I have wondered about the circumstances in which my great-grandmother Maryanna Kasprzyk Skrok Kwiatek and her family left Buffalo and returned to Poland in 1920. Was it the Second Polish Republic, as after World War I the country of Poland was legally recreated? Was it the opportunity to move to formerly Prussian lands as ethnic Germans departed? How did the baby Zofia fit into the situation?
Not only did the Kwiateks leave for Silesia, so did Maryanna’s children, Jan Skrok and Stanisława Skrok Kiec and their families. Although the Kiec, Skrok, and Rzepka families returned to the United States with their American and Polish born children, the Kwiateks apparently did not.
Among my grandmother’s papers, my mother found a letter written in 1947 by her aunt Aniela Kwiatek Jankowska, asking at Corpus Christi Parish in Buffalo, New York, about family members in Buffalo after my grandfather Jan Skrok‘s death in 1936 and his sister Stanisława Skrok Kiec‘s death in 1938. This translation was kindly provided by Dolores Ferguson of the Polish Genealogical Society of New York State.
Corpus Christi Parish
in Buffalo NY
I the below signed Aniela Jankowska of Kwiatkow once belonged to this Parish and attended the school under the guardianship of the honourable Franciscan Sisters am returning to kindly request fulfillment of my below request.
So in the year 1939 I received the last letter from my niece Helen Gon of Kiecow who lived at that time on Howard Street (#210) in Buffalo NY and after the war I wish to communicate. I have already sent 3 letters which were returned from NY. I wrote to the Police Station #8 in Buffalo from which I have not had any response to date. Because of this I am coming to you the Revered Franciscans if you could be so kind to comply with my request for this matter if it can be done to announce in church possibly from the pulpit please request in the name of the Parish Priest St. Stanislaus because I cannot affirm to which Parish they belong.
I am very sorry for my boldness in coming to you with this matter which I know is not your responsibility but only to your kindness, but in God I put my trust and hope for results. I also have another family Skrokow – their names are Czeslaw, Tadeusz, Helena and Agnieszka. Home address I do not have but they have lived in Buffalo NY since the year 1923 and the Family Kiecow – names are Adam, Jan, Stanislaw, Waclaw, Helena Gon and Stefania. Again, if possible, please locate them and provide me their addresses finding hopefully at least one member of the family to send to me.
In addition, I cordially ask for a photograph of the church so I can keep it close to my heart as a remembrance as 25 years have past since I left my beloved Parish with a broken heart. I end this now and send kindest memories as well as send well wishes to the venerable Father and Priests, as well as the Sisters. Praise be Jesus Christ.
Aniela Jankowska, daughter of Mary & Andrzej Kwiatek
Belonged to Parish 1921 and last lived at 895 William Street
ul Folwarczna 4
woj St Dabrow
At the bottom of the letter is written “Agnieszka Skrok 209 Stanton” my grandmother’s name and address. I do not know if the families were able to re-establish a connection. I know that 1947 was a hard year for my grandmother. In 1943, she had married Adam Kiec, and after a difficult marriage, he died 22 May 1947. Although their older children were grown and back from the war, his youngest, Eugene Kiec, and her youngest, my mother, Stella Skrok, were still teenagers.
Several of their children were married.
Several of their children had enlisted in the military during World War II.
Update October 2020 After the end of World War II, in connection with the so-called Allied Forces’ Orders, local German authorities and administrative offices were required to draw up lists of the fate of prisoners of war, forced laborers, and refugees. Some of these are available in the Arolsen Archives, the International Center on Nazi Persecution.
On several lists were Aniela‘s brother Leo Kwiatek, who had been born in Buffalo in 1914 and returned to Poland in 1921 with his family.
During World War II Leo was taken by the Nazis from Będzin to Selb, Bayern, Germany. These documents show that he was born in Buffalo, which I thought was interesting. (Also, I could not tell from American records if he had been born in Jan or Jun. The German records say Jun.)