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From the right: Daughter Anna, Jozef (father), son Jozef and his daughter Marta, wife Maria, daughters Helena & Jadwiga and a few neighbors. This is Paul Krenzelok's father, brother (Jozef) and sister (Anna). Paul also has a brother named John(Jan). They live in a small town called Istebna which our relatives live today (see red dot on map below). Our real name is spelled Krezelok (I can't make the right mark for the "z" but you can get the right idea) the name was changed in this country at Ellis Island or at Bremen Germany where the ship manifest was filled out. There is a mark under the "z" and over the "e" in KREZELOK that may have sounded like a "N" to the inspector, who wrote it down as" KRENZELOK".

We would at this time like to Thank " Anna Haratyk " in Poland (Polska) who we owe for the information that we have received on our relatives there! It hasn't been easy translating the information for us and I'm sure for her too. It is Anna's mother Anna (see above picture) I believe that wanted her to make contact with the family in America that was lost mostly after Paul and Elizabeth died. I believe Anne Krenzelok Closs has always been writing to our relatives in Poland.

Poland's flag

Is how we spell our name in the old country. We are from the Triple-Village or Tri-Cities of the three communities of Istebna, Jaworzynka, and Koniakow. We are "Highlander" the Polish mountain people use this word to describe the people from the area because they live in the mountains.


This is one of the pictures Anna in Poland sent me this summer. I could not understand what it was saying on the back but I was sure in was our Wyoming relatives. Mel Krenzelok of Sheridan son Alton Krenzelok was able to identify it as his grand parent's John and his wife Julia. John is one of the twin son borne to Mary and Paul Krenzelok of Sheridan Wyoming. This is a big step in reuniting the Wisconsin and Wyoming Krenzelok families.

We do not know are direct connection for sure yet. But we know that your family is in contact with yours and our relative Anna in Poland which makes for a very good connection. Anna has sent us pictures of Paul and Mary's Krenzelok of Wyoming son John and his wife Julia and a wedding picture of John's daughter and her family. Alton Krenzelok was able to identify these pictures. My Aunt Anne Krenzelok Closs ( age 88 ) of Ladysmith Wisconsin remembers her father saying that Mary was his cousin, her maiden name was Krezelok and her husband Paul's name was Krenzelok also and they had twin sons. Mel Krenzelok of Sheridan Wyoming has confirmed this. We know that Paul and his wife Elizabeth Krenzelok of Ladysmith Wisconsin would go visit Paul and Mary in Wyoming. Our best guess at this time is that Paul Krenzelok of ladysmith father had a brother or sister who was Mary's father.

We know that Paul of Ladysmith apprenticed with his uncle and his son's bakery in Poland and Mary may have been connected with this family. Or we know that Paul's brother Jozef came to this country but did not stay because of World War I and maybe there is a connection there, I do not know. We know that this Jozef's last name was changed to Krenzelok in America and when he went back to Poland he never changed back to the old spelling it and too this day his family in Poland spell their name Krenzelok. I can not find where he had a daughter Mary. Some relationship that Paul in Ladysmith and Mary in Wyoming in Poland must have made them feel close enough to stay in contact in America. We hope in the future to be able to clear the connection up. Paul Krenzelok's ( Ladysmith ) family last name is spelt Krezelok the way it is spelt in Poland by most of our relatives there and some where coming into America it became spelt Krenzelok. If you can help us out please let us know.

Posted by Anne's son Jim Closs and their family:Top row left: Anna ,her father Jozef, son Jozef (jr), wife Maria and daughters Jadwiga & Helena, Jozef's son Jan, wife Eva, daughter Anna and son Jan. Istebna, Poland at the old family homestead 1926. The old address was Istebna 199 and is now Koniakow 415


Koniakow in around where the above red dot is.

Poland is made up into 16 provinces, much like our states

The regions of Poland around the time when Paul and his brother came to America. This is why Paul would mention he was from Silesia sometimes. Look for the red dot to locate Koniakow.

Triple-Village or Tri-Cities of the three communities of Istebna, Jaworzynka, and Koniakow


August 19 2000

Anna is in the back center with her husband and her family. Visiting Ed Krenzelok is on the right. Picture taken on 1993 trip to Poland

Dear Greg,
I was more than happy to hear from you. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. My mother's maiden name was Ligocka. She lived at Koniakow. She was a hardworking woman. Her striking characteristic was modesty. Helping her father, she did the whole housework for she had to kind of fill in for her mother who died young. So she did the cooking, laundry, cleaning around the house. She even worked in the stable! When my grandfather (Jozef 1856) got ill she took care of him. At the age of 35 she got married to Jan Ligocki (sometime male's last name ends in i and female end in a ) who was a widower with five children from his first marriage. That is why she left home to follow her husband. As the couple lived next door she kept looking after her father. She did worked around both houses until her father died. Left, Anna and her family. Poland

My Mother died of cancer at the age of 93, six years after my father. My father had some health problems with his prostate and I assume it was the cause of his death.

Anna's mother Anna Krezelok Ligocka resting place in Poland

As far as the question about my mother's brother Jozef (1886) and his service in the Russian Army and the imprisonment is concerned I don't know too much about it. My older cousin Jadwiga, who is his eldest daughter, is now senile and she doesn't remember anything. She is 79 year old now. I am sure that the Russian kept him captive in Siberia and finally he worked his way home. I remember him fighting and shouting in his dreams Bolsheviks, you murderers . He used to tell horrifying stories about hunger, stink and lice that stung him. However he did manage to run away!

Paul and his brother Jozef and my father went to America to earn their bread and butter. But I don't know when it happened. If you might have an idea let me know. What I do know for sure is that they came back and had to fight in a war. Uncle Jozef is buried at the graveyard in Istebna. His brother Jan (1893) and my mother (Anna 1898) are buried in Koniakow

I will do my best to obtain the pictures of the whole family but it maybe a little bit hard for me to do owning to my walking problems. You see I will have to do a lot of walking and my legs are getting weaker and weaker.

