2: MY FAMILY TREE   8: MY FAMILY SURVIVORS in POLAND 12: ANCESTORS - Part 1 : Origin and Records    
4: MY FAMILY ANCESTRY in POLAND 13: Rymaszewskis in present-day POLAND
5: PINSK UNDER COMMUNIST TYRANNY 10: Descendants in AUSTRALIA - Part 1     14: Rymaszewskis  WORLD-WIDE (Part 1)
    MIETEK'S MEMOIRS OF GULAG       Descendants in AUSTRALIA - Part 2       Rymaszewskis in the USA (Part 2)
6: MY ESCAPE FROM STALIN       Descendants in AUSTRALIA - Part 3 15: EMAILS from Visitors

(Family Tree Branch No. 66)

19th CENTURY : Eastern Poland under Tsarist

Family 66.
The earliest direct ancestor my father told me about
  Rafal RYMASZEWSKI, my great-grandfather

Rafal, my great-grandfather lived in the middle of the 19th century, in a region of the former Kingdom of Poland called the Grand Duchy of Litva, which after the third partition of Poland in 1795 became a province of the Tsarist Imperial Russia.

Great-grandfather was Polish and Roman Catholic. He lived on his landed property in Lachowicze area (now Lyakhovichi), but his parents and ancestors owned a large estate near Darewo in the Baranowicze (Baranovichi) district (see map below).

According to my father's story more than a half of that estate was confiscated as a punishment for two family members taking part in the Polish "January Uprising" against Russian rule in 1863-64. The guilty had been deported to a remote part of Arctic Russia. What was left over of the estate was later sold by the family.

After that my great-grandfather Rafal bought land in Nacz and later in Burakowce between Lachowicze and Kleck (see map below).

Remaining relatives from Darewo bought or leased small properties in the area between Baranowicze, Nowogródek (Navahradak) and Nieswiez (Nesvizh).

I could not remember my great-grandfather's name.
I only remember my father saying to me that my appearance and manner were similar to grandfather's. Was it his grandfather's or mine, I am now not sure.

But thanks to the internet search and unexpected contact with Jadwiga Rymaszewska, our relative still living in Belarus in Lyakhovichi, I discovered that great grandfather's name was Rafal.

I also confirmed with Jadwiga that Rafal had a daughter named Józefa and two sons : Aleksander, my grandfather and a younger son called also Rafal (Junior), Jadwiga's grandfather.

Rafal's younger son Rafal (Junior) had number of children, including son Mieczyslaw (my father's cousin) and the youngest granddaughter Jadwiga, my contact, still living in 2006. Unfortunately Jadwiga has later died on 10 July 2009, aged 73.

Typical Lachowicze (Lyakhovichi) district landscapes where my great-grandfather Rafal and his family lived

After contacting Jadwiga Rymaszewska, the daughter of Mieczyslaw, in 2006, found on the website of Janusz Kielak - link is in my Chapter 2, I confirmed that Jadwiga's and our families were close relatives. Jadwiga had some postcards and a photo of our family sent from Pinsk by my father before the war ( See below ). It proved that my father Michal Rymaszewski and her father Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski were full cousins on paternal side. This means that their fathers were brothers. Mieczyslaw's father Rafal was the brother of Aleksander, my father's father. This explains Aleksander's, unknown to me, connection with the estate Nacz (Burakowce), where I knew my father was born. And it explains the pre-war last visit to them, just before the outbreak of war, of my father together with me - but I did not remember who the relatives actually were. Now I know. It was near Lachowicze where the extended family have lived, including brothers Rafal and Aleksander, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather called also Rafal. So now I also know the name of my great-grandfather, the first ancestor in my Family Branch.

I have updated the Family Tree diagram in Chapter 2 and the list of names by my numerical "genetic sequence" method.

The turn of 19th CENTURY
Rymaszewski Family in NACZ and BURAKOWCE  near LACHOWICZE

BURAKOWCE estate (also called Burakowcy, Burakoucy, Burakovtsy), where Rafal's Rymaszewski family had lived, is shown on this old map of Central Europe (in a circle), published by the Military Surveys of Austria-Hungarian Empire about 1890-1900.
Notice next to many name-places letters H.H. In the Austrian/German language the letters H.H. mean "herrenhaus", in English "manor house", in Polish "dwór".

Also notice at the top-left corner near Darewo a place-name "Rymaszewski", no doubt so called after its owners, the Rymaszewski family. This could be a remaining part of a large estate where my great grandfather Rafal's ancestors had lived as was told to me by my late father. The placename Rymaszewski is described in "Geographic Dictionary of Polish Kingdom" (published in Warsaw from 1880) as a grange with fertile soil and some forests in Darewo parish, Nowogródek District, situated by the roadside from Darewo to Odachowszczyzna.

Current map of Belarus on the right (1990) does not show the estate Burakowce >>> It's not there. It has been confiscated by the Soviet occupiers in 1940 and completely eliminated during the collectivization of land.

Below is the recent photo (May 2009) where BURAKOWCE were.

  Aleksander RYMASZEWSKI 

First son of Rafal was Aleksander, my grandfather.

See Family 66.1 below

  Rafal RYMASZEWSKI (Junior)

  • The second son of Rafal, also called Rafal (Junior), was born in 1873. His wife was Emilia Czerepowicka.
    They had the following 7 children : Mieczyslaw (1906), Aleksander (1908), Zofia (1910), Maria ( ), Wanda (1916), Sabinka and Józefa.
    The wife, Emilia Czerepowicka, died in 1933. And Rafal died on 10 January 1958 aged 85.

Rafal's family photo taken in Burakowce about the start of the First World War in 1914.
From left: Aleksander (Olek) b.1908 - died young in an accident while serving in the Polish cavalry in pre-war Poland. Next Mieczyslaw (Mietek) b.1906. Then Rafal Rymaszewski and his wife Emilia nee Czerepowicka. The girls are Maria (Marysia) and Zofia (Zosia) b.1910.
Not yet born
: Wanda born 1916 (died in 1993), Sabinka (died as a young child) and the youngest Józefa (Zunia) - see photo on the right.

in Poland - 28 March 1952

Sister of Mieczyslaw, the youngest daughter of Rafal.

Józefa (Zunia), went from Kresy to Poland by the end of the Second World War, where she completed a University and married Jerzy Czarnocki. Later she became ill and died young.

Rafal Rymaszewski, born in 1873, the brother of my grandfather Aleksander.

His father was also called Rafal.

This is his last photo.
He died in 1958, aged 85.


    (66.3) Józefa Rymaszewska - Rafal's sister. She married Mr. Snacki and moved to live near Stolowicze, not far from Zaosie, the birthplace of Adam Mickiewicz. They had two children Mieczyslaw and Zygmunt.

Young Józefa Rymaszewska, Rafal's sister.

Rafal's sister - Józefa Rymaszewska.
She married Mr. Snacki

  Mieczyslaw RYMASZEWSKI
  • Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski, the son of Rafal Rymaszewski and Emilia nee Czerepowicka.

    He was born on 28 March 1906

    Mieczyslaw died on 20 August 1978 in Lachowicze (Lyakhovichi).

Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski, his wife Emilja nee Gruszewska and their daughter Jadwiga Rymaszewska



Poland in 1931. 25 years old Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski and his girlfriend Jadwiga, while he was employed by baron Kronberg as a surveyor of forestry works being done on his forest properties.

Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski under a blossoming pear tree in the orchard of his estate Burakowce, near Lachowicze in Poland just before the war. Under Soviet occupation the estate, including the farm animals (horse and cows), have been taken away by the Soviet Socialist Dictatorship.

Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski, first son of Rafal (Junior). Born in 1906. Photo taken in Poland in 1931 when Mieczyslaw was 25 years old and still single.

Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski hunting ducks by the river Nacz (Nacha) near Burakowce, Lachowicze area.


  • Emilja Rymaszewska (nee Gruszewska), Mieczyslaw's wife, the daughter of Józef Gruszewski and Rozalia Ussowska. She was born on 7 January 1908 and died on 5 March 1987 in Lachowicze.

Emilja Rymaszewska (nee Gruszewska),
Mieczyslaw's wife

Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski in the middle, Emilja Gruszewska, his wife, on the left, and their daughter Jadwiga Rymaszewska on the right. Sitting in front is Emilia's mother Rozalia Gruszewska (nee Ussowska) 


During the period 1918 to 1939 in independent Poland, Mieczyslaw's family lived in the same area near Lachowicze as their parents and grandparents lived before under the Russian Tsar's rule since the Partitions of Poland.

In 1939, during the Second World War, these lands (Kresy) were occupied by the Soviet Union and then annexed in 1945. The family must have missed the evacuation, or so called "repatriation", from "Western Byelorussia" to the Polish People's Republic, when many Poles who were former Polish citizens, were removed. All members of Mieczyslaw's family appear to be buried in Belarus but tombstones bear the Polish inscriptions >>>>.

The cemetery in Lyakhovichi (Lachowicze), Belarus

Date: 29 May 2002
The cemetery in
Lyakhovichi showing graves of Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski and his wife Emilja.
On the photo visiting from Poland is Irena Gruszewska, the daughter of Emilja Rymaszewska's brother Boleslaw Gruszewski.

Mieczyslaw's and Emilja's DAUGHTER
   Jadwiga (Jadzia) RYMASZEWSKA
  • Jadwiga (Jadzia) Rymaszewska, the daughter of Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski and Emilia Gruszewska, was born on 17 August 1936 in Burakowce estate in independant Poland.

    She still lived there in Lyakhovichi (which is now in Belarus) when I found her on the internet in 2006.

    Jadwiga worked all her life as a school teacher in languages. When she retired she lived in an apartment in Lachowicze.

    We corresponded until she died on 10 of July 2009. She was buried on Lyakhovichi cemetery with her parents.

Jadzia (age 66)
in Nacha (Nacza), Belarus.
Photo: May 2002

Photo: 1939 - Pre war Poland.
Three year old Jadwiga Rymaszewska (Jadzia), daughter of Mieczyslaw and Emilja Gruszewska in the garden of their estate in Burakowce near Lachowicze, Baranowicze district, in pre war Poland . She is collecting blackcurrant berries into her little metal bucket.


After the war, when the area where her family lived became Soviet "Western Byelorussia", young Jadzia attended High school in town Baranowicze.

Eventually she enrolled in language department of the Leningrad University, doing Slavic studies.

She specialized in Serbian, Croatian, Czech and Bulgarian. And, of course, she is fluent in Polish and Russian languages, and understands Ukrainian and Belarus. She also knows German reasonably well, and a bit of French.

Jadwiga worked all her life as a school teacher in languages.

After she retired she lived in an apartment in Lachowicze.

On 10 July 2009
Jadwiga Rymaszewska died

Jadwiga attending High School in Baranowicze during Soviet times

Jadwiga Rymaszewska during her University days in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg)

Jadwiga skiing in the Russian winter with her German shepherd


  • Zofia Rymaszewska - Mieczyslaw's sister, daughter of Rafal, was born on 2 June 1910 in Lachowicze (Lyakhovichi)

    In 1934 she married Emilia's brother, Wladyslaw Gruszewski (born in 1901 in Nacza Bryndzowska).

    Zofia and her brother Mieczyslaw married a brother and his sister from Gruszewski family.

    Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski married Emilja Gruszewska on 17 February 1934, and Zofia Rymaszewska married Emilja's brother Wladyslaw Gruszewski the next day.

    Zofia and Wladyslaw had 3 children : Bogdan, Halina and Grigoriy.

    Zofia died on 28 January 2003 in Pierechrestie near Nacha, aged 93 years

Zofia Rymaszewska, Poland, summer 1939, or may be 1938.

Lady on the RIGHT
Zofia Rymaszewska (born 1910), Mieczyslaw's sister, wife of Wladyslaw Gruszewski. In front of her is little Jadzia Rymaszewska (born 1936), Mieczyslaw's daughter.

Lady on the LEFT
Nadzieja Gruszewska (born 1910), wife of Boleslaw Gruszewski, and her little daughter Irena (born 1931), who later in life married Alfred Kielak in Poland.


On the LEFT: Bogdan Gruszewski former sailor of the Baltic Navy in port Kaliningrad, born 23 August 1935 (see young photo above), first son of Zofia Rymaszewska, with his wife Anna.

On the RIGHT: Alfred Kielak, husband of Irena Gruszewska. (See Irena's childhood photo above).

This photo was taken during Alfred and Irena Kielak's visit to Nacza in Belarus on May 2002.

1955 : Bogdan, first son of Zofia Rymaszewska and Wladyslaw Gruszewski. Born in Nacza (or Nacz), Poland on 23 August 1935.

Under Soviet occupation, he was conscripted by the military, and in May 1955, aged 20, became a sailor in the Soviet Baltic Navy in port Kaliningrad (former Polish Królewiec).

Grigorij (Grisha) Gruszewski, second son of Zofia Rymaszewska, visiting Poland. Photo in 1972

Grigorij (Grisha), second son of Zofia Rymaszewska, with his father Wladyslaw Gruszewski. Photo in 1982 : Belarus

Elena (Lena) Vyerkhovskaya, the daughter of Grigoriy (Grisha) Gruszewski, with her son Misha (Michal) Vyerkhovskiy. Year 2002, Sankt Petersburg, Russia.

Grigorij (Grisha) Gruszewski, second son of Zofia, with his grandson Misha (Michal).
September 2004 : Sankt Petersburg, Russia.
Ref.: Email 032

Year 2002

The photo on the right was taken during Alfred and Irena Kielak's visit to Nacza in Belarus on May 2002.

First on the RIGHT : Irena Kielak (Gruszewska), wife of Alfred Kielak, visiting from Poland.

On the LEFT : the daughter of Zofia Rymaszewska and Wladyslaw Gruszewski, Halina Domaszewicz, (born 7 January 1937)

In the MIDDLE - Jadzia Rymaszewska, Halina's cousin, Zofia Rymaszewska's niece.

Family 66.1

  Aleksander RYMASZEWSKI

My paternal grandfather Aleksander, the son of no.66, was born around 1868.
At the end of the 19th century, Aleksander had some connection with an estate Nacz (Nach), in Lachowicze area, Baranovichi district, because I knew for sure that my father Michal, his son, was born in estate Nacz in 1894. Perhaps it was the property where Aleksander's father, my great-grandfather Rafal lived with his children. This I confirmed later through unexpected contact on the internet with Jadwiga mentioned above.

A detailed military map, published between 1925-1935 in free Poland, shows in this part of Eastern Poland (eastwards from LACHOWICZE, or westwards from KLECK) the location of nine places named Fw. Nacz or D. Nacz . "Fw." is an abbreviation for "folwark", meaning "a grange", and "D." is an abbreviation for "dwór", meaning "estate manor".

The NACZ grange close to Burakowce grange (arrow in a circle) is the place of birth of my father, where his father Aleksander, the brother of Rafal, who owned the adjoining Burakowce grange, originally lived.

