Stefan Wyszyński was born on August 3rd, 1901, in Zuzela in Mazovia, to Stanisław Wyszyński and his wife Julianna née Karp. Although his small homeland was in the Russian Partition, Stefan was brought up in respect for Polish history and culture by his parents, which allowed him to survive the time of severe Russification of Poland. In 1917, he decided to enter the seminary in Włocławek. He was ordained a priest on August 3rd, 1924, by Bishop Wojciech Owczarek, in the Włocławek Cathedral. He worked in the parish of Przedecz and the cathedral parish in Włocławek. There, he pastored among workers while learning about their difficult hardship and living conditions. In 1929, he earned a doctorate degree at the Catholic University of Lublin with a PhD thesis on “The rights of family, Church and State to the school” [Polish: Prawa rodziny, kościoła I Państwa do szkoły]. He was an editor in scientific periodicals Cuyavian Word [Polish: Słowo Kujawskie] and Priests’ Athenaeum [Polish: Ateneum Kapłańskie]. After the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, it turned out that Father Wyszyński was on the Gestapo wanted list. He was ordered by Bishop Michał Kozal to leave Włocławek, which saved him from arrest and deportation to a concentration camp. During the war he pastored in Kozłówka and Żułów.
In 1942, he came to Laski to take up chaplaincy duties at a medical centre for blind children. During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, he became a chaplain of the Home Army Grouping “Kampinos”, under the alias Radwan III. He fulfilled traditional pastoral duties, confessing wounded soldiers and bringing them comfort. He was also involved in all activities related to nursing the wounded. Every day he visited all the sick and took their temperature. He accompanied dying soldiers during operations. He washed, dried and ironed the bandages so that they could be used to dress the next wounded. Also, he repaired and cleaned uniforms so that soldiers recovering from illnesses would have something to wear. Together with blind boys, he helped bring the wounded to the hospital. Despite the danger, he organized regular meetings for lay youth and nuns. He gave lectures on economics and co-operativity to the blind. He believed the blind, once educated, should form cooperatives and their own factories, which would allow them to gain a decent living. He luckily avoided arrest when, in the corridor of the administrative building, he met German soldiers who asked him if he knew where Wyszyński lived. Keeping his composure, he showed the right room to them and went in the direction of the chapel. They didn’t find him. Towards the end of the Warsaw Uprising, while walking through the forest, Father Wyszyński saw Warsaw in flames. The wind blowing from the direction of the capital brought him a burnt piece of paper with the inscription: “You shall love!”. He took that piece of paper to the chapel, placed it on the altar, and said that this was the message of burning Warsaw for us.
In 1946, Father Wyszyński was appointed Bishop of Lublin, and in 1948 he became the Metropolitan of Gniezno and Warsaw, the Primate of Poland. He was the leader of two archdioceses, as in the ecclesiastical order Gniezno and Warsaw were united by a personal union. He led the Polish Church in the difficult period of the communist regime and fought to save the nation’s Christian identity and protect it from the communists’ program of laicization. He spent three years in prison, from 1953 to 1956. He insisted that the principles of love, solidarity and freedom be respected in social life. He was an active participant in the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and took part in the conclave that elevated John Paul II to papal office. He died on May 28th, 1981 and was buried in St. John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw.
Edgar Sukiennik PhD
Translate: Sandra Liwanowska
- Czaczkowska, Kardynał Wyszyński. Biografia, Warszawa 2013.
- Raina, Stefan kardynał Wyszyński. Prymas Tysiąclecia, t. 1, Wrocław 2016.
- Rastawicka, Ten zwycięża, kto miłuje, Warszawa 2019.
- Wyszyński, Droga życia, Warszawa 2001.
- Notation from the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Crossin the collection of the Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszyński in Warsaw.
Father Tadeusz Jachimowski was born on February 12th, 1892 in Kazimiera Mała, a small village in today’s Świętokrzyskie. His parents were Julian Jachimowski and Helena, née Kobylańska. Julian Jachimowski was a teacher and a principal at a school in Jędrzejewo, and vigilante commander.
Tadeusz Jachimowski attended the municipal middle school in Pinczów. In 1913 Bishop August Losiński sent him to study theology at St. Petersburg Theological Academy. However, when World War I broke out, he returned to Kielce and then entered the School of Theology in Kielce, where he was ordained a priest. After becoming a priest, he returned to St. Petersburg. During his studies, he was the president of the academic association “Polonia”. He received his master’s degree in theology in 1917.
Simultaneously, Bishop Jan Cieplak, the administrator of the Archdiocese of Mogilev, asked the rector of the academy to encourage students of the final year to become chaplains to Polish soldiers. One of the first volunteers was Father Tadeusz Jachimowski. In April 1917, Bishop Cieplak appointed him the chaplain to the Polish Armed Forces in the East. Father Jachimowski was not just a spiritual guide, but also acted as an educator and an advocate of Polishness among soldiers. Shortly after, he took up pastoral service in the hospital of the 1st Polish Rifle Regiment, and then in the 1st Polish Rifle Division. At the same time, he volunteered to take on the duties of the chaplain of the 2nd Polish Rifle Regiment. In July 1917, the 1st Polish Corps in Russia was formed under the command of General Józef Dowbor-Muśnicki, from Polish soldiers previously serving in the Imperial Army. The soldiers were supposed to fight against the Germans, but as a result of a complicated situation in the Russian Partition and outbreak of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the forces were directed against the Red Guards. On February 4th, 1918, Father Jachimowski assumed command of the brigade from the injured Colonel Konarzewski and successfully ended the battle with the Bolsheviks at Toloshchitsa, east of Bobruisk. General Gustaw Ostapowicz, commander of the 1st Polish Rifle Regiment, in recognition of his abilities and heroic attitude, requested Father Jachimowski to be awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari. He did not receive it. After signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Germans decided to dismantle the unit and disarmed it in May 1918. After the demobilization of the Corps, Father Jachimowski received the post of prefect of a middle school in Miechów until November 1918.
After Poland regained independence he entered the Polish Army, where he was first the chaplain of the Military District in Miechów, and from December the Dean of the General District Command in Kielce. He was then appointed the head of the organisational department in the Ministry of Military Affairs responsible for the creation of field pastoral structures in the Second Polish Republic. On March 3rd, 1919 office was dissolved and replaced with the Bishop Military Ordinate of Poland, headed by Bishop Stanisław Gall. In April 1919, Bishop Gall appointed Father Jachimowski as the first chancellor of the Military Ordinariate of Poland. He was the bishop’s closest associate. His tasks included creating regulations for military pastors and establishing garrison parishes.
Father Jachimowski’s work was not limited to fulfilling his duties at the Polish Bishop’s Curia. He was the editor of The Polish Soldier [Polish: Żołnierz Polski] and the founder and editor-in-chief of the periodical Quarterly devoted to the matters of the Catholic Military Pastoral Ministry in Poland [Polish: Kwartalnik poświęcony sprawom Katolickiego Duszpasterstwa Wojskowego w Polsce], published between 1931-1934. He also was awarded PhD in philosophy from the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Warsaw and taught homiletics at the Higher Metropolitan Seminary in Warsaw. After the conflict between Bishop Gall and Marshal Józef Piłsudski and the resignation of the dignitary, there was no future for Father Jachimowski in the curia. In 1934, Father Jachimowski left the army and retired. In the same year, he accepted the post of Vice-Rector at St. Anne’s Church on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street and chaplain to the academic community. In 1936, he became the chief chaplain of the ‘Sokół’ Society. He wrote a famous prayer book entitled Soldier of Christ [Polish: Żołnierz Chrystusowy].
