Tablica nr 4
Przy Centrum Aktywności Wiejskiej

Famous personalities connected with the Kocury Village and the parish of Szemrowice

Sister Maria Rotrudis
Sister Maria Rotrudis. Source: Private Archive

Born on 30th October 1908 in Kocury. On 1st March 1930, she entered the Order of the Silesian Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and took her religious profession on 21st October 1931. She died on 26th January 1945 in Pilchowice. She was a daughter of Tomasz and Paulina Czaj, baptized on 1st November 1 in the parish church in Dobrodzień. She was confirmed on 9th September 1922. She attended school from the year 1915 to 1923 in Kocury. From an early age, she wanted to devote herself to God in form of religious life. At the age of 22, she was able to realize her biggest dreams. She completed her probation in Poręba, and after making her holy profession, she studied nursing at the Congregation Hospital in Strzelce. She passed the state examination in 1935. She died a tragic death during World War II in Pilchowice, near Gliwice. Sister Maria Rotrudis, along with the other sisters, stayed with her charges when the front was approaching. Probably on 18th January 1945, she was raped and shot by Russian soldiers and died in the flames of the burned monastery. She was buried in a common grave with her sister Maria Ludolfa Parzich.

Sister Maria Gerwalda
Sister Maria Gerwalda. Source: Private Archive

Born on 3rd October 1907 in Malichów / Dobrodzień, she entered the Order on 19th October 1929. She died on 8th February 1980 in Zborowski at the age of 73. 52 vocations and 51 monastic vows. Opole Province (Silesian Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
Parents: Albert, a farmer and Florentyna Miozga. They had 13 children, 6 girls and 7 boys. Elżbieta was the oldest, she belonged to the Congregation of Marian Maidens. Her mother’s sister was a religious sister.
Throughout her religious life, Sister M. Gerwald served the sick and suffering in inpatient treatment and as an outpatient nurse in various institutions in the Opole Province. She spent the years of World War II in Chróścina Opolska, from 1948 she worked in a hospital in Zabrze, from where in 1962 she was dismissed to the post in Jemielnica, where she also was superior. She was also in Chrząstowice, Pilszcz and from 1972 in Gliwice at Jagiellonian Street. 

It was more and more difficult for her to go to the sick, especially in high-rise apartment blocks, so the local parish priest, Father Teofil Wyleżoł, provided the Sisters with a small room in the personage, where she could set up an outpatient clinic and see patients. The sister’s health deteriorated more and more, and she was taken to Zborowski. She suffered very much because of cancer and after a few months, she went to the Lord whom she served faithfully in the sick and suffering for many years.

Buried on 11th February 1980 in Zborowski. On her last earthly journey, she was accompanied by the Sisters, delegates from the Generalate, with the general vicar Rufina Golly, Sisters from Leśnica with the provincial superior M. Innocenta Tomeczek, Sisters from nearby institutions and the immediate family of the deceased.

The fate of the villagers of the village of Kocura is connected with our parish in Szemrowice. The parish priests with whom the inhabitants of Kocury and Malichów collaborated the most in recent years were prelate Zbigniew Donarski and priest Henryk Malorny.

Prelate Zbigniew Donarski
Prelate Zbigniew Donarski. Source: Private Archive

He was the parish priest of the Szemrowice parish when the historic larch church burned down. This tragic event took place on 21st May 21 1965, the cause of the fire is unknown. The parish priest and the inhabitants of the parish then built a new church in Szemrowice. From 1962, the parish priest was coming to Kocury to teach religion. This education took place in private homes of the following families: Lichtfeld, Dudek Rafał (1969-1979) and Fuhl (1979-1989).
In the early 1980s, Father Zbigniew Donarski attempted to build a chapel in Kocury. He wanted to rent a building at 4 Szemrowicka Street from Herbert Dudek, in which he wanted to create a room for religious education and a chapel. The owner initially agreed but was only a tenant of the building from the commune. When Dudek became the owner of the building, priest Donarski ceased to be the parish priest of the Szemrowice parish.
The parish priest made efforts to lay an asphalt surface on Szemrowicka Street in Kocury, so that the residents of the village would have better access to the parish church in Szemrowice.

Rural Dean dziekan Henryk Malorny
Rural Dean dziekan Henryk Malorny​. Source: Private Archive

During his pastoral ministry in the Szemrowice parish, he was a good host. He cared for the surroundings of the church and presbytery, as well as for the buildings themselves. Over the years, he has carried out many renovations. He cared about every parishioner. During 36 years of ministry, the number of parishes has significantly decreased. Many people, especially the young, went abroad, mainly to Germany.