Later, however, my grandfather Aleksander, with his young family, moved from Lachowicze area to live on his own estate called Zascianek in Polesie district, next to the village Plotnica, later described as Mala Plotnica (Little Polotnitsa), because there is another Plotnica in the south of Polesie. Mala Plotnica was located to the north of PINSK, about 9 km north-east from Dobroslawka (Dobroslavka), 17 km southwest from Malkowicze (Malkovichi). See map below.

After the fall of Tsarist Russia, the family continued to live in Zascianek for 21 years in free and independent Poland between the first and second world wars. Everything ended during the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland in 1939. Aleksander's estate was confiscated by the communists and the family destroyed. The estate was converted to a "collective" farm owned in effect not by the people but by the Soviet state and its rulers. As an infant I have visited Zascianek with my parents and I remember it.

A map below published in 1910 shows location of Zascianek near PLOTNICA (later known as MALA PLOTNICA). Zascianek is no longer there - destroyed by Russian occupiers and their communist ideology.

An old map, published in 1910, showing location of Zascianek near PLOTNICA.
It is no longer there - destroyed by Russian occupiers and their communist ideology.


The estate of Zascianek consisted of an extended single story family house, a lot of outbuildings such as stables, barns with hay lofts and stork nests on roofs, cowsheds, piggeries, poultry houses, etc.

And a separate stand-alone big cellar, like a dugout, part of which was filled with ice in the winter and used as a cold store.

Ice blocks were cut out in the winter on the nearby river and transported to the cellar by horse drawn cart. (The sack hanging on the left of the horse contains common oats for the horse)

The rest of cold cellar was used for storing potatoes, beetroots, turnips, carrots, as well as barrels of soured cabbage, pickled cucumbers, dried mushrooms, bilberries, cherries, cranberries and so on.

There was also a smoke-house where they used to dry and cure hams, sausages and other meats. Then there was a log cabin where they were making butter and cottage cheeses, some of which were dried.

Behind the farmhouse was a vegetable garden and a orchard with some beehives on one side.

Beyond that was a field of hemp which was used for making ropes. The family toddlers were always warned not to stay near the hemp field as it would give them nasty dreams.

In front of the farmhouse were fields where wheat, rye, oats, potatoes, millet, buckwheat and peas were grown.

Beyond the corn fields was a meadow, on which there was a row of oak trees growing, and beyond that was a wet meadow.

On the southern side of the estate was a canal which had a ford where cattle used to cross.

On the western side was a thick forest of ash, oaks, pines and some maple trees, where they used to go to pick bilberries and mushrooms.

On the southern side was a paddock for horses and a dark woodland of spruce and fir trees and beyond that was the village of Plotnica , or Mala Plotnica (Little Plotnitsa).

Paddock for horses

The family house

The barn with storks nest

The blooming orchard with beehives

The row of oak trees on the meadow

Forest of ash, oaks, pines and some maple trees

The dirt road to Mala Plotnica

Aleksander's wife was Ewelina Piotrowska (66.1 w), my grandmother.
Ewelina and Aleksander had four children, one of whom was my father.

Grandfather Aleksander died around 1929. There was only Orthodox cemetery at Plotnica, close to Zascianek, so grandfather was buried at Ploskinia (Ploskin, Ploskino) about 5 kilometers from Mala Plotnica, at a Catholic cemetery.
Grandmother Ewelina died some years before him, due to illness, and was buried at the same cemetery at Ploskinia.




  Bronislawa RYMASZEWSKA
  Michal RYMASZEWSKI - my father

66.11 - The eldest daughter Bronislawa (Bronka) married Pawel Sloka. They lived on her father's property in Zascianek near Mala Plotnica, helping to manage the estate. They had four children: 2 daughters and 2 sons.

66.12 - Michal, my father, was the only son in the family. He was born on 20 October 1894 in "Nacz (Nach) estate" in Lachowicze area, Baranowicze district. Being a son, after the Primary school, he was sent to a college to receive further education. He went to Pinsk and studied in a College run by the catholic church (Jesuits). Later he went to a Russian Higher Technical College. At home, my father and his sisters had additional private lessons in Polish language and history which was not taught in schools during Russian times. The family attended church on Sundays, riding there in a light carriage drawn by horses.

66.13 - Emilia, the second daughter was born on 15 August 1897. She married Czeslaw, also Rymaszewski from the Rymaszewski clan, and moved to live in Malkowicze (Malkovichi). They had three sons. Click "More" to Family 67.11.

66.14 - Jadwiga (Jadzia), the youngest of three daughters, married Feliks Sarnacki. They had two children, a daughter and a younger son. They also continued to live in "Zascianek" estate.


On grandfather Aleksander's death, his land was not divided among his children, as often was the contemporary practice.

My father, was not interested in farming. He had a good public service position, left the family land, and eventually settled in the main town Pinsk.

Emilia, the middle daughter, moved with her husband Czeslaw to Malkowicze where they had their own property, and Czeslaw was employed as a government forest ranger.

Only the eldest and the youngest daughters Bronia and Jadzia, with their husbands, continued to farm on grandfather's property in Zascianek.

My father's and mother's young years in Pinsk.
Early 20th century


In his youth, during school terms my father lived away from his country home in Zascianek. He was boarding in Pinsk, where he studied.

He completed 7 year Polish Private Secondary College (Gimnazjum) attached to the Jesuit Fathers Church and run by the Jesuits.

Market square with Jesuit Fathers' Church and College behind.
Pinsk : 1910

Street scene in Pinsk in 1912

Afterwards, my father attended a Russian Higher Technical College where he studied new sciences and technology of telegraphy, telephony and radio.

After graduation, at the age of 21, he obtained a job in the government Communications Services ("Svyazi sluzba") in Pinsk. He had a technical staff position in the Telephone and Cable Telegraph Office that used Morse code.

In Pinsk he met my mother Aleksandra Leszczynska who was native of Pinsk. Late in 1916 he married my mother. They were both aged 22.

Photo of my father Michal Rymaszewski, dated 22 August 1915, in a uniform of a tsarist "chinovnik ", i.e. a Russian public servant in the Communications Services.

My father is sitting. Unidentified person is standing and therefore considered a subordinate. Father is still single - age 21.


Jesuit Fathers' Church and College in Pinsk circa 1920. The church was founded in 1646 by Polish prince A.St. Radziwill when Eastern Borderlands (Kresy) and Pinsk were part of Poland.

N.B. The church on the left was purposely destroyed (blown up) in 1953 by Communists during the Soviet occupation of Pinsk after the Second World War.


Market by the river Pina in PINSK.


66.12 w
  Aleksandra RYMASZEWSKA (wife)

My mother Aleksandra (pet name OLESIA) aged 21 years and 9 months. Photo taken in Pinsk in 1916. 

This photo of Olesia is dated 30 August 1916, not long before marriage.  

My mother Aleksandra (pet name OLESIA) aged about 24 years and her sister in law EMILJA Rymaszewska. Photo taken in Pinsk.

Who was the friend of my parents, Tania, who played the guitar?

On the back of the photo is written in Russian: "Na dobru pamiat' Mishi i Sashi ot Tani" which means "For good remembrance to Misha and Sasha from Tania".
"Misha" is Russian diminutive for Michal (my father) and "Sasha" is Russian diminutive for Alexandra (my mother).

date: 5 August 1918


Kiew Street scene in Pinsk dated 3 April 1916. Chemist shop on the right and a hotel-restaurant "Bristol" above it.

Market square in Pinsk in 1910, when my mother was 16 year old.
Behind is Jesuit Fathers' Church and College.




  • My parents married in the Polish Catholic church in Pinsk, still under Russian Tsarist rule.

