Eighty-one years have passed since the tragic demise of Jesuit Adam Sztark, a valiant soul who fell victim to German persecution for his unwavering efforts in aiding persecuted Jews. Revered for his bravery and compassion, Sztark’s legacy continues to resonate. In a poignant recognition of his heroism, Yad Vashem, the renowned institution dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, bestowed upon him the esteemed title of Righteous Among the Nations in 2001, marking a testament to his selfless acts.
Adam Sztark’s Path to Righteous Recognition
Adam Sztark, a devout Polish Catholic clergyman, etched his place in history as the first Polish Jesuit to be honoured with the distinguished Righteous Among the Nations medal. Born in Zbiersk on July 30, 1907, his journey of valour commenced after joining the Jesuit order in Stara Wieś, culminating in his ordination as a priest in June 1936.
A Tragic Stand Against Oppression
As World War II engulfed the world, Sztark fearlessly stood against the horrors of the Third Reich, using his pulpit as a platform to advocate aid for persecuted Jews. Witnesses recounted his impassioned pleas for assistance and his earnest collection of funds from parishioners. His acts of profound kindness extended further as he provided sanctuary to orphaned Jewish children, sheltering them within the walls of the presbytery.
However, his noble endeavours did not go unnoticed by the oppressive regime. On December 18, 1942, Sztark was unjustly apprehended and tragically met his end the following day, falling victim to German persecution near Pietralewicki Hill close to Slonim.
A Revered Righteous Among the Nations and Beacon of Selfless Courage
In a poignant tribute to his unwavering courage, the Israeli Yad Vashem Institute posthumously honoured Adam Sztark with the esteemed Righteous Among the Nations medal on March 8, 2001. His remarkable bravery and unwavering compassion have positioned him among the 122 Servants of God, initiating the second process of beatification for the second group of Polish martyrs from World War II, a testament to his enduring legacy of selflessness and courage.