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Roman Catholic
St Sigismund parish
05-507 Słomczyn
85 Wiślana Str.
Konstancin deanery
Warsaw archdiocese, Poland

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    St Sigismund parish church, Słomczyn, Poland
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    St Sigismund parish church, Słomczyn, Poland
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    St Sigismund parish church, Słomczyn, Poland
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Martyrology of the clergy — Poland

XX century (1914 – 1989)

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  • SOWIŃSKI Joseph; source: Roman Dzwonkowski, SAC, „Lexicon of Catholic clergy in USSR in 1917—1939 – Martirology”, ed. Science Society KUL, 1998, Lublin, own collection; CLICK TO ZOOM AND DISPLAY INFOSOWIŃSKI Joseph
    source: Roman Dzwonkowski, SAC, „Lexicon of Catholic clergy in USSR in 1917—1939 – Martirology”, ed. Science Society KUL, 1998, Lublin
    own collection

surname

SOWIŃSKI

surname
versions/aliases

SAWIŃSKI

forename(s)

Joseph (pl. Józef)

forename(s)
versions/aliases

John (pl. Jan)

function

diocesan priest

creed

Latin (Roman Catholic) Church RCmore on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2014.09.21]

diocese / province

Lutsk‐Zhytomyr diocese (aeque principaliter)more on
www.catholic-hierarchy.org
[access: 2021.12.19]

Tiraspol diocesemore on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2014.11.14]

Włocławek ie. Kalisz diocese

date and place
of death

24.11.1937

Tashkenttoday: Tashkent reg., Uzbekistan
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2023.11.24]

alt. dates and places
of death

1937 (after)

details of death

Fate unclear. His name disappears from the Diocesan Schematisms after his seminary studies in Włocławek. Prob. after completing his studies in Rome and Wrocław, as mentioned in the sources, left for the south of Russia and joined the Tiraspol diocese.

There, in the memories, a person with his name and surname appears among the Polish diaspora. Ministered among them especially after the outbreak of World War I and the Russian defeat in the Battle of Gorlice in 05.1915, when millions of Russians — officials, military men, teachers, service officers, Orthodox clergy — escaped from the occupied territories of Poland to the east (so‐called bezhenstvo), and among them there were c. 10‐15% of Poles.In 1918, in the face of the state of anarchy characterizing the civil war in southern Russia — after the fall of tsarism in 02.1917 and the Bolshevik coup in 11.1917, after the separatist treaty of 03.03.1918 in Brest–Litovsk between the Bolsheviks in Russia and Germany and Austria–Hungary — prob. moved to Volyn, then under German control. Perhaps, however, his ministry in Volhynia does not concern him, but another priest, Fr Joseph Sawiński, from the Zhytomyr diocese.

Yey it seems certain that in the autumn of 1918, just before the end of World War I, returned to his diocese in Włocławek, as indicated by the mention of his participation in the Greater Poland Uprising of 1918‐1919.

Next participant of Polish–Russian war of 1919‐1921 — chaplain of the Polish Army.

According to some sources taken POW by the Russians; according to other — what is more likely — voluntarily crossed over to Bolshevik Russia, in order to minister among the Poles living there.

Arrested by the Russians on 29.03.1927 in Kuniv.

Sentenced by a criminal Russian OGPU Council kangaroo court to 5 years in Russian slave labour concentration camps.

Held in Zhytomyr and then in Kiev, and next in Butyrki prison in Moscow.

On 16.05.1928 transferred to ITL SLON Solovetsky Islands concentration camp; held among others on Anzer island.

On 05.07.1932 tried again in a process against Catholic priests held in ITL SLON camp — for „illegal” celebration of Holy Eucharist.

As a result on 22.07.1932 transported to Sankt Petersburg.

There given a chance of a release for a price of tracking and reporting on one of French clerics in Moscow.

Refused and in 12.1933 arrested again.

On 25.11.1934 sentenced to 3 years of prison.

Held in Orel? prison.

Prob. released on 25.11.1935 (or in 1934) and exiled to Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

There on 19.07.1937 arrested again.

Accused of „spreading counter–revolutionary propaganda and membership of counter–revolutionary organisation” and sentenced to death by the genocidal Special Council NKVD kangaroo court (known as «NKVD Troika»).

