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The young years

in Drelów


Martyr's death in the concentration camp

Father Ceptowski's

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 The arrest of father Wajszczuk 
and his martyrdom at Dachau

The arrest and the camp in Sachsenhausen

Prycze w obozie w SachsenchausenFather Karol Wajszczuk was arrested for the first time on the 28th of April 1940. A black car, used by the Gestapo, with two policemen drove up at the parish house. Having checked the priest’s identity, the Gestapo officers demanded him to go into the car at once. The priest took his prayer book and calmly walked to the organist, Antoni Patkowski to bid him goodbye. To the people who had been looking at it all, he said “Remain with God” and he left. Having testified at the Gestapo in Międzyrzec and, after that, in Radzyń, he was freed from prison on the 29th of April and came back to Drelów, under the condition, however, that, within three days, he would testify once again at the Gestapo in Łuków. At that time, people who were devoted to him, advised him not to believe the Germans and to flee to a safe place in civilian clothes. But he did not agree to this idea, for he had given the Gestapo “a priest’s word” that he would testify once again.
On the 2nd of May 1940, father Wajszczuk voluntarily came to the Gestapo building in Łuków, so as to testify again. Here, he was once again arrested and, on the 3rd of May, taken to Lublin. From the building of the Lublin District headquarters at Uniwersytecka Street, where he had been interrogated for several hours, he was sent to the nazi prison at the Lublin Castle. The Lublin Castle was one of the worst places of torment and repressive measures in occupied Poland.
When the priest's father, Piotr Wajszczuk, died in Siedlce on the 20th of May 1940, Karol’s sister, Maria Klimczykowa, tried to ask the Gestapo to let her brother out for the funeral. They informed her that father Karol Wajszczuk had been driven out of Lublin. This, of course, was false information, for the priest was driven out of the city at a later time.

RobotnicyDuring his stay at Castle prison, father Wajszczuk met father Stefan Ceptowski, who will share his suffering for the next nearly two years. On the 18th of June 1940, both the prisoners were taken by rail in freight cars to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where they found themselves on the 20th of June 1940. Father Wajszczuk was kept in Sachsenhausen until the 14th of December 1940. He was given the prisoner’s number 25746. During his stay there, he sent seven censored cards to his family in Siedlce and to his friends, particularly to the organist, Patkowski, in Drelów.
At the same time, bad things were happening in the Drelów parish as well. After the arrest of father Wajszczuk, serious changes were made. On the basis of the district authorities’ dispositions from the 25th of May 1940, the church and parish house was taken over by Ukrainian nationalists. Horodek was given to the Poles. Father Leon Gliszczyński, who was in charge of the parish during the parish priest’s absence, received permission from the district authorities to dismantle the church organ. This was done in September 1940 – the organist, Antoni Patkowski, with the help of the parish members, took the organ to Przechodzisko, were it was stored in the house of Bazyli and Katarzyna Olesiejuk. Father Gliszczyński took the canopy and banners, the vestments, liturgical vessels and other objects to Horodek.

Martyrdom in the concentration camp in Dachau

Krematorium w obozie w DachauAccording to information from the Polish Red Cross Headquarters in Warsaw, father Wajszczuk was sent from Sachsenhausen to the concentration camp in Dachau on the 14th of December 1940. There, he received the prison number - 22572. In this camp, the weight of an average prisoner in 1942 was around 40 kg. In February 1941, Maria Klimczykowa informed her brother, father Karol about the events in the Drelów parish, including the arrest of the organist – Antoni Patkowski (who died in Auschwitz on the 10th February 1942).
Correspondence between the prisoner and his family was halted for a long period – from March 1941 to the end of the year. This silence made the family very concerned. The mother’s plea to the Germans about letting her son out was met with a refusal. Father Wajszczuk did not know of this refusal and awaited freedom. Letters from father Karol, from Dachau, started coming to the family again in January 1942. In his last letter, from the 17th of May 1942, he wrote: “I think that soon, maybe during the next week, I shall change my place of living; I still remain here for the time being. When I have been moved, I shall write to you and give the address”. He did not yet know that he would be put into an “invalids’ transport”, to die in a gas chamber. On the 28th of May, father Karol Wajszczuk found himself in an “invalids’ transport” and, as is given by father W. Jackiewicz, he died in that transport. The last information in the documents bears the date of 28th May 1942, so this day has been accepted as the day of father Karol Wajszczuk’s death in the concentration camp in Dachau.
On the 1st of July 1942, the Command of the Concentration Camp informed the priest’s family of his death by means of the telegraph. On the 8th of July, the mother sent a letter to the Commander of the camp, asking for further information about her son’s death. The answer came on the 15th of July – it read: “In answers to Your letter from the 8th of July this year, the Command of the Concentration camp in Dachau informs that Your son, in spite of great care at the hospital, died on the 1st of July 1942, at 23:00, after a short illness, due to heart problems, insufficient blood circulation and an inflammation of the intestines. Nothing is known of his last will. The things he left will be sent in the following days.” The signature was indecipherable.
Maria Klimczykowa did not believe in what he Germans had written, she searched for the truth about her brother’s death. Jan Domagała, a former prisoner and writer of the Dachau camp, gave M. Klimczykowa some information, in his letter from the 31st of July 1946, which gave new light to the problem: “invalids’ transport” meant death.


Written by: dr. Feliks Olesiejuk 
"Wspomnienie o księdzu  Karolu Leonardzie Wajszczuku 1887-1942"

in Rocznik Międzyrzecki - Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk 
w Międzyrzecu Podlaskim -  1987
Excerpts prepared by: Paweł Stefaniuk, assisted by Waldemar J. Wajszczuk
Translated by: Kamila Wajszczuk