Emilia Braczyk
Emilia Braczyk
Emilia Braczyk with Waclaw Jan Kroczek in October 2018.
Birth: 25 August 1910
Biskopstorp, Syddanmark, Denmark
Death: 12 March 2019
Torun, Kuyavia-Pomerania, Poland
Age: 108 years, 199 days
Country: DenmarkDENPolandPOL
Centenarian

Emilia Braczyk [Polish: Emilia Brączyk] (née Górecka; 25 August 1910 – 12 March 2019) was a Danish-Polish centenarian.

Biography

Emilia Braczyk was born Emilia Górecka in Biskopstorp, Skellerup, Syddanmark, Denmark, on 25 August 1910. She was the second of five siblings. Commemorating her childhood in Denmark, she mentioned it was perfect. She mentioned three friends and a married pastor who lived nearby. In Odense where the family lived, strangers greeted each other on the street. When someone did not answer, everyone was surprised. She went to school there. Teachers attached great importance to upbringing. According to Mrs. Braczyk, the three main principles they repeated to pupils were: "Be honest, do not lie, do not steal." And people lived according to these rules there. On the market in Odense, bikes were standing all night. It never occurred to anyone to steal them. Mrs Braczyk's father worked in agriculture, and her mother worked in nuns' laundry. In 1925, the parents decided to move to Poland. For the money deposited in Denmark, they bought a large farm in Male Radowiska [Polish: Małe Radowiska] in Wabrzezno [Polish: Wąbrzeźno] County.

The life in Poland was challenging for Mrs. Braczyk. She moved to live in a country which she did not know. Everything was strange for in Poland. The cows were black and white, and in Denmark they were maroon. She did not know Polish history, she also had problems with the language. Although she was 15 years old, she was accepted to the second grade of the elementary school. She attended Polish school for two years and was lucky to meet a teacher who helped her a lot. In 1932, she married Mr. Braczyk and the couple settled in Wabrzezno.

In 1939, the World War II broke out. One of Mrs. Braczyk's brothers was killed by the Germans. He was a scout. Mrs. Braczyk remembered that when the Nazis stood on the market square in Wabrzezno, they shouted that Poland was gone and it will never rise again. The Germans displaced the Braczyk family from their home to Kraków. During the occupation, Mrs. Braczyk cooperated with the Polish underground state. As she knew German, she was valuable for the resistance. Mrs. Braczyk smuggled equipment for the partisans. She remembered traveling by tram line 23 St. Florian street. Women were not searched, so she succeeded. After the war, Emilia Braczyk returned back to Pomerania. Together with her husband, she bought a small two hectare farm there.

Emilia Braczyk worked as a farmer for 20 years. After the death of her husband, she sold her farm and bought a home at the Czacki Street in the Szwederowo district of Bydgoszcz. There, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law. Sadly, during the times of the Polish People's Republic she had to leave her home due to its area having been destinated for the construction of new apartment blocks. As compensation, she received a flat at the Solski Street where she continued to live until very senile age. Her only daughter died in 2010. Since then, Mrs. Braczyk lived alone. At the age of 101, she was still independent. I would go to the shop, to the church, everywhere alone. Sometimes, when she did not want to queue in the store, and had to buy only a small thing, she would ask if she could stand at the beginning. She would say she was 101 years old which not everyone would believe. Emilia Braczyk never forgot the Danish language. She always remembered her life in Denmark and was a patriot of both countries. When asked about her recipe for healthy senility, Mrs. Braczyk replied that one must be an honest man and do not get upset as does not make sense. One has to approach everything with a smile. Even if it is not in life the way we want it, you have to accept it and she was always trying to do it. In 2017, Emilia Braczyk moved from Bydgoszcz to Toruń to live with her niece. In October 2018, she was honored with the medal from the marshall of Kuyavia-Pomerania Voivodeship on occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Poland. Mrs. Braczyk spoke Danish, Polish and German.

Emilia Braczyk died in Torun, Kuyavia-Pomerania, Poland, on 12 March 2019 at the age of 108. She was the second-oldest living person in the Kuyavia-Pomerania Voivodeship and the oldest living Danish emigrant at the time of her death.

References

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