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Father Jachimowski was in Warsaw and took part in the defence of the capital, attending to the wounded and organizing funerals. He took part in extinguishing the fire at St. Anne’s Church. In October 1939 he was arrested by Gestapo and imprisoned at the Pawiak. On March 31st, 1940 he was released from prison and returned to St. Anne’s Church, where he became the rector. He took part in underground secretly conducted education. Initially, he was the organiser and president of the Patriotic Society [Polish: Towarzystwo Patriotyczne]. From February 1943 he served in the Home Army. He held the positions of Head of the Pastoral Service of the Home Army Headquarters and Chief Chaplain of the Armed Forces in Poland. His codename was Budwicz, which was his family’s coat of arms. From Pope Pius XII, he gained facultates – special wartime privileges for the field chaplains of the Home Army. The headquarters of the secret Military Ordinariate of Poland was located in the building of the then St. Roch Hospital on 24 Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. Secret meetings of the chaplains were held on Mirowski Square in the Pallotines’ building on Długa Street, as well as in the Jachimowski’s flat on Hoża Street. On July 23rd, 1943 Bishop Józef Gawlina appointed Father Jachimowski Vicar General and Deputy Bishop of the Polish Army. Budwicz also became involved in the work of the Clergy Commission, working within the structures of the Government Delegation for Poland. In 1944, he became a member of the Council of National Unity – the political organ of the Polish Underground State. As Chief Chaplain of the Home Army, he oversaw the construction and development of military chaplaincy structures on Polish lands, based to a large extent on pre-war chaplains. He drafted many documents regulating the activity of the underground chaplaincy. He also prepared the Home Army chaplains to serve during Operation Tempest [Polish: Operacja Burza] and the armed uprising. Furthermore, he published a prayer book for underground soldiers titled In the Service of Christ and the Homeland [Polish: W służbie Chrystusa i Ojczyzny].
The outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising took many chaplains by surprise. The late order did not reach everyone, and some clergymen didn’t manage to arrive at their positions. The outbreak found Father Jachimowski in Elektoralna Street, as a result of which he was deprived of contact with the Home Army Headquarters, stationed in Kamler’s factory in Wola, district of Warsaw. He was also cut off from District Headquarters on Jasna Street. Even though he couldn’t join the military structures, he exercised his pastoral ministry in the basement of the house at 47 Elektoralna Street. He arranged a chapel there, where he prayed and heard confessions of both civilians and insurgents. On August 7th, when the Germans already occupied the whole of Wola, Jachimowski received an order to leave his earlier place of stay and join the insurgent units concentrating around courts’ buildings. Budwicz delayed his departure, because he wanted to confess all those in need, and then the Germans broke into the basement. All men dragged out of the building were led to be shot. The priest only managed to take the Blessed Sacrament with him. Then, he was led out separately. When one soldier was aiming at Budwicz, the secretary of the chaplain alias Mir, begged another German, who observed the scene with compassion, to save the priest. She explained the priest had the Blessed Sacrament with him. Eventually, the soldier ordered Budwicz to join a group of civilians who had been rushed through the city. In the area of Chłodna Street, Father Jachimowski managed to leave the Blessed Sacrament in St. Andrew’s Church. The night of 7th August, Budwicz spent with civilians in St. Wojciech Church on Wolska Street. On August 8th, the whole group went in the direction of the railway ramp in Wola. In the marching column, one of the guards saw the priest, dragged him out of the line, and shot him on the spot. The body of Father Tadeusz Jachimowski was never found. The symbolic grave of the Chief Chaplain of the Home Army is located in the Powązki Military Cemetery.
Father Tadeusz Jachimowski was awarded the Cross of Valour and the Commander’s Cross Polonia Restituta.
Translate: Sandra Liwanowska
- Dziennik Rozkazów Wojskowych, 1919, R. 2, nr 28
- Dziennik Rozkazów Ministerstwa Spraw Wojskowych, nr 11, poz.
- Zasada Stanisław, Duch’44. Duchowi przywódcy powstania warszawskiego, Kraków 2018
- Odziemkowski Janusz, Służba duszpasterska Wojska Polskiego 1914-1945, Warszawa: Dom Wydawniczy Bellona, 1998
- „Gdy zaczniemy walczyć miłością…”. Portrety kapelanów powstania warszawskiego, red. Grzegorz Górny, Aleksander Kopiński, Warszawa 2004
- Wardzyński Michał, Szpital św. Rocha przy Krakowskim Przedmieściu i jego architektoniczne przemiany w XVIII-XX wieku, ,, Almanach Warszawy”, nr 12, 2018, p. 189-216
- Tadeusz Jachimowski, https://www.1944.pl/powstancze-biogramy/tadeusz-jachimowski,12348.html (retrieved September 5th, 2020)
- Jeden z wielu, [One of many, own translation] https://www.tygodnikpowszechny.pl/jeden-z-wielu-123623 (retrieved September 5th, 2020).
- Warszawski powstaniec z ziemi kieleckiej, [A Warsaw insurgent from Kielce region, own translation], https://www.niedziela.pl/artykul/30381/nd/Warszawski-powstaniec-z-ziemi-kieleckiej (retrieved September 7th, 2020).
- Śmierć nie jest końcem – o kapelanach powstania warszawskiego, [Death is not the end – about the chaplains of the Warsaw Uprising, own translation], https://misyjne.pl/smierc-nie-jest-koncem-o-kapelanach-powstania-warszawskiego/, (retrieved September 9th, 2020).
Father Jan Salamucha was born in Warsaw on June 10th, 1903. His parents, Stanisława and Andrzej, from the very beginning saw him as a future priest. However, Jan, despite being an altar boy at St Augustine’s parish in Nowolipki, and at one point even being the president of the altar boys’ circle, was not convinced this was his path of life. It was only when his mother died that he decided to enter the seminary. Seemingly, he did so at her request. His sister, Genowefa, also joined the order.
He began seminary studies in 1919 in Warsaw. He was only 16 years old, which would influence his future date of ordination as a graduate. In 1920, during the Polish-Soviet War, he was a paramedic for three months. It is worth noting he did not have the consent of his seminary superiors for this. In 1923, he began his studies at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Warsaw. It was a time of intensive studying and broadening his knowledge in various fields. He studied theology, philosophy, but also mathematical logic, and comparative embryology. He took classes in human physiology at the Faculty of Medicine. Further, he became involved in the activities of the Philosophy Circle led by Professor Władysław Tatarkiewicz. In 1925, Jan’s classmates were ordained priests. He himself had to wait, as he had not yet reached the appropriate age. He was ordained on February 21st, 1926, by Bishop Stanisław Gall. He received the sacrament in Bishop Gall’s home chapel.
After ordination, he continued studies. On November 30th, 1926, he received a master’s degree in theology for his thesis “On the Aristiotle’s Category of Relation” [Polish: O Arystotelesowskiej kategorii stosunku]. Soon afterwards, on October 24th, 1927, he was awarded PhD. His thesis, written under the scientific supervision of Professor Stanislaw Kobylecki, was titled “Aristotle’s Theory of Modal Logic” [Polish: Teoria wynikania modalnego Arystotelesa]. Father Salamucha decided to continue his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University (also known as Gregoriane), where he studied philosophy and devoted himself to writing a thesis on Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas. After two years, he was awarded the title magister aggregatus Universitas Gregorianae.
After his return to Warsaw, he served as vicar in a parish in Wiązowna. On October 1st, 1929, at the beginning of the new academic year, he lectured philosophy at the seminary. He became known as an open man who stayed in contact with people of science from both the clerical and lay worlds, which was not always positivel viewed by other priests. He was also distinguished by conducting his classes in Polish, which was extremely rare at that time.
