Page 8, 21st February 1941

21st February 1941
Page 8
Page 8, 21st February 1941 — SEVENTEEN POLISH

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Locations: Oxford


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Requiem at Oxford

The Jesuit Church of St. Aloysius at Oxford was filled to capacity on Friday last when Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated for the repose of the souls of seventeen Polish professors of the University of Cracow who died in, or shortly after being released from, the concentration camp at Oranienburg.

Owing to illness, Fr. M. C. D'Arey (Master of Campion Hall) was unable to deliver an address, his place being taken by Fr. Leslie Walker, of Campion Hall, who began by asking: " Why did these men die, a year ago, all more or less at the same time, when they were not soldiers, nor had they taken any active part in the war against Germany? They were not conspiring against the foreigner who now rules their beloved Poland, a land that once had been free. Nor were they proposing to lecture upon controversial topics. They were merely men who proposed to carry on their ordinary occupations as civilians in an occupied country.


" The teaching staff of Cracow, the oldest Polish University, were summoned to hear a lecture by the military governor of the city on November 6, 1939. Between 150 and 200 professors, active and retired, obeyed the call, and discovered that it was a ruse to entrap them. The hall was surrounded by troops, and the staff, charged with having failed to maintain discipline, were searched and then taken off in lorries to prison.

" Later they were taken to Breslau, and three weeks afterwards removed to Oranienburg, one of the most notorious of the concentration camps, where 12,000 people, in eluding some 10,000 Germans, were herded into barracks meant to hold half the number and were brutally treated. The Governor-General of Poland gave an answer to the question, Why was this done?' when he said, ' It is the will of the Fuehrer that you become a community of workers and peasants. We do not need a Polish intelligentsia: we have enough of our own.'"

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