“Let us remember in our prayers those who have experienced suffering. May it be an expression of our memory, honor, and solidarity towards the martyrs and a prayer to God for peace and reconciliation for all,” said the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, which is celebrated in Poland as the Day of Martyrdom of the Polish Clergy during World War II.
Archbishop Gądecki pointed out that among the prisoners of Dachau, an important group was the clergy. 2,794 deacons, diocesan and religious priests, as well as bishops of various Christian denominations, were imprisoned there. Among them, as many as 1780 were Catholic priests.
“What must have caused suffering to the clergy, in particular, was an attempt to take God away from them. They were not allowed to celebrate Holy Mass, recite the breviary, pray or have any religious object with them,” said Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki.
Out of 1,780 Polish priests, 868 were murdered there. Therefore, there is an inscription on the outside wall of the Chapel of “Christ’s Mortal Fear”: “Here in Dachau, every third who was tortured was a Pole. Every second of the Polish priests imprisoned there sacrificed his life”.
On the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, the pilgrimage of the Polish clergy was to take place this year to Dachau. Due to the epidemic, the pilgrimage was postponed to a later date. Therefore, Archbishop Gądecki encouraged each of us to make an individual, spiritual pilgrimage to this place, remembering the martyrs who had lost their lives there. He added: “Today, once again, we want to pay tribute to all the prisoners who died in Dachau and to those who continue to die as victims of hatred in the world”.
The President of the Polish Episcopate encouraged to pray for the gift of peace through the intercession of the prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp and to offer one’s suffering for an end of the epidemic and its consequences.