Bolesław Kardoliński

drugstore owner, social activist

He was born on 7th October 1880 in Toruń. He was a son of the January Uprising participant. When he graduated from secondary school in 1903, he moved to Upper Silesia. A year later he opened his first drugstore in Szopienice. Later he opened the next one in Gliwice and he married Wiktoria née Horoba with whom he had three children: Leokadia, Irena and Bronisława. During the First World War he was enlisted in the Prussian army. After the end of the war, independently of his work, he actively took part in social and political activities during the plebiscite preparations in 1921. He agitated and he was also a chairperson of the Plebiscite Committee. During Silesian Uprisings he supported financially insurgents providing them with free medicines and dressing materials. In the Third Silesian Uprising he fought with a weapon in his hand as a platoon sergeant in the 6th Company II Battalion 16 Infantry Regiment. He got Cross on the Silesian Bravery and Merit Raiser the 1st degree for his services.

Because of the insults from the Germans, Bolesław Kardoliński was made to leave his drugstore and leaving Gliwice in 1922 he moved to Wirek-Nowa Wieś (a district of Ruda Śląska now) where he opened his Saint Barbara drugstore. According to Polish-German convention concerning Upper Silesia from 5th May 1922, Kardoliński Bolesław Zygmunt (two names), birth date: 7th October 1880, birth place: Toruń, occupation: the owner of a drugstore, address: 9 3rd Maja Street Wirek, because of the written declaration submitted on 12th July 1924 in the District Offices in Katowice opted for Polish citizenship and he gained Polish citizenship as a result of this declaration at the time of issuing him the following Act. After his first wife’s death – Wiktoria, he remarried Antonina who gave birth to two children: Halina and Czesława. When the Second World War broke out, Bolesław Kardoliński was not called up because of his age and he still ran his drugstore.

On 3rd May 1940 about 6.00 in the morning two Gestapo officers arrived by car at our home in Wirek. At first they wanted to arrest my father but they realised that they needed somebody older. The Gestapo officers had a list of people to be arrested and they took my granddad from home without informing him why and where they were going to take him. After the arrest the Germans closed my granddad’s drugstore and the family was left without nothing to live on – Bolesław Kardoliński’s grandson recalled. After some time the family got a letter from which it appeared that Bolesław Kardoliński had been put in the Dachau concentration camp. After a few months in December 1940 Antonina Kardolińska was called to the Gestapo headquarters in Katowice where she was given a letter from the concentration camp commandant in Mauthausen informing that her husband Bolesław had died on 13th December 1940 at 9.20 in Mauthausen. A little later she got a parcel with her husband’s things including his wedding ring.

After the Second World War, Roman Laudowicz, the owner of the drugstore in Zabrze-Zaborze who was at the same time in the Mauthausen-Gusen subcamp, met the family. According to his account Bolesław Kardoliński did not feel well and that is why he went to the camp doctor. Soon, probably on 13th December 1940 the Germans called him up during the assembly informing that they had a medicine for him. They poured ice cold water on him and then left him in the cold for a few hours. When he lost consciousness he was taken to the crematorium. There, although he was still alive, the Germans ordered to put him into the crematorium stove.