STORIES OF POLISH RESISTANCE About half of the six million European Jews killed in the Holocaust were Polish. In 1939 a third of the capital city Warsaw, and 10% of the entire country was Jewish. By 1945 97% of Poland's Jews were dead. Irena Sendler Maximilian Emanuel Mordechai Ringelblum Anielewicz Kolbe Janusz Korczak Jan Karski Witold Pilecki Jzef & Zofia Father Jan & Kossak- Marceli Antonina Wiktoria SzczuckGodlewski Zabinski Ulma a
Created by These eleven examples of Polish resistance do not proport to give an overview of what happened in Poland during The Holocaust. They have been chosen to reflect the unimaginably difficult choices made by both Jews and non-Jews under German occupation where every Jew was marked for death and all nonJews who assisted their Jewish neighbours were subject to the same fate. These individuals were not typical; they were exceptional, reflecting the relatively small proportion of the population who refused to be STORIES OF POLISH RESISTANCEIrena Sendler Created by Maximilian Kolbe Emanuel Ringelblum Mordechai Anielewicz Witold Pilecki Janusz Korczak Jan Karski Zofia KossakSzczucka Father Marceli FATHER MARCELI GODLEWSKI 1865
1945 When the German Army invaded Poland in September 1939 Father Marceli Godlewski had been the parish priest of the All Saints' Church in Warsaw for almost 25 years and was planning to spend his retirement in Anin, a small town just east of the Polish capital. Between the end of World War One, when Poland regained its independence, and the eve of World War Two, Warsaws population grew by 30%. The city struggled to cope with this increase in humanity and many families lived in unsanitary, over-crowded conditions, relying upon the charity of the Catholic Church to alleviate the effects of the such poverty. Father Godlewski but althoughit about a third of do theeverything city was Jewish he refused to considered to be his duty to extend a helping hand to them. Both in sermons from the pulpit and he could to help his parishioners, All Saints Church
in his many newspaper articles he urged his fellow Catholics to dominated Grzybowska Square in Warsaw since avoid any dealing with Jews. Each to his own is a wonderful its completion in 1883 slogan he once said. In fact his anti-Jewish views were widely known, which makes the acts of rescue and resistance he embarked upon during the German occupation of Poland all the more remarkable. This one-time hater of Jews was to risk his life to save THE CHURCH IN THE GHETTO In the weeks prior to The Warsaw Ghetto being sealed, in November 1940, there was a massive forced movement of people Jews who lived outside the boundaries had to move inside and non-Jews who Part of The Ghetto wall lived where The Ghetto was being built to be, had to leave. There All Saints to Christianity. Although they no longer considered were also about 2000
Church was themselvesJews, to be Jewish, the Germans did and so baptised who had situated within The Warsaw they were forced to live within The Ghetto walls as converted Ghetto well. All Saints Church was now located within The Ghetto and Father Godlewski chose to remain inside as well, so that this small group of people could to worship. But Father Godlewski was providing continue much more than just the chance for people to pray The Warsaw Ghetto RESCUE AND RESISTANCE Movement into and out of the ghetto was restricted to those who had been issued with official passes from the German authorities. As priests Father Godlewski and his staff were able to obtain these passes, which enabled them to smuggle in much needed food and medicine. At first such assistance was specifically for the parishioners of the church, but as starvation and disease claimed more and more lives, Father Godlewski decreed that, as all life is of Starvation ravaged the equal worth, then all residents of the ghetto were
ghetto residents deserving of help. A soup-kitchen was established in the church where starving ghetto residents could supplement their meagre diet and part of the building was turned into a temporary shelter for those who could no longer afford to rent their own homes. And as conditions deteriorated, and more and more desperate Jewish ghetto residents decided to risk escape, Father Godlewski issued false baptismal and identity A queue outside a ghetto documents to help them survive. soup-kitchen RESCUE AND RESISTANCE Father Godlewski was particularly concerned with the plight of orphaned children begging on the streets. At first he organised a kindergarten in the grounds of the church, but later, through his contacts in convents around Warsaw, he arranged for children to be secretly taken out of the ghetto and placed in the care of the Franciscan Sisters. Many of these convents were run by Sister Matylda Getter, who never Orphaned Jewish refused to take on another child despite the child in The Sister Matylda Getter considerable risks. Father Godlewski eventually Warsaw Ghetto gave the building he was planning to retire to in When the daily transports of to Jews the Treblinka
Death Camp began in July 1942, the Anin thetoFranciscan Sisters who established boundaries of the ghetto shrunk. Eventually All Saints Church was no longer in the an orphanage. restricted area of the city, but Father Godlewski continued to support the many people he knew who were in hiding, despite the fact that if he had been discovered by the Germans he would have been killed. It is impossible to say how many people benefited from the work that Father Godlewski undertook, as most of them would have died in Treblinka. But those who managed to survive the Holocaust because of his efforts always emphasised how much they owe him. LEGACY Father Godlewski and many of the Priests and Sisters who worked with him have been recognised as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. It is particularly significant that a person who was once openly antisemitic was able to alter his views and put himself in considerable danger by devoting his life to saving Jews. All Saints Church was extensively damaged during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising In 2017 All Saints Church was declared a House of Life due tot he work that Father Godlewski undertook.
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