After some time, there was a chance for Father Salamucha to do his habilitation at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. This opportunity was blocked by Cardinal Aleksander Kakowski, the Metropolitan of Warsaw. Eventually, however, Father Salamucha went to Krakow thanks to the support of the priest and philosopher Konstanty Michalski. Unfortunately, he was soon forced to return to Warsaw after an unsuccessful attempt to complete his habilitation. He was offered the post of deputy professor at the second Chair of Christian Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University, which was just being set up, but the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education [Polish: Ministerstwo Wyzwań Religijnych i Oświecenia Publicznego] did not support his candidature. In addition, it did not approve of his habilitation. The reason was allegedly the lack of a high school diploma. Attempts to commission Father Salamucha to teach at the Jagiellonian University for a few hours a week were unsuccessful. The situation at that time also did not allow him to return to the position of philosophy lecturer at the seminary, as his place was filled by Father Józef Pastuszko. For this reason, Father Salamucha was sent to the parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Ochota district of Warsaw. He had problems communicating with the parish priest there. This difficult time ended with a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt.
On December 1st, 1934, Father Salamucha returned to Cracow, where he began lecturing with the support of Father Konstanty Michalski. In 1936, the Council of the Theological Faculty at the Jagiellonian University sent a request to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education to reconsider the habilitation of Jan Salamucha. The Council stated in its justification that he had been the only clergyman who knew mathematical logic. The intervention was successful and on November 17th, 1936, his habilitation thesis ”The Concept of Deduction in Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas” [Polish: Pojęcie dedukcji u Arystotelesa i św. Tomasza z Akwinu] was approved. Father Salamucha also became a deputy professor at the second Chair of Christian Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University and taught the theory of cognition, logic, theodicy, cosmology and the history of ancient philosophy. He was active in the Cracow Circle, founded on August 26th, 1936, of which Janusz Drewnowski and Józef Maria Bocheński were also members. Their work relied on using mathematical logic in theology and Christian philosophy.
He was interested in literature, classical music, and mountain climbing. He had a sense of humour and was liked by his students. He knew four foreign languages: English, Russian, German, and French. On December 6th, 1938, Father Salamucha was nominated to be an associate professor. The proposal was made by the Council of the Faculty of Theology at the Jagiellonian University.
In September 1939, after the Third Reich had invaded Poland, Father Salamucha became chaplain to the 360th Infantry Regiment. In this way, he joined the defence of Warsaw. It was not the last time his life would be associated with the fight for the capital – it would also happen five years later, during the Warsaw Uprising. For his service among the crew of Fort Bema in Czyste during the September fights, he received the Cross of Valour. After the capitulation of Warsaw, he attended the beginning of the new academic year at the Jagiellonian University. There, on November 6th, he came together with other lecturers and professors to a meeting at which Polish scientists were to familiarize themselves with German guidelines. This event is today known as the Sonderaktion Krakau. 184 professors were arrested and deported to the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. Among them was priest Professor Jan Salamucha. His next place of imprisonment was Dachau concentration camp. Numerous foreign protests led to the release of many of those arrested. The Vatican and Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, as well as German professors of mathematical logic, became involved in the case of Father Salamucha. He was released from the camp on January 4th, 1941, and went to Cracow. However, as he was subordinate to the Bishop of Warsaw, he moved to the capital instead. He began working in the parish of St. James at Narutowicz Square. The return was hard, as Father Salamucha was still associated with unpopular views. Apart from his pastoral activities, he also got involved in humanitarian aid – he became the head of the Warsaw Caritas.
On December 25th, 1942, Father John’s article “The Face of Love” [Polish: Oblicze Miłości] was published in “The Fight” [Polish: Walka], in which he posed difficult questions about loving one’s enemies. He tried contrasting this evangelical commandment with the time of war. He mentioned different kinds of love and declared he would defend his homeland while rejecting hatred towards the enemy.
Father Salamucha lectured at the underground seminary in Warsaw and at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Western Lands, he was preparing a work entitled “On the Christian Style in Philosophy” [Polish: O chrześcijańskim stylu w filozofii], and as chaplain of the National Armed Forces he tried to reconcile this organization with the Home Army. However, this did not end in success.
Father Salamucha, alias Jan took part in the Warsaw Uprising as chaplain, vice-deacon of the North Deanery of Warsaw District of Home Army, and dean of the 4th, Ochota District. On August 1st, 1944, at 3 p.m., he organized a meeting – a briefing of all chaplains of Ochota district. The priests gathered for coffee learned about the planned time of the Warsaw Uprising from a piece of paper brought by a little boy. The first task for the priests was to take their stoles and holy oils and go to the appropriate assembly points, as well as to remember the password “Freedom” and the response “Warsaw”. On the same day, Father Salamucha was summoned to an injured woman at 21 Mianowskiego Street. On his way, he helped lead soldiers from the unit of cadet Janusz from the Baszta Regiment. When he reached the woman, he gave her the sacraments. Unfortunately, the return to the church turned out to be impossible because of the fighting, so he stayed on Wawelska Street. It was there, in the vicinity of Uniwersytecka, Pługa, Mianowskiego, and precisely Wawelska Street, that the Wawel Redoubt was established – an area attacked by the Germans since August 4th. Father Salamucha assumed the function of the chaplain of the insurgent hospital: he celebrated masses, administered the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick. On August 11th, the insurgents were running out of ammunition, which forced them to head for two districts Śródmieście and Mokotów through the sewers. The beginning of the withdrawal was scheduled for 5 p.m. Father Salamucha decided to stay with the patients and helpless civilians, despite they asked him to save his own life. Soldiers from the Kaminski Brigade (also known as Waffen-Sturm-Brigade der SS RONA – Russian National Liberation Army) entered the Wawel Redoubt, abandoned by the fighting insurgents, on which a white piece of cloth was hanging, symbolizing surrender. The wounded and civilians lost their lives. It is not known how exactly Father Salamucha died. All is known that it was on August 11th, in the company of defenceless people. He was 41 years old.
Father Salamucha was buried at the Powązki cemetery in Warsaw, in a mass grave of retired priests of the Warsaw Metropolitan Chapter.
Today, at 60 Wawelska Street, in the place where, on August 11th, 1944, the last insurgent point fell in Ochota, there is a plaque commemorating those events.
Translate: Sandra Liwanowska
- Czernecka-Rej Bożena, Salamucha Jan, w: Polski Słownik Biograficzny, 34, Wrocław 1992, p. 354 – 356.
- Piech Stanisław, Jan Salamucha (1903 – 1944), https://www.ipsb.nina.gov.pl/a/biografia/jan-salamucha [received: August 2nd, 2020].
- Piech Stanisław, Księdza Jana Salamuchy msza życia, „Folia Historica Cracoviensia”, 3 (1996), nr 1, p. 255-264.
- Skibiński Paweł, Człowiek o sercu bohaterskim…Ksiądz Jan Salamucha (1903-1944), Warszawa 2005, p.11-13.
- Terlikowski Tomasz, Kropla po kropli. Ksiądz profesor Jan Salamucha, w: Gdy zaczniemy walczyć miłością… Portrety kapelanów powstania warszawskiego, red. Grzegorz Górny, Aleksander Kopiński, Warszawa 2004,p. 71-90.
- Wolak Zbigniew, Naukowa filozofia Koła Krakowskiego, “Zagadnienia Filozoficzne w Nauce”, 36 (2005), p. 97-122.
- Wolsza Kazimierz, Jan Salamucha – uczony i duszpasterz, „Przegląd Powszechny”, 1997, nr 3.
- Zasada Stanisław, Duch ’44. Duchowi przywódcy powstania warszawskiego, Kraków 2018, p.117-128.