    I remember seeing my parents' marriage certificate, written in Russian, dated 1916.

  • On the certificate, my father's status was written as "dvoryanin" i.e. nobleman ("szlachcic") and my mother's as townswoman ("mieszczanka").

  • 5 years later, the Constitution of newly independent and democratic Poland (post 1914 - 1918 war) made all people equal in law and finally discontinued the noble status in 1921.

  • In 1940, during the Soviet occupation of Pinsk and my father's arrest and imprisonment the marriage certificate, together with other family documents were taken away by the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD).

* * *


During the First World War, Russia was engaged in the war with Germany. After two years, since late 1915, the Eastern Front came close to the territory where all Rymaszewski families lived. It become an arena of close combat between Germans and Russians. Living conditions drastically worsened for the population. The shifting frontiers left in their wake considerable damage and famine.

As the world war, the Russian revolution, and the civil war in Russia raged, the eastern frontier was in turmoil. Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants became refugees.

In March 1917 the Emperor of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown, and later, in October, during the Bolshevik Revolution, was murdered by the communists together with all his family.

Then the Bolshevik Russia, a former member of Entente alliance, pulled out of the war with Germany and signed a separate armistice in December 1917. By the Treaty of Brest Litovsk in March 1918, they ceded Eastern Poland, the territory where the Rymaszewski families lived, to Germany.

My father got a postal job further east, in a small town named Zytkowicze (Zhitkovichi) on the railway line between Pinsk via Luniniec and Mozyr to Gomel. Their first son, Edward, was born to my parents in Zytkowicze on 11 July 1918. The country was then under German military and political occupation. By the end of 1918 however, Germany and Austria (the Central Powers), collapsed themselves.

The Poles then proclaimed an independent Polish republic and began, from November 1918, to disarm the Germans and form Polish local councils.

The eastern frontiers of Poland then became a theater of war against Bolshevik "Red" Army by anti-Bolshevik "White" Russian armies and others. My parents moved west with the refugees, past Warsaw to Lódz to now independent Polish territory.

German troops wearing Prussian spiked helmets entering Pinsk during WWI. On the left, a Jewish merchant in a horse cart.

Typical residents of Pinsk during the First World War under administration of German Garrison

Ignacy Moscicki
1918 - 1939
Polish coat of arms


Józef Pilsudski

In 1919 the Bolshevik Red Army, having crushed all counterrevolutionary forces inside Russia, now aimed to spread the international communism to Germany and Europe, but Poland stood in a way because Polish workers and peasants were too patriotic and religious to be interested in the communist revolution. So the Red Army attacked Poland.


During the Bolshevik attack, my father answered marshal Pilsudski's call for volunteers to save the newly won independence. He joined the Polish army. After the decisive battle near Warsaw, called "the Miracle of the Vistula", Russian Bolshevik armies were defeated and were driven back to Russia. An armistice between Poland and Russia was signed on 12 October 1920.

Father returned from the war front to my mother in Lódz for Christmas in 1920, to see for the first time his second son born in his absence. Zygmunt was born on 3 October 1920 in Stryków near Lódz.

In March 1921, by the Peace Treaty with the Soviets, Poland established her eastern frontiers which included many native areas of the Rymaszewski families. In the spring of 1921 my parents returned to family property in Zascianek in Polesie, Eastern Poland (Kresy). Then father got a Polish government position as the Postmaster in Hancewicze.

My mother's family was missing and their house in Pinsk was destroyed. Her father died, and her mother and one step-sister, escaping eastwards from the war front found themselves trapped in the Bolshevik Russia in Gomel.

My mother, as the only surviving heiress, successfully claimed her family's large block of town land in Pinsk.

Coat of arms of Hancewicze
1921 - 1931
map of N-E Poland



In the north one can find Wilno (now Vilnius in Lithuania).

Then going south by train, past Lida and Baranowicze further down is Hancewicze (where I was born) and Malkowicze (where my father's sister Emilia lived with her family).


Then changing trains in Luniniec go west to Pinsk where we had our house and property, and I went to college.

All places are now in Belarus.

Family 66.12


My father, demobilized from Pilsudski's army, after Poland's armistice with the Bolshevik Russia, returned from Lódz with my mother and two infants Edward and Zygmunt to his parents land property in Zascianek, in 1921.

Father, with his technical qualifications, previous telecommunications experience (under Russia), and Polish army volunteer service, was offered a government position as the Postmaster in charge of the Post and Telegraph Office in Hancewicze (now Gantsevichi).

Hancewicze (is a town, situated on the railway line between bigger town of Baranowicze in the north and Luniniec in the south. I was born in Hancewicze in 1923, then my younger brother Zbyszek in 1926.

We had government accommodation. The front half of a large single storey building near the railway station was the Post and Telegraph Office and the other half at the back was our home. We also had a domestic servant.

HANCEWICZE : year approx. 1926

My father, the Postmaster in charge of the Post and Telegraph Office in Hancewicze, sitting at his desk in his office. His assistant, Mr Ansilewski, is standing beside him.

Notice the huge ledgers they used. On side table next to my father is his personal cable telegraph equipment. At that time the invention of the telegraph communications was regarded as modern a technology as the present day Internet.


My father's signature dated 23 June 1931
(rubber stamp underneath)

My father with Edward on the left, aged about 4, and Zygmunt, aged less than 2. Photo about 1922.


Front view of the Post and Telegraph Office

Public mailbox outside the Post Office


Hancewicze springtime, about 1926.

My father (with a mustache) sitting in the middle, during visit to Rusiecki family on Easter Monday. Mr Rusiecki is first on the left, and Mrs Rusiecka is standing first on the right.

Coloured Easter eggs on elevated glass plate in front of my father, and carafes of Polish vodka of various flavours including "krupnik".


My father Michal Rymaszewski, the Postmaster in Hancewicze with his Post and Telegraph Office workers. My father is behind sitting by the tree.

Eugenia (Gienia) Litwinienko a friend of family in Hancewicze emigrated to Argentina and sent this photograph from Argentina, dated 12 July 1936.

A gathering of some elite inhabitants in Hancewicze

I can't guess what is the occasion but it must be during the Whitsuntide (called in Polish Green Holidays) because I can see a young birch tree fixed each side of the doorway according to traditon. There was no problem in chopping the trees as there many forests around especially in those parts of Poland. (Similarly people just went to nearby forest and chopped for themselves a Xmas trees).

On the photo my father Michal Rymaszewski is in front, right in the middle, sitting on the ground. Behind him one can see a Catholic priest (see his photo below) sitting together with an Orthodox priest (wearing a cross). Poland was a tolerant multicultural society.

Date about 1927.


Antoni Rodziewicz, my father's subordinate at Hancewicze Post and Telegraph Office married to Jadwiga, presents their photo to my parents. Date 15 October 1930.

Leon Rynkiewicz, former clerk at Hancewicze Post and Telegraph Office, and my father's friend who moved to Baranowicze sent this photo which shows him walking to church on Narutowicza street with his wife Jadwiga (nee Rózycka) summer 1937.


Hancewicze circa 1930.

A crowd is awaiting in the market place next to the church for somebody important to arrive. (Note building on the right with a cross on top and open entry doors). Polish national flags are displayed on the small bell tower on the left. I was too young to remember what was the occassion.


Young Edward Rymaszewski was sent to private boarding college in Oswiecim near Cracow. On the photo he is second from the right.
After 2 years he dropped out and returned home to Hancewicze.





The following two photos, circa 1930, are of a friend of our family in Hancewicze Mrs. Weronika WOJTKIEWICZ (Pani Wojtkiewiczowa).

