Salesian Holiness

Jan Swierc and 8 companions.

 
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Diocesan inquest opened 17 September 2003

Comes to Valsalice for studies

Jan Swierc was born to Matthew and Francesca Rother at Królewska Huta, in Upper Silesia, on 29 April 1877. Thanks to the well-known Salesian Institute at Valsalice he came to Italy for his secondary studies.

He asked to become a Salesian and began his novitiate at Ivrea. In Turin he took up his philosophical and theological studies. The 6th June 1903 he was ordained priest in Turin by Cardinal Richelmy.

Returns to Poland as a Salesian priest

Back in Poland, he began his Salesian teaching activity with much diligence and care, proving his excellent ability and virtue as a Religious. He was the first Rector at Oswiecim, then in other Salesian Houses in Poland.

Provincial Councillor for the rest of his life

He was a provincial councillor from the first moment the Council was set up and until his death. Fr Jan was an exemplary Salesian and Religious, loved the Congregation and Don Bosco, and showed that he possessed its spirit completely. He was especially known for his prudence. The most difficult and delicate matters were entrusted to him.

Arrested by Gestapo, imprisoned

On the 23rd May 1941, while Rector and Parish priest in Krakow-Debniki, he was arrested with other Confreres by the Gestapo and taken to the prisons in Krakow.

Interned at Auschwitz; reputation for holiness

He was then taken to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. On the 27th June 1941 Fr Jan was cruelly tortured and killed by a German soldier because he was a priest, and because he would not cease calling on the name of Jesus. He was 64 years old, 42 years professed and 38 years as a priest. We can add that he left a reputation for holiness of life, quite apart from his martyrdom.

Others martyred with him at Auschwitz included:

Fr Ignacy Antonowicz: born 1890 at Wieslawice, Rector of the Seminary at Kraków, died 21st July 1941 in the concentration camp hospital;

Fr Ignacy Dobiasz: born in 1880 in Ciochowice, was killed on the 27th June 1941 in the gravel pits;

Fr Karol Golda: born 1914 in Tychy, was condemned to death for hearing the confessions of German soldiers; his execution took place on the 14th May 1942;

Fr Franciszek Harazim: born 1885 in Osiny, he died on the 27th June 1941, also killed in the gravel pits;

Fr Ludwik Mroczek: born 1905 in Kety, died in the hospital at Auschwitz on the 6th January 1942;

Fr Wlodzimierz Szembek: born 1883 in Poreba Zegoty, died in the concentration camp on the 22nd September 1942;

Fr Kazimierz Wojciechowski: born 1904, died on the 27th June 1941, killed while working in the gravel pits. 

Fr Franciszek Miska was also part of the group: born the 5th December 1898 at Swierczyniec, in Upper Silesia, he was the Rector at Jaciazek and then at Lad, interned in the concentration camp at Dachau, he died through malnourishment and torture on the 30th May 1942.

 

 

Fr Ignacy Antonowicz

Fr Ignacy was born in 1890 in Wioslawice. He was a pupil in the Salesian College in Auschwitz in the years 1901-1904. He entered the Congregation at Daszawa in 1905 and made his first profession in Auschwitz in 1906. He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1916. He worked first in Italy, and then in Poland. Amongst other things, he was Rector of the Seminary in Kraków (studentate of theology). He was arrested on 23 May 1941. He was first put in prison, then moved to the camp in Auschwitz. He died 21 July 1941 in the camp hospital, following the savage beatings and cruelty meeted out to him.

 

 


Fr Ignacy Dobiasz

Fr Ignacy was born in 1880 in Ciochowice. From 1894 he went to the Salesian College in Turin, and in 1898 he entered the Salesian Congregation. He made his first profession in 1900 and in 1908 was ordained a priest at Foglizzo. Back home in his native country he worked in Auschwitz, Przemysl, Warsaw and Kraków. He was arrested on 23 May 1941 and after a month in prison was sent to the camp in Auschwitz. There he was killed in the gravel pits on 27 June 1941.

 

 


Fr Karol Golda

Fr Karol was born in 1914 in Tychy. He went to the Salesian College in Auschwitz from 1927 to 1931. He joined the Salesians in 1931 and made his profession at Czerwinsk in 1932. From 1935 he studied in Rome, where he was ordained a priest in 1938. Back home in Poland he worked in Poznan and then Auschwitz. He was arrested on 31 December 1941 and sent to the camp in Auschwitz. There he was condemmed to death for hearing the confessions of the German soldiers. He was executed on 14 May 1942.

 

 


Fr Franciszek Harazim

Fr Franciszek was born in 1885 in Osiny. From 1901 he attended the Salesian College in Auschwitz. He joined the Salesians in 1906 and made his first profession at Daszawa in 1907. He studied in Italy, where he was ordained a priest in 1915. After he returned to Poland, amongst other places, he worked in Auschwitz and Kraków. He was arrested on 23 May 1941 and after a month in prison was sent to the camp in Auschwitz. There he died on 27 June 1941, killed in the gravel pits.

 

 


Fr Franciszek Miska

He was born on 5 December 1898 at Swierczyniec (Upper Silesia). After his secondary schooling at the Salesian College in Auschwitz, he entered the novitiate at Pleszów. He made his perpetual profession at Auschwitz in 1923. He then went to the Crocetta (Turin) for his theological studies. He was ordained a priest on 10 July 1927. Back home, he first worked in the orphanage in Przemysl, and then in the trade school at Vilna. He was made Rector at Jaciazek in 1931 and later at Lad. It was from here he was taken to the concentration camp at Dachau, where he died on 30 May 1942, following the rough treatment he received.

 

 


Fr Ludwik Mroczek

Fr Ludwik was born in 1905 in Kety. He was a pupil in the Salesian College in Auschwitz, 1917-1921. He made his novitiate in Klecza Dolna, where he made his first profession in 1922. He studied at Kraków and Przemysl, where he was ordained a priest in 1933. Amongst other places, he worked in Lwów, Czestochowa and Kraków. He was arrested on 22 May 1941, spent a month in prison, and was then sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Beaten during a trial, he finished up in hospital, where he died on 5 January 1942.

 

 


Fr Wlodzimierz Szembek

Fr Wlodzimierz was born in 1883 in Poreba Zegoty. He joined the Salesians in 1929 at Czerwinsk, where he made his first profession in 1930. He studied in Kraków, where he was ordained a priest in 1934. Amongst the places he worked were Kraków – first in the provincial house and then in the studentate of theology – and in Skawa. There he was arrested on 9 July 1942 and sent first to Zakopane, then to Tarnów, and finally to the camp at Auschwitz. He died on 7 September 1942 from the violence he suffered during interrogations.

 

 


Fr Kazimierz Wojciechowski

Fr Kazimierz was born in 1904. During 1912-1920 he went to the Salesian schools in Kraków e Auschwitz. He did his novitiate in Klecza Dolna, where he made his first profession in 1921. In 1935 he was ordained a priest in Kraków. As a Salesian priest he worked in Auschwitz and Kraków. He was arrested on 23 May 1941. He was transported to the camp in Auschwitz. He died on 27 June 1941, killed working in the gravel pits.

 

 


 

 

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Jan Swierc e i suoi 8 compagni martiri