piątek, 18 marca 2016

Blessed Rev. Bronisław Komorowski (1889-1940)

Bronisław Komorowski was born on 25 May 1889 in Barłożno near Starogard Gdański in a peasant family. After finishing the primary school and studies in Collegium Marianum in Pelplino, in years 1910-1914 he studied in the seminar in Pelplino. He took the holy orders on 2 April 1914.

Since the beginning of his pastoral work Rev. Komorowski was an activist of Polonia of the Free City of Gdańsk. Since 1920 he participated actively in organizing Polish chaplaincy, churches and services. In 1923, together with other Polish activists, he created the Polish Churches Construction Association and in 1924 he created a church in a former riding arena in Gdańsk where he organized chaplaincy for the Polish population. In 1925, thanks to his efforts the Saint Stanislaus church has been consecrated. In the following years he continued his activity for the benefit of the Polish chaplaincy in the Free City of Gdańsk. Many associations and organizations were created thanks to his initiative. Rev. Komorowski was also a political activist. In 1933-1934, he was one of the councilors of the Free City of Gdańsk. In 1935, he run for Polish deputy in the Volkstag in Gdańsk.

Arrest 

On 1 Septemeber 1936 Rev. Bronisław Komorowski was arrested in his parish, from where he was taken to “Viktoria Schule”. Maksymilan Kempiński, a prisoner of the Nazis, describes this moment in his memoirs: ”Then I saw that Rev. Komorowski was passing through the gate and did not avoid the blows of the soldiers. Straight, though stained with blood, he reached our small room”. Another prisoner, Wiesław Arlet, also remembers his meeting with Rev. Komorowski in “Viktoria Schule”: “After the registration, my group was lead to a cellar so crowded that one could only stand there. Among the maltreated people I saw Reverend Komorowski, the parish priest of the Saint Stanislaus church in Wrzeszcz. His mouth was crushed into a bloody pulp”.

Stutthof

On 2 September, Rev. Komorowski was placed in a 150-person group of prisoners sent in the first transport to Stutthof concentration camp. Since the beginning of his imprisonment in the camp, he was persecuted and harassed by the SS men. First, he worked on constructing the camp’s barracks, then he was given the hardest works, mostly cleaning the toilets. In this way the Nazis wanted to humiliate the well-known Polish priest. They also named him the “kapo” of the group which was cleaning the camp cesspit, at the same time forcing him to harass his subordinates. They didn’t achieve their goal because, as one of the prisoners, Roman Bellwon, recalls: “…he showed Christian love towards others, helping the most exhausted, sharing his food with them. Maltreated and cruelly tormented, until the end he kept his heart open to everyone and a smile on his face. He always kept up our spirits and he always showed a truly Polish and sacerdotal attitude”.

Another witness of the humiliation of Reverend Komorowski by the Nazis, Rev. Wojciech Gajdus, asked him once what he felt when he was working in scheisskomando as a “kapo”. He heard in response: “I felt as if I was by the pulpit watched by the prisoners and I cared about the sermon to be good. I think these were my finest sermons”. 

In the last days of September 1939, Rev. Bronisław Komorowski together with other priests had been accused of stocking up on weapons in the church to protect themselves there. He was threatened that if he didn’t plead “guilty” he would be shot. Because he did not confirm the accusation he was punished with a three-day imprisonment in a bunker, where he was starved and tortured.

Execution 

On 22 March 1940, on Good Friday, Rev. Bronisław Komorowski in a group of 66 activists of Polonia Gdańska was taken away to the woods near the camp and shot. The grave was hidden but in 1946 it has been found. After the exhumation, the bodies were buried on 4 April 1947 on the Gdańsk-Zaspa cemetery.

In 1999, Rev. Komorowski has been canonized by pope John Paul II. In the same year the Social Committee of the Construction of Blessed Rev. Bronisław Komorowski Monument has been established. The monument was unveiled on the Bronisław Komorowski square in Wrzeszcz in 2000, in the 110th anniversary of the priest’s birth, 85th anniversary of his holy orders and 75th anniversary of the consecration of the Saint Stanislaus church.


Based on the book by Elżbieta Grot „Błogosławieni Męczennicy Obozu Stutthof”.
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Tłumaczenie: Katarzyna Flis


The monument of Bronisław Komorowski in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz.

An exposition dedicated to Bronisław Komorowski in the Stutthof Museum.


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