Her husband, I think, had some position with the railways, because she lived near the railway station in a house built by the Railways Department.

Our home and the Post Office were close to the station too.

We often visited Mrs. Wojtkiewicz. In her garden she kept a young roe-deer, which became tamed.

Photo on the right shows Weronika Wojtkiewicz(owa) in her salon (lounge)

She loved embroidering, tapestry, crochet, etc. She is surrounded by her handicrafts on the photo.


• • • • • • •

Thanks to an unexpected email sent to me in April 2007 by Mr. L. Blaszczyk from Poland, the second photo of Mrs Wojtkiewicz shown below was miraculously retrieved from the perished records of my childhood and my past destroyed by Soviet Communism.

SEE Email No. 022


Photo on the right shows Mrs Wojtkiewicz and myself in her garden next to the railway line in Hancewicze. Her house and flower garden were on the left side of the picture.

I am feeding the young roe-deer.

Photo circa 1930.


I remember when my grandfather Aleksander (66.1), who lived in the country in Zascianek, visited us in Hancewicze around 1926. I was almost 3 years old.

It was summer and the two of us were standing together, outside the house. I remember the scene because, for the first time in my life, I saw something new in the sky. I saw a biplane! It was flying overhead in our path, making frightening noise! We both were craning our necks watching the thundering flying machine.

Grandfather died approximately two years later. I was around five years old and I also remember the night when he died. Father received a telephone-telegram and came home looking very pale and said to us: Children, "dziadek" has died. Kneel down and say a prayer for "dziadek", please.

I remember this event because the night sky over whole, mostly timber built Hancewicze was lit up with a bright glow. Somewhere, there was a very large fire in our town! The two events combined into a terrifying night for me. This fire glow, I thought, must have something to do with "the Death" in a white robe, with a scythe, who came to take "dziadek" away.

Later, when we lived in Pinsk and I was 15 just before the second world war broke out, I visited my grandfather's grave in Ploskinia (Ploskin) in the country with my father. When we knelt at the grave and quietly prayed, I glanced at my father and saw him..... crying. It was the first time in my life that I saw my father cry.

It was the last time too. In only 7 months time, it was I, who cried for my father when he was arrested in the middle of the cold winter night and led away into the darkness and snow by the invading Communist apparatus of terror - never to see him or hear from him again!


Coat of arms of Polish town Pinsk

1931 - 1940

City Council stamp with coat of arms of Polish town Pinsk - year 1931

Late autumn in 1931 my father was promoted to a position in Pinsk and we moved there by train, the furniture was loaded and sent beforehand by a freight-car. There was not much road transport in marshy Polesie.

I was almost eight years old and I remember the day of departure, because the very first fine snow, heralding the coming winter, was gently falling and melting on the railway platform in Hancewicze while we waited for the train.

My father planned this move to give his children education and better opportunities in the district's large main town.

Council's aproval to build our own house in Pinsk

MAP OF PINSK published by Army Geographical Institute in a year 1925.

Our own, new house had just been built in Pinsk at no. 3, Ochowska street in 1931. Its loacation is marked thus:

Ochowska street is the diagonal street with the short left turn into Wodociagowa street.
No. 3 was on the inside corner of the street, where the star is.


Baroque churches, dignified stately synagogues, golden domes of orthodox churches — it was my Polish Pinsk, where Catholics, the Jews and members of the Orthodox Church always lived there in harmony.

Barokowe koscioly, dostojne synagogi, zlociste kopuly cerkwi — katolicy, zydzi i prawoslawni zawsze zyli tu w zgodzie.

Pinsk and the river Pina

Pinsk and the bridge over river Pina

Market on market day

Pinsk Synagogue

Pinsk river flotilla marching with their band alongside river Pina close to the Military Port

Located at the main town square close to Kosciuszko street in Pinsk, there was a tailoring workshop and a shop offering ready made suits owned by a Jewish resident A. Spiewak, where my parents used to buy winter coats and jackets for me and my brothers, including school uniforms.

PHOTOS ON THE RIGHT consist of two pictures taken separately - one of the top part and the other of the bottom part of the same building.

Top picture shows top floor of the building with a sign "Ubrania Gotowe" (Ready Made Clothes) with doors opening on a small balcony (visible below), and

The bottom picture shows ground floor of the same building showing top part of the entrance to the shop and the balcony with a sign "Manufaktura - A.Spiewak" over the front door.

The timber pole on the left is not a tree, but a telephone line or electricity pole.)

river Pina

river Pina

Maryska Wonsowska on the river Pina beach

River Pina

Kayak on river Pina

dated 1936


Thanks to the internet, I found information on the website of Janusz Kielak about Jadwiga Rymaszewska, the surviving daughter of our relative Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski, still living in Belarus. Last time I saw her was 70 years ago just before the war broke out, while she was 3 years old, living in Burakowce, then Poland (see her photo above).

After contacting Jadwiga, the exciting news was that she still had our family photo and and two postcards - - sent before the war by my father in Pinsk to her father. The postcards are reproduced below . They are like relics to me - to see again something from my childhood and my home, to see again my father's neat handwriting, the dates, etc.

After Soviets occupied Pinsk, imposing their reign of terror (see Chapter 5), all our possessions, photo albums, souvenirs, etc. were lost during our uprooting from our home in Pinsk and deportation to Siberia. After that a heavy Communist "Iron Curtain" separated me for ever from my short but happy life in Eastern Poland.


Postcard sent by my father, his first cousin, to Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski in Burakowce near Lachowicze on the occasion of Mieczyslaw's marriage to Emilia Gruszewska in 1934.

Reverse side with my father's wishes

Postcard sent from Pinsk, in an envelope, dated 17 February 1934 - the date of Mieczyslaw's wedding.

The picture is a painting titled "Love", with a guardian angel in the background.

It is from a series of paintings called Faith, Hope and Love. In Polish they are called Wiara, Nadzieja and Milosc.

Also well known in old Russia as Vyera, Nadiozhda and Lubov (and often used as Russian girls names)

The wishes written on the back of the card are in a form of a rhyme composed by my father.


Christmas card sent by my father to his first cousin Mieczyslaw Rymaszewski in Burakowce near Lachowicze in 1936.

Polish Christmas card is in a form of a postcard.
The card shows a side table with oplatki, the traditional thin Christmas wafers that are shared on Christmas Eve . One wafer is called oplatek.

On the card is handwritten:

Merry Christmas ! (Wesolych Swiat ! )
Sincerely wished by Rymaszewski family.
Pinsk. 25 / XII
(December) 1936 r. (rok)

The postcard has a 5 groszy (5 cents) postage stamp. It was sent from Pinsk by my father to Mieczyslaw's family in Burakowce estate, with a date 25 December (XII) 1936 r. (r = abbreviation of rok = year)

W.P. stands for "Wielmozni Panstwo" - an obsolete form of polite address : Your honor Rymaszewskis

Lachowicze k
/ (near) Baranowicze
maj. Burakowce (Burakowce estate)

Family 66.12


My father was born on 20 October 1894 in "Nacz estate" near Lachowicze, Baranowicze district.

He held a position of General Manager of the Telephones and Telegraphs Office in Pinsk, a Department of the Public (or Civil) Service.

Photo dated 1935

We lived not far from the railway station, in our house which we built on my mother's family block of land. Her original family house was destroyed in the First World War, and her whole family perished in the turmoil of the Bolshevik Revolution.

My father was a good man caring for his family and very kind to all. He was popular with his subordinates and neighbours, and had many friends, also among clergy. He was modest and rather shy person, definitely not an extrovert. Perhaps for this reason he did not accept a good offer for a position of a Regional Controller of Posts & Telegraphs, involving frequent travel to other Offices throughout the region.

