Bible found at Polish flea market has Galashiels link

editorial image

Found among the bric-a-brac of a Polish flea market, the old bible did not look like anything special when Dorota Maik’s fiancé bought it for her.

But it turned out to have a fascinating history with links to a family in Galashiels.

And now Dorota, who hails from the Polish city of Poznan, would like to see the bible returned to the Galashiels family which once owned it.

It was a friend of Dorota’s, retired police officer, Michael Tucker, who lives in Georgia in the United States, who first contacted The Southern about the bible.

Mr Tucker belongs to an online social media group with a focus on art, as does Dorota. Mr Tucker had first contacted The Southern’s parent group, Johnston Press, with a view to placing a family announcement in the local press in an attempt to help Dorota track down any surviving relative’s of the bible’s original owners.

Mr Tucker explained: “ The bible, circa 1920, originally belonged to the family of Martha Miller from Galashiels, Scotland. There is a wealth of notations about the Miller family inscribed in the book.

“Ms Miller’s biography lists her as born in Galashiels. Although her surname is common, I am hoping that she will be interested in obtaining this bible and determining if any interested parties are still alive.

“My Polish friend would very much like to pass this heirloom along. She obtained the book in a flea market in Poland and is not interested in remuneration. She just would like to see the item returned to the family.”

And Dorota told us from her home in Poland: “I’m just looking for something about the people who are described in Bible. It is just curious to me, the story written in the bible, and how from Scotland it came to Poland.

“I’m a re-enactor World War Two so it really interested me. My fiancé bought me this for nine złotych - about two Euros - because in the beginning I didn’t want to buy.

“But I started to read notes in this bible and it was really interesting. There are notes about family, poems and newspaper clippings. I was looking for the address that was written there, but probably it no longer exists.”

The address referred to is 276 Galapark Road, which does still exist, but how the bible found its way almost 1,200 miles eastwards from Galashiels is certainly a mystery.

A clue, however, could well be found in the large numbers of Polish troops stationed in the town during the Second World War.

It may have been exhanged as a gift - Polish forces donated a number of gifts to the Scottish communities in which they stayed.

These include the beautiful stained glass window in the Church of our Lady and St Andrew’s. by an officer in the 1st Armoured Division of General Maczek. Old Gala Club president, Murray Dickson, told us: “It’s highly possible that a Polish soldier married a local girl and that’s how the bible found it’s way to Poland.”