Posted by: tabliope | September 3, 2008

My family.

 I've decided that I want to find out more about my family, my extended family.  Maybe it's a measure of the fact that I'm getting older or perhaps it's just a way of retaining a link to my dead parents – I don't know and it doesn't really matter and I should stop trying to analyse all my actions.  To all intents and purposes I have no blood relatives who are alive- certainly none that I know of, but sometimes I wonder if there may be a stray second cousin lurking around somewhere.  Although I'm realistic enough to know that the discovery of a second cousin would be a major excitement for about ten minutes but then we'd all go back to doing whatever it is that we do.  Truthfully I don't think that I'm doing this because I'm looking for more family but who knows why anyone does anything.  And off we go on another round of analysis.

I'm interested in tracking my family's movements around Europe and given that my father was born only a relatively short distance from where I now live I feel that I'm in a good place to dig around.  The only information I have about my father's birth is from his Alien Registration Book when he fled to the UK after the war.  Having googled Bozenburg  I find that the official who filled the forms in managed to spell his place of birth  incorrrectly and I think it's really Boizenburg although it's a bit further from the Polish border than I would have expected.  No doubt this speilling error was done by the same official who advised my father to anglicise both his forename and surname.  His forename was Jerzy and this was changed to George.  In the immediate aftermath of the war there were thousands of displaced persons, many like my father who wouldn't have been fluent in English, and I suppose officials thought they were being helpful doing this.  I don't know how much of this influenced my father's desire to integrate as completely as possible into British society; in so far as a loner will ever integrate into anything.  He didn't keep up with Polish clubs and societies (of which there were many) and I never heard him speak Polish until he was dying.

There's a tin box with my father's documents in it and there's an envelope in there with the sender's name and address.  From my father's marriage certificate I realise that this is from his mother, my grandmother.  I know where she lived in 1962 and perhaps this is where my father lived pre-war after being expelled from Germany and that could explain my father being arrested so early in the war.  It's known now as Wroclow but was known previously as Breslau and was a city that has been struggled over throughout much of  Poland's history. 



  1. It all sounds fascinating – I hope you manage to follow the trail.

  2. I had a terrible shock one day, when I came across my grandmother’s wedding certificate and it said she’d married someone called Zalman and not Paul, my grandfather’s name.  Turns out, he’d just been going by Paul, but Zalman was his real name.
    It’s funny when you think how desperate parents are now to give their children memorable and unusual names, when all our parents and grandparents wanted to do was fit in.

  3. That’s a big move from Zalman though.

  4. I know – I’m going to have sit my dad down and find out exactly what went on.
    An even more elaborate name change was when my mum’s family went from Bunchovsky to Barnet (probably just after the war).

  5. From my experience it’s certainly worth having the conversation – I didn’t have the conversation because the few times things were discussed I wasn’t interested and then Dad became too old and ill, Mum died – there’s no one left to ask.apropos of nothing – a few years ago a colleague of mine died – we weren’t close friends but we chatted and enjoyed each others’ company.  She had told me a story about her brother and Princess Diana – I remember after her funeral I was driving home and I remembered part of the story she told me and I couldn’t remember where it had taken place and so I thought, ‘I’ll ask her when I next see her’ – of course I couldn’t. 

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