Year 1936 - faded Kodak photo
My father, General Manager of the Telephones and Telegraphs Office in Pinsk, sitting at his desk in his office, and his personal secretary Irena.

Note the early telephone set (box on his left, with not very visible handset on top), ink-stand, blotter, and abacus on the desk.

This photo was taken during Opening Day of a modern, new Main Post Office building in Pinsk built at Oginski's street. Selected members of the public were invited to inspect the offices and facilities.

Father, normally in a suit, wears a uniform of a senior postal officer. The uniforms were customarily worn for special official occasions like national anniversaries, ceremonies, etc.

Year 1936.
My father, Michal Rymaszewski, General Manager of the Telephones and Telegraphs Office in Pinsk, is sitting first on the left, wearing his uniform of a senior postal officer
. So the photo was probably taken during the Opening Day of the Main Post Office. The top management sits at the tables, other employees are behind.

The man sitting next to my father on his right was called Mr. Szarejko
(Shareyko). The General Manager of the whole Pinsk Main Post Office was Mr. Juchniewicz, sitting third from the right.

This is main counter at ground level of the Main Post Office in Pinsk at Oginski street.
Michal Rymaszewski, my father, is standing on the right, talking on the phone.

The name of the person sitting on the left is Dubielecki as far as I can remember

66.12 w
  Aleksandra RYMASZEWSKA (wife)

My mother was born on 29 November 1894 in Pinsk.

Her parents owned a large block of land in Pinsk and a house, not far from the railway station. Her mother Anna, a widow with two daughters, married Mikolaj Leszczynski and my mother Aleksandra was their child.


Photo dated 1935

Aleksandra married my father in 1916 at the age of 22. At the outbreak of the Polish-Soviet war (1919-1920) my parents, with their one year old son Edward, moved with the refugees westwards past Warsaw to Lódz.

After their return to my father's family estate in Zascianek in 1921, mother discovered that during the war her family's house in Pinsk was destroyed and her elderly father died. Her mother Anna and one surviving step sister were caught up in the war upheaval and were swept by the Bolshevik troops into the USSR. Anna was not allowed to leave Communist Russia, where every citizen was practically a prisoner, and the contact with her was cut off during Stalin's terror. Anna lived and died in Gomel, Soviet Russia. My mother claimed inheritance of her family land in Pinsk.

Aleksandra, like most women of World War One generation, had only primary education. During our life in Pinsk she stayed at home looking after our family. At times we also had a sleep-in domestic servant.

We had no close relatives on my mother's side in independent Poland, except some family who lived in Pohost Zahorodski, Polesie (by a large lake), and I called them "uncle Jan and auntie".

They had two daughters, an elder one called Janinka(?) and a younger Malwinka, and their surname was Juszkiewicz, I think.

Their photo above, taken around 1926.


Another family was Mr and Mrs Bogush living in Dobroslavka, Polesie Province, not far from Pinsk (see map higher up on page).

It was a village with a big pond in the middle of it.

Mr Bogusz was a paramedic (felcher) in Dobroslavka. He was of "pravoslavny" religion (Orthodox)

A. Bogusz (Boguszowa)
year 1937

Konstanty (Kostek) Bogusz

Tamara Bogusz



This photo of 18 year old Edward was copied from his Motor Mechanic Diploma combined with Driving Licence, awarded on 2 October 1936 in Warsaw.

Edward (Edek), the first son, was born on 11 July 1918 in Zytkowicze (Zytkovichi), 150 km east of Pinsk - the place remained in Russia after the First WW war just beyond the new 1921 Polish-Soviet border.

Edek treated us, his younger brothers, in a domineering fashion, and he was a bit of a delinquent. He kept bad company and once run away from home. He liked outdoors, football, swimming, circus, movies. He kept rabbits in cages in our garden and had lots of pigeons in the roof of our storehouse. In the winter he was setting traps to catch birds with bright plumage.

He was quite intelligent but had frequent problems with schooling. So father sent him to a boarding college run by Salesian Fathers in Oswiecim near Cracow (During the war, under Nazi occupation the town Oswiecim became the notorious German Auschwitz).

Although Edward abandoned the college after less than 2 years he returned home much changed for the better. However he still neglected his education and associated with bad friends. But eventually encouraged and paid by our father, he did a course in Warsaw, where he obtained a combined Driving Licence and Motor Mechanic Diploma, which for those times was quite useful.

Then, with his driving ability in not yet very motorized Poland (railway was the main transport), Edward got a job, no doubt recommended by my father, in Parcels Department of the Main Post Office, accepting and delivering the parcels around Pinsk area.

Edward (on the left) in Warsaw while he was attending the Driving Licence and Motor Mechanic Diploma Course.

Edward (on the left) with his friends in Pinsk. "Reczyk" Elias is in the middle and Karol Szlaski on the right.

Another friend was Eugenjusz Wlodzimieruk.
Photo dated: 27 June 1939.

among his friends on the beach by the river Pina in Pinsk
among the Calamus growth adjoining the beach.
Edward is first on the right (and Calamus was called "tatarak" in Polish).

Edward's girlfriend Valentyna (Vala) Giejchroch at the back of her house.

Edward (on the right) and yet another friend and the pigeons - one of his favorite pastimes. He had many pigeons, some good specimens, in the roof of our storehouse in the garden, some in cages, others could come out outside to fly or onto the roof through a little "balcony" which had a trap door. "The sporting" challenge was to drop your own pigeon among somebody else's pigeons so that your own pigeon always returns home bringing accompanying else's pigeons to the little 'balcony" which Edward then traps and puts in cage until they become "domesticated".

Edward's girlfriend Valentyna Giejchroch (on the left) at the main town square in Pinsk close to Kosciuszko street.

Edward's girlfriend Valentyna Giejchroch outside the house where she lived with her mother.

   Zygmunt Tadeusz RYMASZEWSKI 

Zygmunt, around 1938, age 18.

Zygmunt was born on 3 October 1920 in Lódz (Stryków), Poland.
Zygmunt was musical and liked singing, so father bought him a violin and arranged violin lessons for him.

However, he did rather poorly at School. So father decided to send him to an Agricultural College. It was a good boarding college in Duboy near Pinsk, which he attended till the war broke out in 1939.

When the Soviet Red Army occupied Pinsk, Zygmunt was arrested by the NKVD (later called KGB) on 15 March 1940, aged not quite 20, and sent to hard labour camp (gulag).


    Zbigniew Stanislaw RYMASZEWSKI

Zbyszek, 10 years old in 1936

Zbigniew (Zbyszek), the youngest of four boys, was born on 8 May 1926 in Hancewicze, Polesie.

He went to State Primary School No.2 in Pinsk.

Zbyszek was very close to me and used me as his mentor.


Zbyszek's photo after the 1st Communion in Pinsk


  Franciszek Romuald RYMASZEWSKI

I am 11 years old and I have just completed year 5 of Primary School No. 2 in Pinsk in June 1935

6 July 1936. I am 12 years old and I had just completed year 6. Also I had passed tough entrance exams to enter a Grammar College "gimnazjum" in Pinsk.

My photo as a student of the Grammar College "Gimnazjum" in Pinsk.

Prewar Polish banknote, value two zlotys, dated 1936

I was born on 25 October 1923 in Hancewicze, Polesie.

I was called Franek and I was praised at school and home for very good study results. I was chosen for school plays, student's committees, etc. Father regarded me as his "namiestnik" (deputy and successor). They forecast good future for me. It was a bit worrying to live up to these expectations. But I always did my best as I did not want to disappoint my father.