Therefore, the very maintenance of the parish was significantly impeded, the phenomenon of „ageing of the parish” began.

The parish priest from the very beginning of the Kocury and Malichów Village Development Association called “Brzozowa Dolina,” (The “Birchen Valley”) was kind to the initiatives undertaken by the villagers. From the very beginning, he celebrated May services and field Masses during our May-days picnics, festivals and Communal Harvest Festivals. He participated in Carol Evenings. He stimulated the inhabitants to properly prepare for the first primaries in the history of our parish, Father Piotr Kuc, from Malichów. Father Malorny taught religion until 1990 in Kocury (Piotr Kuc attended these lessons).

Before the celebration of The 400th Anniversary of Kocury Village, the parish priest encouraged the inhabitants to compose the anthem of Kocury and Malichów: 

In Kocury it has been 400 years
Since our forefathers came here

R. Kocury Malichów to jedna rodzina, starszy czy młodszy, chłopak czy dziewczyna.

They reared sheep here and tilled the fields
They worked in the forests, it was hard to live here

And now various nations are living here
They try to get on together and have plans for the future

We already have a firestation, to make our lives safer 
to help the others, when they need help

RAll firefighters are one big family, older or younger, a boy or a girl

We all strive for a better future
To make our kids stay on their Silesian land 

RDobrodzień, Guttentag are the same land, Silesian, Pole and German live like a family

Father Piotr Kuc
Father Piotr Kuc. Source: Private Archive

Father Piotr Kuc comes from Malichów. He was born on 7th June 1975, in the years 1982 to 88 he attended the Primary School in Dobrodzień, and from 1988 to 1990 he studied in Szemrowice. In the years 1990 to 94, he was a student of the Secondary School in Dobrodzień. In the years 1994 to 2000, as an alumnus of the Higher Theological Seminary of the Opole diocese in Nysa, and then in Opole, he studied theology at the University of Opole. On 10th June 2000, in the Cathedral of Opole, he was ordained a priest by the bishop of the diocese, Archbishop Alfons Nossol. From 16th August 2000, he was a vicar in the parish of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Opole. He was dismissed from the post of parish vicar, in the academic year 2001/2002 he studied canon law at the Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration at the Catholic University of Lublin. The following academic year, he enrolled in specialist studies at the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from which he graduated in 2008. 

On 1st September 2008, he was appointed to the office of the Official of the Opole Diocese Court, which he held until 1st September 2018. From 4th November 2010 to 14th February 2016 he was an official member of the Priests’ Council. Since 1st September 2018, he is a vicar in the parish of St. John the Evangelist in Paczków. In 2003, he published a book entitled „The Church History of Szemrowice”, in which he describes the history of his native parish.

The parishioners especially remembered the image of Jesus, made with „Benedictine patience” by Father Piotr Kuc. It is a painting covered with various grains, which was placed in front of the altar in the church in Szemrowice during the parish harvest festival.

Robert Züchner
Robert Züchner. Source: Private Archive

He was born on 22nd December 1885 and died on 9th September 1945. He came to the school in Kocury from Kośmider on 1st April 1913. He was a married Catholic, when he arrived in Kocury, he had one son. He had two more sons and a daughter in Kocury. He was employed at the school for an indefinite period. At the beginning of his work, the teacher established a school library. He was learning, his teaching skills were sufficient according to the visit reports. His former students remembered him as a teacher who was listened to among his students. He indulgently looked at the use of Silesian dialect by children during breaks. The students called him Hühnchen (a Hen) because he kept poultry. During the Silesian Uprisings, he stayed at school, although he could not teach. In 1942, the German authorities introduced new regulations. 