Stefan Kowalczyk was born on August 1th, 1897, the child of Wawrzyniec and Joanna Kowalczyk. He graduated from Mikołaj Rej High School in Warsaw. In 1918, he received his leaving certificate and later entered the Metropolitan Higher Seminary in Warsaw. In 1920, together with other seminarians, he decided to join Haller’s Army. At the time reverends, nuns and aspiring priests engaged in the defense of the country mainly as orderlies and chaplains. As an orderly, Stefan Kowalczyk transported wounded soldiers across the Vistula River. In the fall of 1920 a decision was made to disband said transportation system, hence in December Stefan Kowalczyk returned to the seminary. For his participation in the Polish-Soviet War, he was awarded the Haller’s Swords Decoration in April 1925 (awarded by the General Board of the Association of the Adherents of Haller), and later in May 1929 he was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the War of 1918-1921 [Polish: Medal Pamiątkowy za wojnę 1918-1921].
Stefan Kowalczyk was ordained a priest by Bishop Stanislaw Gall (then Field Bishop of the Polish Army) on January 22th, 1923 in St. John’s Archicathedral in Warsaw. After his ordination he was assigned to work at St. Anne’s parish in Grodzisk Mazowiecki. In 1929, Father Kowalczyk became involved in the activities of Catholic Action as well as youth work- he created the Wola branch of the Association of Youth Patrons [Polish: Zrzeszenie Patronów Młodzieży] – a nationwide association of young lay Catholics. In 1929 he became pastor of St. Clement’s Church, one of the four military parishes in Warsaw. It comprised Tarchomin, Praga, Marki, Józefów, Otwock, the garrison of Rembertów and Radzymin. One had to fulfill several conditions to become a priest of a garrison parish: be under 35 years old, be a priest for at least three years, have Polish citizenship, be in good health and have references from the Archdiocese. Thereby, Father Kowalczyk took on duty. In December of 1930, Bishop Gall appointed Father Kowalczyk as the second notary in the newly created Military Ordinariate’s Court. He served in this capacity until the outbreak of Second World War. Three years after his appointment as the notary, the Bishop of Military Ordinariate had been replaced- Father Józef Gawlina took the place of Stanisław Gall, which resulted in the transfer of Stefan Kowalczyk to St. George’s parish in the Warsaw Citadel. Thanks to his activity as a field chaplain, Father Kowalczyk was promoted by President Ignacy Mościcki to the rank of senior chaplain in 1937, which corresponded to the rank of major in the hierarchy of the Polish Army.
In September of 1939, the Second World War broke out. On the night between 6 to 7 September by order of Commander-in-Chief Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigly, Bishop Józef Gawlina left Warsaw and then Poland. Before leaving, he appointed Father Stefan Kowalczyk as Vicar General of the Polish Army. One of the first Father Kowalczyk’s decisions was creating the Civil Chaplaincy Ambulance Service, also known as “the flying chaplaincy”, which consisted in the clergy providing immediate assistance to air raid victims, giving absolution and medical aid. After the capitulation of Warsaw on September 28th, 1939, most of the military chaplains were sent to prisoner-of-war camps to serve as priests. Father Kowalczyk remained in the capital to serve as Vicar General – the only representative of the Military Ordinariate of Poland. Once the Germans entered the capital, Father Kowalczyk was arrested along with other priests and imprisoned in the Pawiak. He was released after a month.
Following the fall of the September campaign, military chaplaincy ceased to operate in an organized form. In the second half of 1940 it was decided to organize underground chaplaincy activities were organized again. Although Father Stefan Kowalczyk was not dismissed from the function of Vicar General of the secret Military Ordinate of Poland, on February 6th, 1942 Bishop Józef Gawlina (who was abroad at the time) appointed Colonel Fr. Tadeusz Jachimowski as Chief Chaplain of the Armed Forces in Poland. For some time there were two centers of power of the military chaplaincy, after which the priest Kowalczyk subordinated himself to Tadeusz Jachimowski. The re-organization of the structures of the Curia began, during which priest Kowalczyk, alias Biblia became dean of the Warsaw District of Home Army. After assuming this function, he was taking oaths from underground soldiers, organized meetings with priests and also prepared courses for chaplains, during which they were given advice on how to behave in case of arrest. Additionally, as the chief chaplain of the Warsaw District of Home Army, he divided it into circuits.
On August 1st, 1944, at 11 a.m. Father Kowalczyk called a briefing in the building on Długa Street, during which he gave the last instructions concerning the chaplains’ service and the time when the Warsaw Uprising would break out. The meeting was attended by 14 chaplains, however, unfortunately priest Tadeusz Jachimowski did not arrive at the appointed place. The Military Chaplaincy Office was located on Jasna Street, it was the first place where Biblia worked during the Warsaw Uprising. Just a week after the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, Father Kowalczyk learned about the execution of Father Tadeusz Jachimowski, the Chief Chaplain of Home Army. As a result, after a consultation with Home Army command, he took over the duties of the Chief Chaplain. Due to the lack of information flow, many chaplains did not reach their appointed areas at first, so the initial task of the new Chief Chaplain was to ensure that every military unit had its own chaplain. On August 11th, at the request of Father Kowalczyk, Commander of the Warsaw District of Home Army- Antoni Chruściel, alias Monter, issued a pastoral ordinance of unification of morning and evening prayers in the units. Chruściel became renowned among his colleagues as a superior who tried to keep direct contact with chaplains from different districts. For this reason, the runner officer Teresa Wilska, alias Bożenka, led Father Kowalczyk to the Warsaw Old Town in mid-August. In addition to said organizational work, Biblia performed all other pastoral tasks. He said holy masses, heard confessions, performed burials and blessed weddings. On September 7th, 1944, the wedding of the famous courier Jan Nowak-Jeziorański and Jadwiga Wolska, alias Greta, took place on 7 Wilcza Street. The wedding was sanctified by Father Kowalczyk. He also tried to care for the faith of the insurgents. In agreement with the Home Army command, he organized prayers to the Holy Mother between the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and at the same time Polish Armed Forces Day (August 15th) and the Feast of Black Madonna of Częstochowa (August 26th). At the end of September Biblia, knowing that the Warsaw Uprising is going to fall, ordered the documents of the Military Ordinariate of Poland to be walled up in the cellar of the burnt house on Koszykowa Street. Shortly before the capitulation, Father Kowalczyk appointed Father Mieczysław Paszkiewicz to be the Vice Ministry Chief and ordered him to remain in Warsaw until all the insurgent units left the capital.
The day after the capitulation of Warsaw, Father Kowalczyk ordered the last briefing of the Home Army chaplains, during which they were assigned to either go to prisoner-of-war camps together with soldiers or remain in the destroyed capital to minister to the civilians. It was agreed then that Biblia, together with four other chaplains, would go to the camps, while the rest of the chaplains received certificates releasing them from the military service, thanks to which they could leave Warsaw together with the civilians. On October 5th, 1944, Father Kowalczyk, together with the Warsaw Uprising command and the insurgents, was transported to Oflag II C Woldenberg along with four other chaplains and then moved to the Stalag XI B Fallingbostel prisoner-of-war camp. At the end of January 1945, the camp was liberated by the Red Army.
After his return to Warsaw, Father Kowalczyk first served as a vicar in the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph the Spouse on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street (nowadays a seminary church). In 1948, he became a librarian at the seminary located next to the church. He spent the last days of his priesthood as a vicar treasurer in the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the New Town. Father Stefan Kowalczyk, alias Biblia passed away June 16th, 1957, shortly before his 60th birthday.
Translate: Zuzanna Zapadka
- Stefan Kowalczyk, https://www.1944.pl/powstancze-biogramy/stefan-kowalczyk,23291.html (retrieved: September 24th, 2020)
- Śmierć nie jest końcem – o kapelanach powstania warszawskiego, https://parafia-wojskowa-radom.pl/smierc-nie-jest-koncem-o-kapelanach-powstania-warszawskiego/ (retrieved: September 24th, 2020)
- Organizacja duszpasterstwa wojskowego po ratyfikacji konkordatu z 1925 r., http://archiwum-ordynariat.wp.mil.pl/pl/263_126.html (retrieved: September 24th, 2020)
- Dariusz Chodyniecki, Wojskowa służba kapelańska w czasie II wojny światowej, „Saeculum Christianum: pismo historyczno-społeczne” 5 (1998), nr 2, p. 59-102
- Stanisław Zasada Duch ’44 siła ponad słabością. Duchowi przywódcy Powstania Warszawskiego, Kraków 2018, Wydawnictwo WAM
- „Gdy zaczniemy walczyć miłością…”. Portrety kapelanów powstania warszawskiego, red. Grzegorz Górny i Aleksander Kopaliński, Warszawa 2004.
