Archiver > POLAND-ROOTS > 2002-09 > 1033010925

From: "Bernadette" <>
Subject: RE: [POLAND] Adversity to Polish Heritage
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 23:28:45 -0400

Hi to all!

I realize this is a little bit "off" the genealogy path, but since people
have been talking about the situation in Poland and the Concentration Camps,
I feel compelled to tell you about a very special Polish Franciscan priest,
Fr. Karol Raymond Radzie~ta, who happens also to be a relative from
"Rajbrot", the village of my grandparents. I have a very touching story
(taken from his funeral homily).

As he began his deacon year in the seminary, Poland was invaded from the
West by Germany. A few weeks later, Russia invaded from the East. He was
told by his rector to return to the seminary, but developed appendicitis. He
was so sick that he was sent home, but when he arrived, his mother didn't
recognize him. She offered him food as if he was a stranger. He went back to
the seminary when he healed from surgery. He was eventually ordained when
Poland was occupied by a brutal military regime, the Nazi's.

He was assigned to a parish in a large city, but was then told to substitute
for a sick priest in a rural parish 15 miles away in a church building with
no heat. Some French prisoners-of-war escaped and came to him for food,
shelter and clothing. A few months later, the French prisoners had been
recaptured, beaten and tortured and Fr. Radzie~ta was arrested immediately
after Mass one day by the Nazi party and was condemned to die. He was held
captive during the duration of World War II and during that time was
retained in four different concentration camps! He was rescued by the Allied
Forces after the war and then began working as a chaplain, helping with
Polish-speaking troups. He came to America where he served as a priest until
the age of 81.

Imagine spending time in FOUR DIFFERENT concentration camps and living to
tell others about it! He told of many priests who were tortured and killed.
This man of God was not bitter but had a sense of peace that transferred to
all those around him.

When we read about all the atrocities of the concentration camps, we must
remember the priests who suffered and died as a result of their faith.

Bernadette (Whoops! Forgot to sign my name the first time!)

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