Władysław Masłowski

drugstore owner

He was born on 13th June 1883 in Raciborów in Poznań Voivodeship. After finishing learning as a druggist and getting an apprenticeship, he moved to Upper Silesia to Siemianowice Śląskie. There he took part in the activities of Polish associations and conducted agitation before the elections in which Polish people were candidates for the first time. In 1910 he set up his own Drugstore under the Eagle in Kochłowice (a district of Ruda Śląska now) which offered: paints, lacquers, brushes, pharmacy goods, bandages, cotton wool and medical wines. In 1911 he married Barbara Adamiak from Krotoszyn with whom he had six children.

As early as on 15th February 1919 he joined Polish Military Organisation of Upper Silesia. In the same year he was elected to the Municipal Council from the Polish list. Although he was chosen to the School Board, he was not approved because he was considered to be politically suspicious. “Grenzschutz” searched his flat a few times looking for weapons as a result Władysław Masłowski was brought to Military Court in Bytom. Masłowski took part in all Silesian Uprisings with a gun in his hand. In the Third Uprising he was at the Square Commander’s services and was used to communicate important and secret matters to the Main and Stage Command. During the Third Uprising he organised the Red Cross station in Kochłowice which many insurgents used for free. During the preparations to the plebiscite he worked in the local Plebiscite Committee. He carried out an effective intervention on the arrested people’s behalf at the coalition and German authorities. Władysław Masłowski’s wife – Barbara also helped the insurgents as a nurse and prepared meals for them. Władysław Masłowski got the Cross on the Silesian Brace of Brave and Merit, the Silesian Star, the Cross of Independence and the Bronze Cross of Merit for his services. In the interwar years he both ran his drugstore and was active in social activities in Kołchowice for example: in the Maritime and Colonial League, People’s Libraries Society and the Polish Gymnastic Society “Sokół”.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he and his family left Upper Silesia for fear of repressions. However, after the end of the September Campaign he decided to come back to Kołchowice. There he found his home and drugstore plundered by the Germans. Despite this he ran his drugstore with his daughter Stanisława till April 1940. On 7th April 1940 about 11.00 am three Gestapo officers came to our house wearing dark uniforms with a corpse’s skull above the military hatband. They were looking for my father. As he was not at home at the time because he had left to buy goods to his drugstore, they left him a written request to report to the Gestapo office in Katowice. One of the officers told us if our father did not report, the consequences would be drawn. I do not remember the exact words but I felt it was a threat – his daughter Wanda recalled. The same day we went with our father to Katowice. I recall the Gestapo building at present Powstańców Street. The armed officer was working in its vestibule. When my father gave him his surname, he marked something on the list and ordered my father to go through the swinging door. I wanted to go with him but the German officer started to pull me, threw me down the stairs and threw me out the door shouting Raus! – his daughter Stanisława recalled.

We didn’t know my father’s fate for a few months. We found out about his place of residence from his letter sent from the German concentration camp in Dachau. Immediately we started to try to release him and we were finally successful. Władysław Masłowski left the Mauthausen-Gusen camp and reached his home in Kochłowice late evening on 27th December 1940. Although I was 17 years old at the time and which may seem strange, I was just afraid of my father because he was terribly ruined by hard work in the quarry. He was completely starved, he weighed 40 kilos. It was a yellowish skin stretched on the skeleton, a shaved head and glittering sunken eyes. After returning from the camp, my father had to report to the police every day and revisions were arranged in our house all the time. The Germans threw everything from the wardrobes and looked at each thing carefully – recalled his daughter Stanisława. In 1941 the Germans confiscated the drugstore. After the war Władysław Masłowski did not work because of poor health and old age. He died of heart attack in 1957.