Being the only reliable son, I did responsible errands for my father such as, for example, taking money to the bank to pay his bills of exchange, etc. On the other hand I had privileges. I had my own new bicycle. I had a Savings Bank passbook (PKO) to deposit my allowances which were to be used for school necessities. But sometimes I got tempted to buy gellato ice-cream and had to fiddle my records. Father bought me a full 12 volumes Gutenberg Encyclopedia. He also announced that all his books in his library are now mine and I could subscribe to a book club. Sometimes he took me to cinema to an educational film and often we went on bicycle trips to nearby forest (he had a bicycle too, to go to office). We rode on footpaths alongside the railway tracks. During our trips I learned a lot of interesting things from our discussions.

My Colege:
A modern Grammar school preparing for the university, which I attended for four years from 1 September 1936 till my arrest by the Soviet Terror Police and deportation to Siberia on 13 April 1940.

Photo: The Józef Pilsudski College (Gimnazjum and Liceum) at Kosciuszko Street in Pinsk. Photo, taken from a small park on the opposite side of Kosciuszko street, in 1935.

Photo of myself at home in our garden during summer vacation in 1939.
Five weeks before the outbreak of war on 1st September 1939.
I am 15 years old and I have passed to final matriculation year of "gimnazjum". I am wearing my college jacket with college badge on my left upper arm. Behind is the view of our large "back" garden.

My certificate of compulsory smallpox vaccination issued on 2 July 1935 by the Pinsk City Council Health Centre, signed by Dr. A. Michaylov.

Prewar Polish postage stamp value 30 groszy showing Ignacy Moscicki, the President of Poland


Prewar Polish postage stamp value 25 groszy showing Smigly-Rydz, Marshal of the Polish Army, who took over after Jozef Pilsudski's death

Above, prewar Polish two zloty coin (reversed) and 20 groszy coin.

Then all weights and measures were in Poland aleady METRIC.
Polish currency was 1 zloty = 100 groszy


Year 1938.

Photo taken in early spring time in the yard in front of our house. The pear tree behind has no leaves or flowers yet (see similar photo a little below taken in the same place).

On this photo I am holding my bicycle next to my mother. I am in my "gimnazjum" uniform with college badge on my left upper arm.

Then stands Marysia Wasowska and Michalina Wasowska. Last on the right is Tamara Bogusz.


Catholic church in Pinsk, a cathedral at Kosciuszko street built in 1396, 14th century Kingdom of Poland. Photo taken about 1930 when it was renamed Saint Virgin Mary Cathedral.

The shop in front of bell tower belonged to Stefan Bednarski whose son Jerzy was my classmate in Gimnazjum and a friend. The shop was moved later to 31, Kosciuszko Street on the other side. It was a bookshop and stationary shop. See the student's pocket diary opposite which I bought there. They also were an agency for Travel Bureau "Orbis", I think.

The cover of my student's pocket diary prepared on a patriotic theme in anticipation of an approaching war with Germany. Published when the war started in 1939, just before the Red Army invaded Poland and entered Pinsk, when it was forbidden to be sold.

Summer 1939. Our family and the neighbours.

From left standing is my brother Edward Rymaszewski, Mr Wasowski
(Vonsovski), Mrs Wasowska, my mother Aleksandra Rymaszewska, my father Michal Rymaszewski. Sitting down from left is me, Franek Rymaszewski wearing my College jacket and golf pants, holding my dog Sniezek (Snowy), next is Michalina Wasowska with her dog, and Michalina's fiance, a sailor of the Pinsk River Flotilla (I think his namw was Jozek).

This photo was taken in the passage to the front entrance of our house, which led leading from the double gate entry in the front fence facing the Ochowska Street. A huge wild pear tree behind, grows in the corner of the "front" garden on the left. The tree overhangs the front fence and everything around. Our house, No. 3 (not visible), and behind the house a large"back" garden are on the right of this passage. And, also not much visible, is the "front garden on the left, behind the low fence, covered with greenery.

The front entry gate as well as all front fences, were required by the recent Town Council regulations to have every second plank (picket) removed. This was preparation in 1938 for expected war. Austria was already occupied by Hitler, and part of Czechoslovakia. It was expected that mustard gas, like in the First World War, will be used, so the holes in all fences were supposed to "help in ventilation and dispersion of poisonous war gas"

Our house and garden in Pinsk
No. 3 Ochowska street

The narrow end of our rectangular house viewed from the front garden. Photo in 1934

Michalina (Mitka) Wasowska (Vonsovska), our next door neighbour, in our lush back garden in Pinsk

My parents in 1934, and the view of our large back garden. Our white little dog "Sniezek" is at mother's feet sniffing something in the grass.

My mother Aleksandra Rymaszewska and our dog "Sniezek" at the side of our house.
Photo on the right shows my parents in the back garden at other end of our rectangular house.

Photo taken in 1934. The picture shows the short, narrow end of our rectangular house built of thick timber logs with all internal wall surfaces rendered with cement plaster and covered with wall paper. The roof was covered with zinc metal sheeting. One can see a faint vertical line on one side of the roof and a similar vertical line sticking out from our storehouse on the right. These lines were posts, between them run two wire cables too thin to be visible on the photo. It was an aerial (antenna) for our radio, not crystal any more but with super heterodyne lamps. We also had electricity connected to the house from a pole on the street. I think current was DC and voltage lower then nowadays.



We had a very large block of land filled with beautiful gardens each end of our house. Also a separately fenced flower garden with two benches in it, on which I sat reading books, while admiring and smelling flowers.

In the gardens there were raspberry and other berry bushes, nut and fruit trees, sunflowers, all the vegetables you can imagine, even lots of potatoes which we stored in the cellar for the winter. Also we stored large barrels of sauerkraut and Polish dill cucumbers, all grown in our garden. The gardens had a deep black soil.

We picked cherries from our own cherry trees for father to make the wines and for mother to make candied cherries.

The gardens with its insects, caterpillars, butterflies, dragon flies, birds, etc. and the nice fresh things to pick and eat, were my enchanting land and a wonderful world of discovery of life around me.

What has become of our home
and garden in PINSK?


Photo of our family in Pinsk taken in 1936
3 years before persecution and destruction of family by Communism

Above, from left :
66.12w - Aleksandra
(my mother, age 42)
66.123 - Franek (myself, age 13)
66.121 - Edek (my brother, age 18)
66.124 - Zbyszek (my brother, age 10)
66.122 - Zygmunt (my brother, age 16)
66.12   - Michal (my father, age 42)






Typical river scene in Pinsk in 1930s.
Transport of timber logs on river Pina assembled as floating rafts.

Two Orthodox Jews poring over a Hebrew religious book in Pinsk, 1924


Family 67.1
Roots 67

  Boleslaw RYMASZEWSKI (1876 ? - 1944)
  Izabela DZIEDZIELEWICZ (1876 ? - 1940)

Rymaszewski married Izabela Dziedzielewicz. They were living at their own grange somewhere in Polesie. They had four children, two boys and two girls. When the children grew up and left home, Boleslaw, then a widower, moved to live with his son Czeslaw in Malkowicze.

67.11 - Czeslaw RYMASZEWSKI (1897 ? - 1946). The eldest son, married Emilia Rymaszewska (daughter of Aleksander and Ewelina) from another Rymaszewski family who lived in Zascianek next to Plotnica (also called Mala Plotnica). Emilia was my father's sister, and, with her husband she moved out to live in Zawierzenie close by, then to Malkowicze. See (MORE)
Mr. Adamczyk, Janina Rymaszewska's husband

67.12 - Konstanty RYMASZEWSKI (1898? - ?). Second son, emigrated to the USA in the early 20 century and lived in New York, where he owned a hotel.

