Four young men in uniforms look at us from the photo that has found its way into the collections of the Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents. For now, we have managed to establish the name and history of only one of them. Will we be able to discover who the other soldiers are?
Recently, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance published a photo of a beautiful girl in Polish uniform in the media. The photo was taken in WWII in England, but, unfortunately, her name remained unknown. The Institute of National Remembrance appealed to a wide range of people in an effort to identify her. It turned out that she was Marie Barr holding the decorations of her late husband – a pilot.
The Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents has a similar mystery to solve. Among photos handed over to the museum by Maria Jurczyk from Osiek, there is one photo of her father Józef Domasik and his friends.
Domasik, second from the left, was born in Osiek in 1902. He joined the army when he was 19 years old. He was a soldier in the 2nd Rokitnianski Calvary Regiment (2. Pułku Szwoleżerów Rokitniańskich) who were, among other places, stationed in Biała. He learned the trade of wheelwright and after completing the course, became a veterinary technician. He married in 1922 and he and his wife Tekla had four children: Stanisław, Helena, Marian i Maria. He died 5th September 1957 and is buried in the cemetery in Osiek.
According to Maria Jurczyk who donated it, the photo dates between 1923 – 1925 and was taken in Grudziądz and shows four soldiers, one of whom being her father, of the 2nd Rokitnianski Calvary Regiment.
During works on the records carried out by Remembrance Museum assistant Piotr Hertig, he began to doubt the location of the photo and decided to verify the site in accordance with the places where the Regiment was stationed.
According to Dr Marcin Ochman, curator of the Military Science department at the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw, the 2nd Calvary Regiemnt was stationed in three places in 1921 on their return from the Polish-Bolshevik War. The Commands of the Regiment as well as the 1st Squadron and the Heavy Machine Gun Company were stationed in Bielsko, the 2nd Squadron was stationed in Pszczyna, while the 3rd and 4th Squadrons were stationed in Bochnia. In 1926, the Regiment moved its base to Starogard.
Stanisław Michalski of the 2nd Rokitnianksi Calvary Regiment Museum in Starogard Gdański provided more information. He wrote that after their service abroad, most of the Regiment moved to Bielsko in May 1921. They took up quarters at 2, Bardowskiego street where almost 500 people and over 500 horses could be housed.
Michalski empahsises, “It must be remembered that the barracks were located in Bielsko and not in Biała, as in this region the border of the two cities did not run in the centre of the river.”
We know that Józef Domaskik spent part of his army career in Bielsko and it is highly likely that he chose to have the photo that he took with his friends printed here. That does not mean, however, that the photo itself was taken here.
So, in summary, we do not know who the other three men on the photo are nor do we know where and when the photo was taken.
Perhaps one of you might recognise the men? Then answers to the other questions we have may come more easily and we may be able to discover their fate…
Four soldiers from the 2nd Rokitnianksi Calvary Regiment. 2nd from left: Józef Domasik. Tbe identities of the other men remain unknown.
Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents.