Tag Archives: Kołczewo

Visiting Dad’s old home

Last weekend we managed it to take a trip to Poland. We had been talking about such visit for several years but never got around it as so many things got in between. Our destination was the Island of Wolin (Wollin in German) and we stayed in the town Międzyzdroje (Misdroy). This town, also called The Pearl of the Baltic,  is a very popular holiday destination during summer time due to its wonderful beach and these days every second building is some kind of hotel.  We didn’t do much in that town as we had other plans ahead. Together with my little family, my brother and my father we drove 10km further to the village Kołczewo (Kolzow), the birth place of my father, to see whether anything was left from the old family buildings.

At the beach in Międzyzdroje

Now let’s say that we were happy to see that in Międzyzdroje a lot of the old buildings were renovated and looked once again like the old times, however in Kołczewo things were a bit different. As this village is no tourist spot nothing has been pretty much done there since the war ended. Sure some apartment complexes had been build some when in the 70’s / 80’s but the old structures are just falling apart. It was no problem for us to find the old canopy road to get to the general direction of father’s birth place. While driving we only had to look out for some higher hill with some buildings and there we saw the old house on the left. The poor road set with concrete blocks wasn’t the best for cars but we managed it up and parked the cars on top of the hill. The house was a mess, it had further degraded since we had visited in the early 90’s and strange add-ons had been built to the structure.

The old family home, I couldn’t take pictures of the backside as it was in just too terrible condition

On the property of the old family home we could still see the foundation of the engine powered mill my grandfather had built in 1938. Besides the foundation there was an old millstone propped against a tree. Nothing was left of the windmill on top of the hill or the bakery next to the main house. In the distance we could see great-great-great uncle’s farm from whom my great-grand father bought the property for the mill and houses. Down the street there was also the day-laborer’s house (also belonging to my grandfather) standing now divided into two half’s. One of house half was actually in really good condition with even solar panels on the roof. It was probably the best building in the entire village at this point.

Village center, all falling apart

 

We also went to the village center to visit the church as the old German graveyard was there on its property. Back in 2007 someone had still taken some pictures of some of the graves for documentation however by now it had been all plowed and it was a potatoes and vegetable garden plus little playground. Sadly we could not find any further information about my ancestors from that place any longer. Behind the church we found one single old gravestone leaning against a tree and a lot of the former Lutheran church equipment piled up and rotting away.

The church where my father was baptized in 1941/1942

Even though we could not find anything about our family history it was still nice to see some of the old buildings standing. I also asked some of the village residents for information but no one had any idea as they were all born after the 60s and thus had not even a clue about the former church ruins on a little hill in the village center with a graveyard which also had been demolished around that time. For my father is was probably a good feeling to see his old home once again even though it was upsetting to see it in such terrible state these days. We certainly plan on travelling there again in the next years; after all it is only 3 1/2 hours away by car (in case the traffic is playing along).

Have you ever visited some place where your ancestors came from?

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Plans for the rest of the Year

Over half of the year 2017 is over and much has already happened. Untill the birth of our daughter in May we were very busy trying to “stabilising” our little business. From January till the beginning of May we were investing so much time into our business that we had no time to do anything else. We did not travel anywhere, we didn’t visit any neighbouring towns, we did not even go shopping or eating in some nice restaurant (with the exception of birthdays and the weekend Family Gathering in March).

Basically all we did was work and spend the little free time with Nathan. Due to our work we do not even have any free weekends which can be sometimes very hard when the work seems to have no end. By the time our baby girl was born we had reduced the workload already in order for my wife to find some rest. However it was just reduced workload and thus just two days after Nathalie was born I started working again. Now two months after our family grew by one we started to wonder what we can do to enjoy life a bit more once again after those hard months.

Lübeck in 2015

No, we won’t have any big travels planned such as last year. However we have some smaller trips planned already within Germany. For one we want for Nathan to have some more fun by going to a little theme park in the next few weeks. That theme park is perfect for little kids like him as he can pretty much go into every amusement ride as there aren’t any “wild” ones and there is also a deer park! Besides the theme park we will go to a few cities this summer such as revisiting Lübeck and Flensburg for some day trips. In August we have then our “biggest” trip which will lead us to the dark East of Germany.

Lübeck will be lovely to revisit

That big trip developed only because I got an invitation for a Class reunion from my high school in Chemnitz (East Germany). As my wife had no interest in going there at all just for some reunion I had to come up with some plan. So now we will be driving first to Quedlingburg which is a very old town first mentioned in the records in 922 AD. The old town, the church and the castle are on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994. I was there already once back in 1994 or 1995 with my parents and brother but I do not remember much of it anymore. There we will stay for one night right in the historic old town and then on the following day travel to Chemnitz. Except meeting with some friends and then having later on the reunion I have not planned anything yet. The problem for me with Chemnitz is just that I have no clue what to visit there even though I lived there for two years from 2005-2007.

My father on his way to his old home in 1991

In the late summer we will be trying to travel for a weekend to Poland to revisit my father’s birthplace Kołczewo on the Island Usedom. That trip will be especially important for my father as he had revisited that place only twice before, both between 1990 and 1991.He has not much memories from that place as he was very young when his family had to flee back in 1945 and become refugees till settling down in my hometown (they were living in camps for the first few years here). After that trip we will have only a few more day trips in mind. For us it is only important to get out of the daily routine from time to time. Next year shall be different again for us and I will write about it at some point towards the end of this year.

1990 My father carrying me in front of the old family house. The child standing there belongs to the “new” residents, let’s see if they are still there this year

What are your plans for the second half of 2017?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

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