister just sent me an email. I don't think we are German. My grandfather was Polish Catholic. My grandmother however could very well have been Jewish. My sister feels this strongly. I am at the docs now. Going to ask my doctor if there is some kind of test we can prove/disprove. If we are Jewish, we would be the Ashkenazi kind, and I know there have been various health issues with this group. It's worth a shot asking.

Nathan, we want to find out, because we want to know why my mom denied the existence of her sister. Our cousins gave us one reason, but, I don't think that's the whole story. Put it this way, it doesn't totally make sense. We feel there is a bigger reason for this denial. She also told us her died during the war. We know now for a fact they all reunited after the war. Just trying to figure it out. My sister is writing a book. We need answers. And also just for peace of mind.
Less777 - | 50
19 Feb 2014 #7
if the name Krolik was a Jewish name.

Krolik translate Bunny.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
19 Feb 2014 #8
Going to ask my doctor if there is some kind of test we can prove/disprove

I seem to recall reading about DNA tests that anyone can have done now, which show ancestry etc. I have no idea if they're actually accurate. I was thinking of paying to have one done to find out if I have any Polish in me, although I believe that's quite unlikely.

I asked a Polish person if Krolik was a typical Jewish name, and they replied with an emphatic no, for what that's worth. Of course, nothing's ever that cut and dried, so I'm not suggesting it's a definite no.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
19 Feb 2014 #9
I absolutely understand you, Marina. I hope you will find out. It is interesting to know the roots for many reasons. You know, I was asking my grandma about some details of the family's past and she is always reluctant to tell me about them. First, the reason was "you are too young to understand", then "I will tell you some time". I have understood that I won't ever know the truth or at least her vision of it. So, I in a way gave up. But I am glad you keep on looking for answers.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
19 Feb 2014 #10
Krolik translate Bunny.

Not Bunny. It's Rabbit.
Marek11111 9 | 816
19 Feb 2014 #11
because we want to know why my mom denied the existence of her sister

maybe her sister stole her boyfriend
TheOther 6 | 3,692
19 Feb 2014 #12
Marina, looking at the search results from, it could well be that your family was of either Polish-German or Polish origin. There were plenty of Kroliks in Prussia/Germany, and there are quite a few Polish/German first and family names to be found in the same marriage and birth records. There are also many records from Kraków and Lublin for the Królik surname, but without knowing your grandfather's given name and his date and place of birth, it's hard to tell in which direction to search.
gumishu 13 | 6,067
19 Feb 2014 #13
Marina - Eugenia is not a typically Jewish first name, quite contrary it is pretty stereotypically Polish
KashaVW - | 13
20 Feb 2014 #14
first of all my mother did not steal my aunt's boyfriend or any such thing. please....this is serious. I realize that Krolik means rabbit. it also means king. it could be jewish, polish, or german. second of all my grandmother was from Kalisz. Her whole family was from there. I also know that to deny your family completely is a pretty serious thing. you don't just deny the total existence of another human being, for stupid reasons. There has to be something very serious to rip a family like that apart. thirdly, my sister has been doing a lot of research on this subject of Poles and Jews during that time. One thing that has come across, is that many of them tried to assimilate themselves with Catholics so that there would be no detection. My grand dad, my mom's dad, was RC. His last name was Przytula. BTW, both my mom and my grand dad were Virtuti Miltari receivers. Hence, there had to be something HUGE for them to split. DNA does not lie. I talked to my doctor, and told her the story. She is going to hook me up with a genetics counselor, and then we will go from there. I realize also that she could be Polish Catholic also. But Krolik is also Jewish name. If you look in JewishGen, you will see it come up a lot. Finding my roots is very important to my sisters and I. Up until last week, we did not know we had 3 first cousins. Now, we know, and have been in touch. A whole branch of family, that we NEVER even knew about. When my sister went to Warsaw a few years ago, and found out all this info on my mom, it was a shock to all of us. The whole time my mom was alive, she used her code war name. Then we find out she had a sister, whom she never once mentioned...EVER. This sister lived till 1992. As a child at that time, and before, we could have got to know her. We were also told that my aunt had no kids. Well, after calling funeral homes and cemeteries, I found out that she did have kids... three of them.

Finding my mom's family helps me feel like a complete. I look like my mom, and I look like my cousins on her side. After my mom died, I was at a total loss. Now, I have family from her, and I want to know why she kept this secret and took it to her grave. It has to be HUGE, and I am determined to find out what it is. You just don't go denying your family for no good reason.
lunacy - | 73
20 Feb 2014 #15
I realize that Krolik means rabbit. it also means king.