Murdered in prison.

alt. details of death

According to some sources lived in Tashkent at least till 1949 — this however possibly points out to Fr Joseph Sawiński instead.

cause of death

murder

perpetrators

Russians

date and place
of birth

17.11.1880

Skokitoday: Skoki gm., Wągrowiec pov., Greater Poland voiv., Poland
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.07.18]

alt. dates and places
of birth

01.01.1886, 1873

Poznańtoday: Poznań city pov., Greater Poland voiv., Poland
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.07.18]

presbyter (holy orders)
ordination

1907

positions held

1932 – 1933

priest — Sankt Petersburgtoday: Saint Petersburg city, Russia
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2020.07.31]
⋄ St Casimir RC church ⋄ Sankt Petersburgtoday: Saint Petersburg city, Russia
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2020.07.31]
RC deanery — also: chaplain of other churches and temples

c. 1923 – 1927

administrator — Kunivtoday: Iziaslav urban hrom., Shepetivka rai., Proskuriv/Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
more on
uk.wikipedia.org
[access: 2023.03.02]
⋄ Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary RC parish ⋄ Zaslavtoday: Iziaslav urban hrom., Shepetivka rai., Proskuriv/Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.09.17]
RC deanery

c. 1920 – 1922

administrator — Liakhivtsitoday: Bilohirya, Bilohirya hrom., Shepetivka rai., Proskuriv/Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.09.17]
⋄ Holy Trinity RC parish ⋄ Ostrohtoday: Ostroh urban hrom., Rivne rai., Rivne, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.09.17]
RC deanery

c. 1918

priest — Lutsktoday: Lutsk city rai., Volyn, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.09.17]

c. 1918

priest — Kremenetstoday: Kremenets urban hrom., Kremenets rai., Ternopil, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2020.10.18]

till 1918

administrator — Bakhmuttoday: Bakhmut urban hrom., Bakhmut rai., Donetsk, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.09.17]
⋄ Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary RC parish

c. 1911 – c. 1917

administrator — Mariupoltoday: Mariupol urban hrom., Mariupol rai., Donetsk, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2022.08.05]
⋄ Holy Trinity RC parish ⋄ Berdyansktoday: Berdyansk urban hrom., Berdyansk rai., Zaporizhia, Ukraine
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2020.11.27]
RC deanery

student — Wrocławtoday: Wrocław city pov., Lower Silesia voiv., Poland
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.04.02]
⋄ philosophy, Department of Catholic Theology, University of Wrocław [i.e. University of Wrocław (since 1945) / Frederic Wilhelm University of Silesia (1911‐1945) / Royal University i.e. Breslau Academy (1816‐1911)] — postgraduate specialised studies

student — Rometoday: Rome prov., Lazio reg., Italy
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.12.18]
⋄ philosophy and theology — prob. completed supplementary studies without the required consent of the authorities of the Russian Empire (these were necessary — the only Catholic university where a Catholic priest could obtain higher education was the Theological Academy in Saint Petersburg, under the full control of the tsarist authorities) and under a false name

till 1907

student — Włocławektoday: Włocławek city pov., Kuyavia‐Pomerania voiv., Poland
more on
en.wikipedia.org
[access: 2021.12.18]
⋄ philosophy and theology, Theological Seminary

comments

Possibly identical with Fr Joseph Sawiński.

others related
in death

SAWIŃSKIClick to display biography Joseph

murder sites
camp 
(+ prisoner no)

11.08.1937 Russian genocide: On 11.08.1937 Russian leader Stalin decided and NKVD head, Nicholas Jeżow, signed a «Polish operation» executive order no 00485. 139,835 Poles living in Russia were thus sentenced summarily to death. According to the records of the „Memorial” International Association for Historical, Educational, Charitable and Defense of Human Rights (Rus. Международное историко‐просветительское, правозащитное и благотворительное общество „Мемориал”), specialising with historical research and promoting knowledge about the victims of Russian repressions — 111,091 were murdered. 28,744 were sentenced to deportation to concentration camps in Gulag. Altogether however more than 100,000 Poles were deported, mainly to Kazakhstan, Siberia, Kharkov and Dniepropetrovsk. According to some historians, the number of victims should be multiplied by at least two, because not only the named persons were murdered, but entire Polish families (the mere suspicion of Polish nationality was sufficient). Taking into account the fact that the given number does not include the genocide in eastern Russia (Siberia), the number of victims may be as high as 500,000 Poles. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2016.03.14]
)

