"I have been thinking about the way Jerzy and Lidia look at each other, the way they are hungry for each other, and I know I will never marry again unless I love a man who loves me back. I'd rather live out my life as a widow, even if it means working myself into an early grave, which may be the best bit of rest I ever get."
—Anetka Kaminska[4]

Anetka Nasevich[5] (née Kaminska; 1883 – 1965) was a Polish immigrant. In 1896, she voyaged to America with her brother Jozef and friend Leon Nasevich. Her father arranged her marriage to a coal miner, Stanley Gawrych, a widower with three children. After her husband's death, Anetka had to work hard to support herself and family.


Early life

A Russian Pole,[6] Anetka was born in 1883[1] and grew up in the small village of Sadowka, Poland. She had a younger brother named Jozef. Following their mother's death, their father left for America where he obtained a job as a coal miner.

Life in America

In April 1896, Anetka met Leon Nasevich, a soldier whom she initially hated. A few days later, she received a letter from her father. In it he revealed that he had arranged her marriage and the family's passage to America. A few weeks later, Anetka was targeted by a sergeant, whom had learned about her secretly teaching Polish. Leon saved her. She subsequently fled the village with Jozef and Leon. Anetka was heartbroken about leaving her grandmother behind. On board the ship, Anetka became closer to Leon who kissed her during a dance.

Anetka and Jozef were separated from Leon, whom they later discovered was only detained. They found their way to Lattimer, Pennsylvania, where they were reunited with their father. Anetka married Stanley Gawrych on July 25, 1896. She became the stepmother to his three daughters, Violet, Rose, and Lily. The marriage was hard on Anetka, who wanted to love and be loved by Stanley. Despite her attempts to be a good wife and mother, Stanley never showed her any affection and even called her "lazy."

Just after she and Stanley reached a good place, he passed away during a mining accident on January 25, 1897. Anetka had to have five boarders, including her father and brother, to work on paying his company's debts. She later took in Leon as well, after she nursed him back to health. Anetka grew even closer to Leon over the next few months. In September 1897, Leon, a union worker, went on strike with the other miners. He was injured, while several others were killed. When he and Anetka were reunited, he told her he loved her.

Later life

Anetka and Leon were married two months later. They had only one daughter, Mary. Their daughters, including Violet, Rose, and Lily, gave them sixteen grandchildren in total. They called their family a "League of Nations" because their daughters all married men from different countries. Anetka passed away in 1965 after suffering a stroke. Leon died a day later of a broken heart.

Personality and traits

Much of Anetka's core personality took after her mother's, whom was a level-headed person. Her father, on the other hand, was a dreamer which frustrated his daughter. Anetka was a strong, hardworking woman, being able to run a boardinghouse and take care of three children at the time. Leon described her as "the bravest person I know." She was also intelligent, reading and writing both Russian and Polish.

Family tree

The Kaminski Family Tree
Mr. Kaminski
Mrs. Kaminska
(d. 1895)
(2) Leon Nasevich
Anetka Kaminska
(1) Stanley Gawrych
Sophie Gawrych
Jozef Kaminski
Mary Nasevich
Violet Gawrych
(b. 1890)
Rose Gawrych
(b. 1892)
Lily Gawrych
(b. 1893)

Behind the scenes



Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.