Shavelings in Death Camps

A Polish Priest’s Memoir of Imprisonment by the Nazis, 1939–1945

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About the Book

Catholic priests all across Poland were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps at the beginning of World War II. This memoir by Fr. Henryk Maria Malak (1912–1987) is their story and his. Through the author’s eyes we witness the German invasion, atrocities against the local population, and the roundup of priests from the region. A series of “transports” takes them to Stutthof and Grenzdorf in Poland, then to Sachsenhausen and Dachau in Germany.
Fr. Malak spent more than four years at Dachau, and he describes camp life in detail. (His final chapters are entries from a diary he kept secretly near the end of the war.) Some priests are selected for medical experiments; others are sent on “death transports.” Throughout their ordeal they face brutal treatment, hard labor, hunger, disease. Although many perish along the way, all remain steadfast in their faith and in their loyalty to Poland.

About the Author(s)

Bożenna J. Tucker was born in Poland and knew Fr. Henryk Maria Malak from the Heilbronn DP camp. She is retired as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense and lives in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Thomas R. Tucker studied Slavic languages and literatures at Harvard University. He is retired as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense and lives in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Bibliographic Details

Fr. Henryk Maria Malak
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 420
Bibliographic Info: 45 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7057-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9285-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Translators’ Preface      1

Introduction to the 1961 Edition      3

1. The Merciless Summer of 1939      5

2. And That Day Arrived      8

3. “Invitation” to a Meeting      19

4. Górna Grupa      26

5. To Gdan´sk      32

6. In the Hell of Stutthof      37

7. The Butchers of Stutthof      43

8. Miserere      49

9. A Hunger for Freedom      57

10. Holy Week 1940      61

11. Ethnic Germans      66

12. Grenzdorf      71

13. Here You Have to Work      76

14. Satan’s Program      82

15. What Will Become of Us?      84

16. Sachsenhausen      88

17. The First Days      93

18. No Changes in Sachsenhausen      104

19. One-Eyed Fritz      108

20. In the Valley of Jehoshaphat      118

21. A Chapel in the Death Camp      122

22. The Stream of Time Was Flowing      129

23. Roll Call      136

24. The Last Days      142

25. A Holy Shipment      144

26. The Sanitarium in Dachau      148

27. Snow      158

28. The Year 1941 Approaches      164

29. When on Candlemas Day All Was Covered with Snow      169

30. Allow Us to Work      177

31. The Second Freiland      186

32. “Joyful Privileges”      197

33. The Reverend Bishop      206

34. September 15, 1941      211

35. The Fence Fell and with It the Privileges      216

36. A Memorable Transport      223

37. Zdzich’s Hanka      228

38. Now You’ll Rot in Dachau!      231

39. The Mountain Girl with Little Thérèse’s Face      234

40. The Dismal Beginning of 1942      245

41. Holy Week 1942      252

42. Polish Priests Build a Crematorium      259

43. Three Hundred Polish Priests to the Gas Chambers      263

44. Guinea Pigs      269

45. At the Turning Point of 1942      276

46. My Mother’s Brother      281

47. They Would Have Survived      285

48. Autumn of 1942      291

49. Goebbels and the Catholic Nuns      296

50. The Year 1943      299

51. At the Turning Point of 1943      305

52. Autumn of 1943      312

53. The Nazi Nero      322

54. Spring of 1944      327

55. The Fruitful Summer of 1944      332

56. The Nun Barbara      340

57. A Diary      344

58. At the Dawn of 1945      351

59. The Last Month      357

60. The Last Sunday      376

Epilogue      389

Chapter Notes      395

Sources      401

Index      405