I do not remember much about my Grandparents because I was only two years old when my grandfather Jozef (1856) died. My father's parents had long been buried before.

Your grandfather (Paul Krenzelok) can call himself an Austrian if he likes but our family has always been Polish! He may think so because of his ignorance of History! At the time Poland wasn't a souvenir country. It was under Austrian occupation. Imagine the Russians raiding America; would you consider yourself a Russian or an American? (Note: according to Dolores Fuhrer she says her father Paul hated the Pols and said he was an Austrian! He may not of liked the jokes people made of the Pols).

I shall try to find an old map of Poland, which will be sent to you as soon as I have found one. I would like your father (Robert Krenzelok) to take a picture of Berta and Paul's gravestone. I asked Ed but he must have forgotten. I am very keen on having it! (Note: This was done). I am gradually going to come by all the photos you have asked for. Please wait patiently until you get the next pictures. I can't ram too many of them into an envelope

I hope to hear from you soon. Love Anna!

PS- Polish is a flexible language. It has genders as well

Females last names end in a for example Barbara Ligocka
Males last names end in i for example Antoni Ligocki

However, there is a tendency not to decide some names especially if they are of foreign origin but that is not always true

Female - Anna Krezelok
Male - Henryk Krezelok (This is where I first learned the right way to spell our last name.

In a reply to questions on the family

Grandfather's (Jozef) wife maiden name:

Her first name was Anna and her maiden name was Zmuda. We haven't got any photos of grandmother as all of the old papers were burned in the family's house fire. My mother was only seven when grandmother died and she did not remember much.

About grandfather (Jozef):

Grandfather had his own horse with which he worked in the forest. He worked until his sickness. As I have mentioned before we do not know grandmother's pedigree.

Anna with her cousin Robert of Walnut Creek, California in 1993. I am not sure about this but I think this is Anna's and Robert's Grandfather Jozef ( borne 1856 ) or Anna's mother and Robert's father's, brother Jozef Krezelok ( borne 1886 ) unmarked resting place in Poland. I believe there was a wooden marker for many years that is now gone.

About Jozef's son Jozef address was: Istebna 199 (Today it is Koniakow 415):

He was a very good man, hard working and accurate in his work. He worked in Dziedzice in color metals rolling mill. He had this job thanks to his cousin (Zmuda family) from Ostrava in the Czech republic. During the World War I uncle was in the Austrian military service where her had lost his health. His wife was taking care of their family and house, which he inherited from his parents. They had thirteen children, nine of whom died early.

About Jozef's son Jan:

Uncle Jan was rather a good man, although always not satisfied. He worked in the Ostrava steel works. His wife and children worked in small framing on the land that they inherited by his wife. After working in the steel works Jan later worked the land. He was paid a disability benefit from the steel works. He died at home where he stayed with his daughter Zofia after his wife Eva died. Uncle died from skin cancer when he was 83. He rests in the Koniakow cemetery where also my mother Anna rests.

About my mother Anna Krezelok Ligocka Koniakow 78:

She was a modest hard working woman. She was hard working and she worked at home. She lived with her father Jozef on the family land. She cooked, washed and took care of the animals. Her mother Anna died so early and she took over her father household to help out. During her father Jozef's illness she took care of him. She married my father Jan Ligocki when she was 35 year old. Jan was a widower with 5 children from his first marriage. She left the family land and stayed with her husband on his land. They lived close to her family's land and continue to take care of her father doing all of his house work and her new families housework too until he died. My mother Anna died at the age of 93 from skin cancer, six years after my father's death who died from prostate cancer.

As to question about uncle Jozef's military history in the Austrian Army:

We do not remember much about his captivity in Russia during the World War I. I do not know anything about it. My older 79-year-old cousin Jadwiga also does not remember anything, although she has a very good memory. Jadwiga remembers my father's long kept in Russian captivity in Siberia during the war. After he came back he would scream in the night Bolszewicy or Bolsheviks Murders . He was still fighting in his dreams at night. Sometimes he told us about the terrible things like hunger, stench and the fleas but he managed to come back. Uncle Jozef and my father went to America for jobs but I do not know exactly when it was. Maybe you could tell me as your father knows it from his father Paul. I only know that when they came back they had to go to war (WW I ). Uncle Jozef rests in the Istebna cemetery and Uncle Jan in the Koniakow cemetery.

I will try to do the best I can on your questions but it is not easy as it take a lot of walking while my legs are not as good as they used to be.

About what I remember as far as my child hood? I do not remember my grandparents at all. I was only two year old when grandfather Jozef died. Also my father's parents did not live anymore.

Your father was telling the truth as Poland was under the Austrian occupation when he left for America.

I do not know where I could find an old map of Poland maybe the Archives.

You also wanted to know what kind of jobs the Poles did who immigrated to America:

From my father and are 80 year old neighbor's stories I have learnt that they worked with wood by waterfalls in America. It was extremely hard work as the wood was wet and heavy. Later paper was made from this wood (So paper factory). My neighbor says the people would leave from here to Katowice by train and to Germany ports where they would get on a ship for America. Sometime the whole trip would take a month. This was around in 1914. He says that after they came back to Poland they did not go anymore for America because of World War I broke out and they had to go into military service. They were sent to the front.

Greg, you can keep the pictures because the letter was translated later and I gave back the copies to the owners. You had the photos matched and described with family members and I can do nothing more for now.

Much Love Anna

Anna Ligocka Haratyk's family 1993. Remember that Anna and her brother Jan's mother was Anna Krenzelok Ligocka. See the first 2 pictures at the top of this page and see the family tree near the bottom of this page for Jozef Krezelok and his wife Anna Zmuda's ( borne 1856 ) and the names of his children.

