Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 12, 1880
Place of BirthLauenburg
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinLouise Schostak (wife)
Trade / CallingGlassblower
Service Details
ForceGerman Imperial Army
BranchSoldier Biographies
Age at EnlistmentAbout 34
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarYes
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 13, 1966
Age at Death86
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Schostak, Julius

Julius Schostak was born on 12 August 1880 in Lauenburg, Germany. His wife, Louise Kunkel, was born in 1889, most likely in what is now Poland. Julius and Louise were married in 1909 and they had three children – Irmgard (1910), Benjamin (1912) and Gerhard (1913) – born in the city of Petrikau. Petrikau is in central Poland but before the First World War it was part of Congress Poland, which was ruled by the Russian Empire. Julius and Louise probably moved to Germany around the time the war started and their next child, Brunhilde, was born in Witten, Germany in January 1915. Louise’s mother, Wanda Kunkel, also lived in Witten.

According to his obituary, Julius served in the First World War and spent more than four years in Siberia as a prisoner of war. Beginning in the fall of 1914 thousands of soldiers from the German Imperial Army were held as prisoners of war in Siberia. Along with soldiers from other Central Powers armies they were interned in specially-built camps or in vacant buildings in towns and cities. Many of them suffered due to insufficient food, a lack of heated housing, unsanitary conditions and epidemics of disease. Because there was a shortage of labour the prisoners were often put to work on farms and in industries such as logging. In March 1918 the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ended Russia’s participation in the war but it took several years for all surviving prisoners to be repatriated.

After the war Julius returned to his family in Germany and another daughter, Charlotte, was born in Witten in 1920. Julius was a glassblower by trade and he and his wife lived in Germany for about ten more years. In the summer of 1929 Julius immigrated to Canada, arriving in Quebec from Southampton, England on 29 June on the SS Montcalm. He was going to a friend, C.A. Vanscoy, in Winnipeg. Louise and the children followed about a year later, sailing from Bremen, Germany on the SS Yorck and arriving in Halifax on 25 April 1930. They were on their way to Whitemouth, Manitoba where Julius was living at the time.

Around 1935 Julius and his family moved to Kenora, Ontario and they lived there for about five years. They moved again around 1940, this time to the Kitchener-Waterloo area in southern Ontario, where Julius worked as a glass beveller and polisher. His son Gerhard lived in Scarborough, Ontario and he was also a glass worker. Julius retired around 1950 and about two years later he and his wife returned to Kenora. Their youngest daughter Charlotte was living in Kenora with her husband, Ernest McCammon.

Julius and Louise moved into Pinecrest Home for the Aged in June 1966. Julius passed away in the Kenora General Hospital three months later, on 13 September 1966, at age 86. He was survived by five children: Irmgard (Mrs. Christian Harder), Brunhilde (Mrs. Emil Kroeger), Charlotte (Mrs. Ernest McCammon), Gerhard and Helmuth (in Brazil). His wife Louise died on 7 February 1968, at age 78, and they are both buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Their son Benjamin (1912-1962) is interred in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in London, Ontario; Gerhard (1913-1988) in Kelowna City Cemetery in Kelowna, British Columbia; Irmgard (1910-1997) and Brunhilde (1915-1993) in Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Charlotte (1920-2008) in Maple Grove/Salem Cemetery in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

By Becky Johnson

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