Sosabowski     Virtuti  Orzel
commemorating the history of the family
General Stanisław Sosabowski

Family Tree Commentary

by Captain Ludwig S. Sosabowski

For quite a few years now I have been intending to research into the history of the family and construct the Family Tree, but had very poor information about the family, of course I had on my mind, my ascendants. In 1990 or maybe in 1991, I found out that the Archdiocesan Archives in Lubaczów, Eastern Poland, contained many documents from South-Eastern Poland, especially certificates of Birth and Marriage Certificates, and were more than willing to help those who were interested in research. I then decided to turn to the Archive and ask for help. One of the few pieces of information that I had at the time was the date and place of birth of my father. With this little information I set to work. None of the normal official Civil offices were able to help me. Indeed, one of the bureaucrats I turned to even stated that the information I had to hand amounted to zero. Yet the Archives in Lubaczów sent me a list of approximately eighteen male Sosabowski's, all born in Stanislawów, and registered in the Parish records between 1820 and 1886, together with two male Ojak’s and three female Ojak’s.

The oldest found member of the family to date is Basilius or Basyli, or in Ukrainian, Wasyli, (1794 - 1831), who according to the Archive in Lubaczów, married on the 2nd. February 1820. The Main State Archives in Warsaw actually gave the ages of the bride and groom - Basilius 27 years, Agata Majer, 21 years. After long negotiations with the Ukrainian State Archives, the date of his death was established, and even a photocopy of the death certificate was received - he died in Hospital in Stanislawów on the 18th. August 1831, his son Jan, aged 4 died the day before, and another son Karol aged 8, two days after his father, all three of cholera. (There was an epidemic in the area at the time). In addition, Karol Majer (8 months old) died on the 29th. August 1831 in similar circumstances. There is an interesting footnote here, as the surname is the same as Basilius' wife's maiden name, and his address was given as House no. 48 - they were neighbours.

There appears to be no trace of Basilius' Birth Certificate, only the Marriage Certificate. He was not registered as a tax-payer in Stanislawów. Everything points to the fact that he only settled in Stanislawów just prior to his wedding. By trade he was an "arcarius", a carpenter/joiner, or, according to the new Collins Polish-English Dictionary, casket-maker, i.e. a funeral director. In the Land Registry, he is registered as the owner of plot no.49 in 1819, and the son of his brother-in-law was registered as living at no.48. Thus we may be able to assume that his father-in-law, a builder, gave part of the plot of land registered as 48 to his daughter as a dowry, and that she probably married one of his employees.

Amongst Basilius’ and Agata’s children, Ludwik is important to us. He had, amongst other children, two sons, Franciszek and Karol. Franciszek had two sons and two daughters, and Karol had a son Eugeniusz Walerian and a daughter Maria. This appears to be the beginning of the two main branches of the family. According to all the information gathered to date, up until the end of the eighteenth century there existed only one family with the name Sosabowski. This offers an opportunity to clarify why in Eugeniusz’s family it appears that Stanisław F. and Eugeniusz W. were born brothers, but in actual fact were cousins ("uncles sons"). From what my father told me, I understood that before the First World War, Stanisław belonged to a rifle troop organised by the military, whilst my father was a member of the Sokol Gymnastics Association, organised on the lines of the Czech organisations of the same name. There was a Military Academy in Sokol. My father was released from Military Service with the Austrian Army due to his extremely short sightedness and because of his profession : he was a District Judge in Delatyn, when Stanisław was called up into the Army just before the outbreak of war in 1913. In 1915 Stanisław was seriously injured in battle. He was last promoted on the 1st. May 1918 whilst in the 58th. Infantry Regiment.

Our family, with Eugeniusz at the head, lived in Delatyn up until 1926. Then until 1934 in Sokal, where my father was Chief District Judge. We then moved to Stryj. Our family lived there until the time of the resettlement to the west onto German lands, also known as"the recovered lands" in 1943.

