Monday, April 22, 2013

ADSS 3.2.472 Report from Bishop Stanislaw Adamski of Katowice, Poland: persecution and papal silence

In September 1942 and January 1943 Bishop Stanislaw Adamski of Katowice in Poland wrote reports on the situation of the Polish Catholic Church.  In the second and longer report, several notes were collated and formed into one document when the various sections arrived in Rome.  The process of delivery from Warsaw to Rome is not made clear, but the information contained is identical in many respects to the September report.  Does this mean that Adamski was not sure if the first letter had reached Rome?  At this point I am not sure.  What can be stated with certainty is that the Polish church was undergoing terrible privation and suffering.  Adamski broaches the issue of Pius XII's "silence" in terms of an anti-papal propaganda campaign put about by the enemies of the church.  He alleges it has not succeeded.

The whole document needs to be read and not only the paragraph dealing with the alleged "silence" of the pope.  

At the time of writing, January 1943, news was reaching German-occupied Europe of the encirclement of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad. Perhaps Adamski felt the first glimmers of hope that the war might end before the Germans had destroyed the Polish church entirely. 

ADSS 3.2.472 Report of Stanislaw Adamski (Katowice)

Reference: AES 2029/43

Location and date: Warsaw, end of January 1943

Summary statement: Overview of the clerical situation in Poland; economic situation and morale of the clergy in the General Government.  Status of the bishops. Propaganda suggesting the Pope has forgotten Poland and steps taken to counter it.  Diocese of Warsaw and the imprisonment of the Rector of the Seminary.

Language: German


The situation (1) as reported from other parts of the country that form the Government General, has identified many of the priests who were forced to leave.  As far as can be ascertained, and with few exceptions, they have through the help of Mass stipends (2), assistance from friends and relatives and their own income through civilian activities, been able to make themselves secure.   Since all these priests are unable to be sufficiently engaged in pastoral work, they have taken on other work as officials etc.  This activity not only gives them a necessary contribution to their income, but is necessary to avoid being sent away for forced labour.

Many priests have not yet recovered from the hardship caused by the war and are suffering from nervous shock. Many also suffer from excessive anxiety.  It is natural to expect that some may be “derailed”.  Creating organised spiritual direction is not possible at present partly because many priests are in hiding, the danger of having meetings which is particularly dangerous for these men.

Bishop Bukraba of Pinsk (3), now lives in Warsaw at the St Joseph Sanitarium, 18 Emilii Plater Street.  His health is normal, although he suffers from high blood pressure.  Auxiliary bishop Niemira (4) also lives in Warsaw and is in good health.  Their applications to return to Pinsk have been refused.

The diocese of Pinsk is divided into three parts between East Prussia, Ostland and Ukraine.  The boundaries may be crossed only upon specific authorisation.  For each part of the diocese the bishop has appointed a Vicar General and they have taken office.  The diocese is organised sufficiently and the bishop is in contact with them.

The Vicar General of Pinsk, Monsignor Iwicki and the Vicar General in Novogrodek, Dean Daleki were shot (5) Recently another 35 priests, after a short imprisonment, were also shot.  The reasons are unknown.

Bishop Lukomski (6) resides freely in his home in Lomza.  His auxiliary bishop, Zakrzewski (7) lives in Ostrow Mazowiecka and is Apostolic Administrator of diocese of Lomza that is within the Government General (about 5 parishes).  He cannot go to Lomza but is in contact with the bishop.

The Archbishop of Vilna (8) is outside his diocese interned in the Marian monastery Mariampol in Lithuania.  He is in good health and has some contact with Vilna.  The current administrator of the Vilna archdiocese seems to have done nothing about the messages reporting the poor material circumstances of the re-settled archbishop.

Archbishop Sapieha (9) in Krakow is in good health and very active in spite of many difficulties.  He was made it clear to the Leader of the Government General in spoken word and in writing, making it very clear that existing abuses are uncovered.  His approach has given him widespread acclaim.

Bishop Szlagowski (10) in Warsaw has received his faculties as a residential bishop with the greatest gratitude.  He is active and working.

The rector of the seminary in Warsaw, Archutovski (11), was arrested suddenly a month ago.  The reason is unknown.  So far, attempts to secure his release have been unsuccessful.

There are no changes in Lvov, Przemysl, Tarnow and Krakow.  Bishops and auxiliaries are in good health and about their normal work.  The same is true for Krakow [sic] and Luck (Luceoria), as well as in Sandomierz, Lielce and Czestochowa. 

The Vicar General of Poznan, auxiliary bishop Dymek (12) has been ordered to leave the Chancery building and his apartment on the second floor of the parish house of The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mr Wolf, the Head of the Gestapo department for Church Affairs lives on the first floor (13).  The Vicar General of the archdiocese of Gniezno, Canon van Blericq  (14) was ordered to leave Gniezno and go to Hohensalza (within the diocese).  He exercised his ministry there along with Vicar General Dymek from Poznan, but only for Polish Catholics according to the limits set by the police.

