The 1930’s into the 1940’s were tough years. There was unrest in many areas of the world, particularly in Europe. The evil of Nazism was spreading out of Germany… spewing its poison to the surrounding countries… borders were being threatened and the evils of man were contaminating the beautiful countrysides with widespread death and destruction.
Poland was one such land to be threatened and consumed by this angry monster that wished to destroy everything in its path that didn’t fit into its political narrative…Not only were the Jewish people persecuted and killed, but many, many Catholics were rounded up and sent to these same internment camps of death. Many priests and religious were killed and tortured… merely for the fact that they were Catholic. The Grelewski brothers were two such men. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, the Nazis began to persecute any of the Catholics they could find. In January of 1941, Father Stefan Grelewski and his younger brother, Father Kazimer Grelewski were arrested.
Born in Poland in 1899 and 1903, the brothers came from a Catholic family. He and his brother both followed their vocations to the priesthood. Stefan was ordained in 1921, and his brother was ordained in several years later. Father Stefan earned his doctorate in canon law and was the general secretary of the Christian Workers Union in Radom Poland. He was a prolific writer and founded the magazine ‘Catholic Truth’ in 1930. The magazine dealt with many issues that were religious and social in nature.
Though he suffered from ill health he did not let his health issues dissuade him from working tirelessly for the Lord. He worked with the group Catholic Action and also with the Association of Polish Intelligence. He also was instrumental in organizing the first diocesan Eucharistic Congress in his diocese of Radom.
Wanting to help the young and the poor, he was the prefect of both a boy’s elementary school and a boy’s grammar school, up until war broke out in 1932. Even after the Nazi occupation of Poland, he covertly continued teaching religion. Then on January 24th of 1941 he and his brother were arrested. First they were sent to Auschwitz where they were tortured in the concentration camps right along with the Jewish people.
They were then sent to the concentration camp of Oswiecim in Poland and finally sent to the death camp of Dachau in Germany. The two brother priests prayed together and prepared for their deaths by administering the sacraments to each other. Father Stefan and Father Casimir were tortured extensively, both of them dying on May 9th, 1941 from injuries they suffered while being interrogated by the Nazis. Blessed Stefan and his brother Blessed Casimir were beatified on June 13, 1999.