It was forbidden to hang crosses in schools and to pray before and after school. Robert Züchner did not take off his crosses and prayed with his students, risking his own life. He continued to teach religion at school. The education was in German. Although the church books were in Polish. About 60 students studied at the school during the war. At the end of the war, there were 107 children in the school. Some of them were brought to the countryside by their distant families due to the bombing of cities. The rest were residents Kocur and Leśnioków. Züchner was the only school teacher who could deal with a group of children. During the visitations it was stated: „Züchner is not a „fresh” teacher. He must show much more joy and enthusiasm in working with the children entrusted to him, and also repeat already submitted content. Ms Züchner’s needlework lessons were barely sufficient ”. During the Nazi propaganda, everyone had to prove something. So the teacher organized the Rural Harvest Festival in the form of a picnic in a meadow by one of the farmers. They also made a harvest crown. He was going on excursions with his older children to the nearby forest. In 1945, on 21st January the Soviet army entered Kocury. Two German soldiers were killed. The local population was afraid to bury these people, so Robert Züchner and four men, under cover of night, buried them with dignity in a grave by the road. He did not go to Germany. On 14th February 1945, he was taken by people with white and red armbands, got into the camp, and then deported to Russia. A man who taught in Kocury for 32 years, died in Russia in September 1945. Robert Züchner won great respect in the eyes of the villagers of Kocury. The older generation remembered Züchner, the teacher who did the right thing, with respect.

Natalia Rozmuszcz
Natalia Rozmuszcz. Source: Private Archive

She was born on 27th November 1934 in Łopatno in the Świętokrzyskie Province. After graduating from the pedagogical secondary school in 1955, she was employed as a teacher at the Primary School in Turza. A year later she was transferred to the position of the headteacher of the Primary School in Kocury. In 1960 she became a councilwoman of the District National Council in Szemrowice and an activist of the United People’s Party, in which she was secretary of the district committee. In 1972, she was elected to the Parliament of the People’s Republic of Poland in the Bytom district. She was a deputy to the Parliament of the 6th term from 19th March 1972 to 19th March 1976. She was a member of the Education and Upbringing Committee. Mrs Natalia came to Kocury in 1956 under her maiden name as Natalia Ścibisz. Later she met her husband and changed her name to Rozmuszcz. She gave birth to two children, a son and a daughter. At the beginning of their work in Kocury, they taught the children for two years together with Władysława Zientara. The school at that time lasted seven years. Children from grades 5 to 7 went to school until noon and 1 to 4 in the afternoon. 

Later, there was a reorganization and only six classes remained in Kocury. At the beginning of the school year, which started in September, those children who went for the first time to school received horns of plenty, the so-called „school cones,” filled with sweets. In 1950, there was still no electricity in the village. Electricity was introduced in the years 1956 to 1959. According to the stories told by Mrs Natalia, she contributed to bringing lighting to rural roads and to setting bus stops. There were many buses due to the Wieluń-Ozimek connection and workers were transported to Huta Ozimek. She also contributed to bringing a telephone line to the school. There were only two phones, in Kocury and Malichów, at the school and the foresters. The teacher pleasantly remembers her years in Kocury. She claims, that there were no educational problems with the children. They were modest, calm and obedient. After coming to Kocury, she had problems with understanding the dialect because she came from a different region of the country. At her lessons, she wanted her students to use the correct Polish language, but she did it just for the sake of the children for further education. Former students also pleasantly remember the teacher. One of them says, „This lady must have had superior patience with us to teach us something more than what was our everyday life because she understood perfectly well that not everyone will stay only on what we used to do so far and she wanted to prepare us for the world „outside”.” Mrs Natalia recalls that despite working at home, at the farms, the children were dutiful. And those who required help with learning could participate in the students’ research group, where revision lessons took place. Some immigrants have bad memories of adjusting to the new environment. For a group of Silesians, the arrival of people from Central Poland was unacceptable. The children of the newly arrived families recall this fact with great regret.

In the beginning, Mrs Natalia and Władysława Zientara had organised theatre plays at the school. They had taught children various songs. Children’s families were invited to participate. The social life was in blossom. Young teachers wanted to demonstrate their skills. In spring and autumn, there was a performance platform in the schoolyard. Parents could watch their children sitting on the benches. In winter, thanks to the hospitality of the owner, performances can be watched in a nearby inn. There were also weddings and dancing parties. The residents had prepared their food at home, and only dancing was performed in the hall. Mrs Natalia had taught at the school in Kocury until 1976. Later, after twenty years of work at the school in Kocury, she moved to Dobrodzień and started working there.

  1. P. Kuc „Kościelne dzieje Szemrowic” Lubliniec 2003 s. 51
  3. S. M. Szmidt „Nekrologi Sióstr Służebniczek NMP Niepokalanie Poczętej (Śląskich), Wrocław 1983 s. 88
  4. s. 29
  5. S. M. Szmidt „Nekrologi Sióstr Służebniczek NMP Niepokalanie Poczętej (Śląskich), Wrocław 1983 s. 88