In earlier posts, I pieced together the story of the chain migration of Bosakowski family members from Założce, Austria to New York City between the years 1905-1921. About 20 Bosakowski family members emigrated during that period – all descendants of three Bosakowski brothers: Jozef, Piotr and Karol.
Most, including my grandmother Katarzyna Bosakowska (1889-1966), started new lives here and never looked back. But some, I suspected, went back to the old country.
I was pretty sure – but couldn’t prove – that Ignacy Bosakowski (1878-?) returned to Założce. (Ignacy, the son of Piotr Bosakowski, was my grandmother’s older cousin.)
He was the first family member to emigrate, sailing from Trieste on the S.S. Carpathia in May 1905. From immigration records, we know that he left his wife Dominika behind. She later joined him, though. In the 1910 census, Ignacy and Dominika are sharing an apartment with his brother Jan, sister Kata and Kata’s new husband Adam Telechowitz at 22 Allen Street on the Lower East Side.
Later in 1910, Ignacy, Dominika and Jan went back to Założce. In 1911, the two men traveled once again to New York, leaving Dominika behind. By 1912, Jan would marry Marya (Mary) Kozakiewicz from the neighboring village of Bialogłówy. They continued to live on the Lower East Side and raised four girls: Angela (Nellie), Eugenia (Jenny), Stella and Mae.
I could not find any further evidence of Ignacy’s life in New York. The next time he appears in the records is in 1921, when he is listed in passenger records for Stanisława and Aniela Byczek. Ignacy, the girls’ uncle, is listed as their contact back home in Zalozce.
So I assumed that Ignacy returned home. Did he go to rejoin his wife? Was he inspired to return home to a newly independent Poland? Or did he only view New York as a place to earn a few bucks?
Did he go home before or after the start of World War I, which devastated the town?
Whatever the reason, I found one more piece of evidence proving that Ignacy did indeed return home. In a Web database of Polish Home Army soldiers killed in World War II, I found this entry:
BOSAKOWSKI KAZIMEIRZ s Ignacego, ur. 1920 r. w m. Zalośce, szeregowy 9 pułku piechoty, zaginął bez wieści 20 IX 1944 r. w Warszawie. CAW, III-36/47, s. 79.
Translated, it tells us that Kazimierz Bosakowski, the son of Ignacy Bosakowski born in Założce in 1920, fought in the 9th infantry regiment. On September 20, 1944, he disappeared without a trace during fighting in Warsaw. This would have been in the midst of the Warsaw Uprising, where the Polish Home Army fought valiantly to retake the capital, only to be abandoned by Red Army forces ordered by Stalin to stand idle.
Sixteen thousand Polish soldiers died in the operation along with Kazimierz. Another 200,000 Polish citizens died, primarily by execution. About 25% of the city was destroyed.
A very sad story. But it tells us with more certainty that Ignacy Bosakowski – the first member of the family to emigrate – placed a fateful bet on a better life back home.