Serching for my roots

Discussion in 'Looking for Ancestors' started by Viktor, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member

    Need information on how to obtain my "real" parents (deceased) origins. I was born in 1943 in Bratislava (have all the information & my birth certificate availanle from Slovakia), however, both of my parents were Czech citizens at the time( why my birth in Bratislava, is not yet clear). My mothers name was Maria Engelberthova and the father listed (who I never met) was Josef Hrdonka, both from Prague. Apparently, mother divorced Hrdonka sometime before 1946, and married Miloslav Polivka, in Jablonec n/N on 15th April 1946 ( I did not find this out, until I was in the US Military in 1962 and a security check revealed that my "real" name was Hrdonka) Apparently, in April 1949, before they expatriated from Czechoslovbakia on the last Jewish transport to Israel, my legal name was arbitrarily (no adoption) changed from Hrdonka to Polivka in Leberec. Mother never offerd an explanation or wanted to "discuss" the events and my stepfather (Polivka) maintained, that he had the answer to my query a "secret", that he would take to his grave with him. He did on December 4th 2001! I'm just trying to find the "facts", since on his obituary, Jaroslav Polivka (my 1/2 brother) was listed as his only surviving son. Mother died 11 months later. The researcher I hired in Bratislava, provided all the information avaliable in Slovakia, but could not obtain anything from the Czech Republic. I'm searching for the parents birth certificates, marriage & divorce documents. I've contacted the three (3) Hrdonkas listed in the Prague phone directory, but they deny any knowlege of the Maria Engelbethova liason in their family. I would greatly appreciate any and all information concerning my quest & how to proceed. Unfortunely, I only speak cursory Czech (as I picked up from the parents) and have difficuly reading or wrtting the language. Thanking you in advance, I hope to hear from someone with helpfull advice.. Viktor :lol:
  2. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member


    Sounds like quite a tale! Here is a link from the Czech Embassy's website which gives an overview of how to find records in the Czech Republic: Some more useful information can be found at

    If you haven't already tried, you might try looking for Polivka's in Liberec region (there were 16 in the phonebook). It may be possible to find marriage info from your stepfather's family, if they're still there.

    As for your question as to why your Czech parents were living in Bratislava when you were born, there are a couple of possibilities I can think of. First, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were one country before WWII, so moving from one half of the country to the other would be about like Americans moving from state to state. Hence it is possible that they were living there before the war started. Another possibility is that your parents, being Jews I presume, relocated to Slovakia during the war. The Slovak government was apparently able to provide some protection for the Jews early in the war. Whether or not this was common knowledge among Jews at the time, however, I don't know. The Slovaks' protection of Jews from the Nazis also didn't last long, and in the end most Slovak Jews were deported to concentration camps and killed. Just a little historical background, and a perhaps farfetched idea ... It definitely is interesting that they were born in Prague, relocated at some point to Bratislava, and sometime within a year of the end of WWII, relocated again to Jablonec (your mom at least).

    Anyway, good luck in your search!
  3. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Thank you for the reply. However, I've all the information I need for the Polivka's, but they are not my biological relations. I'm seeking the "HRDONKA" linneage (my bio father) as well as my mother's family side "ENGELBERTH & STRANSKY", who perhaps originated in Prague/Praha
    I've tried all aproaches, but can't even locate mothers birthcertificate. Concerning the Jewish connection -Stransky - is the only clue (mother was registered as a Evangelical from Bratislava or Praha). Stransky was her mothers maiden name, but she married an Major Karel Engelberth, whom I assume to be Prussian or Austro Hungarian military (who allegedly was killed on the Russian Front (before moms birth) towards the end of WWI ( sorthly before 11 November 1918 (mom birth date was 29 January 1919 however on her second marriage she stated her birthdate in Jablonec n/N as 9 February 1919. I've obtained a copy of her 2nd marriage in Jablonec to Polivka on 15 April 1946 and my NAME CHANGE --no adoption-- on 30 March 1949 from Liberec, but nothing else. Perhaps I'll need to find someone that does Geneological research in Praha, since it has come to my attention that for the year 1919 there were no birth certificates issued in Czechoslovakia! All need someone to look up ALL the churches in Prague --Jewish & Christian -- I know that she was raised in Bratrislava, since I've found records that her mother owned a millinary shop in the town 1920 thur 1929 (address was C27 Hochstrasse/Vysoka in Bratislava. Her mother also re married circa --have not found the record -- a Ing Viktor Franz --originaly from Jihlava -- who was a retired Obeluintnant ( Prussia or AH ) and live on 18 Langstrasse/Panska and owned a Hardware Supply business up to 1939 in Brairtslava. My Birth Certificate (Rodny List) states that my address at birth was C23 Suche myto, Stare Miesto, Bratislava -- Grandps Viktor & Viktoria Franz last address 1939 thu 1945... All records seem to have dissapeared from the years 1929 thru 1939 and the re surfaced in Jablonec in 1946. Perhaps someone on this forum is knowlegable on how to resurect the Engerlberth, Stransky, Hrdonka records in Prgue? I often heard my stepfather mention Habry U Caslavy as mother "original home", but I've not found any trace of the family there...Any and all help will be greatly appreciated...Viktor :roll:
  4. alena vrbova

