Monday, March 19, 2012

Searching For Relatives

My Father's Sister Frani and her daughter


As a child I always thought  there was something missing in my life. I wondered why I didn't have any grand parents, uncles, aunts or cousins, like so many of my friends had.When my friends would say they were visiting relatives, I was jealous; I would make up stories of visiting my grand parents or cousins. My parents had many friends that shared the same fate they did living in DP camps ( displaced people camps) and  memories  of coming to America. There was a special bond among these friends, sharing stories from WW II and the hard times they endured during the war and lived. These friends of my parents became my aunts, uncles and cousins, but still I missed not having grand parents.

My mother was left an orphan at the age of two, her parents were killed during WW I , her father died fighting the war, and her mother killed during the war, she never knew her parents. My father was born to Bleslawa Brejwo and Anny Rubiel in Poland and had a brother Jan Brejwo and a sister Frani. My parents , three brothers and I came to America on November 11, 1951, after being displaced during the war and living in DP camps for ten years. My uncle Jan was sent to Greta Australia with his family. The Greta Army Camp was opened in 1939 as a training camp for WW II soldiers and in 1949 was transferred to the Department of Immigration which became one of Australia's largest migrant reception center from 1949 to 1960 as part of the post-war immigration to Australia. Over 100,000 migrants seeking a new life passed through the Greta Camp . My parents were also to be sent to Greta but because of my mother's bad health at the time , they were sent to America. From Greta my uncle moved to Maitland, after the flood of 1955 in Maitland they moved again. My uncle had a wife and three sons, Marian, Zdzialaw and Jan Brejwo. My older two cousins have passed on and Jan is the only living relative of his family. It took my father twenty years to find his brother after being separated in Germany. Their correspondence was shorten by my father's brother's early death. It was sad , so many years searching and such a short time being connected again. Today's modern technology and the web , I was able to find my cousin Jan Brejwo living in Australia. It has been  six years since we got in touch and because of Jan , he gave  me the information written above. Since he was born in Australia in 1953 , he has vague memories of any other family.

I have been working with the International Tracing Service (ITS) to find out any information of my father's sister Frani and her two daughters.I doubt my aunt is living but would love to find my cousins. I wonder where they are ? What is their life like ?Sad, I don't even know their names. My father never talked about his sister , I did not  know he had a sister until I came across this photo after his death, written on the back" From your sister Frani  my two daughters."War changes people's lives , separates families and many never see each other again. I yearn to find them, how vital it is to have family and roots of generations pass.

I am hoping that someone who reads this, might recognize the photo or know of my cousins. The photo shows a life of hardship of war torn Poland that they endured. Where ever they may be, I thought of you today, but that is nothing new, I thought of you yesterday and tomorrow too. May God watch over you.

I
My Father's brother Jan  and his sons.

6 comments:

  1. That was beautiful Monica. I hope you have some success in locating your family. You're right..it is very important to know who your family is. I had very little family growing up in Canada, as my parents immigrated here during communism. Two years ago, I decided to travel to Poland and try to find my family. I sent out messages on skype and facebook to anyone with the last name Pieczewski. I went to Poland for two weeks. On my last evening there, I finally got a hit. My cousin Emilian responded to my skype message and I was able to travel to Smolnik to meet him and some of my other family before getting on the plane to return home. I have since been back, last year, with my brother and my husband and met more of my family. It is such an incredible experience! I truly wish you luck with your search

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  2. Thank you . How lucky you are that you were able to find your family. I know that most have passed away but looking for the younger generation .

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  3. Thanks for posting this.
    I recently learned that my uncle had a cousin who was living in Russia. But that was the only relative he discovered. Only he and his mother (my grandfather's second wife) made it to the US. He and my mother became close even though they were adults when they became part of the same family.

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  4. gday im chris your cousin from Australia...my father was marian jan brejwo

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    1. Can you write to me , my email is Honjune@aol.com , I know Jan and George , are they your brothers ?

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