The handsome young man shown in this portrait above was Paul A. Rozenek, and the picture was taken while he was an Army Private First Class in the United States Army during World War Two. It was taken at Frank’s Photo Art Studio, 3049 Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, Illinois. The photo was for his parents, Jan “John” and Sophie Satkiewicz Rozenek, and they in turn sent copies to family and family, including my grandparents, Joseph and Sophia Mirota. Paul, also called Paweł in Polish, was killed in France on 27 June 1944, after landing on D-Day, while fighting Nazi Germany.
In Memoriam is a new category for Genealogy Sisters in 2013, where we will honor some of those that died in service to their county. These young people died in defense of freedom and liberty – and although the years may dim their memory, their valiant deeds will never be forgotten. This first posting is in memory of a young Polish-American soldier, Paul Rozenek.
I started my research on Paul Rozenek in 2003, with a handful of photographs of his family, including his sister Anna (also called Ann), and his parents – some sympathy cards, and also some letters mentioning them. On a few of the photographs their last name was written as Rozynek on the back. Except for a few taken when his parents first came to Pennsylvania from Poland in the early 1900s, and some later ones during visits to New Jersey, the majority were from Chicago. The portraits taken at studios were simply lovely, such as this one below of Paul and his sister Ann, for his First Holy Communion.
While doing the research, I thought to do a look-up at the databases maintained by the Polish Genealogical Society of America, also called PGSA. There I found the database, Dziennik Chicagoski, Chicago’s Polish daily newspaper, for the years 1930-1971, and I did a search for the Rozenek family. Below are the results from 15 June 2003, and you can click on it to enlarge it:
For a small fee the copies of the actual articles were sent to me. They were written in Polish, and included photographs of Paul. The article from 7 October 1944 was Paul’s death notice, and had a very similar photo to the one on top. It said Paul died as an Army Private First Class in the Army in defense of the freedom of the nation of France. It also said he was 23 years old, residing at 2986 North Ridgeway Ave, in Chicago. He was a member of the Ray of Freedom of the 1084 Polish National Alliance, and that a Mass was said on Monday the 9th day of October at Saint Hyacinth (s.w. Jacka) Roman Catholic Church. “The family is burdened with deep grief.” It lists his parents: Jan and Zofia Satkiewicz Rozenek; his sister, Ann, and her husband, Bernard Piatek, and their son, Lawrence; his aunts and uncles: Jan and Maria Satkiewicz and Paul and Maria Szmek; and also his cousin’s names. The second article was from a memorial service held in 1948, when Paul’s body was sent back home from his internment in a temporary American Battlefield Cemetery in France after he was killed in action. Paul’s family had sent our family a few photos from the memorial service in 1948, and they were dated August (see below). The service was held with the assistance of the Leonard Wood Post No. 143 Veterans of Foreign Wars. The third article was a memorial notice on the 10th anniversary of Paul’s death in 1954.
Recently while researching at ancestry.com I have also found in the database U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 the form used when Paul’s mother, Sophie Rozenek, applied for a military marker for her son’s grave at St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery, in Niles, Illinois. Paul Rozenek’s birth-date was listed as 1 January 1920, with the year crossed out, and 1921 inserted. Paul was listed as belonging to the 22 Infantry of the United States Army. This infantry regiment was attached to the 4th (IVY) Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during World War Two, landing on Utah Beach on D-Day on 6 June 1944. His Army Service Number was 7031695 and under the Freedom of Information Act more information can be ordered about his service in the Army. Below are a few of the other photographs that my family kept of Paul Rozenek and his family.