Great Purge 1937: „Great Terror” (also «Great Purge», also called „Yezhovshchyna” after the name of the then head of the NKVD) — a Russian state action of political terror, planned and directed against millions of innocent victims — national minorities, wealthier peasants (kulaks), people considered opponents political, army officers, the greatest intensity of which took place from 09.1936 to 08.1938. It reached its peak starting in the summer of 1937, when Art. 58‐14 of the Penal Code about „counter‐revolutionary sabotage” was passed , which became the basis for the „legalization” of murders, and on 02.07.1937 when the highest authorities of Russia, under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, issued a decree on the initiation of action against the kulaks. Next a number of executive orders of the NKVD followed, including No. 00439 of 25.07.1937, starting the liquidation of 25,000‐42,000 Germans living in Russia (mainly the so‐called Volga Germans); No. 00447 of 30.07.1937, beginning the liquidation of „anti‐Russian elements”, and No. 00485[2] of 11.08.1937, ordering the murder of 139,835 people of Polish nationality (the latter was the largest operation of this type — encompassed 12.5% of all those murdered during the «Great Purge», while Poles constituted 0.4% of the population). In the summer of 1937 Polish Catholic priests held in Solovetsky Islands, Anzer Island and ITL BelbaltLag were locked in prison cells (some in Sankt Petersburg). Next in a few kangaroo, murderous Russian trials (on 09.10.1937, 25.11.1937, among others) run by so‐called «NKVD Troika» all were sentenced to death. They were subsequently executed by a single shot to the back of the head. The murders took place either in Sankt Petersburg prison or directly in places of mass murder, e.g. Sandarmokh or Levashov Wilderness, where their bodies were dumped into the ditches. Other priests were arrested in the places they still ministered in and next murdered in local NKVD headquarters (e.g. in Minsk in Belarus), after equally genocidal trials run by aforementioned «NKVD Troika» kangaroo courts.

Forced exile: One of the standard Russian forms of repression. The prisoners were usually taken to a small village in the middle of nowhere — somewhere in Siberia, in far north or far east — dropped out of the train carriage or a cart, left out without means of subsistence or place to live. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2014.12.20]
)

Sankt Petersburg (Kresty): Russian prison in Sankt Petersburg where many Polish priests were kept captive. Many of them were also murdered there. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2014.12.20]
)

ITL SLON: Russian Rus. Исправи́тельно‐Трудово́й Ла́герь (Eng. Corrective Labor Camp) ITL Rus. Солове́цкий ла́герь осо́бого назначе́ния Ла́герь (Eng. Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp) SLON — concentration and slave forced labor camp (within what was to become Gulag complex) — headquartered in Solovetsky Islands in Arkhangelsk Oblast. Founded on 13.10.1923 in a famous Orthodox monastery. In the 1920s, one of the first and largest concentration camps in Russia. The place of slave labor of prisoners — at forest felling, sawmills, peat extraction, fishing, loading work on the Murmansk Railway Main Line, in road construction, production of food and consumer goods, at the beginning of the construction of the White Sea ‐ Baltic canal, etc. The concept of the later system of Russian Gulag concentration camps prob. had its origins in the Solovetsky Islands camp — from there the idea spread to the camps in the area covered by the construction of the White Sea ‐ Baltic canal, i.e. ITL BelBaltLag, and from there further, to the entire territory of the Russian state. From the network of camps on the Solovetsky Islands — also called the Solovetsky Islands archipelago — prob. also comes the concept of the „Gulag Archipelago” created by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It is estimated that tens to hundreds of thousands of prisoners passed through the Solovetsky Islands concentration camps. At its peak, c. 72,000 prisoners were held there: e.g. 14,810 (12.1927); 12,909 (03.1928); 65,000 (1929); 53,123 (01.01.1930); 63,000 (01.06.1930); 71,800 (01.01.1931); 15,130 (1932); 19,287 (1933) — c. 43,000 of whom were murdered, including the years 1937‐1938 when c. 9,500 prisoners were transported from the camp and murdered in several places of mass executions, including Sandarmokh, Krasny Bor and Lodeynoye Polye. Among them were many Catholic and Orthodox priests. After the National Socialist Party came to power in Germany in 1933, a German delegation visited the ITL SLON camp, to „inspect” Russian solutions and adopt them later in German concentration camps. It operated until 04.12.1933, with a break from 16.11.1931 to 01.01.1932, when it was part of and later became a subcamp of the ITL BelBaltLag camp. It operated as such until 1939 (from 1936 as a prison). (more on: old.memo.ruClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2024.04.08]
)

