Biography of Father Kazimierz Naskręcki

Born June 11, 1878, in Zhytomyr, Volynia province. After finishing high school and gymnasium in Zhytomyr he enrolled in the medical department of the university, but did not complete the degree. In 1897 he enrolled in Zhytomyr Theological Seminary and in 1900, for his great achievements he was allowed to take the fifth year exams early, to continue studies at the Theological Academy in St. Petersburg. December 13, 1901 – submitted a statement concerning his leaving the academy on account of his health. Ordained in 1902; in 1905 he became vicar at St. Sophia Cathedral in Zhytomyr and a religion teacher at the boys’ gymnasium. From 1908 he was pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Obodovka; from 1912 he was vicar – and later pastor – at St. Alexander Church in Kiev and administrator of St. Ignatius parish; prior to 1920 he was also a religion teacher in various schools. In 1920 he became dean of Kiev deanery. Father Teofil Skalski, the Apostolic Administrator, managed to appoint him Vicar General prior to his (Skalski’s) arrest. June 2, 1926 – appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Zhytomyr; also headed the illegal theological seminary in Father Skalski’s apartment in Kiev. Together with Father Jan Świderski he secretly prepared a half dozen candidates for the priesthood, two of whom were secretly ordained in Leningrad by Bishop Malecki. Under pressure of the GPU – and a group of priests who had been released from prison especially for this purpose – he and Father Świderski, Administrator of Kamianets Diocese, were forced to write a friendly declaration on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. The text of the declaration that was subsequently published in Ukrainian and Moscow newspapers greatly differed from the version the priests had written. It had obviously been completely rewritten by the GPU, in such a way that it compromised Catholic clergy in Ukraine, since the Apostolic Administrators expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the Soviet regime for religious freedom and allegedly acknowledged that “Catholic clergy in Ukraine led anti-Soviet activity and collaborated with Polish intelligence.” Father Naskręcki informed Bishop Neveu in Moscow about this falsification. The GPU repeatedly harassed him, constantly summoning him to interrogation, conducting searches, and arresting his parishioners, whom they charged with belonging to an “organization of Tertiaries.” July 24, 1929 – arrested in Polonnoye and brought into the investigation in a case against Catholic clergy (Priests Case). Sent first to Kiev Prison, then June 15, 1930, to Kharkiv Prison. Charged with “counter-revolutionary activity and contacts with a bourgeois state,” and forced to confess even that he was “waiting for Poland to occupy Right-Bank Ukraine.” June 27-30, 1930 – a closed trial, at which he stated that his “view of the Soviet regime had always been counter-revolutionary, that he had said to those preparing for the priesthood that this regime repressed the faithful, and that they must always be ready to be arrested. June 30 – sentenced to death under Articles 54-3, -4, -5, -6, -10 and -11 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR; commuted to ten years in corrective labor camp with loss of rights for five years and forbidden residence in Right-Bank Ukraine for five years [Extraordinary Session, Supreme Ct., UkrSSR]. September 26 – one of ten priests transported to Kotlas, then sent to the solitary confinement block at Yaroslavl Prison on the Upper Volga. September 15, 1932 – left for Poland in a prisoner exchange. [Of the 51 prisoners exchanged, seventeen were priests.] From 1935 – chaplain at an orphanage in Otwock; from 1936 – chaplain at the agricultural institute in Warsaw, where he remained during and after the war; from 1947, chaplain at a convent of sisters in Pludy outside Warsaw; from 1949, in Kwidzyn. He published a few theological and liturgical books and also wrote his memoirs. May 4, 1950 – died in Kwidzyn. February 10, 1930, Father Naskręcki stated at his interrogation: I would agree to be the least person in Poland, a night watchman or whatever – just so long as I was not in the USSR. This attitude is the result of my exhaustion by life under the Soviet regime, the impossibility of recovering my health under the conditions created by the regime for priests. Here I only want to note, if the Soviet regime continues along this line with respect to priests, we will all illegally leave for Poland, we would be forced to pray on our knees to be sent to Poland or anywhere beyond the border. My views are opposed to the policy of the Soviet regime on the religion question and I have stood up for my ideas. I have preached the principles of Roman Catholic teaching about religion, about increasing the number of believers, strengthening the faith of those who waver, instilling a religious spirit in the youth by legal and illegal means. Legally – by preaching from the church pulpit. Illegally – by preparing priests in an underground seminary. We priests, being at liberty, consider it our duty to render material assistance to priests who are under arrest. Each does this in accord with his own discretion. I, in particular, have helped Father Zieliński and Father Stysƚo. Sources: GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 5647, l. 4, 5, 8, 10, 35, 40, 47; Dzwonkowski (1998), pp. 364-366; Osipova (1996), p. 185; Investigatory Matter 68087, Archive TsGAOO (Ukraine); Sokolovskyi, pp. 138-139; Madała, p. 114
Variant Names:
Naskręcki, Kazimierz; Naskrentskii, Kazimir Edmuntovich; Naskrenskii, Kazimir edmuntovich
Z︠H︡ytomyr (Ukraine); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Kiev (Ukraine); Kharkiv (Ukraine); Kotlas (Russia); I︠A︡roslavlʹ (I︠A︡roslavskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Otwock (Poland); Warsaw (Poland); Kwidzyn (Poland)
male; clergy and religious; survived