The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade
(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)
Our Family Name
Hostik, Gostik & Hoscik
Whether you are a Hostik, Gostik, Hoscik or Goscik you should be proud of your surname! Ever wondered why the name got changed? I think I have figured it all out, the answer is somewhat complex but the most credible one that can put together so far.
Lets Start With Aleksander Hostik (Father Of Wladyslaw)
The name of Wladyslaw Hoscik father was Aleksander Hostik who was born in Michalowo, Bialystok, Poland, in 1882.
During the period 1807 - 1842, Bialystok was under Russian control and was known as the "Belostok Oblast". Then for 1842 - 1914 it was known as the "Grodno Governorate", still under Russian control. Therefore, all birth records from 1807 - 1914 were most likely (and almost definitely) written in Russian, old Russian at that.
From "Xostik" To "Hostik"
Given the above, the birth record of Aleksander Hostik would almost definitely have been written in old Russian i.e "Cyrillic". I believe his birthname was actually "Aleksander Xostik" and here is why:
The Russians don't have "h" in their alphabet, pre World War 2 the closest they had (in Russian cyrillic) was "x" which sounds very similar to a western "h". Thus "Hostik" is almost certainly derived from the old Russian Cyrillic version of "xostik" which would have been written as "хостик" but still pronounced as "Hostik".
To understand this, in the UK the end of the word "loch" i.e "ch" sounds very similar to an "h", the same principle would apply between how the Polish would pronounce "Hostik" versus the Cyrillic version "xostik".
Exactly when/how/why his name changed from "Aleksander Xostik" to "Aleksander Hostik" is currently a mystery! It would appear that his children all took the surname "Hostik" though.
From "Hostik" To "Gostik"
Around the time of World War 2 all foreign "h" sounds ("x" in Cyrillic and "h" in Polish) were now transcribed as "g" (in Russian Cyrillic this is "г", not to be mistaken for an "R"), thus "xostik" or "Hostik" now becomes "Gostik", in old Russian Cyrillic "Гостик". The pronunciation of the name now also changes from "Hostik" to "Gostik". (It would appear both the Cyrillic "x" and the Polish "h" were transcribed to "г")
This now brings us to an interesting discrepancy! If the families surname was "xostik" or "Hostik" then all versions on Russian records (On deportation to Kazakhstan & Siberia), according to the rules above, should now be "Gostik". But this didn't happen! Excepting Wladyslaw, within the rest of his family some were called "Hostik" and others "Gostik" (all within 1940 deportation records) it adds confusion to exactly when the names changed. We can also factor in illiteracy within the Poles and the Russians as a potential factor here.
From "Gostik/Hostik" To "Hoscik"
This now brings us to the surname "Hoscik". On the "Index of The Repressed" the arrest record of Wladyslaw records his name as "Włódźimierź Gościk".
Firstly we note that his Polish forename Wladyslaw has been converted to the nearest Russian equivalent of "Włódźimierź" (In itself begs the question of whether this was his birthname if born in an area under Russian control).
Next we notice that the surname has now changed from "Xostik" or "Hostik" to "Gościk".
A further inconsistent fact! When the "Pardon" was published on the Memorial website by the Russian authorities, his name was recorded as "Gostik Vladimir Aleksandrovich". So now the Russian authorities have changed:
- His forename of Wladyslaw (recorded on the Index of Repressed as "Włódźimierź") is now "Vladimir"
- His surname from has changed from "Gościk" to "Gostik"
- He has acquired a "paternalised" middle name of "Aleksandrovich" (the Russians use your fathers name and Russian-ify it) to identify you into your family.
If nothing else, the Russian method of name recording is at the heart of why our family name changed!
The military records of my grandfather identify him as "Wladyslaw Hoscik" (And his brother also had the same surname on his military records). These records are from 1942 where he joined Anders Army in the ZSRR. Military records from the Polish army (In Poland) no longer exist so no comment can be made about any prior names.
It is very likely that the Russians deported him to Siberia under the surname of "Gościk". When the deportees were released from the labour camps by Anders, it's likely they either had no original papers from Poland or that the papers given to them on release by the Russian authorities were then used.
So when they (and Wladyslaw) came to sign-up into Anders army, the Russian papers were used, under the surname "Gościk", and then the Polish officials changed the names back to Polish thus "Gościk" became "Hoscik". This is the most likely explanation of how this happened.
Birth of Wladyslaw
When Wladyslaw was born in 1908 his birth town of Bialystok was still under Russian control (and would remain so till 1914), therefore Hostik would be the natural choice for a surname as it worked with the Russian alphabet (unlike Gostik).
However, when Wladyslaw was born on 30th May 1908, his birth certificate allegedly recorded the surname as Gostik instead of Hostik. We have never seen the birth certificate but have a relative who claims to have seen it many decades ago and confirms it was "Gostik".
