Alekzander Maleszyk, 1879-1968
Janina Irene Maleszyk, 1920-2006
Hedwiga Maleszyk, 1925-
Eugienja Maleszyk, 1922-1987
Alekzander was my DziaDzia, my beloved grandfather.
My mother, Janina Maleszyk, age 8 with her father and sisters in their Polish passport photograph dated April 25, 1929. Her father, Alekzander, a Cossack, had been an artillery officer and a friend of Tzar Nicholas II. The Tzar visited the field hospital in which my grandfather was recovering from a wound sustained in the Russian war with Japan in 1905. While presenting him with a medal the Tzar starting talking with Alex and a lengthy conversation took place. His aides tried to hurry the Tzar along, but he refused to move. Finally he told Alex to report to the palace in St. Petersburg when he recovered, and they could continue discussing their ideas. The two of them started a friendship that my grandfather remembered to his dying days. Alekzander was an officer in the palace guard and a tutor to young Alexei. He took meals with the Tzar at least once a week, mostly more often. He shared many stories with me about his life in St. Petersburg - fascinating to say the least. Most interesting was that he said that Anastasia had been killed by the Communists, but Maria and Alexei were saved and taken to live with a farmer in a remote area. He thought that they died later from childhood diseases, but he was never really certain what happened to them. DNA studies confirm that Maria and Alexei were not among the royal remains that were found in a mine shaft.
The photographer moved his camera while taking this photograph resulting in some unfortunate blurring.
One of the interesting stories that my Dziadzia told me was about his arrival at the front during the war with the Japanese. He was riding his horse to report to company HQ when he saw 2 friends from Cadet School. He jumped off his horse, and the three shared loud greetings, laughter and hearty bear hugs. They were overjoyed to see each other again. Before they could say much the Japanese artillery fired on their position. The 3 of them decided to man an artillery piece together - just as in Cadet School (they had been sent to the Cadet School for officer training at age 12). My grandfather was in the center with his friends on either side of him. No sooner had they gotten into position than a Japanese shell hit the muzzle of their artillery piece, exploded and instantly killed both of his friends but left him untouched physically. He never forgot or got over the loss of his 2 friends. Sometimes when we would take a walk together on a nice sunny day he would look up to the sky with his arms outstretched, palms up, and ask, "Why me, God? Why did you take my friends and not me?"