BIOGRAMS OF BLESSED MARTYRS FOR FAITH
(Without the canonized Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe)
DIECESE OF KRAKOW
Fr. Piotr Edward Dankowski (1908-1942)
Vicar of the Zakopane parish, widely known for his great pastoral zeal and devotion to people, especially the poor. During the occupation, risking his life, he offered selfless help to refugees who were trying to protect themselves abroad from repression. Arrested by the police in May 1941, he was sentenced to the death camp in Auschwitz. When he died on Good Friday, April 3, 1942, as a result of a sadistic abuse only because he was a Catholic priest, he was saying goodbye to his friend with the words: “See you in heaven!”
DIECESE OF RADOM
Fr. Bolesław Strzelecki (1896-1941)
Parish priest of Radom-Glinice. An eloquent testimony of his devotion to God and to man was the title “St. Francis of Radom”, which his parishioners sometimes used to describe him. He died on May 2, 1941 in the death camp in Auschwitz, four months after his arrest, as a result of the abuse by the guards. A fellow prisoners said: “We did not manage to save this man. We did not know his greatness in time. He was already too weak. We lost our companion in the fight against evil, a priest who shared with us not only the Word of God, but every bite of bread. This bread, on a par with the Word of God, lifted up doubtful heads. Even in Auschwitz, Father Strzelecki made people believe in humanity ” (Father Konrad Szweda).
Fr. Kazimierz Sykulski (1882-1942)
Pastor of the Konskie parish, a priest of deep spirituality, whose life was shaped by God’s love. Faced with the threat of arrest, he said to the faithful: “I cannot leave my parishioners. I will be with them even if I am in danger of death.” Led for the interrogation, from which he did not return, he managed to say to his friend that “if God demands from me such a sacrifice for the good of the Church and the homeland, I am willing to make it”. Two months after his arrest and imprisonment in the camp in Auschwitz, he was shot on December 1, 1941.
DIECESE OF TARNOW
Fr. Roman Sitko (1880-1942)
Rector of the Seminary in Tarnów. An ardent pastor and educator of students. Regardless of the prohibitions of the occupation authorities and the danger of death, he secretly continued the formation of theology students, for which he was sent to an extermination camp. He died in Auschwitz on October 17, 1942.
FRANCISCAN FRIARS OFMCAP
Br. Symforian Ducki (1888-1942)
A religious brother from a convent in Warsaw, distinguished by Christian simplicity and Franciscan spirituality. He was massacred on April 11, 1942 by the guards of the Auschwitz camp. “There was rage, fear and madness in the eyes of the block supervisor. The unconscious threw himself forward and with a bloodied stick slammed his gray head. Symforian fell to his knees. He stood up. He staggered and with his last effort crossed the crowd of thugs. Perhaps, he didn’t see any more whom he was blessing with the cross of Christ, and faithful to his teaching, he gave them his forgiveness. He said something that we, who were closest to him, did not understand anymore, and with these words he fell to the bottom, blocking the way for the murderers to reach us”(Czesław Ostańkowicz ).
Father Anicet Koplinski (1875-1941)
Religious priest from the convent in Warsaw, apostle of mercy in the capital; already during his lifetime he was famous for holiness. Arrested in 1941, he did not save himself with his German origins. Together with his brothers from the Order, he was transported to the extermination camp in Auschwitz. His sufferings he always wanted to blend in prayer and in imitation of the Master from Nazareth. He often said to his fellow prisoners: “We must drink this cup of bitterness to the end.” He died in a gas chamber in the camp on October 16, 1941.
MICHAELITE FATHERS CSMA
Fr. Wojciech Nierychlewski (1903-1942)
A talented educator. Arrested in Krakow, where he was responsible for the publishing and printing house “Powściągowość i Praca”. Imprisoned in Montelupich, and then in Auschwitz. He was probably drowned in a swimming pool or shot on February 7, 1942. “For Father Wojciech Nierychlewski, his death in the camp in Auschwitz completed his call to martyrdom, which he himself spoke about earlier and prepared for. And this is how this man of deep faith died, a zealous priest, a martyr ” (Rev. Stanisław Hędrzak).
Fr. Józef Jankowski (1910-1941)
Before his priestly ordination, he wrote: “I want to love God more than life. I will give it willingly at any time, but without God’s ardent and great love, I would not want to go to the other world.” After the outbreak of the war, he found himself in the Pallottine Seminary in Ołtarzew, where he provided shelter and food to refugees. Arrested and imprisoned in Pawiak, he was taken to Auschwitz in the same transport as St. Maximilian Kolbe. Tortured by a kapo, he died on October 16, 1941.