This is strange, that in a province under Russian control, a birth certificate would revert to (old) Polish. I'm surprised this was allowed!
It would appear that Wladyslaw initially grew up with the surname Gostik . His siblings though would have a different surname as we shall see.
Politics And Siblings Surnames
Whereas Wladyslaw initially grew up with the surname Gostik, his siblings (Stefania, Aleksander, Irena & Regina) would start early life with the surname Hostik.
This again is very strange as it is the inverse of logic in the same way Wladyslaws surname was the inverse of logic at the time.
In 1920, which was after the birth of Wladyslaw but before his siblings were born, the Second Republic of Poland was formed. In other words, Russia's control of the region had gone and Poland once again existed.
With Poland now being a recognised state, presumably records would now be kept in Polish and not Russian.
So, the Russian surname of Hostik could go and Gostik would now replace it, reinstating the families identity and (presumably) Polish heritage and descent.
Therefore Wladyslaw siblings (Stefania, Aleksander, Irena & Regina) should and could have had the surname Gostik.
But that is not what happened!
Instead, and contrary to logic, they retained the Hostik surname.
When Wladyslaw got married to Stanislawa Garnowska the marriage certificate recorded his surname as Gostika. This supports the case that his birth certificate was in the surname "Gostik".
Purely based on the surname of Irena, his sister, it's a fair guess that the family lived under the surname Hostik up to the time of deportation by the Russians in 1940.
Name Changes During Russian Deportations
During deportation to Kazakhstan SSR in 1940, Wladyslaws siblings surnames were recorded as:
- Irena Hostik - Deported Feb 1940 as "Hostik"
- Stefania Hostik - Deported Apr 1940 as "Gostik"
- Regina Hostik - Deported Feb 1940 as "Gostik"
Clearly there was a clear lack of consistency amongst the Russian officials on how to covert names!
Misspelling and illiteracy, which was common both on the part of the family and the Russian officials, also played it's part.
Transliteration errors also occurred when converting between various alphabets i.e Hościk = Госцік in Ukrainian, but although Г is H in Ukrainian, it's G in Russian. so then you end up with Goscik. However, when transliterating to English, for example, the c which became ц in Cyrillic becomes "ts" because that's the sound it makes. So you would have Gosstik! In this way the "c" could have become a "t" in an attempt to simplify.
More Russian Confusion!
According to "The Index of The Repressed", by Karta, Wladyslaw was deported to Archangelsk under the recorded name of Wlodzimiercz Goscik.
I understand that Wlodzimiercz is a more formal version of Vladimir and that Wlodzimiercz is the closest name that Russia has to Wladyslaw, thus the change of his christian name.
Yet, in 1989 when Russia issued it's apology to the repressed Polish people, he was named on the Memorial website as "Aleksandrovich Vladimir Gostik".
In this "official apology" they used the less formal version of Wlodzimiercz being Vladimir, they then added his fathers name and russianised it in the process to Aleksandrovich.
An expert in this area has confirmed that not only were Polish names converted to their nearest Russian equivalent but the Russians (I am a little lost on this next point!) tend to incorporate the fathers name into the persons name.
Why the Russians created 2 different names for him and how all these facts relate is a little bewildering!
The Anders Army Aspect
From 1941 onwards, military records indicate that Wladyslaw was using the surname of Hoscik. What surname he was using in the Polish Army prior to that is not confirmed as yet.
In 1942, during the formation of Anders Army in Kazakhstan, many polish soldiers altered their names slightly as they were very scared of NKVD actions against them if caught. As far as we know, Wladyslaw did not alter his name at this point.
This is rather unusual, because through the rest of his life his name altered many times!
Modern Day - The Hosciks
(Note: Hoscik was the surname that Wladyslaw used in the UK initially. Around 1980 he would change this to Wladyslaw Radziwill. Why? We have no clue at all!)
In the UK, as far as I can ascertain, all Hosciks are direct descendants of Wladyslaw Hoscik. For the most part they live in Slough and also some live close to London, quite a few in London but one or two are in North England and 1 in Scotland.
Modern Day - The Gostiks
There are also direct descendants of Wladyslaw Hoscik (with his first wife in Poland) living under completely different surnames to Hoscik and close to the London area.
The Gostiks tend to have a direct descendancy from Wladyslaw's first wife (Stanislawa) in Poland and for the most part these descendants are found in Sokolka, Poland. For privacy, no further detail is provided.
Whether you are a Hostik or a Gostik one thing is sure, our common relative, WLADYSLAW HOSCIK, was an amazing person, for all he endured and went through, his name stands for determination to survive...at all costs.
All respect to Wladyslaw Hoscik.