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Władysław Gurgacz

Władysław Gurgacz Street and memorial plaque in Kraków
Born 1914
Jabłonica Polska, Congress Poland
Died September 14, 1949
Kraków, Poland
Nationality Polish
Occupation Catholic priest, soldier
Religious beliefs Roman Catholicism

Władysław Gurgacz (1914 – 14 September 1949) was a Polish Catholic priest, member of the Society of Jesus, and chaplain of the anti-communist underground.[1]


In 1931, he entered the Society of Jesus in Stara Wieś, and in 1942 he was ordained as chaplain.

After World War II, he strongly criticized communist order in Poland. It brought him immense popularity among believers.[2] Between 1945 and 1947, he worked as hospital chaplain in Gorlice and from 1947 to 1948 in Krynica. It was there that he entered an armed unit of anti-communist underground Polish opposition; specifically, the Polish Underground Independency Army (Polska Podziemna Armia Niepodległościowa, PPAN). He was awarded the rank of captain. While serving with the army he convinced partisans to not carry out executions of Polish Workers' Party activists, who were beaten and forced to eat communist party identity cards.[2]

On 2 July 1949, partisans robbed a bank in Kraków in order to gain money needed to escape to Western Europe.[2] They were caught and arrested by the Office of Public Security, and later in a show trial sentenced to death by judge Ludwik Kiełtyka. Although Gurgacz did not participate in the robbery, he turned himself in [3][4] and was executed by a firing squad on 14 September 1949 in Montelupich prison in Kraków.[2]

There is an obelisk built to his memory at Hala Łabowska in Beskid Sądecki mountain range. Each year veterans of Armia Krajowa and PPAN meet at this place. Memorial plaques to Władysław Gurgacz and fallen soldiers of PPAN are located in churches in Nowy Sącz and Krynica. In June 2008, he was posthumously awarded Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.[3]





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