I was up early and did some more walking before breakfast. Explored the Jewish ghetto area of Tarnów including the ruins of the synagogue. Before the war nearly 50% of Tarnów’s population was Jewish and like others across Poland they suffered a horrible fate. Once again, reading the history of these events and contemplating what happened brings me a greater appreciation for the life we have today.
After another huge breakfast we piled into the car and headed for the last of our four family villages, Bór Gradzki and Bolesław parish. My mother’s maternal grandfather Marcin Struziak immigrated from this area in 1903, but I’ve not been able to trace any close relatives that stayed behind. Once again we would rely on Zenon’s expertise in working with the local parish and town clerk.
Unfortunately that wasn’t possible today because offices were closed for the labor day national holiday. Instead we walked through the parish cemetery and made note of the Struziak stones we found there. Later in the day we did manage to find a priest who showed us the church. Most of today’s structure is new, but he pointed out the oldest corner of the church which he said dates from the 16th century. We were able to touch the baptismal font made from sandstone – the priest said it is ‘very old’ but was not sure of the date. Maybe my great grandfather was baptized in this same font.
I did have one possible lead for finding Struziak relatives. A few years ago during my research I had searched the internet for ‘Struziak’ and ‘Bór Gradzki’, and the name of Dr. Krzysztof Struziak came up with his email address. Krzysztof is the head of the local school and we exchanged several emails using Google translate. We weren’t able to find a common ancestor, but we agreed to meet when I was in Poland. In advance of our arrival, Zenon contacted Krzysztof and arranged to visit his home on May 2 (tomorrow).
After visiting the church and cemetery there was not much else we could accomplish on the holiday. Zenon suggested that we take a short detour and see the town of Zalipie, otherwise known as the “painted village”. We took a brief tour and viewed the beautifully decorated houses – very unique.
Back to Tarnów for dinner at the hotel. In celebration of the Labor Day holiday, a stage has been erected in the square and we enjoyed a free concert. Zenon explained that the celebrations are extra big this year in observance of the 10th anniversary of Poland joining the European Union.