Królik means rabbit.
Around the 15th Century it was also used to describe a ruler (not king) of a small state, but that word had derogatory undertones. It does not mean "king", but it could be translated as someone "king-ish"(?).

I realize also that she could be Polish Catholic also. But Krolik is also Jewish name. If you look in JewishGen, you will see it come up a lot.

It's not a "Jewish" name, but to be precise it's a Polish name that was used/borrowed by the Jews in the process of assimilation. Calling "Jewish" those surnames from the JewishGen that have Polish roots/etymology is a vast misunderstanding in most of the cases. Your family could have Jewish roots, there's always such a possibility, but relying on the simple fact of surname's appearance in the records could be a blind alley of your research if there's no actual person related to your ancestors.

BTW, both my mom and my grand dad were Virtuti Miltari receivers.

The split of your family could have political reasons. Many of the soldiers or people honored with similar distinctions - people that stayed abroad (or moved abroad) after the war - were cutting off the contacts with the family left in Poland. It could have been because of different political views, but often just for the family's safety. During the first decades of communism in Poland it wasn't well-perceived to have a family in the "capitalistic" West (unless someone was willing to "cooperate" if you know what I mean) or a family member that was a soldier in Polish military (such person might have had the information about e.g. Soviet attack on Poland in 1939, which was a forbidden knowledge until the fall of communism). Both cases could result in series of brutal interrogations of the family left in Poland by communistic militia. It's still a delicate topic in Poland.

The split of your family might have tons of similar reasons, not necessarily on personal basis. Political/worldview matters should be considered too.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Feb 2014 #16
it also means king.

It does not mean "King". That would be "Król" - a completely different word. Sometimes, informally/ sarcastically, the word "królik" is used to denote a petty chieftain or insignificant ruler, as it sounds like the diminutive of "król" (in English it would be something like "kinglet"), but there is no actual connection between the two words.

You just don't go denying your family for no good reason.

Some sort of betrayal or other family tragedy. It could even be a rift over attitudes to the Communist government in Poland post WW2. Many families were broken down the middle then, depending on whether they accepted this huge political shift or not. Remember that under Stalinism, especially in the early years, members of the Home Army were classified as terrorists, hunted down and imprisoned / executed. A hypothetical situation in which one part of your family was pro-Communist and the other remained in the opposition would cause a huge, irreparable rift within several years. When exactly did this rift actually happen? During the war or right after it? I assume your part of the family emigrated after the war?
OP Marina1989
20 Feb 2014 #17
All three surviving members ended up in different corners of the world, right after the war. My grandfather ended up in Brazil, after first being in France and Scotland. He emigrated to Brazil in 1947. My aunt stayed in Scotland, and then eventually died in the UK. My mom first ended up in the UK, but then married her first husband, and they ended up in N. Africa. She met my dad there, and eventually became an American citizen. However, my dad was a diplomat, so we lived all over the world.

I see your point of protecting the family. However, my aunt did talk about my mom to her kids, even though my mom never once mentioned her. Nor did she mention that her father had survived. She always told us that everyone had died. But we know now that they all had lived together in France and the UK right after the war, so they knew full well of each other's existence. So, I still wonder about this split. What could have happened that my mom would write off her family the way she did. My mom always said to Family First... It was a mantra for her, so I am really confused and mystified.
20 Feb 2014 #18
What could have happened that my mom would write off her family the way she did.

Quite literally thousands of different things. Somebody having been Jewish is one possibility but no more likely than any other possibility and certainly a lot less likely than some others.
OP Marina1989
20 Feb 2014 #19
I am still going to get tested, to rule out this possibility. My cousins think that while in France, my grandfather had fallen for a French lady. Even though my grandmother had perished in the war, my mom was totally against the relationship. She still felt strong loyalty to her mom. Her sister on the other hand felt loyalty to their dad. The sisters apparently fought, and hence the split. Somehow though, knowing my mom the way I do, I feel there is more to the story than just this. Something even deeper, that would make her want to not even acknowledge the virtual existence of her sister. She mentioned her brother, who had died in the war, but never her sister. I am one of three sisters. I have an older sister who drives me bananas most times. It's been like that since we were little kids. But, as much as I get angry with her, I would never deny her existence. Sisters fight, but then we make up. That's just the way it is. But to totally deny your own flesh and blood is bizarre, and especially over another woman. No,something else happened to make this split happen. Something very very grave and deep.
jon357 72 | 21,378
20 Feb 2014 #20
But to totally deny your own flesh and blood is bizarre

Not that bizarre. Siblings just sometimes dislike each other for a whole lot of reasons. In any case, it's usually better to leave old wounds closed.
OP Marina1989
20 Feb 2014 #21
Sorry, I disagree. My family split for a good several decades. We have only just reunited. We need to find out why the split occurred in the first place. Families don 't split and deny each other's existence for no reason. My sister is writing a book about my mom, and her heroics during the war. A good part of the story is about the split, the family history, etc. we need to know. We have a right to know. We are determined to find out.
20 Feb 2014 #22
We have a right to know.

