In this presentation, Jennie Milne will describe her extraordinary journey to understand her mother’s mysterious background. Elizabeth Lis was abandoned in a babies home in 1943 in Devon, England. Her father was a highly decorated Polish Officer under British command. Her mother, at the time of her birth, had also been serving in the Polish army and was reputedly Jewish.
In March 2014 Jennie began searching in earnest for her grandparents and broke the silence of years after teaming up with Michael Tobias and Mark Halpern. She has been able to connect with cousins through recent DNA results, assisted by Karen Franklin.
This talk will describe the extensive research through records, and Jewish connections through JRI Poland, JewishGen, DNA, Tracing the Tribe, FTDNA & Ancestry. Recorded at the IAJGS Conference, Warsaw 2018
in the garden of Loxtor Wrey, Lustleigh, Devon 1950
at our grandmothers grave
Helena’s former next door neighbour.
I have found the only photo I have of Helena your grandmother – on the day of her marriage to Jan Konopka – probably at Kensington Registry Office.
I am also sending you a brass joss stick vessel for incense which Helena used constantly as an ash tray! Id love you to have these things. Ruth and I loved Helena in our different ways. When your letter arrived, I burst into tears not realising then why. Now I do! She represented so much to me- Broken lives, the terror of war – being a refugee, fighting back etc etc. I’m so glad I had the privilege of caring for her during ng the last phase of her life.
We the British owe an immeasurable debt to the Poles. They led the way to breaking the enigma codes, their fighter pilots taught our air force how to win at aerial combat and then we had the gall NOT TO INCLUDE them in the victory parade after the war – we were scared of Stalin!!
We will carry on our love of Helena till we reach the great horizon ourselves!
Janusz Ral helped me locate and translate many of my grandparents (particularly my grandfathers) records.
Vice President programming at JewishGen, Co founder and Board Member of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, Jewish expert (Q&A) WDYTYA Magazine.
Holding a portrait of our father Derek Workman.
Oldest grandchild of Stanislaw and Helena Lis
Seth Milne with his grandfathers image