Search for Pajek Family and 4600 miles trip to Poland. Part 5. The fun began.

We met Zbigniew and headed to Sucha. He had contacted the relatives in Sucha and we were to meet them at 3:30 pm at their house. We were all a bit anxious and excited not knowing what to expect. The drive to Sucha was about 1.5 hours and the countryside was beautiful. We arrived in Sucha and first went to the civil office to try and obtain a copy of the birth record of Julien Pajak.

Zbigniew is very knowledgeable about obtaining records and can sweet talk clerks and priests into giving records that they supposedly do not have. The clerk did find the correct book and we were able to find Stanislaus Pajak and Julien Pajak. That left us to find the younger siblings.

After obtaining the records we went to Wadowice to see the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. We took the tour of his boyhood residence and Zbigniew was able to translate for us since the tour was in Polish. The museum was amazing. We also visited Christ the King church that was his boyhood parish. Then we were off to lunch and talk about what was to come. After lunch we headed back to Sucha and started our search for the home of Halina and Edward Wojcik. It was not hard to miss the house since Halina and Edward were standing in the street waiting for us. Then the fun began.

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Halina nor Edward spoke English so for Walt and I it was like watching a foreign film. Julienne was right at home with her Polish and was able to talk and understand quite well. More relatives came. Jadwiga (Halina’s twin sister) and her son Mateusz.

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The table was filled with old pictures and as we exchanged pictures and spoke of family.
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We learned that Julienne’s grandparents both died on the same day around 1910 or so from typhoid. Michalina (their daughter) was left to raise all the siblings. She was approximately 18 years old. We learned that Josef Pajak and his wife had gone to the United States and not long after arriving Josef was killed in an accident. That will be a lead I have to follow up with. We found out that Julienne’s Uncle Jan had a son who lived in Krakow but Halina and Jadwiga did not know anything about him. We found out that Uncle Jan is buried in Krakow. All new leads to follow.

 

Jadwiga and Halina’s mother Stanislawa was waiting to meet us at her house. She was married to Kazimierz who was Julienne’s cousin. It was time to go see Stanislawa. First stop was at a house that Julienne’s Aunt Marianna had lived in. It is all boarded up but is on a historic register so it cannot be destroyed.
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Then up the street to where the Pajak family home was originally. The original farm house was bombed and burned to the ground during the war. We were told that Sucha was the front at one point between the German and Russian armies. There is a shed built on the site of the old farm house and Stanislawa’s home is also on the property.

We entered the house and met with Stanislawa and she was very emotional. More old pictures and the death certificate of Magdalena Pajak Blachut (Halina and Jadwiga’s grandmother) was shared. Stanislawa became very emotional and asked why we came because it brought up sad memories for her. Her children calmed her and all was well. It was a very long and mentally tiring day listening to all this Polish being spoken and not understanding anything. But we learned a lot and Halina and Jadwiga had contacted the church and set up a meeting for the next day so we could view the church records.

It was after 9 pm by the time we left our relatives to head to our inn for the night. We were all very tired. It was at least a half hour to our inn (which was very nice) up in the mountains. We were very happy to arrive and be able to get some sleep. Sleep did not come easy for me since all that we had learned was swirling around in my head and I wondered how I would get it all straight.

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