Jan Sikora


He was born on 18th July 1910 in Cieszyn. After finishing primary school and gymnasium, from 1924 he attended Male Teachers Seminar in Cieszyn-Bobrek from which he graduated in 1929. He continued his education at University of Life Sciences in Cieszyn between 1929 and 1933. At the time he worked as a teacher for a year in a primary school and he was also an organist in Christ Church in Cieszyn.

In 1933 he married Helena née Gajdzica. In 1934 his first daughter Aleksandra was born. At the same time Jan Sikora worked in Primary School number 2 in Ustroń where he taught nature studies, geography, singing and early school education. My parents lived in my mum’s father’s farmhouse. The address was 1 Ustroń Street, now it is 74 Daszyńskiego Street. My grandfather and my mum’s sister Anna lived with us, then she became Paweł Rakowski’s wife who was an architect – his daughter Aleksandra recalled. During studies Jan Sikora was a member of the Polish Youth Protestant Union, in 1935 he became the president of the association of the Polish Youth Protestant Union in Ustroń, and between 1937 and 1938 he was a secretary of the Main Directorate of the Polish Youth Protestant Union. Jan Sikora was a conductor of the Evangelical-Augsburg choir in Ustroń. He also devoted himself to community service by being active in the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, the Polish Western Union and in “Strzelec”. In 1937 he prepared a group from Ustroń to take part in Tydzień Gór in Wisła, and a year later he became a happy father of the second daughter Krystyna.

At the war outbreak he decided to escape to the west for fear of the Germans. My mum’s brother was an engineer, he worked in the oil refinery in Drohobycz – he performed an important function there, he probably was a manager. On the other hand, her brother-in-law who lived with us – an architect Paweł Rożniewski was a wealthy man and he owned a car. Thus we had the car and where to go. My parents, my mum’s sister with her husband and I with my one-year-old sister Krystyna reached Drohobycz with difficulty. The journey was horrible, crowds of people running away from the Germans, lack of petrol and air raids of German planes. In Drohobycz my parents wondered whether to run away further to the south to Romania or Hungary or to come back to Ustroń where my grandfather stayed. They were worried about him because he was over 70 years old. At last we all came back to Ustroń with great difficulty. It was late at night and the next day at 4.00 in the morning the Germans appeared to confiscate the car. After losing his job at school Jan Sikora earned his living working at the farm, his mother and sister lived in the house in Ustroń as well.

In the early morning of the 21st of April 1940 the Gestapo officers arrived at our house and they took my father and Paweł Rożniewski. I remember they carried out a careful revision in the whole house and then outside they burned Polish books, different documents and music developed by my father. The same day the Germans arrested a lot of people including Jan Sikora’s uncle – Władysław Pawlas who was the pastor of the Evangelical parish in Wisła. The detainees were taken to the transition camp in the bentwood furniture factory “Thonet Mundus” in Cieszyn, and then to the Dachau concentration camp. After my father’s arrest a postcard came from my father from the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. There was information in it that we were not allowed to send him parcels so my mum sent him money giving his camp number 4524 and his block number 15. A year after the Germans had taken our father, my mum went with me and my sister to Cieszyn to take a photo of us which we sent to the camp. I remember she wrote some words in German on the back of the photo. Unfortunately the letter came back to us just after the German policeman came to our house and told my mum that our father had died in the camp on 18th September 1941.