1984

Ksiądz Jerzy Popiełuszko podczas swojej ostatniej mszy świętej. Kościół pod wezwaniem św. Polskich Braci Męczenników w Bydgoszczy - 19 października 1984On October 19, 1984, after a Holy Mass in the Parish of the Holy Polish Martyr Brothers in Bydgoszcz, on their way to Warsaw, Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko and Waldemar Chrostowski, the driver of Volkswagen Golf, were pulled over and kidnapped in Górsk by three security service officers (Grzegorz Piotrowski, Leszek Pękala and Waldemar Chmielewski) who were dressed as policemen. The agents operated under Independent Group "D" (disintegration) from the 4th Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. At that point the trail ends. Nobody knows what really happened to Fr. Popiełuszko. On October 21, a special group was formed in the Ministry to investigate the abduction (theoretically, nobody knew about the priest's death). The group was composed of experienced officers from the 4th Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Zenon Płatek, the head of the Department, and his deputy, Adam Pietruszka). The political decision to reveal that security service agents were arrested in connection with the case was taken on October 24, and the agents' names were revealed three days later. On October 30, a further three days, a body identified as Fr. Popiełuszko was recovered from a dam reservoir near Włocławek. Police records describe the incident as follows: "At 5 p.m. [...] the recovery of a male body commenced with the help of divers. The victim - reports Krzysztof Mańko, one of the divers - was wearing a cassock, facing the weir and had been weighed down. (Chinciński, T., Na tropach prowokacji, "Biuletyn IPN" 2004, no. 10, p. 38).
The mutilated body, to such an extent, was barely identifiable. What was the reason for such cruelty? Historian Jacek T. Żurek claims that it was to frighten those whoGórsk - krzyż w miejscu porwania ks. Jerzego Popiełuszki did not want to come to terms with the regime - Fr. Jerzy's tongue was crushed with one of the security service members said that "he won't bark anymore". Perhaps it was more of a symbol - to kill a priest who preached the truth is like killing the truth itself. We will never know who gave the orders or what it would look like in the course of a proper investigation. The transport of the body from Bialystok (the place of autopsy) to the gravesite near St. Stanislaus Church in Warsaw turned into a great manifestation of faith and unity. A solemn funeral was conducted on November 3 and Holy Mass was celebrated in complete silence. No speeches were given.

Trumna z ciałem ks. Jerzego Popiełuszki przed kościołem p.w. św. Stanisława Kostki w WarszawieA day before the funeral, the security service group was dissolved. The Interior Bureau of Investigation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs took over the case. Obviously nothing changed either in the course of the investigation or with regard to the expected results. Nothing was clear.

The trial of the alleged killers also did not result in any changes thereto. It lasted from December 27, 1984 to February 2, 1985 and took place before the Provincial Court in Toruń in the presence of the "public" which consisted mostly of security service policemen and Communist-supporting journalists. The trial resulted in convictions for G. Piotrowski and A. Pietruszka (25 years of imprisonment each), L. Pękala (15 years), and W. Chmielewski (14 years). All the convicts were released from jail before serving the full sentence. Pękala left prison after 5 years, Chmielewski after 8, Pietruszka after 10 and Piotrowski after 16 years.

Paradoxically, the lawsuit was a kind of a display of passing accusations. Jerzy Popiełuszko along with the Catholic Church of Poland seemed to be the defendants in the "trial". Later on, Wojciech Jaruzelski (in a conversation with Erich Honecker) referred to the Catholic Church as a hump that could not be removed.

Piotr Łysakowski