A solemn ceremony of planting the “Remembrance Oak Trees"
symbolizing the parishioners' gratitude to God for the Persons of: 1/ God's
Servant - Pope John Paul II, 2/ Primate of the Millenium - Cardinal Stefan
Wyszynski, 3/ Uniates-Martyrs from Drelow and 4/ the martyr of the Dachau
Concentration Camp - Fr Karol Leonard Wajszczuk (0074),
was held in Horodek n/Drelow on May 17, 2006 with the participation of the
parishoners, clergy and local authorities.
The ceremony was preceded by the Holy Mass, which was
celebrated by the Parish priest of the Drelow Parish, Fr Wieslaw Manczyna
and was held in the chapel of Saint Onufry-the Hermit.
Symbolic planting of the oak tree seedlings was performed by Fr Wieslaw
Manczyna together with the Chief Officer of the Drelow commune - Piotr
Kazimierski, assisted by the headmasters of the local schools.
Fr Karol Wajszczuk was closely associated for many years with Drelow and
Horodek. He was nominated in 1919 to be a local parish priest in the newly
erected Roman-Catholic Parish in Drelow. For the next 20 years, he was an
organizer of the social and religious life in the re-born Polish Republic.
After the outbreak of WWII, he became engaged in the organization of the
underground resistance movements fighting to restore freedom. For these
activities, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen
Fr Wajszczuk maintained full humanitarian attitude in the brutal environment
of the camp life. An incident, which occured during unloading of the
shipment of coal, testifies to this attitude. Fr Wajszczuk volunteered as a
replacement for another prisoner - a young priest, Fr Stefan Ceptowski. Fr
Ceptowski reached the limits of physical exhaustion and another day of
physical work would have been a death sentence for him. Indisputably,
according to Fr Ceptowski's testimony, Fr Wajszczuk's deed led directly to
saving the young priest's life, while Fr Karol himself was sent to the
concentration camp at Dachau and ended up in the "invalid transport" and
shortly afterwards perished (probably in a gas chamber), as a result an of
injury, which he suffered during this work.
Honoring the memory of Fr Karol Wajszczuk, by planting an
oak tree, was one more in a series of earlier events designed to assure the
preservation of the memory of this kind and worthy man and priest. The first
ceremony took place shortly after the end of WWII, when a handful of
symbolic ashes (representing also many other local victims of the
concentration camps), was brought from a concentration camp and buried in
the local cemetery in a specially prepared tomb. In 1997, during a
celebration of the 500th anniversary of the founding of the settlement in
Drelow, a commemorative plaque devoted to Fr Karol was unveiled in the
Parish Church. Two years later, in a nearby locality of Lozki, a monument
was erected which honored soldiers of the clandestine POW military
organization - Fr Wajszczuk was its secret chaplain during both world wars.
In 2004, the Society of Friends of the Drelow Region designated the year
2004 as a "Year of Fr. Karol Wajszczuk" and dr Jozef Geresz delivered a
presentation describing the life and deeds of Fr Wajszczuk during a
specially organized scientific session.