Fr. Józef Kowalski (1911-1942)
Arrested in Kraków because the Nazis disliked the zeal and commitment of the young priest. After being deported to the Auschwitz camp, he was sent to the penal company twice, he was often beaten, harassed and humiliated. Going to his death he asked for prayer for his persecutors. Murdered on July 4, 1942 for refusing to trample his rosary. In his spiritual journal, he wrote: “O my dear Jesus, give me the will to persevere, firm, strong, so that I may be able to persevere in my holy resolutions and be able to reach the sublime ideal of holiness that I have outlined for myself. I should be and must be a saint!”
SISTERS OF THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD
S. Katarzyna Celestyna Faron (1913-1944)
Just before the war, she was an organizer and teacher in an orphanage in Brzozów, and during the occupation, the head of a religious house. She sacrificed her life in an expiatory sacrifice for the conversion of an erring priest who bore the same surname and who returned to the Catholic Church after the war. She prayed with her sisters for the persecutors, including Hitler. She died on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1944 in Auschwitz.
URSULINES OF THE ROMAN UNION OSU
S. Maria Klemensa Staszewska (1890-1943)
During the war, the superior of the monastery in Rokiciny Podhalańskie, the organizer of a preventorium for children. She wrote in the “Diary”: “I expect another visit of the Gestapo, and even something much worse. Today I prayed very heartily, linking my experience of fear with the pain of Jesus. She died of typhus on July 27, 1943 in Auschwitz, with the words of the “Magnificat” prayer on her lips.
CONVENTUAL FRANCISCANS OFM
Father Jan Antonin Bajewski (1915-1941)
Extremely gifted, he knew several languages. He was characterized by great piety, a spirit of prayer and gentleness towards others. Arrested on February 17, 1941 by the Gestapo together with St. Maximilian and three other fathers. Transported from Pawiak to Auschwitz, where on the first day he was brutally beaten by SS men with a Franciscan lace, which he wore at his side. Although he himself was sick with typhus, he helped other sick physically and spiritually, especially through the sacrament of confession. He often repeated: “With Christ I am nailed to the cross”. He died on May 8, 1941 with the words “Jesus and Mary” on his lips.
Father Ludwik Pius Bartosik (1909-1941)
At the age of 27 he became the deputy of Father Maximilian Kolbe, who envisioned him as his deputy in the position of the monastery superior. He was the editor of “Knight of the Immaculate”, “Rycerzyk” and the quarterly “Miles Immaculatae “. After the first arrest and after spending three months in the camps, he repeated: “So far we have written and told others how to endure suffering – now we have to go through it ourselves, otherwise what our words would be worth.” Arrested for the second time by the Gestapo together with St. Maximilian and 3 other fathers on February 17, 1941 and transported to Pawiak, he endured all torments with patience. Then he was imprisoned in Auschwitz, where he was taken to the camp hospital due to exhaustion, beating and illness. There he helped other sick people with the greatest dedication. He died in the night of December 12-13, 1941.
Br. Stanisław Tymoteusz Trojanowski (1908-1942)
He spent his entire religious life in Niepokalanów, where he worked mainly in the shipment of the “Knight of the Immaculate”, in a warehouse, and as a caretaker of the sick brothers in the infirmary . He enjoyed the trust of his superior – Fr. Maximilian Kolbe. Arrested on October 14, 1941 and imprisoned with six other brothers in the Pawiak prison. In prison, he prayed a lot and comforted others. Transported to Auschwitz, he bravely endured hunger, cold and backbreaking work. He died on February 28, 1942 of pneumonia. The motto of his life was: “At any time and in any place, to freely dispose of God’s Will”.
Br. Piotr Bonifacy Żukowski (1913-1942)
Before the perpetual procession, the superior of the Niepokalanów monastery, Father Florian Koziura, gave him the following opinion: “Very good in every respect. More of them!”. He was arrested on October 14, 1941 and imprisoned in Pawiak, where he comforted his companions in misery. Transported to Auschwitz, employed in devastating work, he endured suffering in a spirit of faith. He died of pneumonia on April 10, 1942.
IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH (OF GEORGIA AND POLAND) HAS BEEN CANONIZED:
Grigol Peradze (1899-1942)
Georgian Orthodox theologian, orientalist and priest monk. † December 6, 1942 in Auschwitz.