- Translation of the name “Związek Hallerczyków” into English taken from: Krzysztofory. Zeszyty Naukowe Muzeum Historycznego Miasta Krakowa, red. Anna Biedrzycka, tłum. Michał Szymonik, Kraków: Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa 2018, 36, p. 306, https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi07buwp_DyAhWCjosKHYHWDmwQFnoECAIQAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmuzeumkrakowa.pl%2Fplik-do-pobrania%2F116&usg=AOvVaw0SuAegv-bppzmfmc9UsNQZ (retrieved: September 8th, 2020)
Born on October 12th, 1911. Place of birth unknown. Member of the Camillians. Captain in the Home Army.
In conspiracy he administered as a chaplain the 3rd region of District I of Środmiescie in Warsaw. He used the codenames Mietek or Mieczysław. During the Warsaw Uprising he ministered in Śródmieście in the 3rd Armoured Battalion “Golski” and in Ochota in the “Odwet II” Battalion. After the fall of the Warsaw Uprising he was sent to Stalag X-B – German prisoner-of-war camp, where he died in 1945. Details of his death remain unknown.
Translate: Zuzanna Zapadka
- “Gdy zaczniemy walczyć miłością…”. Portrety kapelanów Powstania Warszawskiego, red. Grzegorz Górny, Aleksander Kopiński, Warszawa 2004, p. 309
- Piotr Rozwadowski, Wielka ilustrowana encyklopedia Powstania Warszawskiego, tom 6, Warszawa 2002, p. 182.
Stefan Piotrowski was born on July 29th, 1900, to Bolesław Piotrowski and his wife Janina, née Sadowska. He was the eldest of four siblings, with two brothers (Eugeniusz and Zygmunt) and a sister (Cecylia). In 1917, he graduated from secondary school in Warsaw, and in 1918 he decided to enter the Metropolitan Major Seminary. In 1920, as a seminarian, he defended Warsaw along with his classmates. Like many seminarians at that time, he hadn’t yet been ordained a priest. He could have fought with a weapon in his hands, but he chose sanitary service. Stefan Piotrowski was ordained a priest by Bishop Stanisław Gall in his private chapel on February 4th, 1923. He completed his theological studies at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Warsaw and received his master’s degree. In 1926, he became the prefect of a secondary school in Żbikowo, and then of the Teachers’ Seminary in Radzymin. In the years 1929-1944, he was a spiritual guide at the Cecylia Plater-Zyberkówna Secondary School on Piusstraße [nowadays: Piękna Street].
After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Father Piotrowski became chaplain of the Polish Army. At the end of September, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison for several weeks. During the occupation, he was active in underground education and the underground Military Ordinariate of Poland, as well as in various academic organisations, including the Sodality of Our Lady (a Catholic lay association whose aim was to combine Christian life with studies) and Iuventus Christiana (a Catholic youth association operating as part of the academic ministry). In 1943, he was appointed to work in the Metropolitan Curia as an inspector of religious instruction for the whole archdiocese, and also became a professor at the Higher Metropolitan Seminary in Warsaw.
As a colonel in the Home Army, he took part in the Warsaw Uprising as vice-deacon of the Warsaw South sub-district and deputy to Father Stefan Kowalczyk, alias Biblia (chief chaplain of the Warsaw Uprising). Father Piotrowski used the codename Jan I. At the turn of August and September 1944, he was in the area of the Postal Savings Bank [nowadays: The PKO Bank Polski Group] building on the corner of Jasna and Świętokrzyska Streets, where one of the largest insurgent hospitals was located at that time. On August 30th, 1944, the building was bombed, and two days later a fire broke out. Father Stefan Piotrowski showed great composure and saved the lives of many patients. After the fall of the uprising, he left Warsaw together with the civilians. In November he was appointed vicar of the parish in Piaseczno, near Warsaw, where he worked until August 20th, 1946. At this time, he was also involved in helping to bring up the two children of his sister Cecylia, who was widowed during the uprising, and whose late husband was Leon Kuliszewski (a well-known and respected Warsaw doctor). From the time of the occupation, Father Piotrowski and Leon Kuliszewski were friends. After the war, Father Piotrowski was awarded the Cross of the Home Army and the Cross of Valour for his actions during the defense of Warsaw in 1920, the occupation and the Warsaw Uprising.
On September 1st, 1945, priest Piotrowski was appointed delegate of the Superintendency of the Warsaw District [Polish: Kuratorium Okręgu Warszawskiego] to supervise religious instruction in schools. In October 1945, he was also ordered to organize the academic priesthood, and already in December of the same year, he received from Archbishop Antoni Szlagowski the nomination for the academic ministry. In July 1946 he organized the first congress of diocesan inspectors of religious instruction.. At that time, he was still a vicar in Piaseczno, which involved constant commuting. On March 16th, 1946, he was appointed rector of St. Anne’s Academic Church in Warsaw. He held that position until October 1st, 1947. Mid-October 1947, Cardinal August Hlond appointed Father Piotrowski parish priest of St. Michael the Archangel parish. The church had been almost destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising and Father Stefan Piotrowski was trusted with rebuilding it. In December 1951, Primate Stefan Wyszyński, known as “the Primate of the Millennium”, consecrated the cornerstone of the church, and later the building itself in 1966.
Father Piotrowski also continued his involvement in pastoral work. On December 15th, 1949, he became the Chairman of the Department of Catholic Doctrine of the Warsaw Metropolitan Curia. He headed this Department until the end of his work in the Curia in 1984. On December 31st, 1952, he was also appointed Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Warsaw. This function involved great responsibility, especially during the years when “the Primate of the Millennium” was in prison. For many years he also chaired the Clergy Examination Board [Polish: Komisja Egzaminacyjna Duchowieństwa], and from 1963 he took part in its meetings as a member of the Archdiocesan Economic Council [Polish: Archidiecezjalna Rada Gospodarcza]. His work did not focus exclusively on the Archdiocese of Warsaw. He also carried out various national tasks. On February 14th, 1957, he became a member of the Marian Commission and Commission for Catholic Education of Polish Episcopal Conference. In the latter, he was the first secretary and then the chairman. He belonged to the commission until 1984, when he resigned. Simultaneously, he also resigned as pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish and become a resident there.
For the 50th anniversary of his priesthood, prelate Stefan Piotrowski received from Pope Paul VI wishes and blessings for his further work sent by telegram in December 1972. For many years, he was a close associate of Primate Stefan Wyszyński and supported him in pastoral and organisational activities. On February 24th, 1984, Pope John Paul II, at the request of Primate Józef Glemp, elevated prelate Stefan Piotrowski to the dignity of protonotary apostolic.
During the last six years of his life, Father Stefan Piotrowski was gravely ill. He died on July 27th, 1990, two days before his 90th birthday. The funeral took place on August 1st. The Mass was led by the Primate Józef Glemp in the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Warsaw. The priest was buried in the family grave at the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.
Translate: Sandra Liwanowska
- Stefan Piotrowski, https://www.1944.pl/powstancze-biogramy/stefan-piotrowski,34888.html (retrieved: September 21st, 2020).
- Stefan Piotrowski, red. Jana Płaska, Warszawa 1991.