I would also like to add a little about the Ojak and Adlesgruber families, and how they are tied into our family. The second son of Ludwik Sosabowski, Karol, married Eugenia, daughter of Edward Adlesgruber von Heldenmuth and Aurelia Barszczy½ska, and Wincenty Ojak married her sister Emilia on the 27th. July 1875. The son of Karol and Eugenia, Eugeniusz, was born on the 1st. August 1884 in Stanislawów. He finished Grammar School in Stanislawów, and after graduating in Law from the University of Lwów, started work in the legal profession in Stanislawów. In 1910 he married Wanda Smólska. Due to his wife's state of health, they moved to Delatyn, where he took up a post as a Municipal Judge. According to medical opinion at that time, the mountain air in Delatyn was advantageous for sufferers of Tuberculosis. Thus, at the time, Delatyn was regarded as an Health Spa.

Cordial relations with the descendants of Wincenty Ojak and his son Edward have to date lasted over 120 years. With Olenka, Jasia and Zbysio, together we successfully survived the Italian Campaign in the Second World War, with General Anders' Second Corps (1943-45).

In 1995 I managed to re-establish ties with the Adlesgruber family currently residing near Linz in Upper Austria. Thanks to their help and that of the Parish Priest in Neukirchen-am-Wald in Upper Austria, from where the family originates, the Family Tree has grown by two more generations.

I remember from my earliest childhood, that at least once, my uncle visited us in Delatyn. My father mentioned him because he advised him to apply for a very good post in the highest Law-Courts in Warsaw before 1922. Unfortunately my father could not take up this offer due to our mother's (Tadzik and mine) illness, very serious and terminal tuberculosis from which she died in April 1922. My uncle's mother and sister lived in Stryj, and uncle occasionally visited them, and never missed us out. We used to visit them relatively often. Our father died in 1936, leaving behind his second wife Stephania and us eight children. Our father died of a heart attack a few hours after an official visit by the Vice-President of the Lwów Court of Appeal, Mr. òarski. After the death of our father, the authorities very quickly awarded our mother a full widow's pension and childrens' allowances, in spite of the fact that our father had many years to go before official retirement, with an explanation that the decision was made because he died 'on Court business'. Someone very high up had a very guilty conscience - but at least they had one!

At this point, I would like to add something that was written about our father, by the Administrator of the parish of Sokal, Father Wojciech Gole½, in his memoirs (page 29), dated 10th. October 1930: “The Courts of Sokal called me up to the Committee of Orphans dealing with minors, where the Chief Judge Eugeniusz Sosabowski asked me personally to become titulary Chairman of the Committee - a position up till that point neglected. It was difficult to turn down this offer because I had known Mr. Sosabowski from our local meetings in Sokol and Bursy. He was the model father, a practising Catholic and committed patriot but not belonging to the Sanacyja Party." I must add here, that "Sanacyja" was a political party which from the so-called "May Uprising" of 1926 until the fall of Poland in 1939 held power in the country and the leaders of this organisation were the higher Officers of the J. Pilsudski’s Legions.

After the death of our father, we would regularly visit our uncle's mother and sister as they lived on the way to the cemetery. The whole family would keep up this tradition throughout the war. We all thought that they both were true grandmother and aunt, as we very rarely discussed the subject of our family. I discovered this error earlier than the rest of the family, who only found out about this once the Family Tree had been researched and produced. During all this time, my sister Jania had been visiting the 'aunt' Janina in Zoliborz, a suburb of Warsaw, where she had been living in my uncle's house, every time she was on holiday in Poland! Before the fall of Communism in 1989, every two years, Jania would be given permission by the authorities in Lwów, where she has lived since the war, to visit her family in Poland.

I only really found out more about my uncle's family by talking to his son, Staszek, whilst researching the Family Tree.

I have written about my life and that of my immediate family in a short biographical note. My uncle's life-story is better known through many books written about him and through the Press.

In November 1996, a Professor Z. Budzynski in the course of his own private research in the Ukrainian State Archives in Lwów, accidentally came across a letter from a Father Basyli Sosabowski dated 1763, addressed to the Greek-Catholic Church authorities in Lwów. Thus started the search for the link with Basilius Sosabowski (1794 - 1831)…………

© L.S. Sosabowski, 2000.

Authors: Hal Sosabowski & Stan Sosabowski
Pictures of the Virtuti Militari and Orzel by kind permission of Prof. Z. Wesolowski. All other content copyright, all rights reserved.