Fr Zygmunt Surdacki - murdered for helping Jews
ks. Zygmunt Surdacki
Zygmunt Surdacki, son of Wojciech and Agnieszka née Krasińska, was born on 6 June 1905 in Urzędów. After graduating from the Chancellor Zamoyski Middle School in Janów Lubelski in 1921, he attended the Seminary in Lublin. With the consent of Bishop Marian Leon Fulman, in 1926 he enrolled at the Catholic University of Lublin. He was ordained priest by the Lublin auxiliary bishop Adolf Józef Jełowicki on 8 December 1927. In June 1930, he received his doctorate in canon law and was assigned as a vicar to the Cathedral parish of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist in Lublin. From 1932 he was director of Catholic Action, which was being founded in the diocese. In the years 1937 and 1938, he lectured at the Catholic University in Lublin. In 1938 he took part in the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest.
In November 1939. Germans arrested Lublin bishops, professors and church dignitaries. Fr Surdacki managed to avoid arrest, but had to live in hiding.
He soon became vicar general of the Lublin diocese. It was a difficult task, especially since he could rarely see Bishop Fulman. Only when the German authorities ensured that he was free to act, Fr Surdacki disclosed himself in March 1940.
Father Surdacki organised the new headquarters of the curia at the rectoral temple of WNMP Zwycięskiej. He lived, however, in his former flat on Zielona Street. A ghetto was being created there, so he asked that the buildings in the vicinity of St. Josaphat’s church be excluded from its area.
On 31 October 1940, Father Surdacki was dismissed from the office of vicar general, although he still performed the duties connected with this function until 20 November. He became involved in the organization of secret teaching within the Catholic University of Lublin. However, he ceased to be an official representative of the diocese and a partner for the occupation authorities. Despite warnings, he did not leave Lublin.
For helping people of Jewish origin, Father Surdacki was arrested in March 1941 in his own flat. He was interrogated in the Lublin Castle prison, but did not give any information to the Germans. He was then sent to Auschwitz. Sandomierz bishop Jan Lorek and vicar general of Lublin diocese
Fr Józef Kruczyński tried to have him released – without success. On 30 April 1941, Father Zygmunt Surdacki died in the camp. The official cause of death was inflammation of the inner ear.
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