3. Sitting Down In My GGGrandfather’s House.

We were off to Opole to check the archives on the Philipsek side of the family. We were going through the Mechnica church records when Zenon noticed that town sponsors for the Philipsek baptisms came from Twardawa.  (By the way, ‘Philipsek’ is usually spelled ‘Phillipczyk’ and is pronounced ‘Feel LEAP chick’).  I had been unable in my research in the USA to verify the marriage of August Phillipczyk and Clara Bannert and the birth of their first two children, John and Anastasia, in Mechnica.

Zenon got the microfilm for Twardawa and found August and Clara’s wedding date and the birth of some children, all of which may not be known at this time. Also listed were the names of August and Clara’s parents. (This is what happens when you have a driver/translator who is also genealogist!) I have ordered the microfilm and hope I can finish this story. In the Litchy family history, it has been passed down that August and Clara had as many as seven children—all who died, before they brought the family, as we know it, to Minnesota. The Litchy story may have some basis in fact!

The possible Philipsek house.

In Mechnica, Basia, who ran the bed and breakfast, asked her father-in-law about the Philipsek name and he said they used to live just down the road, but they moved to Germany some years ago. So Zenon, Basia, and I went looking for the house. A neighbor noticed us, came across the cobbled street, took a look at me and said, ‘You are a Philipsek. I can see it in your face!’ He had a key so he opened the gate which allowed us to take even better pictures.  (See what happens when you have a driver/translator! Again, do try to avoid driving in Poland!).

Later we had a spirited discussion with Basia’s uncle, who was forced to leave Poland when martial law was imposed. He had been a patriot and his fate was death or Siberia, so he fled to Germany and had been living there for 20 years. We discussed the merits and flaws of socialism and democracy for at least two hours over beer and sausage.  Poor Zenon: not only did he have to deal with the uncle who tried to speak Polish and often would lapse into German; at the same time he had to deal with Basia and her father-in-law as they would re-translate the German into Silesian Polish! What a yeoman’s job he did!

What a great evening it was!  After, we laughed, shook hand and admitted that talking politics was everybody’s favorite pastime.


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