This is Anna's brother Jan Ligocki family. Spelling last names: if you are a female in the case of Ligocka it ends in a " a " and if you are a male like Jan it ends in a " i ". This is true of many of the Polish spelling of names. Both of the above were written out by their family in 1993.

Anna's brother Jan Ligocki and Robert Krenzelok ( Wisconsin Krenzelok ) taken at Jan's home. Wisconsin Krenzelok's Robert, wife Gerry and Ed Krenzelok visit to Poland in 1993. Ed Krenzelok has continued to visit the family in Poland over the years.


Ed Krenzelok and his family. Right picture: Ed, Robert and Gerry Krenzelok meeting our relatives in Poland


Ed Krenzelok is Paul and Maria Krenzelok's son; Wisconsin US

This adventure began on a US Air flight from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt. My flight arrived at 7:30am in Frankfurt, Germany and I was fairly well rested after three Canadian Clubs, a big dinner, and five hours of sleep enroot

I took a city tour of Frankfurt and then ventured out on my own for some German beer and bratwurst, which seemed appropriate. I had to settle for country western music, however. At about 6:30pm I flew from Frankfurt to Krakow aboard a new LOT Polish Airlines 737. They had terrific food and great beer, a rather pleasant surprise! I arrived in Krakow at 8:00pm with a fantastic and very warm welcome from the Kr꿥lok relatives. Bob and Gerry (Krenzelok's from Calif. USA) were there as well as Anna Haratyk (who's mother Anna is Paul Krenzelok senior's sister) who gave me a bear hug, kiss and smile that I will never forget! Accompanying her were her son Stefan, daughter Zofia and her husband George also there was Anna's brother John (Jan) and another pleasant surprise, my friend Jacek Domakski with a bouquet of roses. Jacek is the physician who spent 4 months with me in the Poison Center a couple of years ago as part of a Project Hope program. Additionally, Anna brought a local schoolteacher named Stephen who taught both Russian and English along as an interpreter (he was fantastic and we would have been lost without him). Anyway, after exchanging countless smiles, hugs and kisses in the airport we began the drive back to Koniakow son Stefan and George's cars.

It was getting dark as we departed the airport and drove through the countryside, but even with the darkness you could see the beautiful rolling hills. We arrived at about 11; 30 pm and had to make a stop at Julie Zeniewski's house before going to Anna's. Julie is the girl who lived about 1/3 of a mile from Anna's and moved to Toronto about 9 years ago. She arrived the same day with her husband Andre, and sons Christopher, Richard and Michael for a 5-week visit. This was another stroke of luck, she and Andre spent the next day with us while Stephen was teaching and helped to do all the translating.

Left to right: Translator, Anna's son Stefan, Robert (US), Anna (red dress) Anna's daughter Zofia (Sophie), Ed (US), Roberts wife Gerry (US) and Anna's brother Jan. Taken at the airport Poland 1993

We arrived at Anna's house to a feast that was prepared by her daughter Helena. This late dinner started with a delicious soup followed by numerous cold cuts of freshly smoked ham, pork, head cheese, and a stuffed pork cold cut. They had prepared several desserts including Bismarck's that were covered with powdered sugar and absolutely delicious! Stephen the interpreter was absolutely invaluable and we learned a great deal about the Krezelok Family, which gave us a good insight into the family. Before bed I brought my case full of gifts and basically left them for Anna to decide upon the recipients. At Julie's suggestion I brought 3 pounds of coffee beans, 4 pounds of sugar, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, 4 hot wheels cars, a squirt gun, a sound effects gun, shaving cream and razors for Anna's husband Adolf, a Barbie doll, stationery, a Children's Hospital t-shirt, bubble gum candy and several other items. They loved the gifts! We finally retired for the night at about 2;00am. My bed was comfortable with a great feather comforter inside of a crisply ironed case. The house and all of the relatives were very neat and clean.

Anna and Adolf's home 598 Koniakow, Poland 1993

Anna's husband Adolf is a quiet man who was very nice. Their home was modest but nice. As is the custom, the second floor is a carbon copy of the first and usually one of the children live on the second floor. It's usually a daughter and son- in -law, but in Anna's case her son Stefan, wife and three children live upstairs. People do not borrow money to build houses and construct them as they can afford them. Therefore, you see houses in varying stages of construction. They started their home in 1975 and completed it 1985. Next-door is the modest house where her mother Anna Ligocka lived. We went inside and it brought a tear to her eyes. Anna is a very sensitive woman but is full of fun and enjoys a good time very much like Aunt Dolores. Anna and Delores both have the same fun loving streak! The house hasn't been lived in since her mom died in 1990

May 24 1993

George awakened me at about 8:50am with a hearty breakfast is ready as he practiced his English with a gigantic smile on his face! He seems to be prosperous and dresses very fashionably. He and Zofia live in Katowice, which is a large city about 100 miles away. They have an 11-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. The daughter had a heart condition and they were pleased to meet Jacek who told me that he would see to it that their child had the best of care at the Children's Hospital. After a hearty breakfast on breads, cold cuts, vegetables, and more Bismarck's and other sweets and fruit capote and tea to drink we went next door to pick up John (Jan) and his family for our day of sightseeing. George drove and John (Jan) had a friend drive the other half of the Krezelok delegation around. We met John's (Jan) daughter Margaret who is about 32 years old and her daughter Agnes who is 11 years old. Agnes's dad died in an auto accident about 2 years ago. Agnes reminded me a lot of Annie. She was delightful little girl with a pretty smile and she cold understands and speaks some English, as could Margaret. John's (Jan) wife Helena was a factory worker and has traveled in Europe and seems a little better off than some of the relatives. Anna's husband was a Miner.

Left to Right: Anna's Brother Jan's daughter Agnes, Matgorzata, Anna (you can't see her very well) Jan, Anna's daughters, Sophie and Helen, Maria, Steven (Anna's son Stefan) ,Gregory, Gerry Krenzelok, English teacher and Bob Krenzelok. Picture taken at Anna's brother Jan's home.