67.13 - Janina RYMASZEWSKA (1900? - ?). First daughter Janina became a schoolteacher and worked in Bereza Kartuska . There, she met and married an army officer named Adamczyk, who was an army topographic surveyor. Before 1935, they moved to live in Kielce in central Poland. They had two children, a daughter Wanda, and a son. My cousin Mietek, Czeslaw's son, wrote to me that he vaguely remembers that Adamczyk's son probably emigrated to Australia.

67.14 - Emilia RYMASZEWSKA (1900? - ?). Emilia, the second daughter, married Antoni Pawlowski and they had two children : Edward, born in 1930, and Janina, born in 1932. Unfortunately Janina died at the age of 25. Pawlowski family lived in Mala Plotnica next to the Greek Orthodox Church.

Edward, Antoni Pawlowski's son, born in Mala Plotnica in 1930, became a school headmaster. He married Danuta Dabkowska. They now live in in a vilage Sierakowko, near Pila, in Poland and Edward is 79 years old (2009).

Edward's son-in-law, Andrzej (Andy) Lis, who speaks and writes fluent English, sent me above information regarding Pawlowskis and Adamczyk. To contact Andy Lis see Email No. 115.


Family 67.11

67.11 w

  Emilia RYMASZEWSKA (wife)

Czeslaw volunteered to the Polish Army under marshal Pilsudski during the Polish-Soviet war in 1919-1920, same as my father did, and he was wounded at Bobrujsk (Belarus).

After the war Czeslaw had a government position as a ranger in the forestry department in Malkowicze. Also he owned a house and a farm there.

Malkowicze (now Malkavichi) is a small town in the very heart of the Polesian forest, situated on the railway line between bigger town of Baranowicze in the north (now Baranavichi) and Luniniec in the south (now Luninets). There were huge forests all around Malkowicze with lots of various wild life.

Emilia, born 1897, was the younger sister of my father. She was my best and loved aunt. She married Czeslaw, from the Rymaszewski clan, with the same surname as ours. See also "Previous" (Emilia 66.13).


They had three boys, as follows


Photo of Emilia, aged 20 years, and her husband Czeslaw taken in Luniniec about 1917 still in Russian tsarist times by a Jewish photographer Globerman


  Mieczyslaw Arnold RYMASZEWSKI

, their first son was born on 11 November 1919.

Mietek, the second son was born on 1 February 1921. He was talented and imaginative. He loved exploring forests around Malkowicze. In year 2000 he sent me a letter from England, where he now lives, in which he described those times (see below).  

The letter includes a photo of the church in Malkowicze built by his grandfather Boleslaw Rymaszewski. Under the Soviet occupation the communists, implementing their policy of robbing Eastern Poland, demolished the church and removed the materials to Russia.

Romuald, the youngest son was born in 1926.

Roots 66

  Bronislawa RYMASZEWSKA

    PHOTO: Storks were migrating to Zascianek every summer. There were plenty of frogs, etc. in the marshes nearby to feed their young.

  • Bronislawa, my father's eldest sister (1893 ? - 1997) married Pawel SLOKA (1893 ? - 1975). They lived on land in Zascianek, which was my grandfather's estate.
    They had two girls Irena and Lodzia, and two boys Rysiek and Maniek.
  • Jadwiga, my father's youngest of three sisters (1900 ? - 1975 ?) married Feliks SARNACKI (1900 ? - 1945 ?). They had a daughter Bogusia (Boguslawa) and younger son Gienek.
    They also lived on land in Zascianek.

Mietek Rymaszewski (67.112), my cousin, reminiscens his childhood in Polesie
(in a letter dated: London - year 2000)

I remember how my father was telling us that our Rymaszewski family was descended from a family of Polish knights. The descendants became a nobility that held lands in the area of Grand Duchy of Litva.

During the partition of Poland, between Austria, Germany and Russia, that part of Poland was held by Russia.

After the infamous Confederacy of Targowice, which was attended by the Radziwill family, my family's ancestors had joined the Confederation of Bar, led by the family's neighbour Tadeusz Reytan. This resulted in substantial confiscation of their lands by the Russians, but the traitors of Targowice held theirs. This was a very dark hour in the history of Poland.

After that Rymaszewskis spread out. Some achieved prominence in towns and held various positions. One of them was a professor of physics and chemistry in Moscow's university and was exiled to Siberia for working with the Polish underground for liberation of Poland.

My paternal grandfather, Boleslaw (67.1), was a builder and specialized in building churches, schools and other bigger buildings. My maternal grandfather, Aleksander (66.1), was running his farming estate.

Some of my childhood was spent on my maternal grandfather's estate called Zascianek. Even today when I'm over eighty, I almost see the mist over the meadows and among the oak trees on the estate. For description of the estate, see Aleksander Rymaszewski (66.1) above.

Later on, my father took the forester's job and we went to live in a place called Zawierzenie, in the middle of the forest, where there was a big house with an office and another smaller house where a ranger lived. The ranger was a Russian emigrant-exile, who was a policeman before the Bolshevik revolution. He lived with his wife and a daughter called Vala. They were teaching her Russian. She was about two years older than me and as children we were playing together and I was learning Russian even quicker than she did.

Later on I started going to school in nearby village called Lipsk. My older brother Witold and I had to go to that school through the forest some three kilometres away.

Then my father bought a house in Malkowicze, where we lived until the war. The house stood on the grounds of one and a half hectares. Father still worked as a forester as well as running our farm.

My paternal grandfather Boleslaw Rymaszewski built a catholic church on a small hill next to our property (see photo >>). When nine years ago I saw my younger brother Romuald in western Poland, where he was removed from Kresy, he told me that our old house in Malkowicze was burned down and the Russians had dismantled the church and taken the materials away. This they did so as to remove anything that was Polish. He had seen the ruins of our house and the outbuildings. Only the apple tree which I have grafted when I was about fourteen, was still growing.

Looking back at my childhood, I had a hard, working life, but fulfilling. When off school I was working for the state forest, surveying wet-meadows and dividing them into plots of one to two hectares for sale as hay-making meadows, or in autumn assessing the volume of trees in compartments marked for felling, which amounted to millions of cubic meters.

I knew the forest and Pripet marshes well all around. In the summer time when I had any spare time after helping with hay-making and harvesting the corn, my favourite pastime was to take a canoe and paddle it along the canal to the river Cna (Tsna) which wound itself through the marshes, then to take one of many rivulets leading to small islands on the marshes, called "ostrowy", which were always well wooded and were frequented by deer, boar and other animals and were full of birds and insects. Get lost in the book and listen to the songs of birds of woods and marshes.

But the monsters like Stalin and Hitler put a stop to that tranquil peaceful existence, and fate took me across five continents.

A scene in Polesie marshes

2: MY FAMILY TREE   8: MY FAMILY SURVIVORS in POLAND 12: ANCESTORS - Part 1 : Origin and Records    
4: MY FAMILY ANCESTRY in POLAND   13: Rymaszewskis in present-day POLAND
5: PINSK UNDER COMMUNIST TYRANNY 10: Descendants in AUSTRALIA - Part 1     14: Rymaszewskis  WORLD-WIDE (Part 1)
    MIETEK'S MEMOIRS OF GULAG       Descendants in AUSTRALIA - Part 2       Rymaszewskis in the USA (Part 2)
6: MY ESCAPE FROM STALIN       Descendants in AUSTRALIA - Part 3 15: EMAILS from Visitors