LOCAL PEOPLE GIVE COLORFUL ACCOUNT OF "ROBIN HOOD" GRALLA.
In the village of Koszecin, Poland, stand the remains of the Franz Gralla farm of the late 1800's. Although, much has changed on the property, the people who live there now were able to share what they remembered of Franz Gralla, father of twelve children and my great grandfather. The current owners, the Soballas, bought the farm from a Jewish man who had purchased it originally from Franz Gralla in the year 1903. Mr. Soballa tells what caused Franz Gralla to leave the area for Moscow and later St. Petersburg, as he recalls in the year 1903. Franz Gralla, although the owner of a farm and acreage was not the farmer "type" nor did he want to be. He lived life a little on the "wild side" as he chose to defy the local nobility, the Hohenlohes, who owned the forests and most of the surrounding property. Franz Gralla liked to hunt in the forests of the Hohenlohes, which was against the law. But he did this to provide food for his large and growing family and to provide food for all the poor townspeople. For this, the people of the village loved him and the Hohenlohes despised him. He became known as "Robin Hood" Gralla. Often times he would hide with his hunting friends in the forests as the local authorities tried to track him down. He made traps out of bridges which would drop to the water below and help him in fast get-aways. This he did for quite some time until the Hohenlohes eventually caught up to him, and knowing him to be very knowledgeable in forestry, rather than arrest him, as was expected, he was given a forestry job in Belorus on the Hohenlohe property there as an alternative punishment. This same Franz Gralla was also a merchant, a business man who provided the stones for the road which still is there and leads to the next town. According to the Soballas, Franz Gralla was involved in many interesting business "deals", but was a good man whom the people liked and respected for his help in feeding their families.