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Tod der Płocker Bischöfe im Soldauer Konzentrationslager

Waldemar Graczyk

Abstract: In September 1939 in Działdowo the Nazis established a transit camp for the war prisoners of the Polish September Campaign of 1939 in the former barracks of the 32 infantry regiment on Grunwaldzka Street. At the turn of 1939 and 1940 the police and the SS authorities in Königsberg transformed the Działdowo camp into the transit camp „Durchgangslager“. Priests imprisoned in the Działdowo camp from autumn 1939 to autumn 1941 constituted a special group of political prisoners. The archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski and the bishop Leon Wetmański, Płock bishop suffragan, were brought to the Działdowo camp in 1941. The Płock bishops quickly became spiritual guides and the support for the prisoners in difficult moments of camp life. In order to prevent their contacts with the prisoners, the bishops were put in a separate cell number 12. They were subjected to different kinds of moral and physical torture, including the attempt to profane the cross. Difficult living conditions in the camp soon led to the death of the Płock priests: the archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski died on 28 May 1941 and the bishop Leon Wetmański died on 10 October 1941. Apart from them, 47 priests and 1 seminarian lost their lives in the Działdowo camp in 1939–1945.
Keywords: Płock bishops / Nazi camp / Działdowo / Soldau camp / Nowowiejski / Wetmański / martyrdom

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