    alena vrbova New Member

    Dear Viktor, sorrz for mz english, it is basic onlz. Engelberth`s were our ancestors too.
    1843-1933 Karolina Marcelli born Nove Mesto nad Metuji Czech republik married Jan Engelberth born Habry near Havlickuv Brod. He was a magister of pharmacy and owner of pharmacy store for 15 years in Kutna Hora Czech republik now. There lived a sister of Karolina Marcelli-Engelberth - Frantiska Marcelli born Nove Mesto nad Metuji too and married magister of pharmacy too - name Hartmann / our gggmother. In Kutna Hora were 3 pharmacy store the time. To much for small city. The brothers in low - they did not understand each other. Mr. Jan Engelberth sold his pharmacy store and moved to Levoca-Slovakia. He died 1898.
    I hope it will help
  5. Karel Fous

    Karel Fous Well-Known Member

    In keeping with our previous mails I inform you, that after March, 24 I will get records of Mr. Engelberth and Franz from Czech Central Army Archive. Do you still have interest so I help you with certificates of your parents?
  6. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    This is great, and it looks like you got the ball rolling. Send me a email with the specifics...

    Thanks. Viktor
  7. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    After re examining your reply to my post last November, what you mentioned is now beggining to make sence. Please forgive my stupidity, but I did not fully comprehend all the implications!

    My first mistake was that I continued my seach in Slovakia. As I grew up, I could not differenciate between Czechs & Slovaks -- assuemed that they were the same, just spoke with a different dialect, much alike the regional English we hear here in the US -- I certainly was wrong! The Slovaks have a deeply rooted dislike of anything and anyone that is not, as they put it, a real Slovak, what ever that intails? Racial prejudices seem to an outsider to run rampant among them. They seek to become the

    Furthermore, I did not understand the full implication of Jewish, as it is interpreted in most of Central Europe. My only exposure to having to identify my persona with religion, was when I was inducted in the US Army, and they need to put it in the dog tags, so as to know what marker they were going to put on my grave;a cross or a star?

    However, now I understand (no offence on my part), why indeed my heratige is viewed as Jewish. Mother was born & christened in a Lutheran Church in Jircharich, Prague as was her mother. But the fact remains, grandmother Viktorie Stranska, was possibly related to those Jews from Habry U Caslavy. I guess they do not make Jews, like Christ anymore?Since, he too was a convert!

    Thank you for your input, and it seems that since I switched my search to the Czech Republic, my search is now beggining to bear some fruit. Also, thanks for the info regarding "Polivka", but that in fact is not my birth name, and was merely a convenience my mother needed to secure travel papers -since she was married to a Polivka-- so in March 1949, she went to Liberec, and had my name changed (no adoption) from
    HRDONKA. now that is becomming a problem, for I'll have to decifer if HE was a Czech or Slovak. I now know that he was not a Jew, since he tried to exchange his silence -- the secret of my mothers contaminated blood-- in exchange for some cash, so she dumped him and took off to Bratislava.

    Your analogy for her move to Bratislava is correct, under Tiso, initialy the Jews preceived his regime as an sancuary, but 50K plus of them were dissapointed upon arrival, since the showers did not have water, guess that was only a minor plumbig problem. Those of us that travel frequently, experinced this inconvenience before The irony is that they were even deceived, and were required to pay 500Kc per person for the transport to a better place! This sounds to me very much like we hear from the preaching these born again religious zelots preach today. The preahces run to the bank with the cash and you get a promised passage to a better placeplace. If it is so great, I can't help wondering why the preachers do not go along on the ride?. I guess we'll have to wait, until they instal ATM's and open banks in Heaven.

    In case you are wondering what I have on my dog tags? Well I chose Protestant, not to evade my linneage, but as a practical matter. In the late 60's, we in the military knew, that after Asia, the next test ground would be a desert -- the helicopter was now fully developed and we needed a new tank--Thus, I chose a cross over a star as a practical solution. I just did not want to be decapitated as a infidel Jew
    and take my chances to die a mere US Soldier. Plus from a aesteitc point of view, a cross blends in much easier in a wast field of white crosses. The star just stands out too much in the field of crosses and attracts far more dogs. But that is merely my oppinion. Thanks, Viktor
  8. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Just cheking, if you are still on board, working on those records?

    I'll be in Prague/Jablonec n.N, April 28 thru June 15. 2005.

    Please, let me know beforehand what you are working on, so I do no duplicate your efforts. Will be visiting all the archives (matricka) to conclude this search in my lifetime!

