Someone pays the price of their own health or life so that others can collect the fruit of God's gifts and graces building on that sacrifice.And such is the history of the clergy from our village, who have the heroic martyr and patriot, Rev. Franciszek Paciorek, as the first priest of the "Radziszów House."He laid down his life "for the faith and the homeland" – are the words etched on a memorial plaque in the porch of our temple.It is precisely about him that his brother Joseph writes – Joseph being the only witness of the four Paciorek siblings of Rynek (from the Alderman – as the old Radziszów residents still refer to them).The following are his memoirs....
Rev. Franciszek Paciorek, MA, murdered on March 5, 1943, against the Death Wall at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
He was born on September 6, 1914 in Radziszów near Skawina.From 1920-1924, he attended the Radziszów elementary school, and then from 1924-1932, the B. Nowodworski secondary school in Kraków, staying with his aunt and uncle in Kraków-Dębniki at Rolna 14.
In 1932, having passed the final school examinations, he entered the Higher Theological Seminary in Kraków.In 1937, he graduated from his theological studies with a master's degree.
On Thursday, June 24, 1937 he was ordained to a priest by the Duke of Kraków, Adam Stefan Sapiecha, and on Sunday, June 27, 1937, he celebrated his first Holy Mass at the Radziszów parish church.
As vicar-catechist, he was delegated to Zawoja, where he worked until 1 September 1939.He was then transferred to Spytkowice near Zator.
The war broke out.Spytkowice was incorporated into the third Reich with part of the Łączany parish remaining in the General-Gouvernement.In 1941, following the arrest of parish priest, Rev. Adolf Zagrodzki, he remained at the parish by himself.
After five years of priesthood, on 22 June 1942, he was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned at ul. Montelupich in Kraków, from where he was taken to Auschwitz on 8 January 1943.
The arrest was based on the testimony of Jan Nowaczek (prisoner number 8488) who had escaped from the Auschwitz camp in 1941, and whom he had helped cross the border from the Reich to Gouvernement.
The parents of the Reverend, Maria (ob. 1976) and Franciszek (ob.1954) did not live to hear any specific information about the last hours of his life other than a letter from the Auschwitz police headquarters dated 30 March 1943 informing about his death on 5 March 1943 at 5:20 pm.
Rev. Franciszek's secret message from the Montelupich prison sent by a renovation crew to the parents, preserved by his mother as a relic, was confirmed in the following denunciation:
Silesian, blond. curly hair with glasses – night stay summer 41. 2x dinner in Łączany, showed papers to prove he is an insurgent (runaway?)Disappeared.Late autumn, last meeting, wanted a recommendation to daddy concerning documents for his colleagues.Daddy will not do it.Maybe Franek R. from Gawlosek.
That is all we knew until 1985.42 years after the death of Rev. Franciszek Paciorek, I received a message from my son from Nowy Sącz.In “Panorama” (issue No. 15, dated 15 April 1985), editor Adam Cyra writes the article “Stories from death row” where his reports include the following:On the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp, in the basement of the "Block of death" - in the cell marked No. 21, a figure of Christ on the cross can be seen, scratched into the plaster.It was probably made by Rev. Franciszek Paciorek from the parish of Spytkowice near Zator, who was shot in Auschwitz at the wall of death in winter 1943.He said to prisoner Maria Matlak, who also came from Spytkowice and whom he met by chance at the "Block of death," that "...in the bunker at the bottom, he was leaving a memento, as he had carved a figure of Christ on the wall.He asked her to deliver that message to others if she survived the camp.”
I contacted the Museum in Auschwitz.Thanks to Mr. Adam Cyra, I got the address of Maria Matlak, who had survived the camp.I visited her in her apartment in Przeciszów near Auschwitz.She complemented the messages known so far with a vivid pictorial description of the last moments of Rev. Paciorek’s life.She reported how, after bathing at the baths, the convicts were lead out down the hall to the execution yard.
Her description had a lasting impression on me.She mentioned that I could find out more from a well-built man who had lead the prisoners out of the cell to the yard next to the wall.He probably lives in Israel now.Unfortunately, my contacts with the Museum did not lead to any new information.
Based on the reports of Janina Daczyńska, currently residing in Auschwitz, I learned that the people of Spytkowice remember the day when Rev. Paciorek, village leader Mr. Dzierwa and Mr. Rachwalski (changed his name to Godyń) were arrested.
They were arrested unexpectedly.The Gestapo would drive up and take them one by one.The names were written down.The entire village froze in grief.There were rumours that the rectory was hiding a prisoner escaped from the camp, captured in a café in Krakow.Delivered to the camp, he gave away those who had facilitated his escape.
Mrs. Daczyńska spoke very highly of 29-year-old Rev. Paciorek as a big-hearted and big-minded man.The young priest, an admirable Pole, could bring together the entire village.He was kind-hearted, generous, helped the poor and the elderly.He devoted his free time to young people.He sang beautifully, played the organ, dabbled in photography and led the choir.He would bring bread to the needy from his parents in Radziszów.He would say:"dark clouds are coming and gathering over me," or:"Father Little Prayer requests a little prayer.” (pun on the surname Paciorek, meaning “little prayer”)
After his arrest in Spytkowice, the convoy stopped in Brzeźnica.They detained held in the cellars recognized Rev. Franciszek Paciorek.Opportunity arose to have him set free by the guerrillas.When the people approached the priest about it, he refused to organize the rescue action.He reckoned with the measures that the Gestapo could take against his parents, his family from Radziszów.He refused, trusting in God's mercy, as Mr. Wołoch reported.
Prior to the tragic events described, Rev. Paciorek fulfilled his priestly vocation with enthusiasm and inventiveness in the first parish in Zawoja.The Catholic community house, also built with his involvement, serves to this day.
On his initiative, a youth choir was established, a regional highland dance group, who performed at the Młoda Polska convention in Częstochowa in 1938.He was devoted to the young people and the homeland.
Also in his family village of Radziszów, he popularized sports such as basketball, volleyball among his colleagues and peers.Some of them shared the tragic fate of Rev. Franciszek:Lieut.Jan Rabski, Lieut.Stanisław Cagaszek who died in Katyń.
Józef Paciorek (the priest’s brother)
Based on materials from
The National Museum, the "Panorama" weekly
No. 15 dated.15 April 1985
and the reports of Mrs. M. Matlak of Spytkowice.
(article from the Association Chronicle)
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