Monday, November 28, 2011

Family history: Vaclav Filipek

My father, Vaclav Filipek, was born in Pencicky (now included in Pencice, Northern Moravia), October 25, 1917. He died in 2007. His father, Jan Filipek was born in Iwierzyce, Galicia and his mother, Anezka Drabkova, was born in Pencicky (from my father's birth certificate). In January 1934, his father and immediate family were deported to Poland.

In May of that year; my father and his eldest brother managed to join the family in Poland by going through Czesin. I am trying to find out why. There is a bit of history on Wikipedia about the Poles in Czechoslovakia but any information for the years for 1934 to 1938 is missing as is in other history books I have been able to get hold of. I have been told by a few researchers that up to 150,000 Poles were deported at this time, but no one can give me any references. 

In Poland, my dad and his family lived on the family farm in Iwiercyze until WW II. My father and his eldest brother were caught by the Soviet NKVD and sent to the Gulag in 1939. They were both able to get to England after the amnesty pact of 1941. The rest of the family suffered under the Nazi and then the Soviet Army. After the war, the family members were scattered; my father and our family emigrating to Canada, dad's eldest brother and his wife going to Argentina, with the rest of the family members staying in Poland and the Czech Republic.

My mother and I were able to take my father back to visit his family in both countries in 1992 but, by that time, he was blind and was in the first stages of dementia. Only a cousin and her family were left in the Czech Republic and his sister, youngest brother and their families, in Poland. On this visit, very little information about their younger days was talked about and it was in Polish or Czech. Unfortunately, I only speak English. I am in touch with both families but they do not remember a lot of the history.

My father told me very little of his life, only fond memories of his early childhood and some sketchy information of his time in Poland and during the war. With help from the Polish Archives and the Red Cross, I am slowly obtaining his records from the war years. I have started to research and write to the different Czech Archives for records of my Czech family but, to date, have had little luck. I have recently found the parish records for Pencice online, but the Archives has not yet uploaded the images.

Also, I am trying to find some records for my grandfather as he fought in WW I. But the Czech Archives have no record of him and suggested, because he was born in Galicia, his records may be in Poland, but this makes little sense to me as men were recruited into units existing in their regions. Other sites suggest: there are no records, there may be hospital records (he was wounded and had a silver plate in head), records may be in Vienna etc. As well, I have tried to find out where records may be kept about the family's deportation but again, no luck. But after contacting quite a few archives, I have recently been advised that a record may exist about the sale of my grandfather's house and this record may have some information so I will try again.

Anna Franklin, Canada
e-mail address available

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