The cemetery gate in Stara Kamienica clearly indicates that it was functioning here before the Second World War. At first glance, it can be said that all graves are modern. If you walk the main alley to the very end, you will pass a tiny chapel and reach the left corner. There you will find a storage site of pre-war tombstones – most in parts, some completely unreadable and some in quite good condition. One of them belonged to Gustav Köhler, the railway station manager.
Photo: Marta Maćkowiak
Gustav died in his home in Stara Kamienica (German: Alt Kemnitz) on February 22, 1904, at the age of 78. According to his son, the merchant Willy Köhler, it happened at 8:15 p.m. He was survived by his wife, Augusta Ernestine née Seibt and children. Gustav’s father and grandfather were not the residents of Stara Kamienica – he came to this area from Nowa Rola (German: Niewerle) located 140 km away, where he was born on June 17, 1825, as the son of Gustav Eduard Kohler and Johanna Christina née Zeimke. At least that’s the information provided to the civil registrar who recorded the death – according to the baptism certificate, Gustav was the illegitimate child of Johanna Christina Zeimke. Perhaps his parents got married after his birth, he was adopted by Gustav Sr., or perhaps he passed on such a story to his wife and children.
A piece of Chaim Henryk Wachtel and Chaja Helena Baustein’s marriage record/ Source: State Archive in Przemyśl
The death record of Gustav Kohler/ Source: State Archive in Wrocław (branch in Jelenia Góra)
16 years after Gustav’s death, on March 26, 1920, at 11:00 a.m., his wife Augusta Ernestine also passed away at the age of 81. Her death was reported by her second son, Kurt Köhler. Augusta was born nearby, in Kopaniec (German: Seifershau), less than 6 km away. She was the daughter of Friedrich Seibt and Beate née Schroeter.
The death record of Augusta Ernestine Köhler / Source: The State Archive in Wrocław (branch in Jelenia Góra)
In accordance with the list of residents of Alt Kemnitz dated 1930, Kurt Köhler lived in the house at number 62 – comparing the maps, it seems that the numbering remained practically unchanged, and the Köhler house was located at today’s Kasztelańska Street – 95 m from the station.
The question is – what happened to the sons of Gustav and Augusta – Kurt and Willie?
A photography of Maria Wachtel /Source: Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw
The final report consists of copies of documents, translations, maps and a summary. I describe the whole process, explain the connection between certain people, mention the sources and the historical context. I also present further possibilities.
Sometimes a specific act may not be found for various reasons – migrations, gaps in the records, destruction of documents in a fire or during wars. In such cases the price doesn’t change as the same amount of effort is put in a research regardless the final result.
The reports may differ more or less depending on the place where the family came from (e.g. documents from the Prussian, Austrian and Russian partitions differ in form, language and content).
Based on the gathered information (yours and mine), I will prepare a plan and a quote – if you accept it, I will ask you to send me the down payment and I start the research. Usually it takes about 1 month and if takes longer, I keep you updated.
I will reply to your inquiry within 3 working days and this part is free of charge. Perhaps I will ask you a few additional questions or will present a research plan.
The more details you provide, the more things I can discover so I please share everything you know, especially:
And most importantly – if you have little information, don’t worry. I will find a solution in such situations as well.