Save from oblivion

More and more people wish to discover their roots. Unfortunately to do that you not only need time but also specific knowledge for example languages used during the partition of Poland and Latin. Being a genealogist is much like the work of private detective. Nevertheless satisfaction gained from finding ancestors or key information is worth every effort put in it. During our everyday work we often run into wide diversity of cases that entail even more diverse situations, sometimes so unbelievable and uncommon that we are not afraid to call them adventures. Today we would like to share one of them with you. This the story of Aleksander Gliński and one of our most successful cases. Aleksander Gliński was a soldier of Polish Army who died in September 1939 and whose grave we managed to track down.

It all began when Mr Wiesław Walaszek contacted us due to his search for the grave of his mother-in-law Mrs Renata Glińska-Janowitz’s father. He handed us over information about the date and place of Aleksander Gliński’s birth and that he died in 1939 somewhere in a vicinity of Warsaw. It was the first time we have the chance to work on the case of a Polish soldier so we were all very excited. We started our research with databases, catalogues and record of soldiers who fought in the Defensive War in 1939. While digging through publications in Jagiellonian Library we came across very interesting and valuable for our case item entitled Księga pochowanych żołnierzy polskich poległych w II wojnie światowej. This voluminous work brought back memory about soldiers who fought and died for their homeland. Among others there were archival materials from the Main Board of PCK, Central Military Archives, former Ministry of Spatial Economy and Building Industry and the Committee of Remembrance for Fights and Martyrdom. Aleksander Gliński was also mentioned there. Thanks to close co-operation with Mr Walaszak we were able to confirm that this was the person we were looking for. Aleksander Gliński died on 24th of September 1939 in Jelonki, Warsaw. He was buried at Military Cemetery in Stare Babice. Remains of 340 soldiers were laid to rest in this necropolis while only 176 were identified. Due to that sad fact many of them were placed together in a nameless grave.

grave picture
Aleksandra Gliński’s grave at Cmentarz Wojskowy in Stare Babice. Photo from Wiesław Walaszek

Aleksander Gliński was a sniper in the 360th infantry regiment. His division was formed in a rush mainly from volunteers and reservists in September 1939. It consisted of 5 battalions and 3515 soldiers in total. Unfortunately we were unable to find in which battalion Aleksander Gliński has fought. One of the main purposes of the regiment was to protect Warsaw’s western city borders. The first commander was lieutenant colonel Jakub Witalis Chmura who died on 12th September. After his death professionally qualified lieutenant colonel Kazimierz Galiński took the commandership. Due to serious wounds he died on 26th September and professionally qualified lieutenant colonel Tadeusz Władysław Daniec became another commander of this division. It is worth to mention that Janusz Kusociński – famous Polish athlete – was also a member of that division. We can suppose that Aleksander Gliński and Janusz Kusociński knew each other.

Family by the grave
Family by the grave of Aleksander Gliński. From the left: Beata Janowitz-Walaszek, Ildefons Janowitz and Renata Glińska-Janowitz. Photo from Wiesław Walaszek.

At the very last stage of our research we decided to find Aleksander Paweł Gliński’s birth certificate. He was born on 25th June 1901 in Krąg near Stargard Gdański which belonged to Roman Catholic parish in Kokoszkowy. He was the son of Aleksander Gliński and Apolonia Stablewska. His godparents were Franciszek Konczyński and Anna Puff. We also managed to find out that Aleksander Gliński got married to Anastazja Brieske on 25th August 1930 in Tuchola.


Birth certificate
Birth certificate of Aleksander Paweł Gliński, from Archiwum Diecezjalne in Pelplin.

Thanks to dedicated work of the entire Roots Team Mrs Renata Glińska-Janowitz could light a candle at her father’s grave after 76 years of searches. We are very proud of that. This case is another proof that determination and persistence is key to genealogical research.


Przemysław Lisowski



Głowacki L., Obrona Warszawy i Modlina na tle kampanii wrześniowej 1939 r., Warszawa, 1985 r. Księga pochowanych żołnierzy polskich poległych w II wojnie światowej. T. 1, Żołnierze września, A-M, wstęp i red. nauk. Edward Pawłowski.

Archival sources:

Archiwum Diecezjalne w Pelplinie, Akty metrykalne aktów urodzeń parafii Kokoszkowy, Księga nr 1040.