We picked up Julie and Andre and drove to Istebna to the church where Paul Krenzelok (senior) was baptized. The church was built in 1793. The grave of his Grandfather Jozef and the cemetery is now a park. They explained that they were very poor people and could only afford wooden grave markers, which eventually rotted. It was interesting to see the names of other people on their head stones in the newer cemetery that had immigrated to Rusk County Wisconsin. Lots of Michalek's Krezelok (yes Krezelok is the correct spelling of our name! In Polish there's is a little swirl on the bottom of the first e that may have been interpreted by the immigration authorities as an n. But it is definitely Krezelok as our official name! Incidentally, as I ramble on off of my notes, which I scribbled on Polish toilet paper, which is sufficient to write on, and has the potential to give you paper cuts when you wipe, it's interesting to note that Paul Krenzelok (senior) wrote quite consistently to them until about 1975. As I visited each of the relatives they pulled out stacks of pictures that Paul and Elizabeth Krenzelok sent them. Dolores and Don's wedding, Lillian's wedding, the 25th wedding, pictures of Dad's big muskie and lots of family events! There were even lots of pictures of Big Ed and the family (Paul and Marie Krenzelok). They had old bakery pictures as well as some of the old family pictures. Anna gave me a picture of Dad's grandfather and uncles. And even cousins when they were small children. At any rate they had a wealth of pictures from the Ladysmith that I had never even seen before!

Anna's husband Adolf who I believe is or was a miner, Robert ( Bob ) Krenzelok ( US ) and Anna's brother Jan Poland 1993

Anna took us for a tour of the oldest house in this beautiful mountain community of Istebna! A very nice elderly lady who was born there played many of the hand made horns, flutes and even bag pipes that her father made over 100 years ago! The horns would broadcast musical messages for up to 5 miles. Then we were off the Catholic Church in Koniakow where Anna's mother, and Paul Krenzelok's (senior) brothers John (Jan) and Jozef are buried. Both John (Jan) and Jozef's grave are unmarked now since the wooden markers have deteriorated. Jozef came to America and left 11 children behind. However her came back when he got a draft notice and had 2 more children after the war ( world war I ). Four out of his 13 children are still alive. Many of them died of disease as children. I met Marta, Henry Krezelok and Liegicha (miss spelled) After our visit to the cemetery we visited cousin Marta who is another wonderful and friendly person. Now she looks like you might imagine a Polish country women might look like! She embraced me with a bear hug and numerous kisses and the greatest smile. We supposedly just went to her house for tea! However it ended up being one of about 7 times that I ate in about 24 hours! Two of her daughters and a daughter-in-law (an attractive Russian girl) served us berry filled cake, chocolate filled cake and absolutely the best smoked ham I have ever tasted! (Lots and lots of pork products) Anyway, Marta smoked the ham and made all the other cold cuts, which were served. She had a nice husband but I can't recall his name. Marta indicated that she was about 67. They served lots of tea (always in clear glasses held in metal holders) and coffer that was very potent and actually quit good! I think that the strong tea and coffee kept me going for the 40 hours with so little sleep! After the coffee and tea we were served a fruit compote.

They can cherries, raspberries and other fruits in a heavy syrup and then place a portion of that in a pitcher and dilute in with water to the proper taste and consistency. Interestingly, they always placed a few pieces of fruit on the bottom of the glass. Then the fun began, my father Paul would like this! They brought out the 95% alcohol, which was mildly fruit flavored and tradition has it that you have to drink shots until the bottle in gone! (Sounds like deer hunting at the shack) I guess we came by this naturally as is the Polish custom. They kept pouring shots and by the end of the day when we had made our last visit, I had drank over 15 shots and somehow they had little effect on me despite the fact that this stuff was like drinking gasoline! On second thought maybe they did have an effect by the end of the second night I understood some of the Polish! Marta indicated that all this was really just an appetizer for our lunch back at Anna's.

Left to right: Anna's brother Jan (red shirt), Ed (US) , Marta's hushband Michael (blue shirt), Robert (US) with his arm around his first cousin Anna, bottom left: Anna's brother Jan's wife Helen and Robert, Jan and Anna's first cousin Marta. Marta is the son of Jozef Krezelok's (1856) son Jozef Krenzelok (borne 1886) daughter. Look at family tree below on this page under Jozef Krenzelok jr. Picture taken 1993

Left to right top row: Gerry (US), Jan's wife Helen, Marta's daughter Wanda, Gregory, Robert (US), Marta, Ed (US), Taxi driver (hands behind his back). Left to right bottom row: Anna's brother Jan, Marta's daughter Lidia, Ayli ( wife of Marta's son) and Marta's husband Michael. Taken at Marta's house in Koniakow Poland 1993

Enroot back to Anna's we stopped at two little shops that specialized in local artwork and beautiful lace. I bought a nice stash of lace for Nancy and the girls for a very modest price. Everything is handmade by the ladies in town. They were commissioned a few years ago by Queen Elizabeth to make large lace tablecloths. They were all so generous! Cousin Marta came down to one of the stores and purchased an expensive picture of the interior of the oldest house in Istebna for both Bob Krenzelok (son of Paul and Elizabeth) and myself. It was quite an extraordinary amount of money for her and she would not take no for an answer!

Left is Anna'a church and look for the red dot in the above picture to locate Anna's home in Koniakow.

It was about 3:30pm and we finally made it back to Anna's for another huge and delicious lunch, more like a seven course dinner! We had delicious soup, rolled stuffed beef, fabulous roasted duck, a pickled cabbage salad, among other things! Yet to come was dessert, which was cake that looked like a pine log and was beautifully decorated and prepared for the occasion by neighbor. It's interesting to note that they help each other a lot and all the food that we ate they raised. Essentially note of the groceries were purchased.

