Warszawa / Śródmieście / 3/5 Grzybowski Square
  • All Saints Church, Grzybowski Square, 2015, photo: A. Kaliszewski, Pańska Skórka

  • Rev. Marceli Godlewski, Warsaw, photo: Israel Embassy in Poland

  • Rev. Marceli Godlewski, post-1916, photo: All Saints’ Parish archive, Warsaw

Rev. Marceli Godlewski

Approximately two thousand Christians of Jewish origin lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Until August 1942, the parish of All Saints was incorporated into the ghetto. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Marceli Godlewski, the parish priest, had supported National Democracy and had been known for his anti-Semitic views.

The situation of Jews inside the ghetto forced father Godlewski to engage in smuggling food and medicines. He also helped in arranging false documents. A nursery along with a soup kitchen providing meals to the starving ghetto population were in operation next to the church. Ludwik Hirszfeld, a well-known medical doctor and immunologist, as well as the family of Ludwik Zamenhof, father of Esperanto, were hiding within the parish grounds. Father Godlewski turned his private home in Anin into an orphanage run by the Franciscan Sisters Order. He used to send small escapees from the ghetto there.

Ludwik Hirszfeld recalled after the war: “Passion and love in one soul. Once a crusading anti-Semite, priest who was militating in both his speeches and writing. But when, through a twist of fate, he found himself amidst grinding poverty, he discarded his attitude and wholeheartedly devoted himself to helping Jews.”

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