- Wyszyński Stefan, Pro Memoria: zapiski z lat 1948-1949 i 1952-1953, red. M. Bujnowska, I. Czarcińska, M. Plaskacz, A. Rastawicka, Warszawa 2007.
There is a little certain information about the life and activities of Father Kitliński before the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. The date and the place of his birth as well as details of the beginning of his priestly ministry remain unconfirmed. Probably, he was born as Antoni Jan Kitliński in Michałowice in 1909 to father Szczepan Kitliński and mother Antonina, née Piwowarek. Likewise, little is known about his childhood and the beginnings of his priestly ministry. Tadeusz Ejmont recalled that his father ran a photography studio in Warsaw and that he remembered Father Kitliński from underground secretly conducted education.
The earliest information concerning Father Kitliński related to his service as parish priest of St. Barbara’s Church on Wspólna Street in Warsaw. It is known that he held this position some time, before the outbreak of the war and after the evacuation of the authorities from the capital, he was appointed head of the Praga, district of Warsaw, by Father Stefan Kowalczyk- Vicar General and notary of the Military Ordinariate of Poland. The immediate reason for this rapid reorganization was the evacuation of the Polish government and The General Staff (formerly The Main Staff) of the Polish Armed Forces, including the Catholic Bishop in the Military Ordinariate of Poland Józef Gawlina who had appointed Father Kowalczyk to this position before leaving the capital on September 4th, 1939. Kowalczyk reorganized the pastoral work, dividing the Warsaw district into four sub-districts and appointing the priests who would be responsible for them. Apart from Jan Kitliński, these included Stefan Piotrowski and Jan Salamucha.
First weeks of the occupation the priests spent the sorting out organizational structure of the pastoral ministry and training in underground work during secretly conducted education. Most often, these meetings took place in the chapel in Marymont – northern neighborhood of Warsaw or in Kowalczyk’s home. They dealt with safety rules: how to behave when arrested, how to hide illegal activities etc. The leader of the meetings was always one of the Home Army officers. Altogether, ten such meetings were held. Kitliński’s codename was Szczepan, taken from his father’s name.
Subsequent meetings to discuss current conspiratorial tasks were held, mostly on Hoża and Barska Streets. The last meeting like this took place on July 30th, 1944. In the meantime, each of the chaplains carried out various underground tasks, such as administering the sacraments to diversionists or running underground secretly conducted education. Father Kitliński also ordained the banners of newly-formed scout troops and dispensed sacraments to the Józef Piłsudski 1st chevan-léger regiment known as Szwoleżerowie.
Kitliński was informed unofficially by Father Piotrowski about the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising at 11 a.m., and officially by a runner soldier at 3 p.m. He left two auxiliary priests from the Society of Saint Francis de Sales in his district – Franciszek Borowiec and Tadeusz Blezień. As the armed action in Praga ended in a failure, Jan Kitliński hid in the basement of St. Florian’s Cathedral together with about 200 other civilians and Father Borowiec. He spent the first days of the fight there. On August 5th, a large group of about 1,000 participants of the Warsaw Uprising withdrew from the vicinity of the church, and from the next day the building was occupied by the Germans. After initial searches and suspicions about hiding armed people, a German officer personally inspected the civilians present in the church, and after determining that there was no threat present, he dismissed his soldiers. He also allowed the faithful to return to their homes, subject they stay there. The ban was because the street was watched and controlled by soldiers with machine guns, who had orders to shoot at any potential enemy. The forced isolation lasted until August 11th. During this time, priests held masses and prayers in their homes.
On August 11th, the Germans gave the order to evacuate all the people from Praga to a transit camp. There was very little time to gather belongings – only one hour. The transport of people to the transit camp in the barracks on Esplanadenstraße [nowadays: 11 Listopada Street] lasted until 1 p.m. There were around 1,200 people in that group. Further groups were transported to Zakroczym. Father Kitliński took part in dividing the people into groups and assigning priests and doctors responsible for them. On the same day he also obtained permission to celebrate mass, however, without authorization for music and loud singing. The Germans even gave him extra food for the occasion. The liturgy was celebrated with wine and small pieces of sliced bread. The celebrant was assisted by Father Józef Fałtynowicz, who went with the first group of 800 people to Zakroczym the next day.
Father Kitliński remained in the camp until its abandonment and final decommissioning on August 21th. After having led away the rest of the civilians, he applied in German to the command for the resumption of his pastoral activities in the church of the Sacred Heart of Mary to which he received authorization. After several days of negotiations, on August 28th, the parish resumed their activities. Till September 7th, the parish documentation was intensively issued and updated, in particular the birth certificates. This was because Germans used them as a condition for the civilians staying in their houses.
On September 7th, the parish priest of Zarzeń offered Father Kitliński to cross the front line to the Soviet side. Kitliński refused. On the same day the Germans started to displace people from Warsaw. People were gathered in marching columns on Ostenstraße [nowadays: Grochowska Street]. Father Kitliński was supposed to go at first with one of the groups, but ultimately he stayed at the presbytery until September 10th, ministering to dramatically dropping in numbers groups of inhabitants. On Sunday September 10th, the general attack on Praga began and the Germans retreated, having previously set fire to the wooden church to create a smoke screen. From the night of September 11th, the priest and civilians who had taken shelter in the church were met by Soviet soldiers. On September 13th, the priest was appointed chairman of the local citizens’ committee. Despite the military insistence that he urge people to evacuate to a safer place, he remained in the rectory and ministered until the end of the Warsaw Uprising. He was a member of the Warsaw-Praga Citizens’ Committee until mid-November 1945. He then ministered at St. Anthony Church in Warsaw.
After the war, Father Kitliński was sentenced by the communist authorities to six years in prison in a show trial. After completing his sentence, he served as a priest until his death on October 2th, 1981. Towards the end of his life, he wrote memoirs of his experiences during the Warsaw Uprising.
Translate: Zuzanna Zapadka
- Archives of Oral History [Polish: Archiwum Historii Mówionej] – Tadeusz Ejmont, https://www.1944.pl/archiwum-historii-mowionej/tadeusz-ejmont,340.html (retrieved: 14th September 2020)
- Museum of Scouting [Polish: Muzeum Harcerstwa] – akta – Wspomnienia księdza prałata Antoniego Kitlińskiego, proboszcza parafii Św. Barbary przy ul. Wolnej w Warszawie
- “Gdy zaczniemy walczyć miłością…”. Portrety kapelanów Powstania Warszawskiego, red. Grzegorz Górny, Aleksander Kopiński, Warszawa, 2004
- Salon24 – Trial of Father Kitliński [Polish: Rozprawa księdza Antoniego Kitlińskiego] https://www.salon24.pl/u/lustratorpolski/424469,rozprawa-ks-antoniego-kitlinskiego (retrieved: 14th September 2020)
Father Mieczysław Paszkiewicz was born on March 20th, 1900, in Wasiliszki to Leonard Paszkiewicz and Justyna, née Tabeński. He had six brothers and two sisters. They were brought up according to Catholic and patriotic traditions. Many of the future priest’s ancestors took part in the January Uprising [Polish: Powstanie styczniowe] and were exiled to Siberia; all of Paszkiewicz’s brothers were Polish Army officers.
In 1912 the family moved to Worniany (small village in Belarus), where Paszkiewcz finished primary school and then privately prepared for further education. In 1914, he enrolled in a secondary school in Vilnius and after a year transferred to a state secondary school in Święciany. In 1915, Paszkiewicz had to abandon his education due to the German army invading the area. The Paszkiewicz family was split up as the older brothers and sisters left for St. Petersburg, while the rest of the family, including Mieczysław, stayed behind. There was fighting between the Germans and Russians soldiers near Worniany, and as a result Paszkiewicz was unable to continue his education. It would become possible after Poland regained its independence. In 1919 Mieczysław moved to Warsaw, where he lived with his brothers. In 1924 he graduated from Kazimierz Kulwieć Secondary School in Warsaw.