What makes you think you have any right to know about the private lives of other people?
OP Marina1989
20 Feb 2014 #23
Because ultimately this split effects my siblings and I and our cousins. We are family. We have a right to know why our mothers split the way they did. It's all about family, and family sticks together. We were cheated out of knowing our aunt and our grandfather. That is why.
jon357 72 | 21,378
20 Feb 2014 #24
We have a right to know. We are determined to find out.

Hopefully the story will stay buried. If your mother had wanted you to know, she'd have told you. If you found out what it's all about, you may well not like it. And cousins that you don't know aren't really family.
TheOther 6 | 3,692
20 Feb 2014 #25
We have a right to know why our mothers split the way they did.

Then why don't you provide the necessary information to help you? If your grandmother was born in Kalisz, she was most likely married there, too. Try to find the catholic church books of the relevant time frame (again: when was your grandfather born?), and order the microfilms from the LDS if available. If not, contact the state archive or the church that is in charge of Kalisz and the surrounding area.
OP Marina1989
20 Feb 2014 #26
I am sorry you can not be supportive of this. But regardless of what you think, we will find the answers out. I may not know my cousins well yet, but they are still family no matter what. When my sister and I were younger, we were in high school in the UK, while our parents were thousands of miles away, because there was no school for us in their location. I know I would have loved to have known that I had family in the same country that I was studying. I was very lonely. It was very hard. But, my cheated both my sister and I out of that. At the same time my grandfather was alive and well in São Paulo, Brazil. We never got to know him either. I would have loved to have known him. He was a war hero. He had stories to tell. We were cheated. As a child , I felt half empty, because I never knew my mom 's side of the family. I looked like my mom, and not my dad, and though I got along with my cousins on his side of the family, I never felt totally connected. I found my cousins. I am thrilled that I found them. They are happy too. We are family. I am just sad they never got to know my mom, cause she was an amazing woman, and that we never got to know and bond with their mom . My family is not made up of thieves or murders. They are proud people who fought hard for Poland. My mother was known as the "heart and soul" of Poland. She was decorated with the Virtuti Militari for gosh sakes, when she was in her 20's, for her bravery and leadership skills. My grandfather fought in both wars. My aunt was a courier in the Undrground during the Uprising. Why wouldn't she want us to know about them. They were decent people. All of them.
yehudi 1 | 433
20 Feb 2014 #27
I never met a Jewish person named Krolik. There were some people in my grandfather's family named Kroll, but that's not an uncommon name, and it's not Krolik.

I think that if your grandmother was from a Jewish family, her sister's family would have known about that. That seems like the least likely explanation for your family's split.
KashaVW - | 13
20 Feb 2014 #28
Good to know this info. Thank you for your thoughts, and will share that with my sister. Quick question though, why is it in the JewishGen then? I'm confused.

We are trying to do all kinds of research. We have a fair amount of info from the military research. My granddad was born in 1900. Not sure about my grandmother, but probably around the same time. My sister has that info. I think they married in the early 1920's, cause my mom, who was the oldest was born in 1923. We only just got all this info very very recently. Because of the war, my mom used her war name. All the dates were quite screwed up, so we didn't even know when her real birthday was or anything. They had to hide that info, and change it a lot, to avoid detection. Would they still have marriage records etc from the 1920's in Kalisz, or would they be destroyed in the war??? We got my mom's birth certificate, a copy of it anyway. We also don't speak Polish, so that makes it difficult to do the search. Any tips on how we can proceed with that?

We have a lot of info on my grand dad, just not much on our grandmother. We do have the names of her parents though, so I will also check that way. My sister has that info in her files. I will see if she can dig it up.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Feb 2014 #29
Quick question though, why is it in the JewishGen then?

Because surnames tend to spread outside their original ethnic group. E.g., when Jews were first forced to take on "regular" surnames around the end of the 18th century, many would simply choose, or be assigned, a more or less typical existing surname out of those used by the general population; and Królik, while not a wildly common surname, isn't especially rare either. Or a Polish Gentile might have married a Jewish girl, who went on to have sons and the surname spread in the Jewish community that way. Or both situations might have taken place independently. Lots of surnames are shared by both Polish Gentiles and Jews. It's the given names that point to the ethnic or religious affiliation (though not always).
KashaVW - | 13
20 Feb 2014 #30
Okay. Got ya. Thanks for that clarification. I was super confused with that.

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