Buried Church Records in Sammenthin (Part 2 – Since 1983)
The following is the story of the timeline since 1983 of the buried church records at former Sammenthin in Kreis Arnswalde. Some of these people may be dead and some of the contact information for the people I wrote might be out of date.
- Sammenthin = Zamecin
- Schonfelde = Zensko (Chan-ish-ko)
- Arnswalde = Choszczno (Host-no) [place of old ruined church 7 km’s from Sammenthin]
- Bernstein = Petczyce (Pel-shit-za)
- Berlinchen = Barlinek
- Kranzin = Krzecin [3 km/s SE of Sammenthin]
- Vowerk Schonfeld (changed to Schwerinsfelde about 1900 when it was state run) = Swierzyn/Zwjeryn (2 km E. of Sammenthin) ch. & registry office, 100 residents in 1913.
- Clausdorf = Plonno
- Ehrenberg= Trynno
- Kolpin = Kielpino
- Kranin = Krzecin
- Libbehne = Lubiana
- Zulsdorf =Suliszewo (Old maps often spell differently.)
My father went on freighter cruises. In 1983, he went with Polish Ocean Lines as the only passenger. The crew discouraged him at the end of a trip from trying to find Sammenthin, stating: “You will only find lots of trouble.” With much difficulty and patience he crossed alone in May 1983, when the wall was still up. He found an interpreter who begrudgingly went with him to Zamecin. In the cemetery they met a man named Wladyslaw Stanczyk who took them home to his wife Kasemerez and her sister Maria Musiat, who told the buried records story and gave the address of the former pastor’s family. These families, as the men were war veterans, were moved to Sammenthin who knew nothing of the place before 1945.
Wojciech Matuszczak in Szczecin, an off duty sailor in 1983, went as translator to Zamecin with Mr. Witt. In 1989, he sent information regarding the dig (1) asking the District Conservator Of Monuments with a diagram and it two weeks they would reply (2) asking the present owner, (3) hire an archeological surveyor and do business in Gorzow with Conservator Mr. Christowski (who was on sick leave, and is probably dead). Nobody else would talk about it. All this came from the Szczecin conservator who saw no problem. We could go to Poland ourselves and it would take two weeks. I don’t think they did this at the archives, as the property owner was incommunicato.
In 1985, my father and I visited Sammenthin and Christoph Huehn in München. He remembered vivid details of the burial, even the look of desperation in the eyes of the young soldiers who in a matter of days faced death. He drew a map of the stable and the exact location. In 1985, we were to meet with the farmer and priest the following day. When we returned we were told that the owner wasn’t home and spoke no English, and that the priest was stupid and wouldn’t help. Maria and Kazemerez wrote to my father, asking for things to be mailed to them for years.
Brent M. Griffiths, area manager for the Europe Genealogy Society of Utah in Bad Vivel, Germany was sent a five-page story in 1987, but we heard no reply.
Laraine K Ferguson, Acquistions Division in Salt Lake replied in November 1988. I spoke to her personally in 1992 at Salt Lake. Her family came from there so she, was keen. By law, records were to stay with the Polish National Archives. We were to work with the archives in Szczecin. Angus Baxter, the deceased writer of “In Search of Your Roots” and research also wrote to Laraine Ferguson on our behalf.
Marilyn Markham, Acquisitions Europe at Salt Lake, replied in 1996. She passed it to an LDS man in Austria who was collecting in Poland. We heard no more.
In October 1989, we met director of Szczecin Archives, Dr. Bogdan Frankiewicz, who went to Zamecin with us. He was very interested and said that he could get permission. When the locked building was open, we saw that it had oil storage tanks on a poured cement floor, which would make the dig more difficult but not impossible. The next year a new roof would be added and the storage tank removed. This sounded like a great opportunity.
