Karolina – our specialist in substantive issues, was recently invited to Gazeta Wyborcza to share her point of view on the case of German woman Brigitte Brauer, which was recently published in the newspaper. At one point in her life, Brigitte, a retired teacher, found out that her father was of Polish origin. After many years of fruitless searching for her Polish roots, she decided to try again, sharing her story with the Poles through Gazeta Wyborcza. Not a month later, Brigitte received word back – descendants of her father’s family recognized him in the photos that were attached to the article. After many years, the family was reunited. Karolina was asked for her opinion as to what steps should be taken if there was no response.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
Where would you begin your search for Brigitte Brauer’s father?
From talking to her and getting all the information. Even circumstantial. You need pictures, memorabilia. This stage of the search should be as detailed as possible. If we have a name, date of birth and location, the search should be trouble-free. It’s worse when we don’t have all the metrics. For example, there is no exact date of birth and the location is unknown. Then the situation is not hopeless, but the search may take longer.
There are three places in the story of Mrs. Brauer: Ogorzelec, where Stanisław Filipiec worked, and Kraków and Pcim, where his family was said to have come from.
We begin our search by reviewing the parish records. When it comes to the 19th and 20th centuries, such books are a mine of information. After locating the parish, we check the books of the period we are interested in. Priests are usually willing to help, but it is important to remember that they have many other things on their minds as well.
The entire interview: http://goo.gl/lPHJu