Biography of Father Bronisƚaw Dunin-Wąsowicz

Born in 1898. Finished gymnasium in 1917; prior to 1919 he studied at the Zhytomyr Diocesan Seminary; from 1919 to 1920, in Olyts, and then from 1920 in Gniezdo, where the seminary was relocated after the revolution. Ordained in Lutsk August 20, 1922; he then illegally crossed the border as one of seven priests sent to serve in Soviet Ukraine. From 1922 he was vicar of [St. Michael] parish in Ushomyr, Zhytomyr Diocese; from 1925 he was administrator of the parish in Makariv and dean of Kiev deanery, while also building a chapel in Klavdiyevo. In May 1926 he was arrested but released December 26. Again arrested in mid-January 1927. January 27, 1927 – sentenced to three years in corrective labor camp. Sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp, where he worked as an orderly in the camp hospital in Kem. In 1929 he was released from the camp and exiled to Siberia for three years. He spent that time in Kirensk, Irkutsk oblast, where he was arrested in March 1931 and transferred in June to the Irkutsk political isolator. February 1, 1932 – transferred to Krasnoyarsk Prison (despite the fact that his term of exile had been completed). In the summer of 1932, Fr. Bronisƚaw and Fr. Wiktor Kryweńczyk sent the GPU a protest against their being held in prison, since they were sentenced to exile, not prison. July 6, 1933 – released from prison and sent to Pirovsk (eastern Siberia). Fr. Bronisƚaw’s sister Marie had been exiled to Komi ASSR and each had appealed to the Polish Red Cross to learn of the other’s whereabouts. In his letters, Fr. Bronisƚaw substantiated his innocence based on the fact that he had not been presented with any charges, that his “illegal border crossing” was in fact a return to his native place and that holding him in prison was simply harassment. In December 1933, the local authorities, trying to make his situation unbearable, released him from exile but would not give him any documents. In May 1934 Fr. Bronisƚaw sent an application and photograph to Moscow for a three-month visa to Poland for medical treatment – which the investigators later used to charge him with “espionage on behalf of Poland.” Later Fr. Bronisƚaw wrote even more about the unceasing persecutions and his torments in exile, about his serious illness and that it was difficult to move. In May 1935 he was arrested on charges that “in 1922 he had been recruited by foreign intelligence and sent into the USSR for espionage.” [Note: In fact, during the war, he and his seminary found themselves on the territory of the newly created state of Poland and he had crossed the border in order to serve as a priest in his homeland - Ukraine.] Ten months later he was released from Krasnoyarsk Prison, but on March 31, 1936, he was again arrested and drawn into the investigation in the case against “the Siberian Center of the POV [Polish Military Organization].” Transferred to Novosibirsk Prison. June 19-24, 1936 – at a closed trial he was sentenced to ten years in corrective labor camp [Special Board, NKVD]. In August 1936 he was released due to illness (tuberculosis). He arrived in Zhytomyr for medical treatment, but two weeks later, he was forced by the NKVD to return to Siberia. In August 1937 he was arrested and drawn into the investigation in a new case against the “Siberian Center of the POV.” January 4, 1938 – sentenced to death [Special Board, NKVD]. January 18, 1938 – shot. Source: Archive of Krasnoyarsk “Memorial”; Archive of Directorate, FSB, Krasnoyarsk krae; Investigatory Matter 27, Archive TsGAOO (Ukraine); GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 1632; Dzwonkowski, pp. 505-506; Madała, p. 49; Osipova (1996), p. 165
Variant Names:
Dunin-Vonsovich, Bronislav Valentinovich; Dunin-Wąsowicz, Bronisƚaw; Vonsovich, Bronislav
Gniezno (Poland); Kiev (Ukraine : Oblast); Siberia (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; executed