Tracing the Obiala and Samelko families. Day 8. Touring in Tykocin and Biebrza National Park.

Another busy day as we played tourist in the morning.  Toured the town of Tykocin which is near Kiermusy. This was the scene of the Tykocin massacre. On August 25, 1941, the Nazi’s ordered 1400 – 1700 Tykocin Jews to the town square for ‘resettlement’.

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Men were marched and the women, children and elderly were trucked to the nearby Lopuchowo forest.  There they were executed in waves and this mass execution of Polish Jews continued to spread across the Bialystok region.

We visited an old castle dating to the 15th century as part of the Kingdom of Poland.  It was destroyed in the 18th century and restoration started in 2002 using private funds.  It is ongoing as funds are available. The square, church, and Jewish synagogue were part of our day.

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Tykocin Square
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Church in Tykocin


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Tykocin Castle
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Tykocin Castle

We now headed to the Biebrza National Park.  This is part of the national park system of Poland.  It is an area with hiking, canoeing, and viewing vistas of the area.


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Biebrza National Park
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Biebrza National Park
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Biebrza National Park

After a brief visit, we headed to Lawsk to meet Zofia’s daughter, Hanna, and family.  They live on a very thriving farm and are very proud to show it to all.  Again a meal, it is unbelievable how we keep getting fed. Good food all the time.  After a short visit we headed to Lomza to meet Zofia’s sister, Miroslawa.  She and her husband were glad to see us.  Her husband took one look at Theodore and remarked ‘You Samelko’.  It left no doubt in our minds that we were related.  Is speaking with Zofia and Miroslawa, we told them the story of Jan deserting the Russian Army in Persia, getting false documents and going to the United States.  They replied, ‘we had a cousin do the same thing’.  Could it have been Jan and his friend?  We’ll never truly know.  But it sure lends truth to the story.  We headed back to Kiermucy to spend our last night and prepare for the journey home.

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