About Cultural Diversity

   This is my father Leopold Ostankowicz 1937 ,Warsow, Poland

Halina’s background I

My family has a very 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 we locate in XV century. My ancestors got knighted after the Grunwald Battle in 1410.

“The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – three partitions which took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska; Lithuanian: Abiejų Tautų Respublika), resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years. The partitions were perpetrated by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Habsburg Austria, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures.” From Wikipedia*

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 opened with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939.

On September 17th invasion of the Soviet Union made it not possible for Polish to win the fighting.

13 thoughts on “About Cultural Diversity

  1. Halina’s Background 2
    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.
    “Camps were being created near the centers of dense populations, often focusing on areas with large communities of Jews, Polish intelligentsia, Communists or Roma. Since millions of Jews lived in pre-war Poland, most camps were located in the area of General Government in occupied Poland, for logistical reasons.” from Wikipedia*
    My uncle Czeslaw Ostankowicz survived. After the war he couldn’t stop writing about his time in concentration camps.
    The “maltreatment of the Poles was one of many ways in which the Nazi and Soviet regimes had grown to resemble one another”, wrote British historian Niall Ferguson.
    The occupiers burgled and devastated much of Poland’s cultural and historical heritage, while oppressing and executing members of the Polish cultural elite. Most Polish schools were closed.
    My family lost everything, again.
    My Grandparents (who came from Polish old land) and Parents started new life in Poland under communist rule. They had to change their identity and family belonged to persecuted minorities. We were the enemies of the system.
    I was getting education at home. My grandmother Irena de domo Jelenska, after marriage Osinska, was my tutor.
    We distinguished factual Polish history, which was totally different from what they taught at schools.
    My cultural distinctiveness comes from the family history. I am Polish, I feel Polish and I want my friends to accept me, the way I am.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I know very little of my Polish ancestry before the time when they came to the US after the war. To know your history for hundreds of years is something special.

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