Roman Gdowski standing at the markers of Zofia Moskal and Stanislaw Klis in Straszecin.

Reuniting a Timeless Love
The Goal of Polish Researchers

Jan Gawle and his wife at the Katyn Monument in Glowaczowa honorong Stanislaw Klis and Stanislaw Kutrzuba.

Katyn Cross at Straszecin

In Roman Gdowski's own words:

ZOSIA - Sophia Moskal - Stanislaus Klis' intended bride, a resident Glowaczowa - fulfilled the request of her beloved. Remaining faithful to him. She waited. The natural attitude of love is the ability to wait - calmly, without haste and with faith. Love in its tenderness patiently waiting for the right moment to show their power. Love is patient. All is lifted. Everything is possible. We always hope. Because love means everything. But not death. Not such a death!

Sophia Moskal lived more than 85 years. After the war she settled in Tarnow-Rzedzinie. Not married. She waited, waited, and waited for her Staszek. The war was to end soon, in maybe only 2-3 months back in 1939, and they wanted to be married. She was a teacher before the war and he was a prewar teacher and a reserve officer in the Polish Army.

In time, Sophia Moskal was buried next to his sister Wladyslawa Gawle in the Straszecin parish cemetery.

The passage of the vicissitudes of time and events made these documents very valuable and personal, but a painful memory of a family. Letters, sent pictures and cards were written by Stanislaw to Sophia Moskal born and living before the war in Glowaczowa. She was his girlfriend, his fiancee and also a teacher. Sophia as the addressee of the letters and photos tenderly cherished them. They then passed down to her nieces, the daughters Wladyslawa Gawle, and that is when they fell into our hands.

It turned out that the family home in Glowaczowa, which contained the personal belongings and a lieutenant's uniform and other important documents compiled during the war, completely burned down in 1944 when the frontline here ran. Photos, letters and a card from Starobelsk are probably the only survivors after the conflagration of war.

It is our family's dream to be able to commemorate the memory of Lieutenant Stanislaus Klis at the cemetery in Straszecin. To put beside the grave of Sophia Moskal a Katyn Cross with a photo Stanislaus Klis and marked with his date of birth, date of death, etc.

At Katyn Cross we intend to put the earth from the fields of execution at Katyn, Kharkov, Mednoye and Tver. Let this be the beginning of the great action which restores the memory of Lieutenant Stanislaw Klis.



Zofia Moskal and Stanislaw Klis in early 1939

A Love Story of a Love Story

I have often thrown up my hands in frustration while trying to do family history research in my ancestral village of Glowaczowa. So much was lost when the German and Soviet armies paused in August 1944, leaving the village in the deadly no-man's land in between them. When the Red Army renewed its offensive in January 1945, Poles began counting the losses - family members, homes, farms, possessions, photographs, and journals. As a farewell gift to the parish, the Red Army torched the parish church at Straszecin and all of its precious records.

But, despite the many obstacles, patient and persevering researchers can achieve their objectives. I salute the efforts and achievement of Mr. and Mrs. Roman Gdowski and Mr. And Mrs. Jan Gawle in providing one love story with a suitable ending. They carefully researched existing documentary resources regarding Lt. Stanislaw Klis and his fiancee Zofia Moskal.

This is a love story of a love story. A tale of persistent communications with various government agencies. The correction of records. The ultimate certification of yet another victim of Stalin's executioners at Katyn. It is a tale of the ultimate triumph of the truth. It has resulted in the erection of two monuments, one in Straszecin and the other in Glowaczowa.

I find that it all affects me personally as I am a great-great-great-grandson of both Ewa Gawle and Agata Kutrzuba. The various folks in this story are not merely my ancestral neighbors, they are kinsmen.

A 19th Century French historian once dismissed the Poles as "a bunch of romantic idealists". I don't take that comment as an intended insult; I think it's quite a compliment.

- - Dennis Benarz


Roman Gdowski's website


Music: Chopin Opus 60 F#
Dennis Benarz, Chicagoland USA 2012
Images copyrighted by Roman Gdowski