Halina’s Family Life in Poland
I have always felt Polish and being Polish is meaningful to me. My family has a long history. We have always been Polish; there are documents proving this. I can say that Polish history talks about my family, or another way around. My father’s side comes from East Europe; today’s Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and the first signs of Ostankowicz are tracked down in XV century. My ancestors got knighted after the Grunwald Battle in 1410. We lost everything because of participations in The November Uprising (1830–31) and The January Uprising (1863- 65). Polish people lived mostly in the occupied homeland.
My grandfather was taken to Russian army; he was in Tsar’s Legions. My grandmother went to Smolny Institute for Noble Girls. They were Polish living under Tsar’s regime. They had four children. My father was born in Manchuria. Antoni Ostankowicz – my grandfather – died from pneumonia, and my grandmother after few years married the Judge Kijewski. They lived in Torun, in Poland.
My father Leopold Ostankowicz and his brother Czeslaw were sent to Nobles’ Academy of the Corps of Cadets in Modlin, Poland at the age of 13 and 15. Poland gained independence in 1918, and my father was graduated from Warsaw University Faculty of Veterinary and became a doctor. My uncle Czeslaw Ostankowicz became a poet and a writer.
In 1939, World War II started with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. On September 17th invasion of the Soviet Union made it impossible for Polish to win the fighting. Poland was devastated during the II Word War 1039 – 1945. Many members of my family died; some were in concentration camps, and some fought in underground groups. My family lost everything, again.
My Grandparents (who came from Polish old land) and Parents started a new life in Poland under communist rule. They had to change their identity and family belonged to persecute minorities. We were the enemies of the system.
My parents had always dreamt of retirement, but they did not survive. Both of them passed away too early, and they could not enjoy the freedom. They kept telling about readings some books, traveling and spending time together. I am thinking of my time with no regular job and waiting for retirement impatiently. I am hoping to take some time for myself, doing things I have been interested in for all my life. I miss playing the piano, reading book, learning and teaching independently (my way), meeting friends, spending more time with my family…..Resting, taking it easy. I would not like working till the end of my life.