The early morning fog was still hanging over the lake as the sun tried to break through the mist. A heron flew over the lake looking for his breakfast. And from a nearby roof, I could hear a stork making his distinct sound with his long beak. It was going to be another nice day for our planned adventure.
For today, we were to rediscover two long forgotten old cemeteries. Reinhard had told me the day before that he knew of two old cemeteries, hidden away in the middle of nowhere and out of everybody's sight. Protected by overgrown bushes, trees and grass, these two old cemeteries had not been seen or used in many years and only a handful of the local old timers still remembered these two old cemeteries and who had found their final resting place there. So after a hearty breakfast, it was off to our adventure for the day. I never thought that I would look forward to visit a cemetery, but there we were, ready to do just that.
To get to the first old cemetery, we had to drive in cousin Reinhard's Mercedes through the sleepy village of Trzebiatkowa, formerly known as Radensfelde. At one of the intersections in this village we came to a stop and I noticed what looked like some sort of monument. Upon further investigation, I found that this monument was a war memorial from the First World War (1914-1918). The granite stone was six feet tall and inscribed on the front and back were the names of some 30 men from the village of Trzebiatkowa, who had lost their lives in WWI. What a find this turned out to be! Instantly, a link to some 30 families had been found. The inscription not only showed the names, but also the date of birth and death. Most of these men died at a young age, what a waste of young lives. After taking several pictures, so that I could work later on the different names, we continued on our journey. Would we discover another key today to open one more door to the past?
Our journey continued over an overgrown road, and had it not been for cousin Reinhard, I never would have found this place. Finally we arrived at the cemetery. To the left on the hill, a large granite Cross identified the family plot of the "von Tesmar" family. Next we found the grave site from a Katharine von Lonska, geborene / nee von Mrozek Glyczynski, Geboren / born 9. February 1832 / Gestorben / died 29. Marz 1886. This was one of the grave sites where the inscription was still in fairly good shape. On many of the iron crosses, Mother Nature had done its work and rust had taken care of the inscription. But a few names were still readable such as Gostomski, Mrozek, etc. As we continued to explore the old grave yard, we noted that some of the granite headstones had been removed from several grave sites and again some of the inscriptions on many of the headstones had succumbed over the years to the elements. Some of the grave markers still bore scars from the end of the last war in the spring of 1945, when the Russian army went through West-Prussia and Pomerania. After taking more pictures, it was off to our next destination, the old cemetery in Kramarzyny, formerly known as the village of Kremerbruch. Here, we discovered the grave site from a Johann von Gruchalla - Wensierski, geboren / born 24. Mai 1840 and gestorben / died 20. April 1907. Here, I found a link. My cousin Waltraut had married a Franz Gruchalla - Wensierski. We found a few more names known to us, but on the overall, it was very much the same story as in the previous cemetery. Many of the inscriptions had been eroded by time, but there are a number of grave markers, where with some work, and the inscription could possibly be made readable. In these two old cemeteries, there is enough hidden history to keep a genealogist busy for some time.
It was late in the afternoon, when we left the old cemetery and somehow I already knew that I would have to come here again someday soon to finish exploring the two cemeteries and complete my work of recording the grave sites. Some of the information from these two old cemeteries has been lost already forever. Every effort must be made to record and save what is left here to salvage these genealogical family treasures.
On the way back to Piaszno, formerly the village of Franzwalde, cousin Reinhard asked me if I would like to see the "Red Sea". Cousin Reinhard could see the big question mark on my face and quickly said, "No, no, not that Red Sea." So off we went and after driving for about fifteen minutes, cousin Reinhard pointed across the road to a field of Buckwheat, which was ready to be harvested. The whole field of Buckwheat had a reddish tint. By the way, cooked Buckwheat is a tasty side dist with many Kashubian meals.
It was a long day for cousin Reinhard and me. That evening both of us where in bed quite early. We needed a good night's sleep if we were to continue our Polish adventure the next day.
Watch for more of the continuation of Peter's Polish adventure...
1) On the way to Trzebiatkowa / Radensfelde
2) The War Memorial 1914-1918 in Trzebiatkowa / Radensfelde
3/3a) Cousin Reinhard scouting the overgrown road to the cemetery
4) Some of the granite head stones went missing.
5) A few of the large old grave markers made from iron are still in fairly good shape and the inscription is still readable.
6) Old Grave sites are overgrown with trees and shrubs. Inscription on iron cross no longer readable.
7) Left wing of iron cross is missing. Possibly taken off by a shell from a Russian tank or mortar fire in 1945.
8) Damaged grave marker / inscription no longer readable.
9) On the way to the cemetery in Kramarzyny / Kremerbruch
10) The "von Tesmar" family plot.
11) The "Red Sea" - a field of Buckwheat ready to be harvested.
pictures were taken by Nina
Schewe of the city of
have been added to this
story with permission of