(No) Way to the roots

Arrival in the scenery of family roots. The train looks old enough to lead us back to an unknown past.


What would you ask a person you meet on the street in a village your father was born? Especially when your father did not tell anything about his life of a child?

dobrowaI went with my travel companion to the village of Dambrau (Dabrowa) a dozend kilometers outside of Opole. An evening before I got some information about the family situation. The grandparents met in the neighbor village Scheppelwitz, married and the grandfather got a job close to the castel in Dambrau. People around spoke German during this time. The way from Ciepielowice (as named now) to Dabrowa (the Polish name today) was less than half an hour, you only had to cross the railroad line and walk along the street. It was during the late 1920th.

Dabrowa - the  face of the village today

Dabrowa – the face of the village today

The father of my companion grew up in the village Dambrau, close to the castle, his father worked in a brick manufactory. Today there is no more a brick manufactory. The castle is rotten, was given by the regionalgovernment to the university of Opole. It seems that the university starts a renovation.

None of the houses looks old enough for beeing out of the time of the fathers childhood.


the old entrance under renovation

the old entrance under renovation

the castle

the Castle









working area close to the castle

working area close to the Castle

the backside of the castle

the backside of the Castle








The father passed away two years ago. What to do with the imagines of his childhood village? Mixing it up with memories I opened in the internet of another old man growing up in the same village of Dambrau, telling about the smell of warm grass and the dust from the passways and streets?

What we found: our own personal signs of the searching for an gone but unknown life.

chimneys bacame a sign of identification of the castle

chimneys bacame a sign of identification of the castle

I will not forget the playfull constructed chimneys on top of the castels roof. And I will remember the feeling of frozen time inside presence which I carry since I visited the Masurian village (today also Poland) where my grandmother from mothers side was born.

History is different from memory and memory different from history.

It was a fruitfull and helpfull day in Ciecielowice and Dambrowa where we had been. We did not reach Scheppelwitz and Dambrau.

I felt amused by a wooden Roman soldier (looking like a saint) in front of the local fire Brigade watering flowers.


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