Władysław Bober 1897 - 1945
Władysław Bober was born on 24 September 1897 in Radziechów in the voivodeship of Tarnopol. At that time, this region belonged to Austria; from 1919 to 1939 it was back in Polish hands; today it is part of Ukraine. Władysław’s parents were Rozalija and Antoni Bober. Our grandfather, Antoni Bober, was a carpenter and an organist in a Roman Catholic church in Radziechów. Our father, Władysław Bober, also sometimes played the organ in this church. While we were living in Grudziądz he used to play the harmonium for us.
Between 1916 and 1918 our father was a conscript in the Austro-Hungarian army. After Poland achieved independence, he volunteered on 1 June 1919 for the Polish army. During the Polish-Soviet War he fought in 1920 in the defence of the city of Zamość. As a professional soldier, he rose to the rank of staff sergeant, although he also gained a professional qualification as a clerk at this time. Between 1924 and 1939 he served in the army in Grudziądz. He married Zofia Anna Zgoda there in 1925. They had five children: their first daughter, Lucyna (1926), two sons, Tadeusz (1932) and Zygmunt (1935) followed by daughters Irena (1940) and Janina (1942). Still before the war, in August 1939, his military unit was transferred to the small town of Staszów in the voivodeship of Sandomierz, with his family following him.
At the start of the war, in September 1939, our father was taken prisoner by the Russians, but was released in the autumn of the same year and was able to return to his family in Staszów. We know that he had the opportunity of seeing his parents in Radziechów for the last time.
In Staszów our father took on various jobs in order to provide for his family, for example, door-to-door selling. As a clerk with fluent German, he obtained a job with the German company Ömler, from Stuttgart, which was building roads for the army.
We can well remember the Christmas celebrations and the songs that our father sang with our neighbour. They sang carols and ‘shepherds’ songs’ in Polish and Ukrainian.
When he was arrested by the German SD (Security Service) in March 1943, he was immediately forced to leave his wife alone with five children: Lucyna (blind) was 17; Tadeusz eleven, Zygmunt nine, Irena three und Janina eight months. When the SD patrol came to us to arrest our father, he was not at home. He was then able to hide. But when he learned that our whole family was threatened with arrest if he was not found, he immediately reported to the SD.
While our flat was searched for our father, Zygmunt had to witness a terrible scene. Little Janina started to cry miserably in her cot, whereupon the SD officer went straight over to her with his pistol. Only our mother’s desperate screams were able to prevent him from using the weapon.
Our father spent the first month of his captivity in the prison in Sandomierz, from where he wrote to us that he would very soon return because he was not accused of anything. But, tragically, the next letter came from Auschwitz.
In 1945 the court pronounced our father dead. In summer 2014 our family finally found out that our father/grandfather had been transported from Auschwitz on 6 December 1944 to the Gusen concentration camp, where he died on 3 February 1945.
Tadeusz Bober / Zygmunt Bober / Irena Rutkowska / Joanna Schaller (Bober)
Translation into English: Luca Schaller