Józef Kowalski

Józef Kowalski (March 13, 1911 – July 4 , 1942) was a priest Catholic Polish , of the Salesian Society murdered in the concentration camp at Auschwitz during World War II. 1 He was beatified in Warsaw on 13 June 1999.


He was born in Siedliska ( Poland partitioned ) on March 13, 1911, Wojciech and Zofia Borowiec; Seventh of his nine children. 2 He was ordained a priest on May 29, 1938 in Krakow as a member of the Religious Society Salesian , two and took a position of provincial secretary of the Salesian. 3 During the German occupation of Poland the Salesians continued their educational work. The Gestapo arrested Kowalski on May 23, 1941, along with eleven other Salesians who worked in Krakow. They were taken to Montelupich prison and tortured. 4

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Kowalski was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp on June 26, 1941 (prisoner number 17350 or 17950). 4 5 While there, he secretly ministered to his fellow prisoners in Block 25, and tried to strengthen his will to survive day-to-day life in the camp. He was known in Auschwitz simply as Father Józef . In a nominal vote he was ordered by the SS-man Palitzch to trample his rosary when he was discovered with him. Kowalski refused. As punishment, he was assigned to the criminal enterprise. On July 3, 1942, he was mocked, ridiculed and beaten brutally by the guards for being a priest. The very night that his oppressors pulled him out of his barracks, he was again severely beaten out, and possibly drowned. Kowalski’s body was found on July 4, 1942 and was incinerated with others. 2 4 He was 31 years old. 5

In the concentration camp, he acquitted the condemned victims, 4 usually in secret, but at least once in front of everyone at the time of mass execution. 6 In the last letter to his parents Józef wrote:

Do not worry about me; I am in the hands of God. I want to assure you that I feel your help at every step. Despite the current situation, I feel happy and completely at peace. 3

The Poles began to venerate their memory after the Second World War. The Pope John Paul II knew the Father Kowalski personally before the war, when Kowalski lived and served in the Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Dębniki , Kraków . During one of his visits back to Poland, John Paul II beatified Kowalski in Warsaw in a mass ceremony three hours of June 13, 1999 attended by President Aleksander Kwasniewski , 1 4 against 600 thousand people. 1 Kowalski was one of the 108 Polish martyrs of World War II beatified by the Pope on that day. 5


  • Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Józef Kowalski .
  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c Luxmoore, Jonathan (June 14, 1999). «Pope blessed Poles martyred by the Nazis» . The Guardian . Accessed May 4, 2014 .
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c Don Bosco Society (2014). «Blessed Joseph (Józef) Kowalski» . Blesseds . Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco, Rome . Accessed May 11, 2014 .
  3. ↑ Jump to:a b Rev. Tomasz Kaczmarek. «Blessed Jozef Kowalski» . Profile . Saints.SQPN.com . Accessed May 7, 2014 .
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e Ks. Jan Krawiec SDB (28 February 2005). «Męczennik Auschwitz – ksiądz Józef Kowalski» [The Martyr of Auschwitz – Father Józef Kowalski] . Don Bosco. Magazyn salezjański Oct 9, 2001 . Salezjanie.pl . Accessed May 6, 2014 .
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b c Victor Rodrigues. «Joseph (Józef) Kowalski. Priest and Martyr . Scribd . Accessed May 7, 2014 .
  6. Back to top↑ Wiesław Jan Wysocki (February 19, 2014). “[Examples of religious devotion to victims of concentration camps (Part I and II)]” Świadectwa życia religijnego więźniów obozów koncentracyjnych . Sakramenty w obozie . Center of Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim (Centrum Dialogu i Modlitry CDiM Oświęcim) . Accessed May 8, 2014 . ” Translated from Polish: Confessions had to be secret … it was very rare … that those condemned to death during an escape attempt received the acquittal by Father Józef Kowalski in front of everyone (he died 4 August 1942) Original: Spowiedzi obozowe musiały być ukryte … zgoła wyjątkowo, (…) skazanym na śměžké z obozu w momencie egzekucji na oczach wszystkich udzielił absolucji ks. Józef Kowalski (zmarł 4 sierpnia 1942). »