After lunch Anna had a big plan for Bob, Gerry (Krenzelok) and myself. She decided that it would be a good idea for us to dress up in the native mountain celebration clothes. These are the clothes that they wear for traditional celebrations such as weddings. According to their tradition they put this special clothing on and then walk to the church together, winter or summer (an they receive several feet of snow due to their mountainous location) it must be a colorful sight! The men wear heavy white wool pants, special wool socks with leather homemade shoes (kind of like crude deck shoes without soles) the leggings are laced up from the shoes to mid-calf, a traditional wide brim hat, a heavy cotton tunic, a red vest and even a heavy wool cape. Incidentally, their weddings last three days! After the ceremony and before the partying begins they change their clothes back to regular clothing. Apparently, this clothing and ritual is native to this region and not the rest of Poland. Married women wear headwear with a lace band on the forehead and unmarried girls just have a bow in their hair. The vests that the men wear are tied together on the bottom with a ribbon, white for the bachelors and pink for the married men. Adolf helped Bob and me get dressed and the women all assisted in the effort to get Gerry all gussied up! We took lots of pictures with the countryside in the background

Ed,Anna,Robert,Gerry and Anna's son Stefan

After this event, which Anna was really excited about, we reconvened in their living room for dessert. It was kind of interesting just like being at home with a multitude of desserts. First we started with Neapolitan ice cream and a huge bowl of tiny filled cookies that Anna made for the occasion. I might add that like everything else the cookies were terrific! She insisted that I take a bag of them with me to snack on while I was in Birmingham, England. Then the grand finale a log cake, this cake design is unique to the region and a favorite among the natives. After coffee and tea the bottles of 95% spirits and Polish beer came out! The shots and toasts were flying freely and Gerry got kind of a glow on. The Polish beer was really quite good despite the fact that it was kind of warm.

It was getting late and we wanted to see the old homestead location where Paul (senior) was raised. It was just a short walk of about ? mile down the hill through a little valley and up another hill to a beautiful vista of the entire region. Grandfather (Paul senior) certainly had a beautiful view of the mountains and countryside! It was kind of interesting to think that about 90 years ago he was gallivanting around on the same hills and trails and seeing the same scenery that I was seeing. Actually it was kind of an emotional moment! We arrived at the home site and were greeted by Henry Krezelok and his wife. Henry's father is Jozef Krezelok, Paul Krenzelok's brother. Jozef and Paul both went to America.

He explained that the original home burned down a few years ago and as the eldest son he inherited the property and built his home there. He showed us the location of where the house that Paul Krenzelok was born in and a few feet from that beyond the remnants of the original home where Paul's father Jozef was born. Well as their warm hospitality dictated, we went in for tea and coffee, which also meant more cake and desserts that were very good! Top off with more 95% spirit shooter! They are quite a hospitable and family oriented group. Henry explained that he has three sons who will carry on the Krezelok name!

The old family homestead 1993. Jozef Krezelok's ( borne 1856 ) homestead, his son Jozef took over and lived on the homestead until he died and then his son Henry who I believe's house in pictured above. Henry has since died I believe as of 2004.

After leaving Henry's house we went back to John (Jan) Ligocka's home for yet another party, kind of a finale! Margaret, Agnes, John and Helena had a variety of cold cuts, desserts, fantastic pickled wild mushrooms, cognac, vodka, Polish beer and of course more 95% spirit shooters (I began to feel it a bit) I must add that all of the food, wherever we went was always beautifully presented with parsley, chives or sliced scallion greens. Anna's son Stefan and I had fun despite the language barrier which Stephen the interpreter helped to resolve. However, Stefan (Anna's son) kept saying Edward, Edward, Edward and toasting me and tried to get me inebriated. Of course, I retaliated and began toasting him Stefan, Stefan, Stefan until he couldn't drink anymore! I taught them a new trick! How to drink beer and spirits at the same time from 2 different glasses! After that the party ended about midnight and we walked back to Anna's house. Everyone except Zofia, Anna, Helena and I went to bed.

We all managed to communicate with some Polish, Russian, English and drawing a lot of pictures until 1:30am! Of course we sat around the kitchen once again eating and drinking tea. We were awakened early for a 6:00am drive back to Krakow that Bob and Gerry could catch a train to Vienna where they were meeting daughter Debbie (Krenzelok) Hart for a few days who was living in England with her husband John and children Christina and Jonathan. George and Zofia drove us back. The countryside was beautiful! We drove by the town that the Pope came from. Prior to leaving we had a huge breakfast of more pastries and cold cuts and a lot more. Helena, Zofia and Anna got up even earlier and prepared huge lunches for us for our day of traveling. The one they gave me could have fed at least 3 people with the possibility of still having leftovers!

Koniakow, Poland 1993. I believe the white house with the red roof on the left is Ann'a brother's Jan and the two story house to the right is Anna'a house.

Helena was pregnant and asked me if I would be the baby's godfather. Of course I consented and they said if it was a boy they would probably name him Edward. Everyone gave us gifts during our 2-day stay. Anna gave me some beautiful lace for my wife Nancy. A couple of pretty lace table runners plus an assortment of lace items for the Table as well as coasters. She also gave me a carved plate for us. And one for Dad as well and some lace items for Mom. John (Jan) and Helena gave me a local painting as well as more lace items. Jozef's other daughter (the other whose name I don't recall) (special note by Greg Krenzelok: I think it is Jadwiga) gave me more lace items. All of the lace was made by them and done very artistically.

When I arrived in Krakow all parted company and I met my friend the pediatrician Jacek Domanski who picked me up at the train station with an ambulance (Polish Taxi) I spent the day touring his hospital which was very impressive and in contrast to all of the Russian hospitals I have toured, this was clean and very progressive. He gave me a beautiful square in downtown Krakow because he wanted me to visit St. Mary's church.

