Another Polish Dissident Priest Is Found Dead

From Reuters

A radical pro-Solidarity priest in the northeastern Polish city of Bialystok was found dead Monday, the second dissident priest to die in Poland in the last 10 days, church officials said.

They said that Father Stanislaw Suchowolec, 30, was apparently asphyxiated by a fire in his apartment. Neighbors alarmed by the smoke smashed their way into the apartment in his parish house and found him and his pet dog dead on the floor beside his bed.

Suchowolec acted as a chaplain for the banned Solidarity movement in the Bialystok region.

Church officials said state authorities had raised his activities as a sore point at talks aimed at improving relations between them.


Suchowolec also said a monthly patriotic “Mass for the Homeland” in Bialystok attended by anti-Communists and Solidarity supporters and supplied information to Solidarity’s national Intervention Commission, a human rights watchdog group.

Father Stefan Niedzielak, a 74-year-old Warsaw priest who made his church a shrine for Poles killed in the Soviet Union, was found dead in his apartment on Jan. 21. A lawyer said he was apparently killed by a karate blow.

Father Cezary Potocki, a senior Bialystok church official, said the nature and cause of the fire that killed Suchowolec were not immediately clear but police were investigating.

Church officials said that both Niedzielak and Suchowolec were on a list of more than 150 priests considered extremists by Poland’s Communist authorities. Both received anonymous threats and Suchowolec at times traveled with bodyguards.

After Niedzielak’s funeral on Thursday, demonstrators marched to the tomb of Jerzy Popieluszko, a pro-Solidarity priest kidnaped and murdered by security police in 1984, shouting, “Stop killing our priests!”

Warsaw police have issued contradictory statements about Niedzielak’s death, declining to confirm it was murder.