Saturday, May 13, 2006

“the people”

That night [in 1939] was my worst in Albertin [Poland]. With the [Russian] troops moving around on the floor above me, I hardly slept at all. Next day, I was summoned for a “personal talk” with the politruk, the Communist Pary or secret service agent who accompanied every unit of the Red Army. He wanted to know the whereabouts of the former Polish government officials of Albertin. I knew nothing and said so. In a technique I was to become familiar with later on, the politruk asked me the same question many times over in different forms. He was insistent, arguing that by helping him I would be helping the “people”.

“My work”, I replied, “isn’t political, it’s pastoral. As their pastor, I help the people spiritually and also materially when I can”. I told him of cases where we had raised money to help the children of poor families continue their educaiton through high school and beyond. He wasn’t interested. He insisted I should help “the people” everywhere by revealing the names of their enemies and making public what information I had as a priest.

— Walter J. Ciszek, S.J., With God in Russia, p. 35.



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