Monday, 8 December 2014

The Nazi War Against The Catholic Church. Persecution In Europe Part 2.

Hitler in Warsaw
"The clergy is subjected to the same treatment as the priests of the archdiocese of Gniezno. They are maltreated, arrested, held in prison or concentration camps, deported to Germany, expelled to Central Poland. At present about fifty are in prison and in concentration camps.

"The pastors Rev. John Jadrzyk of Lechlin, Rev. Anthony Kozlowicz, Rev. Adam Schmidt of Roznowo, and Rev. Anthony Rzadki, professor of religion at Srem, have been shot. There is insistent report that other priests have also been shot, but the report is not certain, for one reason that the executions are being carried out now without publicity being given to them.

. . The churches that are open can be used for devotions only on Sundays from 9 till 11. Priests have begun to say Mass on week-days in the early hours of the morning behind closed doors. Marriages are not being celebrated. There are no sermons and no music. Crucifixes have been removed from classrooms, as well as holy pictures, and religion is no longer taught.

"The Polish Episcopate had made Poznan the national centre for organization and direction of religious activity and especially of the Catholic Action for the entire Republic. Unfortunately, all these centres of tremendous activity, charitable works, organizations, and publications have been destroyed by German authorities.

"The national centres of the Pontifical Association for the Propagation of the Faith, and of St. Peter Apostle have been suppressed.
"... The National Institute for Catholic Action has been abolished. It was the directing centre of all the Catholic activity in Poland.
.. The National President of Catholic Action, the lawyer Mr. Dziembowski, and the office staff are in prison. The Director of the National Institute, Rev. Francis Marlewski, was first imprisoned, then expelled into Central Poland.

"The offices of the national centres of the Association of Catholic Women were raided and assigned to other purposes; the same is true of the offices of the Catholic Youth and Catholic Girls Associations. The National President of the Catholic Youth Association, Edward Potworowski, a noble of Gola, Private Chamberlain of Cape and Sword to His Holiness, was publicly shot in Gostyn Square. The President of the Catholic Girls Association, Miss Maria Su-chocka, also of a noble family, together with her mother and brother, who had been deprived of his pharmacy at Pleszew, was robbed even of personal effects and expelled to Central Poland.

"The Graduate School of Catholic Social Studies has been closed.
. . The Catholic Institute of Pedagogy has been closed. This was a school recognized officially, destined to form competent and qualified teachers and nurses for Catholic schools and hospitals. It was frequented by many Sisters.

"The illustrated Catholic weekly, Przewodnik Katolicki, a paper for the people, has ceased to exist after a brilliant career of forty-three years.

"The esteemed Catholic weekly, Kultura, has been suppressed.

"The Tecza, an illustrated, literary Catholic monthly of more than ordinary value, is no longer edited.

"The Ruch Katolicki has been suppressed, a monthly publication and official organ of Catholic Action.

"The Zjednoczenie, an organ of the National Association of Catholic Women, the Przyjaciel Mlodziezy and the Mloda Polka, organs respectively of the Catholic Boys and the Catholic Girls Associations, have been suppressed.

"The Teologia Praktyczna, monthly pastoral review for the clergy of Poland, has been suppressed.

"The monthly review Ruch Charytatywny, organ of the Christian Charity movement in Poland, has been suppressed.

"The Przewodnik Spoleczny, a Catholic monthly dedicated to modern social questions, has been suppressed.

"Besides these organizations and publications of national scope, all the organizations and publications in Poznan belonging to the archdiocese of Gniezno and Poznan were suppressed."

Report of Nov. 29, 1939.

. . Our boys and a part of our girls over fourteen years of age are being deported to Germany. After the Sunday services these young people are arrested at the church door and sent off; a transport leaves every week.

. . Nothing certain is known of the fate of Canon Schulz of Bydgoszcz; probably he has been shot, and Canon Casimir Stepczynski as well. The Lazarist Fathers Wiorek and Szarek have been shot, while their confreres are in prison; soldiers are indulging in orgies in the church, which was closed under the pretext that the dome was unsafe. The priests of the deanery of Gniewkowo were all taken to prison and nothing more is known of them. Fr. Skrzypczak was killed by blows of a rifle. The parish priest, Fr. Domachowski, was imprisoned and obliged to repair a bridge, standing up to his waist in water.

