Wednesday, March 20, 2013
ADSS 3.1.89 August Hlond to Maglione: report on 3 Polish bishops
Having escaped Poland and found temporary exile in Rome, Cardinal-Primate of Poland, August Hlond (1881-1948) became a major focus for information from Poland arriving in Italy. Throughout the war years Hlond maintained an extensive series of contacts within his homeland and made regular representation to the Holy See on behalf of the Poles.
Uppermost in the mind of many bishops, including the pope, was the ever-worsening situation in Poland. Polish dioceses were often without bishops, clergy were arrested and imprisoned and several thousand Polish priests had been hauled off to concentration camps. Many had died. In this document Hlond provides information about three Polish bishops - one most likely dead, one possibly insane and a third still in his diocese and under the protection of the Jews.
Hlond was no friend of Polish Jews having warned the country in a Pastoral Letter in 1936 that the Jews posed a social, moral and economic danger to Poland. However, he did draw the line at physical attacks on Jews and Jewish property. Once the German genocide against the Jews began in earnest, Hlond condemned the persecution vigorously and consistently.
This document echoes the popular myth that Jews were almost naturally sympathetic to communism - Judeo-Bolshevism.
By early 1940 Pope Pius XII had as clear and accurate picture of life in German-occupied Poland as he did of Soviet-occupied Poland. The grim depictions that cross his desk were to get worse.
Cardinal August Hlond
Reference: AES 93/40
Location and date: Rome, 07.01.1940
Summary: Almost certain that bishop Stanislaw Lukomski of Lomita has died. Bishop Casmir Bukraba of Pinsk is in a lunatic asylum. Auxiliary bishop Charles Niemira (1883-1965) is ‘generous to all and protective against the Jews who are powerful under the Soviet regime.’
In response to the venerable letter of your Eminence of 03.01.1940 (12/40) (1), permit me to present the following information about Stanislaw Lukomski, bishop of Lomža.
The war surprised the very active bishop of this diocese. By order of the military command Lomža was evacuated and he was ordered to leave on 10 September. Bishop Lukomski went by car to Pinsk, which was in throes of great turmoil, where he stayed for three days with his Excellency, Bishop Casimir Bukraba. On 14 September he went with the bishop to Nowogrodek (the northernmost part of the diocese of Pinsk) from where Bishop Bukraba returned to Pinsk on 15 September, while bishop Lukomski continued to Vilna where he arrived on 16 September. There he stayed with his Excellency, Bishop Jalbrzykowski, the metropolitan, and where he witnessed the occupation of the city by Bolshevik troops. On 26 September he returned to his diocese in Lomža, which is not far from Bialystok.
For some time there were rumours that those “Without God” had martyred him. Finally, around mid-December I was told in person with news from Warsaw, from his Excellency, Bishop [Stanislaw] Gall that his Excellency, Bishop [Tadeusz] Zakrzewski, Vicar General and auxiliary bishop of Lomža (2) had received a letter saying that Bishop Lukomski “is not alive” and that Bishop Zakrzewski asked for instruction on what to do. All those who have come from Warsaw have repeated this news, but a written confirmation from Bishop Gall is significant since this most excellent prelate usually does not write anything.
According to sources, Bishop Zakrzewski is currently in Nur or near to it (3), that is, in the part of Lomža diocese that lies within the limits of today’s “General Government Poland” and which is the smaller part of the diocese, because the remaining two thirds are partly under Soviet occupation, in the context of the Greater German Reich.
Concerning Bishop Bukraba, I wrote to his Excellency, Bishop Jalbrzykowski who wrote to me in a letter dated in December, that bishop Bukraba had fallen seriously ill and had obtained permission from the Russians to go to Lvov for treatment. Instead there came from Lvov the news that the bishop. Overwhelmed by the events, had become mentally ill and was admitted to the Kulparkow asylum in Lvov.
Bishop [Karol] Niemira (4), Vicar General and auxiliary bishop, remained in Pinsk. He is loved by everyone and even protected by the Jews who are powerful under the Soviet regime.
(1) ADSS 3.1.84
(2) Tadeusz Zakrzewski (1883-1961) Aux bp Lomža (1938-1946). Hlond wrote to Maglione on 15.01.1940 to report that Bishop Lukomski was alive and in his diocese. Cf ADSS 3.1.98.
(3) Nur was about 70kms south of Lomža and was the northern most part of the Generalgouvernment.
(4) Karol Niemira (1883-1965).