Finding my mother’s house after all these years. It was still standing!

Mama on balcony
Pre-War photo of my mother, standing on the second story balcony of her home.

Ada in Kosow 
Mom’s cousin Ada in front of Mama’s home in 1957.

Excerpts taken from my trip diary:

After the walk we drove to what we thought would be the place of Mama’s house across the river in Moskolowka, which is a part of Kosow. That venture failed. But an Uncle of my cousin Ewa’s will know where the house is and we are to meet him a tEwa’s cousin Ewa’s house not far away. This uncle is also a Krasowski, but from another family connection, since my Ewa’s grandfather married a woman whose last name was also Krasowski. Apparently a common name in these parts! Let’s hope there weren’t interfamily marriages! Too many people have the same first names and even last names!

The uncle would know where this street of Mama’s is, right? Actually he did remember it, but the name had changed. Uncle Mieczylaw was in second grade when the war began, but did experience some violence and hard times. He went on and on with stories because we were asking questions about the murder of Poles in Kosow in 1944, which was the fate of Mama’s mother, Magdalena.

Tomorrow we are to go to the street where I hope above all to find Mama’s house. That is by far one of the most important things to accomplish while in town. I did not think so at first, but after being here and seeing the town, there is not much significance for me.  It is so empoverished and run down as is the whole economy of Ukraine.  It is no longer a part of Poland and they speak a different language.  Theirs is a different culture.  In many respects it could be any other Ukrainian town. But to see her house, hopefully still standing, would make the trip worthwhile. So I have prepared myself for the house not being there. So what am I looking for? Good question over all. What have I been looking for all along since the beginning of this project. I always said I wanted to tell Mama’s story.

November 6, 2013
We found the house!! What a joy to see it even if the paint job is aquamarine. There have been modifications made to it since the photo taken in 1957 showing it in black and white with Mama’s cousin standing in the foreground. The second story front porch had been enclosed as was the little balcony on the side. The balcony was the give-away that the house is the correct one, since the balcony was not removed. I love the photo of Mama standing on the balcony as a young woman before the war. I don’t know what year that  photo was taken but clearly it was before she abruptly left her home, never to return.

Uncle's friend, Janek Identifying mama's family in photos.

Uncle’s friend, Janek Identifying mama’s family in photos.

Before we found the house we went driving around with the uncle but did not find it. We then went to his buddy Janek Kaczinski who is 89/90 years old and lives around the corner from the house. He is four years younger than Mama growing up and at that time did not live in his present house. Since he knew many of the families in town the uncle felt certain that his friend could help identify Mama’s family. Indeed he remembered Mama’s father, Marcin, but remembered him with a different name, Marek, and told us which house was Mama’s. He also remembered that that family was arrested by the Soviets in 1940 and that the mother was murdered by the Ukrainian nationals in 1944. At this point I am thrilled with the news. Regardless of this success in finding the house, I do feel a bit empty because I would have wished the moment be for Mama and not me. She would have loved to see the house again first hand and not just in a photograph that she received in 1957

Mama's house2.
Me, in front of my mother’s childhood home in November 2013.

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