. . Fr. Klein of Chometowo was imprisoned and forced to break stones on the streets. Fr. Janke of Jaktorowo has been shot. All the priests of Kcynia have been deported; the church there has been closed for two months. Fr. Romoald Soltysinski of Rzadkwin has died in prison. At Strzelno eighteen priests were put in prison, some of whom were later released, others deported. Fr. Cichowski of Sololniki has been in prison from the beginning and nothing is known of his fate. Fr. Namyslowski was beaten; they tried to force him by inhuman torture to profane the cross; he was taken to Wrzesnia half dead, and nothing more has been heard of him. Fr. Smolinski of Morzewo was put in prison and forced to dig potatoes. At Naklo, the pastor, Fr. Geppert, and his assistants, Frs. Chojnacki and Domek, were put in prison and are probably at Buchenwald near Weimar; their church is closed and ecclesiastical funds confiscated. Fr. Chojnacki has been forced to transport coal through the streets of Naklo. Fr. Koncewicz, at first in prison at Gniezno, was later deported to Germany. Canon Schwarz, at first in prison, has now been interned. Mgr. Schvenborn is in prison. Fr. Lewicki of Goscieszyn was shot. The interned priests of the deanery of Trzemeszno were compelled to tear down a synagogue. For the past two months Mass was no longer celebrated in the District of Znin; all the priests are under arrest; the administration of the Sacraments is forbidden. Fr. Zeno Niziolkiewicz has been shot. At present the priests of Znin are forced to break stones on the streets."

Report of Dec. 10, 1939.

 . . The Gestapo rages especially against Catholic Action, all of whose funds they have confiscated. The national president and its officials are in prison.

"Crucifixes and statues which lined the roads and had given the country a Catholic character have been destroyed; even the holy figures of saints that were on the houses or in the gardens have been destroyed. In one district candles were confiscated from the churches.

. . The primatial palace of Poznan has been completely ruined, the pious objects of devotion destroyed, decorations torn down, furniture broken. They carried off the linen, wine, and paintings; they burnt records and books."

Diocese of Chelmno —Incorporated in the Reich.

. . The ancient Cathedral, a veritable jewel of Gothic art, was first closed and then made into a garage, and it is now proposed to turn it into a market-hall. The statue of the Immaculate Virgin, erected in front of the Cathedral in 1854 to commemorate the promulgation of the Dogma, has been overthrown.

"The bishop's palace was entered and despoiled of all its treasures, works of art and furniture. The valuable library, containing about twenty thousand volumes, was pillaged. The diocesan park was laid waste. Shortly afterwards the bishop's palace was turned into a hotel, its beautiful chapel being used as a ball-room.

"The seminaries, large and small, with the college and the secondary school, are occupied by the German army. All the teachers have been driven out. The seminary cellars have been for several weeks the scene of tortures inflicted on both priests and Catholic laymen.

"Of the 650 priests devoted to the cure of souls in the schools and in the Catholic Action, only some twenty have been left. The others were imprisoned or deported, or forced to perform exhausting and humiliating labour, at which some died of fatigue.

"Those priests who worked in the Catholic Youth associations had most to suffer.

"It is not known where the majority of the clergy are detained, as the German authorities keep it a secret. It seems likely, however, that a large number are imprisoned in the concentration camp at Gorna Grupa, and the rest in that of Kazimierz Biskupi, or at Stuthof near Danzig, if not in other concentration camps in Germany. Some, however, were sent to the area of the Government General.

"It is stated that a large number of priests have been shot, but neither the number nor the details are as yet known, as the occupation authorities maintain an obstinate silence on the subject. .

 . . The flourishing religious life of the diocese has been almost entirely suppressed. The churches have almost all been closed and confiscated by the Gestapo, which removes the pictures and other objects of value. Scarcely thirty churches are open for just two hours on Sundays. There is a little more liberty allowed in the city of Torun, where singing during divine service is permitted.

"... All the crosses and sacred emblems by the road-sides have been destroyed. At Gdynia the Germans publicly overthrew the great cross which stood before the Church of the Holy Virgin, and covered it with filth.

. . The great cross standing on Kamienna Gora, which used to be illuminated at night and venerated from afar by mariners at sea as a religious greeting of a Catholic Gdynia, was also overthrown.

. . 95 per cent of the priests have been imprisoned, expelled, or humiliated before the eyes of the faithful. The Curia no longer exists ; the Cathedral has been made into a garage as at Pelplin; the bishop's palace into a restaurant; the chapel into a ball -room. Hundreds of churches have been closed. The whole patrimony of the Church has been confiscated, and the most eminent Catholics executed."

Diocese of Katowice— Incorporated in the Reich.

. . The treatment inflicted on certain priests in prison has been outrageous. For example, Fr. Kupilas, parish priest of Ledziny, was shut up for three days in the confessional of the church at Bierun, where 300 men and women were imprisoned at the same time without anything to eat and without being allowed to go out to satisfy their natural needs. Fr. Wycislik, vicar of Zyglin, was arrested and beaten in the streets of Tarnowskie Gory until the blood ran, and kicked and even trampled until he lost consciousness. Curate Budny had his sides pierced by numerous bayonet stabs, because the German authorities had ordered him to hold his hands up, and after a certain time he was unable through fatigue to do so any longer.