Father Wojciech Nierychlewski - Martyr

Blessed Father Wojciech Nierychlewski (1903-1942) was born on 20th April 1903 in Dąbrowice near Kutno (Central Poland). At the age of twenty, he joined the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel on 28th September 1923. He made his vows on 15th October 1924; studied philosophy and theology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.  He graduated and was ordained on 20th July 1932.

During the Second World War he was in charge of the printing facility of the "Moderation and Work" magazine in Krakow.  During a Gestapo inspection in 1941 he was arrested and imprisoned in the infamous prison in Montelupich in Krakow. A few years before the war had broken out, Blessed Father Wojciech had a discussion about a martyr with another priest.  He confessed that he "would like to become a martyr for the faith, out of love and gratitude to the Crucified Christ."  During a Gestapo inspection of the printing facility he could have followed his friends' advice and run away to save his life, but he replied: "No, I won't escape, because I prefer to suffer alone than to expose others or the Congregation to persecution." By doing so he saved the life of the technical manager of the printing facility, who was a father of a family. Blessed Father Wojciech gave the best testimony of love.  In this way he became alike Christ, who sacrificed his life for his friends (cf. John 15,13).

At the beginning of 1942, he was taken away to Auschwitz concentration camp.  There he died on 7th February, 1942 of pneumonia due to exhaustion from tortures and camp conditions.   The culmination of the tortures was a "bath" in cold and hot water repeatedly.

 

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