  9. Karel Fous

    Karel Fous Well-Known Member

    I am still here.
    I asked to find materials at military archive, but I am waiting with others with your decision. I have no problem to start searching for you. :D
  10. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member


    My intention in bringing up your Jewish heritage was not to single out your ancestry as other than Slovak. Rather it was to provide a possible explanation for the travels of your parents. Also, it is interesting to note that Jews typically keep better records of their ancestry and genealogy than most.
  11. Karel Fous

    Karel Fous Well-Known Member

    My experience is different. Majority of original Jewish registries was punished through gestapo order at the end of WWII. The copies, which had to be made in 19. century, was announced as original after war, but the records are not complete. And as opposed to Christian registry, which finished (started) at first half of 17. century, the Jewish ones finished (started) at year 1784 (but records before 1800 are rare).
  12. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    No offence taken. I was just rying to point out, that Jew used as a noun tends to be interpreted as a derogatory biggoted racist remark, much like:

    nigger, wet bag, slope head, mick etc....

    Most polite society prefers to use ,even if they do not mean it,

    african decent, latino, asian, irish etc...

    Many years ago in Chicago, Czechs did not apprecite being called those Bohanks from Berwin-- and we did not like this derrogatory reference-- after a few broken heads, we earned the respect of being called Czechs.

    Now does't Jewish sound much better than a Jew! It means the same, but one form is less intrusive than the other? In Czech;

    "ten jid is also viewd as offensive, that is why we use jidofskeho povodu"

    Get the point?

    Remenber the sign: "ein jude und ein swin darf hir nicht hinein!"

    Jude/ Jido/Jew leaves me with a bad taste, even 60 years later,

    I rather be called a SOB, but prefer Viktor
  13. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    This is interesting, my last posting was "propery" edited -- n**r -- that means you know the "difference!

    Why not then do the same with -- J*w --

    Since both words are slurs! Why then "block out " one and not the other. Just trying to be fair... The same code can do both

    See my point, this is not rocket science now(and you are a phycisit) is it?

  14. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I'm showing my age, but I've never heard the noun J*w (blocked out for your benefit) used as a slur in a noun sense. I have, however, heard the noun used in a derogatory way as a verb or an adjective, and had just never heard any extrapolatation of such usage to the word in general. For my own benefit, I just looked up the word on and found this:
    Hmmm... I had always thought that was the correct expression. Then again, having grown up in the South, I never was much into political correctness and keeping up with politically correct terminology. It's not that I'm disrespectful, it's just that when I say such a word as J*w, I mean it in the dictionary sense, no disrespect intended.

    No, political correctness isn't rocket science. But then again, it's not an exact science, either. Also, it changes all too quickly.

    BTW, I wasn't the one, who edited your post--must have been another moderator.

    P.S. It was also interesting that Merriam-Webster Online does not mention any vulgar meaning for the word.
  15. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member


    Your point is well-taken. When I meant that those who are of "židovského původu" keep their ancestry better, I meant generally. I hadn't taken into account the Nazi occupation and its effect on such records in the Czech Republic. In the U.S., of course, there were no such effects of WWII on the records kept here. Thanks for correcting me.
  16. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Due to the fact, that you were raised in the south, I'll understand. Since the words Nigger & Jew are part of your every day vocabulary.

    Furthermore, asside from your dictionary, you perhas could also consult
    all the readilly available Neo-Nazi literature, ans I'l assure you'll run across literature that the Holocoust never actualy took place.

    Finally, the "editig"of n***r was not done by ANY moderator --since the act was instanteneous. This is part of the forums software--
    oderators are good, but not at the speed of light!

    End of subject, for we are quite a ways from the topic!

  17. Sista Kay

    Sista Kay New Member

    Dear Viktor,

    any news regarding your search for your father?

    Anyway I have Hrdonkas in my tree.

    The data I have so far,

    Ondrej Hrdonka (*appr.1795, in Bukova near Pribram,CZ
    married Eva Bohuslav (of Ptenin)
    with daughter Katerina (my fourth grandmother)
    and son named Josef ( *appr. 1824)
    married Maria Lischka 1849.

    Also call it fate I´ve got some scans of old registers by mail today from my mom who is in touch with some Hrdonkas.

    They name three different families.

    1.) Josef Hrdonka (*1872 in Zemetice, Prestice near Pilsen)
    married Anna Chatkova in 1872
    - daughter Marie (*1907)

    2.) Josef Hrdonka (*1844 in Vojtesice, Prestice)
    married Maria Hahnel or Hankova
    - daughter Josefa (*1874), stillborn (1879), son Alois (*1881)
    - moved to Prague in 1904

    3.) Venzl Hrdonka (*1856 in Bukova, Prestice)
    married Katharina ? (*1861)
    - Marie (*1891)
    - Franz (*1893)
    - Karl (*1895)
    - Josef (*1900)
    - the entry by the 9th of July 1901 says they were citizens
    of Bubenec #162, which is a part of Prague.

    I hope I was helpfull and maybe we're somehow related.

    Yours Katerina

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