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Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

Article about: Howdy folks, I was wondering if you might be able to help me in my research on my Great-grandfather, Jozef Szybkowski, a soldier in the Polish army at the outbreak of war. I'll start from th

  1. #1

    Default Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Howdy folks, I was wondering if you might be able to help me in my research on my Great-grandfather, Jozef Szybkowski, a soldier in the Polish army at the outbreak of war. I'll start from the very beginning. He was born on the 9th of October 1914 in Daszyna, Leczyca county, Lodz Voivodeship, Poland. In 1937 he moved to Morawce to work at a farm, then on the 12th March 1938 he enlisted/conscripted into military service at Kutno, where he was stationed at the outbreak of war. On the 1st of September 1939 he prepared to fight, I believe he fought in the battle of Kutno, until he was shot (In the leg) and taken prisoner on the 18th of September 1939 then deported to a POW camp in Germany known as Stalag XA where he remained until the 20th of march 1943. On this date he was released for work on a farm called Handewithfelde(?). He stated that he had a decent time at the farm and was treated well by the German officer that owned it. Here he met my great-grandmother, Antonina Yeremenko, a Ukrainian 'Ostarbeiter" whom was deported from Nekrasovo in 1943 to work as a maid in the officers household, where they both remained until being placed into various POW/DP camps (Seperately) starting on the 8th of the 5th 1945. Past this point are a number of various DP camps/Polish camps and jobs for my Great-grandfather in the British Sector of Germany (Far from his wife, my GGrandmother whom he married just after the end of the war in Europe, 1945, probably so she would escape repatriation) until they and their 2 remaining children (one had died in a DP camp) all departed from Bremerhaven to Australia on July 16th 1950. Sadly, both have since passed away, before I was born. Thus I never got the chance to ask the multitude of questions I have today. So, my main concern at the moment is discovering which unit my GGrandfather belonged to, with some help from another forum, it has been suggested that he may have been part of a cavalry brigade. Can you tell anything from his uniform? This photo was likely taken pre-war.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Hello and welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing some of your family history.

    Your great-grandfather is not wearing a Polish pattern uniform here, so this photo would not date from before the war. He appears to be wearing British 1937 pattern BD, or in this case perhaps the “denim overalls” version judging from the wrinkled look. Let’s hope another member here can discern more from this photo than I am able to.

    You’ve done well to establish this much of your great-grandparents story. Best wishes with your continued research!

    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  3. #3

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    I cannot add any more than Tony, who is correct.

    Welcome to the forum!

    Cheers, Ade.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Hello and welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing some of your family history.

    Your great-grandfather is not wearing a Polish pattern uniform here, so this photo would not date from before the war. He appears to be wearing British 1937 pattern BD, or in this case perhaps the “denim overalls” version judging from the wrinkled look. Let’s hope another member here can discern more from this photo than I am able to.

    You’ve done well to establish this much of your great-grandparents story. Best wishes with your continued research!

    Regards,
    Tony
    Thanks, we've determined that the photograph was definitely taken post-war, he was liberated in the British sector after-all. I never thought of that! I guess any photographs that he had prior to his capture would've been confiscated in 1939. I'm gonna have to ask some relatives if they know of any more pictures, although I do have a few more in post-45 Germany, but this time of his life is very well documented.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Quote by TheSovietSamurai View Post
    Thanks, we've determined that the photograph was definitely taken post-war, he was liberated in the British sector after-all. I never thought of that! I guess any photographs that he had prior to his capture would've been confiscated in 1939. I'm gonna have to ask some relatives if they know of any more pictures, although I do have a few more in post-45 Germany, but this time of his life is very well documented.
    Your G-GF would have a series of DP and/or former PoW identity documents issued by the British occupation forces. These had the soldiers pre-PoW service/unit details so maybe worthwhile asking relatives if any of the DP/PoW documents for your G-GF still exist in some old box of papers & photos?


    Quote by TheSovietSamurai View Post
    taken prisoner on the 18th of September 1939 then deported to a POW camp in Germany known as Stalag XA where he remained until the 20th of march 1943. On this date he was released for work on a farm called Handewithfelde(?).
    By releasing the PoWs it meant these former prisoners were not "protected" under the Geneva Convention for PoWs which forbids belligerent nations using PoWs in forced labour. Thus freed, the former PoWs were able to be conscripted by the Germans as labourers, mainly in agriculture, without protection of the convention.
    I collect, therefore I am.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    Your G-GF would have a series of DP and/or former PoW identity documents issued by the British occupation forces. These had the soldiers pre-PoW service/unit details so maybe worthwhile asking relatives if any of the DP/PoW documents for your G-GF still exist in some old box of papers & photos?




    By releasing the PoWs it meant these former prisoners were not "protected" under the Geneva Convention for PoWs which forbids belligerent nations using PoWs in forced labour. Thus freed, the former PoWs were able to be conscripted by the Germans as labourers, mainly in agriculture, without protection of the convention.
    I actually purchased their DP documents recently from the National archive, but there is no specific unit information, simply "Ex-Polish army".

    That's interesting about the 'release for work', I hadn't known that.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Just a simple remark - many of the Polish POWs were issued with uniforms captured by German army (especially Dutch, French, and British battledresses taken in 1940 as well). The general idea was to replace damaged original clothing. It seems that the photo presented by TheSovietSamurai was taken during the war or just after releasing his Grandfather from the POW's camp. There is a quite strong probability that it could be taken during the war - do not be suggested by lack of barbered wire fence: most of the POW's worked daily outside the camps.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Quote by TheSovietSamurai View Post
    I actually purchased their DP documents recently from the National archive, but there is no specific unit information, simply "Ex-Polish army".

    That's interesting about the 'release for work', I hadn't known that.
    Shame about the generic "ex-Polish Army".

    I noticed on one of your other forum postings that your GGF was employed in the CMLO, Hamburg, for a short period so maybe his Polish Army service is somewhere in a CMLO archive if such a thing exists?

    Just for general info I attach a couple of photos of CMLO personnel (Germany) in uniform and CMLO camp/barracks...unfortunately I have forgotten what CMLO stands for...old age

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Quote by Tomasz70 View Post
    There is a quite strong probability that it could be taken during the war - do not be suggested by lack of barbered wire fence: most of the POW's worked daily outside the camps.
    Although a Polish PoW would most probably have to have worn the "P" patch for Poles on his jacket, which is missing in this photo?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  10. #10
    ?

    Default Re: Great-Grandfather was in the Polish army.

    Interesting Family story.

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