Very well done, all your hard work and perhaps a little bit of luck, paid off in the end, albeit with an ironic twist. Your emotions must be in turmoil but I believe that once you have laid a headstone you will feel a certain sense of closure.
I experienced a similar feeling when visiting Mum's birth place Nozdrzec last year. We took Mum to the town hall in Nozdrzec and found marriage records for her parents and birth records for all her brothers and sisters, except the youngest sister who must have been born after they moved to their settlement in Podliski. The amazing thing is that Mum's mother had an identical twin sister, of whom Mum was not aware. This aunt married and emigrated to Oslo, USA before the war, and she survived well into old age. As my grandmother died on the beach at Krasnovodsk, it would have been such a blessing if Mum had known of and managed to meet up with her aunt Apolonia, or at the very least, exchanged a few letters. So sad.
Additionally, we discovered that Mum had an older brother who had died at a week old and that her 2 late brothers, who survived the Siberian deportation had used completely the wrong birth details for all their official documentation. My uncle Jozef was actually only 20 when he married in Codsall in the UK, this implies that his marriage was fraudulent and technically, he wasn't legally entitled to marry and therefore his 2 sons are illegitimate!
Of course these details are of no consequence now but for Mum actually seeing the birth dates and full names of all her 6 deceased siblings, 3 of them in Siberia, was very emotional and disturbing. It brought out long-buried memories and almost brought her family "to life"... proving that they had indeed existed and were not just part of a horrific fantasy.
With warmest regards,
(Krystyna Dobrzanska - researching Starzak)
From: Kenneth Fedzin
I would like to share with you my discovery of the sad fate of my
uncle Jozef Fedzin. He and his wife became `lost' during the war and
no one in the family in England, or Poland, knew what became of them.
I grew up being told that no one knew what had happened to them both.
Some relatives said Jozef went to England, but we never knew of him
Like many members I started researching my father's history after he
died and then discovered and joined this group. The help and advice I
received from fellow members after joining helped me learn more about
this period of my father's history. I recently learned from a cousin
in Poland that after arriving in Kazakhstan from Siberia with the
rest of the family Jozef and his wife Maria also signed up in Anders
army. Their seven-year-old son had died in the camp in Siberia.
I now knew Jozef was in England at one time, but did he remain in the
hospital? Did he leave the hospital and have a family, emigrate? I
decided to trawl the death records in England and Wales from 1950
onwards and to my amazement found he had died in October 1981, in
Canterbury. I obtained a copy of his death Certificate and this
showed that at the time of his death he was still a patient at the
hospital? He had schizophrenia and who can blame him after everything
he had been through. You can imagine how I felt never knowing he was
there all that time with no support from his family. In 1981 I was 28
years old. If only we had known before. Relatives in Poland were also
shocked by this revelation.
Just before Christmas I tried to discover where Jozef had been
buried. Unfortunately, Kent archives could find no record of him in
the Council's cemeteries. St Augustine's hospital, I learned, had its
own cemetery and I felt he must have been buried there, but could not
source the records. The hospital has recently been demolished and the
site is now being redeveloped as a housing estate. It now seemed an
impossible task to find Jozef's grave.
Last weekend, after looking through my files, I decided to try again
and emailed Kent County Archives. Within a day a reply came informing
me that Chartham village has its own Parish Cemetery. I located the
Parish website and telephoned the Parish Clerk who is also on the
cemetery committee. He told me that some people from St Augustine's
had been buried in their cemetery and asked me to email him details.
I dared not begin to hope that Jozef would be there. I emailed him
details last Wednesday evening and on Thursday received the following
"We have a Josef Fedzin who was 76 years old and who died on the 5th
October 1981, with an address noted as St Augustine's Hospital, who
is buried in our cemetery at Ashford Road, Chartham, Nr Canterbury,
Kent. His grave number is 71, Plot K, Row F, there is no headstone.
He was buried on the 8th October 1981."
I cannot describe my emotions when I read this. Paul informed me that
the cemetery is very well tended and I have permission to place a
headstone on his grave. This will happen shortly. At last Jozef's
final resting place will be marked and we can now visit him there.
I'm looking forward to doing just that.
A final twist of fate, call it what you will, note that the location
reference of Jozef's grave is . plot K, row F. K and F ... my
To fellow members searching for information regarding their
relatives ... don't give in too soon, look at all possible avenues.
I'm still trying to find information about Maria and where in Nairobi
she is buried. Any advice would be appreciated.
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