Leonard Patoka

Copyright: Marta Akincza




1944 r.


for his

soul [1]

The grave of Leonard Patoka stands out directly in the Wilken cemetery. It is located far away from the other graves, almost outside the cemetery. It is not only the youngest grave, but also the only one in the whole cemetery with a Polish inscription (in German: “gestorben 1944, Friede seiner Seele”[2]). The design of the cross is also unique in the cemetery: it is made of silver metal pipe with ornaments and a representation of Christ on the cross in the center. It is likely that this is a Catholic burial – the design of the cross and the Polish language indicate this.[3]

Today, it is impossible to find out who Leonard Patoka was. It is possible that he was one of the Polish forced laborers [4] who had to work on farms in Wilken during World War II.[5] However, this cannot be proven today, so that Leonard Patoka’s fate must remain undetected.


[1] Georg Büschges u.a.: Wilken/Wilkenhof – Dorfgeschichten eines Friedhofs, in: Znad Pisy. Wydawnictwo poświęcone ziemi piskiej 27 (2021) – in print, o.S.

[2] Ibid – in print, no page given.

[3] Ibid – in print, no page given..

[4] Ibid – in print, no page given.

[5] Cf. ibid. – in print, no page given – Elma Rattay, née Losch, from Wilken mentions in her escape diary Polish workers who were employed on the farm of her father Otto Losch and the farm of Ewald Sparka. They initially fled together with the Wilken trek. Two of them decided to go back to Poland in Brandenburg, a young woman named Paula was shot by a policeman near Neustadt in West Prussia (Polish: Wejherowo). Cf. Elma Rattay: …denn wir waren nicht zu Hause… Tagebuch der Flucht 1945 von Wilkenhof/Kreis Johannisburg in Ostpreußen nach Holstein, <http://www.staaks.de/in-dex.php?1> (last accessed 24.05.2021), also reprinted in Gerhard Wydra: Wilken. Die Geschichte seiner Geburt und seines Todes sowie Tatsachen in Aquarellen, Gedichten, Geschichten und Sagen aus dem Kreis Johannisburg, [Hamm an der Sieg] 1985, pp. 14 – 28. Entries dated 22.01.1945, 17.02.1945 and 09.03.1945. – Cf. Andreas Kossert: Masuren. Ostpreußens vergessener Süden, 5th edition, Munich 2006, p. 334.