Pope John Paul II - A Letter of Condolence

On April 8, 2005, the Wielkie Oczy Foundation sent a letter of condolence on the death of Pope John Paul II to the people of Wielkie Oczy through Father Josef Florek, the local parish priest. Here is the English translation of that letter and the Polish original..

To Wielkooczers,

The members of Wielkie Oczy Foundation, descendants of Jews of Wielkie Oczy, send their heartfelt condolences to all residents of our home village upon the death of Pope John Paul II, blessed be his memory.

The Jewish people will always remember the Holy Father as their great friend. During His pilgrimage to Poland in 1979 John Paul II prayed in Auschwitz for the victims of the Nazi camps, including the Jewish victims. In 1986, he became the first pope to visit a Jewish prayer house, the Great Synagogue in Rome, where he and the Chief Rabbi prayed together before the Holy Ark containing the Torah scroll. In December 1993, the Holy Father led the Vatican in extending official recognition to the State of Israel. He denounced anti-Semitism as a "sin against God and man" and referred to the Jewish People as "our elder brothers in faith."

Karol Wojtyla was born in Wadowice, whose population of 10,000 included 2,000 Jews. He was a sad witness to the Holocaust as he watched friends and neighbors disappeared and murdered by German slaughterers.

As the Holy Father Karol Wojtyla remembered us and our suffering, the Jewish people now remember him and pray for the repose of his soul.

We share in your great sorrow.

Stephen Landau, USA
David Majus, Israel
Rabbi Murray Stadtmauer, USA



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