A random walk to mass murder in the family

16 August 2008 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in crime, history, war | 2 Comments »

These internets never cease to amaze me.

So this morning I’m reading Roderick Long talking about whether or not Étienne de la Boétie actually wrote the Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. A mention of Isabel Paterson takes me over to Wikipedia on biographical curiosity. A reference citation to her place of burial takes me over to the Find a Grave website. Putting in my own surname, what do I find?

I find that one Stefan Gogulski was killed in 1940 at the Katyń massacre.

Who was Stefan? I have no idea. My father’s grandparents left Poland around 1905. “Gogulski” is not a common surname. According to some information I found a few years ago but have since mislaid, a census in the late 1990s showed about 650 “Gogulskis” living in Poland, most of them concentrated around the Poznań area.

Stefan was almost certainly a relative of mine, though the blood connection likely would need to be traced back to the mid-1800s to find the common ancestory.

So Stalin killed one of my relatives, then. Lovely.

And, oh look here… plugging in my paternal grandmother’s name at Find a Grave, I see that one Edward Korecki also was killed at Katyń.

So, two more rather personal reasons for me to hate the state, I guess. I’ll add these two to one I discovered a few years back…

Suitcase of Anna Kraus at Auschwitz

Suitcase of Anna Kraus at Auschwitz

My mother’s birth name is Kraus. A few years ago when I visited Auschwitz, I took this photo above. There is a room there which displays gigantic piles of luggage which belonged to those killed there in the gas chambers and before the firing squads. And right there, front and center by the window, a connection to one of my family names. Mind you, “Kraus” is far more common than “Gogulski” or “Korecki”, but this was the top chiller on a brutally chilling meander through the detritus of the final solution.

I’ve gotta give my ancestors credit for getting the hell out of Germany and Poland when they did, even before World War I. Thanks, y’all.

  1. 2 Responses to “A random walk to mass murder in the family”

  2. By Royce Christian on 21 August 2008

    That’s a truly remarkable find. Though it’s probably a little too late, you have my sincere sympathies.

  3. By Stephanie on 24 August 2008

    Yikes. Spooky.

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