In 1925, Mieczysław Paszkiewicz entered the Vilnus St. Joseph Seminary and at the same time studied Theology at the Stefan Batory University (nowadays: Vilnus University), where he was awarded his master’s degree in Canon Law in 1931 based on thesis entitled “Obstacle conditionis servilis in the Roman and Church legislation up to the Council of Trent” [Polish: Przeszkoda conditionis servilis w prawodastwie rzymskim I kościelnym do Soboru Trydenckiego], written under the supervision of Father Professor Bronisław Żongołowicz.
Mieczysław Paszkiewicz was ordained a priest on April 4th, 1931, by Archbishop Romuald Jałbrzykowski. He celebrated his first Mass in the Chapel of St. Casimir in the Vilnius Cathedral and his first assignment was to the parish in Słobódka, where he worked for only three months before being transferred to Ashmyany, a large parish with more than 11,000 faithful. There he became a prefect in the secondary school and elementary school, as well as a vicar in the parish ministry. In 1934, Father Paszkiewicz was given an independent post in Mickūnai near Vilnius.
In May 1936, with the permission of Archbishop Jałbrzykowski, Father Paszkiewicz became chaplain to the Polish Army. First, he worked as a chaplain at a hospital in Poznań, at the same time taking pastoral care of the 3rd Airforce Regiment in Poznań, after which he took the post of the pastor of St. Florian’s Church in Praga, district of Warsaw and auxiliary churches in Rembertów and Wesoła.
After the outbreak of the war, he ministered during the Invasion of Poland (also known as the September Campaign). On October 3th, 1939, Father Paszkiewicz was arrested by Germans and imprisoned in the Pawiak as a hostage, where he remained until October 22th, 1939.
Having left prison, he became chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross in Laski [Polish: Zgromadzenie Sióstr Franciszkanek Służebnic Krzyża w Laskach], and later in Żukowo near Lublin. In the years 1941-1943 he was a teacher at the orphanage of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary in Białołęka Dworska, however because of the threat of arrest, he moved to the parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Warsaw, where at the same time, as chaplain of the active service, he was involved in the conspiratorial activity of the Union of Armed Struggle – the Home Army, bearing the codenames Ignacy and Ignacy Haczyk.
Once the Warsaw Uprising broke out, he served as dean of the Home Army’s Warsaw District. He celebrated masses at 12 Poznańska Street at a field altar with a cross made out of burned wooden beams. Those services were meant to uphold the spirits of those fighting and to strengthen the faith in final victory. The Mass of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary went down in history, as recalled by nurse Barbara Lenard: “I remember the solemn atmosphere of the field mass on August 15th, in the courtyard of a large block of flats at 12 Poznańska Street. We were standing by the walls – the combat units, liaison officers and us, the sanitary service. The altar on the wall of the building with a huge cross made out of two burnt beams, an accordion instead of an organ and a tall figure of the priest in front of the altar, and a noise of machine guns in the distance. At some point there was a powerful explosion somewhere nearby, then we heard a swish and a black, jagged shrapnel fell at the priest’s feet, who was facing us with the words ‘Dominus vobiscum’. The priest did not flinch and did not stop the Mass….”
During the Warsaw Uprising, Father Paszkiewicz was promoted to the rank of major and then to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was awarded the Cross of Valour. Towards the end of the uprising, Father Stefan Kowalczyk, the chief chaplain, appointed Father Paszkiewicz as his deputy.
After the fall of the Warsaw Uprising, Father Paszkiewicz first stayed in Milanówek, and in December 1944 he was appointed chaplain of the Home Army’s Częstochowa District. In May 1945, he moved to Poznań.
During the German occupation, Father Paszkiewicz conducted scientific research and was awarded PhD on the basis of a dissertation written under the supervision of Father Professor Zygmunt Kozubski entitled “Chaplaincy of the Sick in Hospitals” [Polish: Duszpasterstwo chorych w szpitalach].
After the war, in the years 1945-1946, Mieczysław Paszkiewicz was a prefect in the Fr. Piotr Skarga Secondary School in Szamotuły. Later he became the parish administrator of Sobota, and then a prefect in the School of Commerce and Industry in Poznań. Also, he was offered the opportunity to work with the editors of the “Pastoral News” [Polish: Wiadomości Duszpasterskie], where he led the homiletics section and published his own articles.
In 1949 Father Paszkiewicz moved to Białystok to teach patrology, theology of internal life, homiletics and Church history at the Archdiocesan School of Theology in Białystok [Polish: Archidiecezjalne Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne w Białym stoku]. He performed many other functions there in the years 1952-1964. He was: the prefect of the seminary, the father confessor of the alumni, the archdiocesan father confessor, the censor of church records, the archdiocesan director of the Apostolic Union of Clergy, a member of the Priests’ Council, the father confessor of the Theological-Pastoral Institute. He died on August 24th, 1987. He was buried at a cemetery in Białystok.
Translate: Zuzanna Zapadka
- Tadeusz Krahel, Ksiądz prałat Mieczysław Paszkiewicz. W 20-tą rocznicę śmierci, “W służbie miłosierdzia” 8 (2007), nr 8
- Jan Walkusz, Kościół w Polsce, t. 14, Lublin 2015, p. 208-2011
- Powstańcza msza święta 2019, Warszawa 2019 (National Remembrance Institute’s brochure)
Zygmunt Trószyński was born on December 4th, 1886, at 9 Leszno Street in Warsaw, to Mikołaj Trószyński, Mayor of Młociny, and his third wife, Maria, née Richter. He had twelve siblings. His older brother Kazimierz Trószyński (a veterinary surgeon) and older sister Maria Trószyńska took over the care of the not quite 7-months-old Zygmunt after the death of his mother. He was baptised at the St. Karol Boromeusz’s Church at 9 Chłodna Street. Initially, Zygmunt Trószyński was educated at home and later attended a middle school. In 1903, when he was 17, his father died. On June 18th, 1907, Trószyński graduated at the seven-grade Wróblewski’s Realschule of the Warsaw Merchants’ Association [Polish: Realne Zrzeszenia Kupców Warszawskich Wróblewskiego] at 30 Złota Street (nowadays: the Tadeusz Czacki High School). After receiving his high school diploma Trószyński began studies at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the Jagiellonian University, but only a year later he moved to the University in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he studied at the Faculty of Theology. It was there that the future priest discovered his vocation. He returned to Warsaw immediately after the death of his older brother, who had financed his stay abroad. On his return, he entered the Higher Metropolitan Seminary in Warsaw. He was ordained a priest on July 6th, 1913, by Bishop Kazimierz Ruszkiewicz in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, and was then sent to work as a vicar in Wiskitki near Żyrardów. In February 1915, during the First World War, there was battle over Wola Szydłowiecka, during which Father Trószyński cared for the wounded. During this time, he fell ill with pneumonia, which developed into the beginnings of tuberculosis. His treatment lasted several months, first in Warsaw, at the Workers’ and Craftsmen’s Shelter of the Warsaw Charitable Society [Polish: Przytułek dla Rzemieślników I Robotników Warszawskiego Toarzystwa Dobroczynności], at 29/31 Młynarska Street, and then in Otwock. In 1915, Father Trószyński entered the Marian novitiate in Bielany. On November 13th, 1916, he took his first vows before Father Jerzy Matulewicz, the Marian General, and three years later he took his perpetual vows. Beginning in 1919, he resided at the Marian House in Bielany, serving as a councillor and, at the same time, as the vicar of the parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A year later, with the outbreak of the Polish-Soviet War, Father Trószczyński served as chaplain on sanitary trains at the Warszawa Gdańska Station. In 1924, he was sent to the United States, but two years later returned to Warsaw to take up pastoral office in Bielany. In May 1929, he received the Commemorative Medal for the War of 1918-1921 [Polish: Medal Pamiątkowy za wojnę 1918-1921] for serving as a military chaplain.