The auxiliary bishop Kozal of Wloclawek was sent to a concentration camp for several weeks.  He died in KZ Dachau (15).  Bishop Nowowiejski of Plock died in KZ Soldau over eighteen months ago (16).

Auxiliary bishop Wetmanski of Plock (17) has not been heard from in over eighteen months. 

Both bishops of Lodz are living as internees in Biecz monastery near Krosno (Galicia).  Bishop Fulman of Lublin (18) is interned in the parish house in Neu-Sandez (Galicia).  His auxiliary bishop, Goral (19) is in a concentration camp.

There is an organised anti-papal propaganda campaign among various elements of the Polish population, which asserts that the Holy Father, as an Italian, does not care about the Polish people, nor does he care about their fate etc.

This propaganda was, as has been determined, organised by old opponents of the Church.  Knowing the situation of the Polish nation cut off from reliable sources of information, and with no independent public papers, these enemies went “fishing” in trouble waters, and on the one hand attempted to exploit the possibility the Church and Pope could counter these charges and consolidate their position after the war, but on the other hand, they could also steer Catholics away from the Church and the Pope.

Thanks to the reports of the activities of the Holy Father in favour of Poland, as well as the intense reaction of good Catholics, this propaganda is on the wane and continues to loose support.  The efforts have proven the absolute groundlessness of the anti-papal propaganda have encouraged all, in deepest gratitude to listen again to the Holy Father, in order to have a lot more of the truth.

(1) This document was compiled from fragments that were written out on plain paper with no signature or date.  It arrived at the Vatican in March 1943.  Some information provided by various dioceses was cut and corrections made.  The document here is therefore a reconstruction of two letter, and may not contain all the notes of the original.  See Maglione’s response, ADSS 3.2.502.  The dating of the letter was construed from the news of the imprisonment of the Seminary Rector, Archutovski “a month ago”.  The arrest occurred in November 1942 and the conjecture was made that part of the letter was written towards the end of December 1942.

(2) Mass stipends refer to money given by a person to a priest asking for the Mass to be offered for a particular intention.  This is a common Catholic custom. The money is a gift acknowledging the work of the priest.

(3) Kasimiriz Bukraba (1885-1946) bishop of Pinsk (1932-1946).

(4) Karol Niemira (1883-1965) auxiliary bishop of Pinsk (1933-1946).

(5) Witold Iwicki (1884-1943), was arrested and shot during a reprisal action by the Germans.  It is believed Iwicki was active in hiding Jews.  Michael Dalecki (1884-1942) was murdered during a German action against Polish intelligentsia on 31.07.1942.  On the anti-intelligentsia action see (Polish website)

(6) Stanislas Lukomski (1874-1948), bishop of Lomza 1926-1948.

(7) Tadeusz Zakrzewski (1883-1961), auxiliary bishop of Lomza 1938-1946.

(8) Romuald Jalbrzykowski (1876-1955), archbishop of Vilnius 1926-1955.  He was a deeply unpopular bishop among Lithuanian Catholics.

(9) Adam Sapieha (1867-1951), archbishop of Krakow 1911-1951.

(10) Antoni Wladyslaw Szlagowski (1864-1956), auxiliary bishop of Warsaw 1928-1956.

(11) Roman Archutowski (1882-1943), rector of the Warsaw diocesan seminary 1940-1942.  He was arrested in November 1942 and sent to KL Majdanek where he died on Palm Sunday, 23.03.1943.  He was beatified as a martyr by John Paul II on 13.06.1999.

(12) Walenty Dymek (1888-1956), auxiliary bishop of Poznan 1929-1945.  He succeeded as archbishop in 1946.

(13) Franz Wolf (1895- ) and his family lived on the ground floor of the parish house; the remaining clergy were permitted to live on the second floor.

(14) Edward van Blericq (1895-1946), vicar general of Poznan 1939-1946.  Expelled form Poznan by the Gestapo in July 1941 and spent the rest of the war in Inowroclaw, southern Poland.

(15) Michael Kozal (1893-1943), auxiliary bishop of Wloclawek 1939-1943.  Died in KZ Dachau.  Beatified as a martyr on 14.06.1987.

(16) Anthony Julian Nowowiejski (1858-1941), bishop of Plock 1908-1941.  Arrested by the Gestapo in 1940 he was later sent to KL Sodau where he died on 28.05.1941.  He was beatified as a martyr on 13.06.1999.

(17) Leon Wetmanski (1886-1941), auxiliary bishop of Plock 1927-1941.  Arrested 06-07.03.1941 he was sent to KL Soldau where he died around the beginning of October.

(18) Marian Fulman (1866-1945), bishop of Lublin 1918-1945.  Imprisoned in KL Sachsenhausen 1939-1940 and KL Nowy Sasz 1940-1945.

(19) Vladislaw Goral (1898-1944), auxiliary bishop of Lublin 1938-1944.  Imprisoned and died in KL Sachsenhausen. Beatified as a martyr 13.06.1999.

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