Witness to Evil - Young John Paul II, Part 6

As soldiers stormed into Polish houses, rounding up young men, people were more afraid than ever.  Karol Wojtyla hid at home, praying for hours on end.  He chose "to put his life into God's hands" and remained hidden for twelve hours.

After creeping through the streets, Karol and his friend reached the Archbishop's palace.  He would not leave for six months. 

The young men, who had reached their safe house, would finish their studies during that time frame.  Were they discovered, all would be sent to Auschwitz.

The young man—and future Pope—who so loved the outdoors would remain inside the entire time.  Going outside was not worth the risk.

By Christmas of 1944, it seemed to people in Poland, and elsewhere, that the war might actually end.  On the 18th of January, 1945, Krakow was liberated. 

When that liberation took place, Karol and his friends were finally free.

But once the Nazi occupation was over, Poland was still not free.  Six million Poles were dead—about one-fifth of the entire population. 

When he was 26, Karol was ordained a priest.  It was November, 1946, and the young man was mature beyond his years. 

Three decades later, he became the youngest Pope in almost a century and the first non-Italian Pope in more than 500 years. 

His papacy was one of the longest in church history, and John Paul II became the most-recognized person in the world.  His travels took him to more countries than any other well-traveled Pope.

In 2000, as he reflected on the end of his life, John Paul II thought about his family.  He wrote these words at the end of his Last Will and Testament:

As the end of my earthly life approaches, I return with my memory to its beginning, to my parents, my brother and the sister (whom I never knew because she died before my birth), to the Parish of Wadowice where I was baptised, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation when I was a worker, then in the Parish in Niegowic, to St Florian's in Kraków, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the milieu of... to all milieux... to Kraków and to Rome... to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.

Forty-six days from his 85th birthday, Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II died on the 2nd of April, 2005.

See, also:

Witness to Evil - Young John Paul II, Part 1

Witness to Evil - Young John Paul II, Part 2

Witness to Evil - Young John Paul II, Part 3

Witness to Evil - Young John Paul II, Part 4

Witness to Evil - Young John Paul II, Part 5

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Sep 25, 2018

Media Credits

Clip from "Young John Paul II - Witness to Evil," online via BBC.  Copyright, BBC, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program.

The BBC provides background information regarding this docudrama:

Drama-documentary telling the story of five years which transformed the life of Karol Wojtyla and set him on the path to the Vatican.

The man who would become John Paul II was 19 when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. He had no intention of joining the church, but the devastating experience of Nazi occupation led him first to join the underground resistance and then to risk his life studying in secret to become a priest.

Interviews with key survivors from the period who knew him well, and the Pope's own writings, are combined in a powerful exploration of the young John Paul II's coming of age, including his brushes with death and the horrors he witnessed that helped to shape his thinking.

"Young John Paul II - Witness to Evil" (2008)

Philip Smith

Leanne Klein

Philip Smith

Starring John Sackville
as Karol Wojtyla

Richard Lintern

Wall-to-Wall for the BBC.  Originally broadcast, BBC One.

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Witness to Evil - Young John Paul II, Part 6" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Sep 25, 2018.
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