In the interwar period, Father Trószyński opened an eating house, kindergartens and shelters in Marymont, and also established the local Caritas. With the outbreak of Second World War, Father Trószczyński became chaplain to the 1st Battalion of the 40th Infantry Regiment in Bielany. After the capitulation of Warsaw, he opened a shelter for recovering soldiers in Lipowa Street in Bielany. He also created the secret organization “Help for Soldiers” [Polish: Pomoc Żołnierzowi], whose members sent parcels to partisans and prisoners of war. During the occupation, he issued baptismal certificates to Jewish children, hid them with nuns and in the vicarage. From 1940, he belonged to the Union for Armed Struggle. He chose the Arabic fortress Alkazar as his conspiratorial alias.
On August 1st, 1944, at 11 a.m., Father Trószyński appeared at a briefing for chaplains called by Father Stefan Kowalczyk, alias Biblia, at which only a dozen or so chaplains were present. Then that Father Trószyński learned about the planned outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. He returned to Marymont, where he hid the parish documents and began his ministry as chaplain of the Sub-district II of Żoliborz [Polish: Obwód Żywiciel]. He carried out the wounded from the battlefield, but also celebrated masses at field altars or – when it was possible – in a church. On September 16th, Marymont was taken by the Germans. On that day, when Father Trószyński was crossing the ditch towards Żoliborz, he was wounded in the cheek. After being treated in hospital, he returned to his priestly ministry and remained in Żoliborz until 30th September ie. the end of the fighting in that district. On October 2nd, after the fall of the Warsaw Uprising, Father Trószyński, left Warsaw together with the civilians and made his way to Laski, and then wandered around the towns near Warsaw. He stayed in Grodzisk Mazowiecki and Milanówek, where he tried to save people from deportation. In October 1944, by order of General Antoni Monter Chruściel he was promoted from the rank of a major to the lieutenant colonel for his merits during the Warsaw Uprising
Father Trószyński returned to Warsaw in January 1945. He was engaged in helping the civilians returning to the capital and in rebuilding the temple in Marymont. In 1947, he founded the General Stefan Grot Rowecki’s dormitory for orphans of the fallen insurgents in the former barracks. On January 18th, 1949, while he was staying at the presbytery at 6A Gdańska Street, he was arrested by the Ministry of Public Security (commonly known as UB) and imprisoned in the Warsaw prison in Mokotów. On January 1st, 1950, the District Court sentenced him to six years’ imprisonment for conspiratorial activity and desire to change the Polish state system, and on April 26th, he was transferred to the prison in Wronki – one of the heaviest political prisons in Poland. In 1951, Father Trószyński’s sister, Jadwiga, appealed to President Bolesław Bierut to pardon her brother. In April, Bierut reduced the punishment to four years in confinement but did not pardon the priest, even though Father Trószyński had twice helped his daughter Krystyna. During the Warsaw Uprising, the priest took care of Krystyna Bierut when she was wounded in the middle of August. Following the fall of the Warsaw Uprising, thanks to documents provided by Father Trószyński, Bierut’s daughter and her mother avoided deportation to Germany from the transit camp in Pruszków.
On January 18th, 1953, after four years in prison, Father Trószyński returned to Warsaw, but only after his rehabilitation in 1956 was he able to return to his priestly ministry as vicar in Marymont (because of his sentence, the authorities did not allow him to take over the presbytery), as well as chaplain to the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus (known as Grey Ursulines). In May 1959, by a resolution of the State Council, he was granted the Partisan Cross. He spent the last year of his life in the House of Retired Priests in Otwock. Father Zygmunt Trószyński, alias Alkazar, died on June 22nd, 1965. Three days later, Bishop Zygmunt Choromański celebrated the chaplain’s funeral mass at Our Lady Queen of Poland Church in Marymont. He was buried in the Wawrzyszewski Cemetery in Warsaw, in the Marian Fathers’ section. In 1993, the General Chapter of the Marian Fathers in Rome passed a document in which it ordered the collection of documents testifying to the holiness of Father Trószyński to initiate a possible beatification process.
Translate: Sandra Liwanowska
- Gdy zaczniemy walczyć miłością… Portrety kapelanów powstania warszawskiego., Grzegorz Górny, Aleksander Kopaliński, Warszawa 2004.
- Petrowa-Wasilewicz Alina, Tablica pamięci ks. Zygmunta Trószyńskiego “Alkazar”, [Memorial plaque to Father Zygmunt Trószyński “Alkazar”, own translation], https://www.parafia-marymont.pl/aktualnosci/tablica-pamieci-ks-zygmunta-troszynskiego-alkazar/[retrieved: September 16th, 2020).
- Rygielski Jacek, Zygmunt Trószyński (1886-1965), https://padrimariani.org/ks-zygmunt-troszynski/ [retrieved: September 7th, 2020].
- Tryliński Janusz, Zygmunt Trószyński „Alkazar”, http://www.zubry1944.pl/x-zygmunt-troszynski/ [retrieved: September 9th, 2020].
- Wyszyński Stefan, Pro memoria, 1: 1948-1952, red. Paweł Skibiński, Ewa Czaczkowska, Andrzej Gałka, Anna Rastawicka, Krzysztof Wiśniewski, Warszawa 2017, p. 224.
- Zasada Stanisław, Duch 44 siła ponad słabością. Duchowi przywódcy Powstania Warszawskiego, Kraków 2018, p. 163-178
Leon Pawlina was born in Retki. He was the only child. His parents wanted to educate their son, so they sent him to school in Łowicz. After graduating secondary school, Leon decided to enter the Higher Metropolitan Seminary in Warsaw. On December 19th, 1932, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Antoni Szlagowski. He celebrated his first mass in the parish church in Złakowo. From 1936 he studied at the Catholic University of Lublin, where he wrote a PhD thesis entitled ‘Dymisories in historical development’ [Polish: Dymistoje w rozwoju historycznym].
During the occupation, Father Pawlina was the director of the Pius XI Catholic House ‘Roma’ [nowadays: the Roma Musical Theatre], and the Dean of the Home Army Warsaw District. He collaborated with the chaplain Mieczysław Paszkiewicz, alias Ignacy.
After the Warsaw Uprising, he became parish priest of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church in Tamka Street in Warsaw. He worked on clearing the ruins of the church and began renovating a rectory that had been destroyed during the war. However, he was soon arrested.
After the war, he was involved in the anti-communist underground. He gained and passed to the editorial office of The People’s Newspaper [Polish: Gazeta Ludowa], operating under the Polish People’s Party [Polish: Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL], secret documents concerning the arrests of Polish People’s Party activists, imprisoned priests and Soviet officers within the structures of the Ministry of Public Security [Polish: Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego], commonly known as UB. In October 1946, during a search of the editorial office, evidence incriminating Father Pawlina was found, and he was immediately arrested.
Father Leon Pawlina was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for “gathering and passing on information which, in the interests of the state, should be kept secret”. He left prison in 1953, and three years later he died in a train accident under unexplained circumstances.
Translate: Sandra Liwanowska
- Augustyński skazany na 15 lat, ks. Pawlina na 10, „Dziennik Polski i Dziennik Żołnierza”, 1947, nr 187 (08.08.1947), p. 1, 4
- Historia powstania parafii i budowy kościoła na Powiślu w Warszawie – cz. V, „…u Świętej Tereski”, 2013, nr 5 (05.12.2013), p. 4, 5
- Prymicja, w: „Łowiczanin”, 1932, nr 1 (15.01.1932), p.14
- Wyrok w procesie szpiegowskim, „Głos Ludu”, 1947, nr 215 (07.08.1947), p.1