Dr. Frankiewicz recommended we stay at the Yacht Club, as there was a hockey tournament, and rooms were hard to find. It cost $1.50 each per night. It hadn’t been redecorated since before WWI. It was clean. There was a compound for the car park. We put our exposed film in the glove box. The car had a hatchback, which unknown to us was unlocked. A band of children (8-10 years old), led by Charles Dickens’ character “The Artful Dodger” (about 15), waited like vultures for our approach the second night. Well, Artful Dodger spoke some English and asked what “we had in the car tonight,” as they had stolen the film and umbrella the previous night. I took flight after him and he scaled the eight-foot fence quickly. What could they do with exposed film? There was no way we could retrace our previous days and retake the pictures. So when I look for pictures now, it takes a while to remember that we only have a few that I took.
In 1992, Dr. Frankiewicz went and talked with the lady of the house who said it was “a made up story.” She didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and Mrs. Hühn was dead. (Her children say she was alive.) Dr. Frankiewicz said the church books were picked up in 1944, but we know that Rev. Hühn was gone off to war in 1943. Also, other churches were worried, didn’t send them to Berlin, and hid them as well.
Further in 1992, correspondence with Christoph Hühn stateed that as of 1992, Mrs. Hühn was very alive and did not get any letter as promised about the church books. Mrs. Hühn was a widow (Rev. Hühn had died in 1948 in Westphalia), alive in 1992 in Westphalia (she was born in 1907). Barbara Voss’s daughter in Bielefeld wrote in 1992 that the house was divided for two families. An old lady lived there with her son who went to a hospital. She died between 1988 and 1989.
The Miladow family arrived in about 1960. They had two sons who rebuilt things. It took five years to do repairs due to shortages of materials. Now they said that the story of buried records was made up. They were still discussing the dig in 1990, according to Barbara.
In June 2005, we again visited the Szczecin Archives. Dr. Frankiewicz had died. We met the new man Witold Mijal (email [email protected]) who was very enthused and said he would be passing that area in a few days and would stop. He met with Mrs. Andrusewka and Mr. Miladowski. Once again nothing came of it, after a few more vague emails.
We can now google Zamecin and see the main intersection with the church spire in the background. It looks more prosperous with more building and repairs.
Families associated with Sammenthin: Klaus Albreccht, who was a child from Sammenthin. At age nine, in 1945, his family was forced to leave. He now lives in Canada and speaks German. His uncle was Wilhelm Schmidt, Burgermeister of Sammenthin, (now deceased).
The following Renfrew County Ontario names have origins in Sammenthin: Gorr, Brasch,Witte, Biesenthal, Oelke, Hamann, Schimming, Felhaber, Fischer, Michael F. Schultz, and Lemke. (Also Hattie Kreuger, born in 1873 in Sammenthin.)
Ships List for “Copernicus” 1 April 1857 also had these:
(1) Christian Friedrich b 1801, sp-Louise b. 1805, dau. Christine b. 1833
(2) Jn Salattke/Labattke b.1827 Sammenthin, sp-Henrietta (Witte) child. Wm b.1853 & Friedr b. 1855
Ontario Archives on Schonfeld/Sammenthin Families: 1.Theodore Kreuger 7 Feb 1839 Sammenthin-1931 Ellice Township Perth Co. On., (s/o Johann), sp-Augusta M. Molkenter 15 Jan/June 1836/1837- Sammenthin- 15 June 1929 Ellice Twp. Perth Co., son Arnold 29 Sept 1867,dau. Hattie 23 Aug 1873. to Can 1879/80
2. Johann Christian Pilatzke 1 Jan 1840 Schonfeld Arnswalde – 4 Apr 1904 Renfrew Co On. sp-Hannah Louise Welk 31 Jan 1834/1836 Schonfeld- 29 Apr 1918 Renfrew Co On. to Canada 1862
Norman Hamann in Kalamazoo Mi. His great-grandmother Therese Fenner Hamman b. 1865 Sammenthin to Ohio U.S. in 1884. Since 2013 (through Norman) I have corresponded with Hermann Hamman in Germany.
September 2019, I visited there again with my husband. The stable was purged and the roof line now sloped away with new doors and windows. The Kranzin Historical Society had a sign at the Schonfelde church, now “Zensko.” I wrote to them about the buried records at Sammenthin but have had no reply.
Our family motto, “Witt’s Never Quit,” is becoming difficult to abide by after all this time.