Rev. Marian Jacek Dabrowski

Rev. Marian Jacek Dabrowski

Born: January 15, 1905

Niewodowo, Poland

Marian was raised by Catholic parents in Niewodowo, a town in Poland's Bialystok Province near Lomza. His family lived there under Tsarist rule until 1918, when Poland regained its independence. Following high school, Marian joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order of Friars. After eight years of study in France and Italy, he returned to Poland to teach philosophy to students of his order.

1933-39: When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Marian was at his monastery near Grodno. They evacuated the monastery three weeks later when Soviet troops, invading from the east, reached Grodno. Marian returned to Lomza. Their new Soviet rulers rejected religion, claiming it exploited the working people. He challenged this in his sermons. When he learned that the Soviets were about to arrest him, Marian escaped to German-occupied Poland.

1940-45: In 1941 the Nazis arrested Marian in Warsaw. He was told that there was no real reason for his arrest, but that as an educated Pole, he couldn't be trusted to cooperate. He was held in Pawiak Prison and then deported to Auschwitz. There, the commandant lectured them about working hard. An interpreter was translating his ranting into Polish, but Marian understood German. He yelled that they'd only be freed through the crematorium chimney. Instead of translating those words, the interpreter said, "You will overcome everything."

Rev. Dabrowski was deported to Dachau where he was subjected to malaria experiments. He was liberated on April 29, 1945, by American troops and immigrated to the United States in 1949.