Tadeusz Mazepa

craftsman, entrepreneur

He was born on 4th September 1890 in Zasów. In the years 1905 – 1911 he took a craft practice in Lviv. Getting thorough knowledge of water supply installation on 25th January 1911 he got so-called journeyman’s certificate (lerbryf). He broadened his knowledge and experience for 12 years working in Vienna, Wiener-Neustadt, Győr, Nagyseben and Debreczyn. During the First World War he served in the Austrian Army. On 6th January 1916 in Komarno he married Aniela Dziubanowska with whom he had two sons: Tadeusz and Zbigniew and a daughter – Wanda. After the regaining of the independence and the annexation of the part of Upper Silesia into Poland in 1923, he decided to settle down in Szopienice-Roździeń (a district of Katowice now) where he started his own Diary Dishes Factory T. Mazepa, Roździeń – Szopienice at 42 Szosowa Street.

­During the interwar years his firm employed several employees and produced equipment for the diary and butcher industry, made the plumbing and central heating and tinning. Tadeusz

Mazepa was an author of many patent solutions, for example: in the field of cool storage and heating, and presented the products from his firm during both Katowice Fair and also Nationwide Craft Fair in Poznań for which he got a lot of medals and diplomas. His firm produced for example: a homemade ice cream maker – “Tewa”. Thanks to resourcefulness and diligence of both spouses (his wife Aniela was in charge of firm’s office), the family business developed dynamically which allowed them to build a large house in 1930s.

Apart from his work, Tadeusz Mazepa took part in social activities as well. He was one of the founders of the Polish Craftsmen Union in Silesia and the chairperson of its association in Szopienice. He was a long-term member of the Examination Commission for Locksmith Master and Journeyman. He was also a president of the Scouts Friends Association, and a vice-president of the Polish Western Union and a president of the Volunteer Fire Brigade in Szopienice. He was also active in the Maritime and Colonial League and was a member of the Inventors Association of the Republic of Poland. In 1934 after concluding German-Polish Non-Agression Pact, he publicly criticised Polish authorities in a very violent way for establishing friendly relations with The German Reich. He was sentenced for 8 days in prison for this offence.

In 1938 Tadeusz Mazepa got the Silver Cross of Merit from the Prime Minister Felicjan Sławoj-Składkowski for his services in the field of his professional work.

After the outbreak of the war his craft firm was confiscated by the Germans and transferred to appointed administrators by Treuhandstelle Oberschlesien. At the beginning of April 1940 Tadeusz Mazepa was arrested by the Gestapo in his house in Szopienice and on 9th April 1940 he was transported to the Dachau concentration camp. It appeared from the letter sent from the camp that he got a camp number 2900 and stayed in the 24 block. His family tried to release him and on 26th September 1940 Tadeusz Mazepa left the camp. He reached Szopienice utterly exhausted and in fatal health condition. He had to report to the Gestapo every week and then he was sent to forced labour in Blachownia. He was not the only one to be repressed. Many times my brothers were made to observe the Poles being executed in the area of so called “sokolnia” in Wilhelmin. After executions they had to unhook the hanged bodies and put them under the gallows. Memories of these events were haunting them through all their lives. I remember when at night the Germans invaded our home and they brutally dragged my older brother Zbigniew. He was beaten and kicked in the meeting point and then transported to the lager from which he was escorted to work – recalled his daughter Wanda. Because Tadeusz Mazepa’s firm was confiscated, on 11th October 1943 the German authorities (Gauwirtschaftskammer Oberschlesien Abteilung Handwerk) took his craft authorisations. After the end of the war Tadeusz Mazepa worked in Municipal Construction Company in Szopienice. He was still socially active as a councillor and a member of the Volunteer Fire Brigade. He died in 1969. Despite many efforts, neither he nor his family managed to get back his craft shop which was nationalized by the communist authorities after 1945.