Biography of Father Kamil Kantak

Born December 15, 1881, in Luboni outside Leszno. Studied at the Catholic Seminary in Gniezdo, and finished his studies in Poznań; ordained in 1904. Earned a master’s degree in theology from the University in Freiburg, Germany. He was vicar of the cathedral parish in Poznań and editor of a Catholic journal. In 1918, after the end of the First World War, he joined a commission that received archives from the German authorities. After the defense of his doctoral dissertation at Prague University, he left for Gdansk where he organized a publishing association and became editor of four Catholic periodicals. In 1923 he became the rector of St. Jacek Church in Warsaw; from 1926 he was a professor at the Pinsk Diocesan Seminary and was there at the time of the Soviet occupation. In 1939 he was arrested along with his sister Maria Szilgan and was transported with a group of Polish officers to a camp in Kozelsk. He demanded his release and the return of their passports as German subjects. December 24, 1939 – on Christmas Eve, he was transported along with other priests to the camp in Ostashkov; in February 1940 he was sent to Moscow. He was later transported to the camp in Gryazovets, where priests who were amnestied as Polish citizens were brought on July 2, 1941. [They were brought there from Kozelsk, having survived after the execution of prisoners - Frs. Józef Bednarczyk, Teofil Wdięczny, Nikodim Dubrąwka and Wiktor Judicki.] In the autumn of 1941 he was released from the camp and became a chaplain in Anders’ Army. April 3, 1942 – exited the USSR into Iran with the Army; later served in Beirut and was also a professor for seminarians evacuated from the USSR with the Polish Army. From 1945 he served in Polish parishes in Syria and Lebanon; became a Church historian, studying primarily the fate of the Franciscan orders in Poland. Died in Beirut December 1, 1976. Source: Jeńcy w Griazowcu i Suzdalu. Ośrodek "Karta" (1998), v. 5; Madaƚa, p. 75; Siemaszko, pp. 132-133, 170-171; list compiled by R. Dzwonkowski, SAC
Variant Names:
Kantak, Kamill I︠U︡liush I︠A︡novich; Kantak, Kamil
Luboń (Poland); Gniezno (Poland); Poznań (Poland); Freiburg (Germany); Prague (Czech Republic); Warsaw (Poland); Syria; Beirut (Lebanon)
male; clergy and religious; survived