View from one of the relatives home of the Koniakow, Poland area. This is where Paul Krenzelok grew up and where our roots are from. And where our relative still live today. Elizabeth also grew up not that far from here too.

All in all it was a great trip with an incredible amount of activity packed into a 40 hour visit to Poland. Everything couldn't have possibly have gone better and was well beyond even my most optimistic expectations. We have some very warm and kind people as our relatives in Poland

Ed Krenzelok


1 Jozef Krezelok This is the right way to spell our name

Birth: Nov 1, 1856, Istebna
Death: Mar 15, 1940
Spouse: Anna Zmuda

Our cousin Anna Ligocki Haratyk in Poland says that her uncles Jozef and Jan got work in Ostravice is the old day from relatives of Anna Zmuda


Jozef (1886-1938)
Paul (1890-1962)
Jan (1893-1975)
Anna (1898-1991)

1.1 Jozef Krenzelok Jr.
Birth: Oct 11, 1886, Istebna #199
Death: Jan 27, 1938, Koniakow # 415

Jozef and his brother Paul both went to America. At Ellis Island their names were changed from Krezelok to Krenzelok because there is a dash over the " z " that makes a " n " sound Jozef was baptized and buried at the family church in Istebna. The Church was built in 1793, and I believe the cemetery could be a park as of 2000. I've been told that there is no grave marker because it was made out of wood , long been rotten.

Jozef was born on the old family home site, as was his brothers Paul and Jan and sister Anna.

Spouse: Maria


Jadwiga (1921)
Helena (1923-1996)
Marta (1928)
Henry (1934)

1.2 Paul Krenzelok
Birth: Jan 15, 1890, Istebna, Poland
Death: Jun 14, 1962, Ladysmith, Wisconsin
Occ: Owner of Ladysmith Bakery

Paul came to America in 1909 and ended up in Ladysmith Wisconsin. Paul came to America in 1909. Went threw Ellis Island, New York. It has been said that he purchased his ticket with a small inheritance from his Mother death.

Spouse: Elizabeth Kelner or Kellner Birth: Dec 1, 1898, Witkowitz, Moravia Death: Aug 28, 1979, Ladysmith, Wisconsin Father: Frank Kelner or Kellner Mother: Francis maiden name Novatarsky


Frank (Die at birth)
Frances (1914-1986)
Anne (1916-2006)
Paul (1918-2000)
Joseph (1920-1988)
Elizabeth " Betty " (1923-1945)
Robert (1925-2004)
Edward (1927-1987)
Dolores (1928)
Lillian (1930-2005)

1.3 Jan Krezelok
Birth: Jan 29, 1893, Koniakow #135
Death: Mar 14, 1975
Spouse: Eva


Anna (1921-1982)
Jan (1923-1992)
Zofia (1930)
Wladyslaw (1931)

1.4 Anna Krezelok
Birth: May 1, 1898, Koniakow #135
Death: Jun 18, 1991, Koniakow #78

Spouse: Jan Ligocka

Children: Jan (1935) Anna (1938)- this is are cousin Anna in Poland 2006


The name Polska (Poland), applied in the early 11th century, comes from an ancient Slavic tribe known as the Polanie (field or plains dwellers), who settled in the lowlands between the Odra (Oder) and Wis?a (Vistula) rivers sometime after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Poland, then united with Lithuania, was one of the major European powers under the Jagie??onian dynasty. When the dynasty came to an end in 1572, Poland entered a long period of decline, culminating in the partition of the country between Russia, Austria, and Prussia in 1772, 1793, and 1795.

Poland was again established as a sovereign state after World War I (1914-1918). It was partitioned a fourth time in 1939 by Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After World War II (1939-1945), Polish territory suffered a substantial net loss, as the land ceded to the USSR in the east was nearly double that acquired from Germany in the west.

Although Poland appears as an unbroken plain on a relief map, it has considerable diversity and complexity. The average elevation is only about 175 m (about 575 ft) above sea level, as compared with the overall European average of about 290 m (about 950 ft), but elevations reach as high as 2,499 m (8,199 ft) atop Mount Rysy in the High Tatry Mountains in the south, and as low as about 2 m (about 6 ft) below sea level in the Wis?a delta in the north. Poland is divided into a number of distinct parallel regions that run from east to west. A marked contrast exists between the northern two-thirds of the country and the southern one-third.

The northern zone is a vast region of plains and low hills, divided into the Central Polish Lowlands, the Baltic Heights, and the Coastal Plain. The Central Lowlands are traversed from east to west by a series of large, shallow valleys. To the north of the Central Lowlands is the Baltic Heights region, dotted with hills and lakes. The Coastal Plain consists of a narrow lowland, about 40 to 100 km (about 25 to 60 mi) wide, that runs nearly the entire length of the Baltic Sea. The coastline, 491 km (305 mi) long, is remarkably smooth and regular, the major exceptions being the Pomeranian Bay in the west and the Gulf of Gda񳫠in the east. A few good natural harbors are located along the Baltic.

The southern one-third of Poland consists of upland areas of various kinds and adjacent or intervening lowlands. A narrow belt of mountains occupies the extreme south and southwest. The Carpathian Mountains, located on Poland's southeastern border, include the Tatry and Beskid ranges. The Sudety, another major mountain range, are located on Poland's southwestern border. North of the mountains are a zone of foothills, the Silesian Plain, and the Lesser Polish Uplands.

Natural Resources Poland's varied mineral deposits are concentrated mainly in the southern upland regions and adjacent areas. The most important mineral resource is hard coal, most of which is located in Upper Silesia. Poland also has significant deposits of lignite (another variety of coal), located mainly in the basins surrounding the cities of Turosz󷬠Konin, and Be?chat󷮠Sulfur and copper are the most important of the country' Local Government Poland's first democratic local elections since the interwar period were held in 1990; subsequent elections were held in 1994 and 1998. Poland is administered locally through a system of 16 provinces (wojew󤺴wa), established in 1999 to replace the previous system of 49 provinces. The provinces are divided into counties (powiata), which are subdivided into towns and communes. Local governors and provincial assemblies administer the local districts. Members of the provincial assemblies are chosen by popularly elected councils that represent the towns and communes. Both the provincial and community levels of government enjoy far greater autonomy than they did under the highly centralized Communist system.

