Biography of Father Józef Żmigrodzki

Born into the family of a doctor in 1878 in Niemirów, Podolsk province. Studied at the gymnasium in Niemirów, then in Kiev; in 1902 he graduated from Zhytomyr Seminary and was ordained in 1903 for the Diocese of Lutsk-Zhytomyr. From 1903 he was vicar of St. Alexander parish in Kiev and a religion teacher in private Kiev gymnasiums and a business school. From 1904 he led the construction of St. Nicholas Church; from 1909 he was its administrator and later, its pastor. April 29, 1919 – arrested in Kiev, but soon released. From 1919 to 1920 he was seriously ill and thus other priests served at St. Nicholas, but upon his recovery he resumed his post as pastor. In 1925, under pressure from the GPU, he wrote a statement condemning the “anti-Soviet and political activity of Polish priests in Ukraine and their collaboration with Polish intelligence.” The statement was published in the Polish-language newspaper, Serp, issued in Kiev. January 14, 1930 – arrested in Kiev in a case against Catholic clergy in Ukraine. From his words recorded in the protocols of the interrogation, January 14: “The priests, myself included, are certain and say among themselves that Nakręcki’s fate awaits us all. All of us are ready for this. I see the reason for the arrest of all us priests as the Soviet regime’s determination to close the church by means of our arrests – and the priests I have managed to speak with think the same, since neither I nor Naskręcki have been involved in any illegal activity.” March 6, 1930 – indicted on charges of “having ties with counter-revolutionary collaborators of the Kiev Polish consulate and transmitting to Polish organizations via this consulate information that was regarded as state secrets.” During the trial he fully refuted charges of “summoning Kievan Poles to espionage activity.” May 10, 1930 – sentenced under Articles 54-3 and 54-6 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR to seven years in corrective labor camp [Special Troika, GPU Collegium, UkrSSR]. May 26, 1930 – transported to Yaroslavl political isolator. Attempts to exit to Poland on a prisoner exchange were unsuccessful. In 1932 he was sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp: until October 4, 1933, he was in Kem, then he was transported to Solovki, where he died in the infirmary on June 14, 1935, after having made his confession to Fr. Wacƚaw Szymanski. Source: Archive of Directorate, FSB, Arkhangelsk oblast; GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 1944 and 5647, l. 1, 8, 9, 35, 46, 52; f. 8409, op. 1, d. 850, l. 126; Osipova (1996), p. 170; Parafiial'na gazeta, 1995, no. 64, p. 8; Investigatory Matter 1733 fp and 11380 fp, Archive TsGAOO (Ukraine); Sokolovskyi, pp. 80-81; Dzwonkowski, pp. 534-535; Madała, p. 179
Variant Names:
Zmigrodskiĭ, Iosif I︠A︡kovlevich; Żmigrodzki, Józef
Nemyriv (Vinnyt︠s︡ʹka oblastʹ, Ukraine); Kiev (Ukraine); Solovet︠s︡kiĭ (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; died in prison