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Until recently when I had these photographs translated, I had never realized that I might have had family in Bialystok, on the border between Beloruss and Poland. Adam and relations, pictured below, used to go to Grodno and Skidel to have a Jewish photographer named L. Gelgor and various of his associates record family and friends in the form of picture postcards to send to his Aunt, my grandmother, Albina Maruszewska, who left Russia-Poland for the United States in 1912. It seems like the family in Beloruss centered on Adam Bastek or Basteki, pictured here standing in the middle. It is still not precisely clear how these people were related to Albina. Their contact with Albina extended from before WWI to about 1965, when Albina died. If you have information about any of the people on this page, please contact me at:

Andrew Jendrzejewski

1. Left to right: Zosia's future husband, Adam and Kryz(?)
Photographer: Moses Gelgor at the Grodno Studio, Skidel about 1912

"I send this photograph to my aunt and uncle and brother and sister as souvenir. I am the one who has hand on Krzys. Adam Bastek" --Translated by Maria Skibniewska

"I send this photograph to my aunt and uncle and brother and sister? I am the one who has hands across on my chest. Adam Bastek" --Translated by Jolanta Berkshire

Both these translations suggest that Adam is addressing his aunt, uncle, brother and sister. I doubt if he was referring to HIS brother and sister, but rather to a pair of siblings belonging to his aunt and uncle. The photograph dates about 1912, so this cannot refer to Albina's first two children Walter (Wladislaw, b. 1915) and Wanda (b. 1920). Neither were born as early as 1912. Would the people addressed be someone other than Walenty and Albina?

These two translations conflict in establishing which person is Adam Bastek. The patches of white are spots where glue held the photograph to an album. The letters came off with the glue. The question is whether Adam "is the one who lays his hand on Krzys (is this even a real nickname in Polish for Christopher?)", or "is the one whose hands [arms?] are crossed", or is "the one whose hands are not crossed (nei Krzys)". The answer lies in how one interpretes the last two lines of very weak writing before the signature at the bottom. If Adam is the one with his arms crossed, then this conflicts with the translations for the other photographs. The first and last translations both make Adam the person in the middle. This would agree with the conclusion about which person is Adam in the following Photograph 2.

Left to right top: Friend, Karolka's husband
Left to right bottom: Zosia's Husband, Adam Bastek
Photographer: Katasik & P. Melamad at the Photog Atelier in Grodno at Johannstr 3 about 1920

Writing on left:

"Karolka's husband stands next to me, and a friend stands next to Zosia's husband."

Writing on right:

"I am sending our photograph. There is Zosia's husband and Karolka's. Zosia's husband is sitting down, while Karolka's husband is standing on the right hand side. I Adam am sitting and the fourth one is a friend. We are sending this as a momento."
--Translated by Marek Leniewski-Laas

"Karolki's husband is standing next to me and my friend is standing next to Zosia's husband. I send our photograph. Zosia's husband is sitting and Karolki's husband is standing on the right side. I Adam am sitting and the fourth one is a friend. We send this as a souvenir."--Translated by Jolanta Berkshire

Adam struggled with writing. The arrangement noted in the caption above is established by several translations. These were the clearest possiblities.

Mikolai Bastecki Photographer: Unknown
printed lines on the back.

"I send my photograph to you in America as a remembrance. I am Mikalai Bastecki"

Additional writing on the side read:

"I already delivered myself [my image?]"--Translated by Maria Skibniewska

" I am sending my photograph to you out to America as souvenir I Miklaj Bastecki."--Translated by Jolanta Berkshire

It is not clear who Mikolai is, but he looks old enough to probably be Adam's Father. It is also not clear to whom he has addressed this photograph, except that it was someone in America. The photographs were presumably sent to Walenty and Albina Jendrzejewski nee Maruszewska, but came into possession of their son, John, my father, who did not know the identities of these people.

Note also how the surname is spelled here: Bastecki, not Bastek, as we see on "the scrap of paper" that my aunt had given my father.

Above Left:
Front and back of postcard
Possibly Zosia and Her Husband (Name Unknown, elsewhere referred to here as Zosia's husband)
Photographer: B. Krauzel, Grodno, at No. 4 Orzewkowej or Grzewkowej Street
Postcard with no inscription

Above right:
Front and Back of Postcard
Zosia's Husband (Name Unknown) as a Soldier in Pilsudki's Legion
Photographer: Unknown
Postcard with no stamp, but following inscription:

"My token souvenir for my aunt, uncle, brother, sister and I ask for hugs from her." --Translation: Maria Skibniewska

If we were to accept the conclusion of Photograph 2, then this is Zosia's husband, not Adam Bastek. The woman in Photograph 4 must then be Zosia. The husband is still very young; they both seem very serious. Perhaps this represents the point just before he enters the military. In Photograph 5 Zosia's husband is much more mature and impressive in the uniform of Pilsudski's Legion which fought during WWI and the War with Russia just afterwards. Pilsudski was a Polish hero who laid the groundwork for eventual Polish independence from repressive subjugation by Russia, Prussia and Austria over the previous century plus. Pilsudski was especially focussed on liberation from the Russians. Another major movement headed by Dmowski was more suspicious of the Germans and worked to cooperate with the Russians. Both were struggling to better the lot of the Polish people, but they disagreed on the means of accomplishing this. Zosia's husband, residing in Bialystok in Eastern Poland, was probably more sensitive to the Russian threat, therefore supporting Pilsudski's cause.

Saturating the color to create various color contrasts, I was able to glean even more information about where the photograhs were made, despite the damage to the backs with glue and paper from the album that stored these images over the years.

Color Enhancements of the back of Photograph 5.

The three color enhancements of the faintly visible photographer's stamp in the original made the photographer's information more legible. For the last enhancement I scraped the photo paper away with a blade. The town of Grodno appeared.

7. Detail of Zosia's husband from photograph 5 above.

Notice the emblem on this soldier's hat. Jan M. Lorys, Director of the Polish Museum of America, Chicago, indicated to me that this was one of three metal emblems depicting the Polish Eagle on a crown used on uniforms of Pulsudki's Polish Legions during the Great War, placing this photograph between 1914 and 1920.

Adam Bastek and Family, 1930s?
Photographer L. Gelgor, Plac Batorego No. 4
Logo: Leonar 8036, No inscription

Adam Bastek is graying slightly here. His hairline has receded slightly and his expression appears more firm and confident than pictured in his older photographs. I don't know the name of the woman, presumably his wife. The young girl in the background appears to be the same person named Janina Tulska as in an earlier picture of her first communion in Warsaw (?)sent Albina, who is addressed as sister. Was she in Bialystok to help her aunt with the two babies who appear to be twins?

Comparing Images of Adam Bastek

Adam Bastek had been in contact with Albina throughout his entire adult life until around the time that Albina died in the late 1960s. Comparing his face in the various photographs may help in determining the age of the photographs. Here the span of time appears to be from his mid to late teens to perhaps his mid-forties, about a twenty to thirty year span.

Comparing Images of Zosia's Husband

Zosia's husband (name unknown) was closely associated with Adam, appearing in several photographs with him. Was he an in-law of Adam or a brother? Who is his wife, Zosia? Zosia's husband had been in contact with Albina until sometime after the war with Russia. Comparing his face in the various photographs may help in determining the age of the photographs. Here the span of time appears to be narrow, with no explanation for the reason why no more recent pictures

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Andrew Jendrzejewski