Nonfuel mineral resources. Some of the world's largest sulfur deposits are found near the city of Tarnobrzeg in the southeast, and large reserves of copper are located in Lower Silesia. Important reserves of zinc and lead are found in Upper Silesia. Other minerals of economic importance are rock salt, potash, iron ore, and gypsum. The country has only small reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Climate Poland's climate has features of both the moderate climate of western Europe and the more severe climate of eastern Europe. The climate of the western part may be classified as marine west coast, and the eastern part as humid continental with cool summers. Weather conditions are highly variable, particularly in the winter.

In January, average temperatures range from about -1? C (about 30? F) in the west to about -5? C (about 23? F) in the southern mountains. In summer, average temperatures decrease in a northwestern direction, from about 20? C (about 68? F) in the southeast to about 17? C (about 63? F) near the Baltic. During the year, the warmest temperatures may enter the upper 30?s C (lower 100?s F), and the lowest may drop into the lower -40?s C (lower -40?s F).

Annual precipitation in Poland as a whole averages about 610 mm (about 24 in), ranging from about 1,200 to 1,500 mm (about 47 to 59 in) in the mountains to between 450 and 600 mm (18 to 24 in) in the lowlands. Summer precipitation is often twice the level of winter precipitation.

Population and Settlement At the time of the 1988 census Poland had a population of 37,878,641. The 2000 estimate was 38,644,184, yielding an average population density of 124 persons per sq km (320 per sq mi). Poland's highest population densities are in the southern upland areas; the lowest densities are in the northwest and northeast. The average annual rate of population growth was very high in the period following World War II, but after the 1960s it declined to less than 1 percent, and in 1997 the population was estimated to be decreasing. Reasons for the decline include high unemployment and increases in the cost of child rearing. The rate of urbanization in Poland has accelerated since the end of World War II. In 1998, 65 percent of the population lived in urban areas.

In the mid-1990s there were more than 40 Polish cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants; of these, only 5 had a population of more than 500,000. The major cities are Warsaw, Poland's capital and largest city ; ?󤟬 the center of Poland's textile industry; Krak󷠨Cracow), a cultural and industrial center; Wroc?aw, a commercial and transportation hub; Pozna񬠡n industrial center and the site of an annual international trade fair; Gda񳫬 a seaport and shipbuilding center; Szczecin, a port and industrial city; Bydgoszcz, an inland port and railway junction; Katowice, a center of mining and industry; and Lublin, a manufacturing hub

Ethnic Groups During most of its history, Poland was a multiethnic society that included substantial numbers of Belarusians, Ukrainians, Jews, and Germans. However, the territorial changes that resulted from World War II led to profound changes in the country's ethnic composition. As a result of the 1945 Yalta Conference, Poland's eastern borderlands, which contained large Ukrainian and Belarusian populations, were ceded to the USSR. Most of Poland's German population left East Prussia and the German territories that were awarded to Poland in the peace settlement and fled westward. The areas evacuated by these minority groups were resettled by Poles who had been displaced from the eastern borderlands and others returning from emigration or combat in the West. Population exchanges and the resettlement of ethnic groups continued for some time after the war.

Poland now contains relatively little ethnic diversity. About 98 percent of the country's inhabitants are ethnic Poles, and the remainder is comprised mainly of Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Germans. Much of the Ukrainian population lives in northern Poland, while the Belarusian minority is concentrated in Bia?ystok Province adjoining the Belarusian border. Germans are concentrated mainly in the southern region of Silesia and, to a lesser extent, the northeastern region that was formerly East Prussia. Smaller communities of Slovaks, Czechs, Lithuanians, and Russians are also present. Poland's small Roma (Gypsy) population declined considerably in the late 1980s, when large numbers of Roma emigrated to Germany.

There are currently more than 10 million people of Polish origin living in Polish communities abroad. The United States contains the largest number of ethnic Poles living outside of Poland. Other countries with sizable Polish communities include Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Language Polish is the official language of Poland and is used by nearly all of the population. The language contains a number of dialects, some of which are intermediate between Polish and German or Ukrainian. The Polish language is written using the Latin alphabet and includes some letters that are additional to those used in the English language (see Polish Language). Some members of ethnic groups speak their own native languages in addition to Polish.

Religion Roman Catholicism has played a very important role in Polish history and serves as a cornerstone of Polish identity. During the early part of the Communist period, the Polish government tried to limit the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Religious practices were restricted, and a number of priests were imprisoned. However, a large number of Polish Catholics resisted such policies and fought for freedom of religion. Stefan Cardinal Wyszy񳫩, who served as the primate of Poland from 1948 to 1981, helped to improve relations between the Catholic Church and the Communist government, and after the 1950s the government discontinued most of its church-related policies. In 1978 Karol Cardinal Wojty?a, the archbishop of Krak󷬠became Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pope. After the collapse of Communism in 1989, the new government introduced various pro-Catholic policies, including the right to teach religion in schools and the criminalization of abortion. In 1993 the church and the Polish government negotiated, but did not ratify, a new concordat regulating mutual relations.

About 95 percent of Poles are Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church exerts an important influence on many aspects of Polish life, and church attendance levels are high, especially in rural areas. Poland also has nearly 50 non-Catholic churches and other religious groupings. Of these, eight churches are members of the Polish Ecumenical Council, which was founded in 1946 to promote cooperation between churches. The largest churches represented in the council are the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Augsburg Church. The number of Jehovah's Witnesses in Poland has grown in recent years.

