New documents revealing a Polish cardinal’s direct efforts to help Jewish people escape Nazi persecution during World War II surfaced in Jerusalem last week.
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, also known as the Primate of Poland, personally helped hide Jews and encouraged his congregation to assist Polish resistance fighters and house those persecuted by the Nazis.
In recently obtained documents from Yad Vashem, a center for the documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust in Jerusalem, testimonies about Wyszynski’s war efforts show how he opposed Nazi rule during World War II.
Esther Gringberg refers to Wyszynski twice in testimony found at Yad Vashem. She said it was well known among the Jewish community that Wyszynski actively encouraged the parishioners of his church to help those escaping the fighting and bloodshed of the war.
Grinberg mentioned he did not specify who exactly to help, but most people understood he meant to assist Jewish people fleeing ghettos.
Wyszynski has previously been identified as someone who helped Jewish people escape the horrors of the Nazi regime.
During Oct. 1941 and June 1942, Wyszynski officially worked for a center that aided the blind in Żułów. In secret, he taught children in surrounding villages and supported the Home Army, a prominent military resistance force.
Jadwiga Karwowska, who parents worked in a center for aid the blind, said she saw Wyszynski direct assist a Jewish family of three, a father and two children, find refuge.
"Fr. Wyszynski came to us constantly, literally each night, and we hid them [the Jewish family] at our attic,” said Karwowska in her testimony. “He helped my dad put a ladder and take it back to the garden so that there were no traces of anybody’s presence at the attic."
He became the Archbishop of Warsaw and Gniezno in 1948. He died of abdominal cancer in May 1981 at 79 years old.
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