Gulag: The acronym Gulag comes from the Rus. Главное управление исправительно‐трудовых лагерей и колоний (Eng. Main Board of Correctional Labor Camps). The network of Russian concentration camps for slave labor was formally established by the decision of the highest Russian authorities on 27.06.1929. Control was taken over by the OGPU, the predecessor of the genocidal NKVD (from 1934) and the MGB (from 1946). Individual gulags (camps) were often established in remote, sparsely populated areas, where industrial or transport facilities important for the Russian state were built. They were modeled on the first „great construction of communism”, the White Sea‐Baltic Canal (1931‐1932), and Naftali Frenkel, of Jewish origin, is considered the creator of the system of using forced slave labor within the Gulag. He went down in history as the author of the principle „We have to squeeze everything out of the prisoner in the first three months — then nothing is there for us”. He was to be the creator, according to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, of the so‐called „Boiler system”, i.e. the dependence of food rations on working out a certain percentage of the norm. The term ZEK — prisoner — i.e. Rus. заключенный‐каналоармец (Eng. canal soldier) — was coined in the ITL BelBaltLag managed by him, and was adopted to mean a prisoner in Russian slave labor camps. Up to 12 mln prisoners were held in Gulag camps at one time, i.e. c. 5% of Russia's population. In his book „The Gulag Archipelago”, Solzhenitsyn estimated that c. 60 mln people were killed in the Gulag until 1956. Formally dissolved on 20.01.1960. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2024.04.08]
)

Moscow (Butyrki): Harsh transit and interrogation prison in Moscow — for political prisoners — where Russians held and murdered thousands of Poles. Founded prob. in XVII century. In XIX century many Polish insurgents (Polish uprisings of 1831 and 1863) were held there. During Communist regime a place of internment for political prisoners prior to a transfer to Russian slave labour complex Gulag. During the Great Purge c. 20,000 inmates were held there at any time (c. 170 in every cell). Thousands were murdered. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2020.05.01]
)

Kiev (Lyukyanivska): Russian political prison in Kiev, in the first half of 20th century run by the genocidal NKVD, informally referred to as prison No 1, formally as Investigative Prison No 13 (SIZO#13). It was founded in the early 19th century. In the 20th century, during the Soviet times, the prison church was transformed into another block of cells. During the reign of J. Stalin in Russia, more than 25,000 prisoners passed through it. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2014.09.21]
)

Polish‐Russian war of 1919‐1921: War for independence of Poland and its borders. Poland regained independence in 1918 but had to fight for its borders with former imperial powers, in particular Russia. Russia planned to incite Bolshevik‐like revolutions in the Western Europe and thus invaded Poland. Russian invaders were defeated in 08.1920 in a battle called Warsaw battle („Vistula river miracle”, one of the 10 most important battles in history, according to some historians). Thanks to this victory Poland recaptured part of the lands lost during partitions of Poland in XVIII century, and Europe was saved from the genocidal Communism. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2014.12.20]
)

Greater Poland Uprising: Military insurrection of Poles of former German Germ. Posen Provinz (Eng. Poznań province) launched against German Reich in 1918‐1919 — after the abdication on 09.11.1918 of the German Emperor William II Hohenzollern; after the armistice between the Allies and Germany signed on 11.1.1918 in the HQ wagon in Compiègne, the headquarters of Marshal of France Ferdinand Foch — which de facto meant the end of World War I — against the German Weimar Republic, established on the ruins of the German Empire, aiming to incorporate lands captured by Prussia during partitions of Poland in XVIII century into Poland, reborn in 1918. Started on 27.12.1918 in Poznań and ended on 16.02.1919 with the armistice in Trier (which included provisions ordering the Germans to stop their actions against Poland), which meant a de facto Polish victory. Many Polish priests took part in the Uprising, both as chaplains of the insurgents units and members and leaders of the Polish agencies and councils set up in the areas covered by the Uprising. In 1939 after German invasion of Poland and start of the World War II those priests were particularly persecuted by the Germans and majority of them were murdered. (more on: en.wikipedia.orgClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2016.08.14]
)

sources

personal:
biographies.library.nd.eduClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2014.12.20]
, mytashkent.uzClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2019.10.13]
, cathol.memo.ruClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2019.10.13]
, christking.infoClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2018.09.02]
, catholic.ruClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2019.10.13]
, www.academia.eduClick to attempt to display webpage
[access: 2024.03.15]

bibliographical:
Fate of the Catholic clergy in USSR 1917‐1939. Martyrology”, Roman Dzwonkowski, SAC, ed. Science Society KUL, 2003, Lublin
Parish priest of Lutsk–Żhytomyr 1801‐1920 and Kamyanets–Podilskyi 1869‐1919 dioceses”, Fr Waldemar Witold Żurek SDB, Lublin 2023

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