Before World War II there were more than 3 million Jews living in Poland. However, more than 90 percent of them were killed by the Nazis during their wartime occupation of Poland. Many of those Jews who survived the Holocaust left Poland and emigrated to Israel or the West. In the early 1990s there were less than 10,000 Jews remaining in Poland.

Way of Life Before World War II Poland was largely agricultural and much of the population lived in rural areas. However, when the Communists took control of the government in 1945, Poland was transformed into an industrial nation, and many Poles left their farms and took jobs in the cities. In rural areas, Polish families often live in small cottages made of bricks or wood; city dwellers usually live in apartments. Most Poles, especially those living in cities, prefer Western-style clothing to traditional forms of dress. However, traditional Polish clothing is sometimes worn in rural areas where the country's folk heritage remains strong, and on holidays and other special occasions. Typical Polish foods include pierogi (stuffed dumplings); bigos (sauerkraut and meat); and jellied herring, trout, and carp. Hearty soups, including beet soup, potato soup, and cabbage soup, are also popular, as are pork, mushrooms, bread, and dairy products. Beer, vodka, and currant juice are typical beverages. Many Poles enjoy attending cultural events and visiting with friends. Soccer is a favorite national sport. Catholicism plays an important role in the lives of many Poles. Religious holidays and traditions, including Christmas and Easter, are often observed through family gatherings and festivals.

Before World War II, Poland's economy depended largely on agriculture. However, the Communists, who had achieved a monopoly on power by 1947, adopted a Soviet-style planned economy in which heavy industry and engineering were emphasized. Nearly all branches of large industry, trade, transportation, and finance came under the control of the Communist government. Private ownership was limited to agriculture, handicrafts, and certain services. During the first several decades of the Communist period, Poland's economy grew. However, in the late 1970s the country began to experience severe economic difficulties, caused by a series of poor harvests, unrest among industrial workers, shortages of consumer goods, lagging technology, rising inflation, and a massive foreign debt. These economic problems, which worsened during the 1980s, were responsible in large part for the collapse of the Communist regime and its replacement by a non-Communist coalition in 1989.

In December 1989 the new government, led by members of the labor union Solidarity (Solidarno?橬 launched a reform program designed to transform Poland's economy into one based on a free-market system. Price controls were lifted, while wage controls were imposed. State enterprises were transformed into joint-stock companies, and many were scheduled for eventual privatization or purchased by foreign investors. The restructuring of the Polish economy led to massive layoffs of workers and a rapid rise in unemployment. Poland's gross domestic product (GDP) declined sharply in 1990 and 1991.

After its initial decline, Poland's economy began to improve. Annual GDP increased between 1992 and 1998, when it reached $158.6 billion. Industrial production increased by about 12 percent in 1994, which, accompanied by a 2 percent drop in unemployment, represented a major increase in labor productivity. Inflation remained above government goals but steadily declined, with an annual rate of 30 percent in 1994 dropping to 18.5 percent in 1996. Although hundreds of enterprises were transferred to private ownership during 1994 and 1995, the pace of privatization was generally slow; the private sector's share of GDP remained at about 60 percent in 1995 and 1996. However, a new constitution adopted in May 1997 committed the country to pursuing a market economy and further privatization. In the early and mid-1990s Poland's foreign debt was significantly alleviated by concessions from creditors, which helped to attract increasing levels of foreign investment.

Poland is a member of a number of international economic organizations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The country also belongs to the Central European Initiative, a group promoting regional economic and political cooperation. Poland became an associate member of the European Union (EU) in 1994, and in December 1997 it was invited to become a full member. One of six nations picked for the EU's first round of expansion, Poland is expected to join the organization within five to ten years.

Currency and Banking The z?oty, divided into 100 groszy, is the basic unit of currency in Poland. As a result of Poland's extremely high inflation rate in the early 1990s, the exchange rate for the z?oty peaked at about 24,000 to the U.S.$1 in 1994. In January 1995 a sweeping currency reform replaced 10,000 old z?oties with one new z?oty. The exchange rate in 1998 averaged 3.50 z?oties to the U.S.$1.

The National Bank of Poland (founded in 1945) serves as the country's central bank. Other important banks include the Bank of Food Economy and the Export Development Bank. A large number of private banks were also established after Communism collapsed, some of which have since failed or been involved in corruption scandals. Many foreign banks have established branches in Poland as well. Of the more than 1,700 banks operating in Poland in the mid-1990s, about 100 had several branches throughout the country while the bulk were small regional or specialized cooperative banks. A stock exchange was established in Warsaw in 1991.

Communist Poland was governed under a constitution adopted in 1952 and subsequently amended. In December 1989 major constitutional revisions ended the monopoly of the Communist Party, established an upper chamber in the legislature, and reintroduced democratic rules and principles in Poland. In 1992 a transitional constitution known as the ?Little Constitution? was adopted. However, this constitution established imprecise limits on the power of Poland's president, prime minister, and legislature, which led to some confrontation between those officeholders, particularly regarding foreign policy and defense. A full revision of the constitution was initiated in November 1992. The final draft was completed in April 1997 and approved by voters in a nationwide referendum the following month. Among its numerous provisions, the new constitution clarifies the division of powers within the branches of government, while shifting some power away from the president. The president's veto, for example, may be overridden by a three-fifths majority in the legislature, rather than the two-thirds previously required.

Local Government Poland's first democratic local elections since the interwar period were held in 1990; subsequent elections were held in 1994 and 1998. Poland is administered locally through a system of 16 provinces (wojew󤺴wa), established in 1999 to replace the previous system of 49 provinces. The provinces are divided into counties (powiata), which are subdivided into towns and communes. Local governors and provincial assemblies administer the local districts. Members of the provincial assemblies are chosen by popularly elected councils that represent the towns and communes. Both the provincial and community levels of government enjoy far greater autonomy than they did under the highly centralized Communist system.

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