“The Reverend Tadeusz Puder (1908 – 1945). The testimony of life of a Catholic priest of Jewish origin”


The work shows very difficult life of Jewish origin Father Tadeusz Puder (1908 – 1945), priest of Warsaw Archdiocese. It is the first attempt of a broad study of history of his unusual life. Numerous documents and interviews with people, who remember father Puder acquired during research [survey] allowed to deepen knowledge of both his life and tragic death. The found archive materials helped to get to know family environment of Tadeusz Puder, colourful years of his secondary school years, period of seminar and specialist studies at the Warsaw University and Papal Institute of Biblical Studies in Rome, pastoral work in various parishes, as well as ordeal he experienced during the second world war.

The thesis has been divided into three chapters: background and youth, specialist studies and pastoral work, and ministry of Word of God. The first chapter contains description of family environment, school years and getting to mature for the decision to enter Seminary, as well as studies and formation at the Higher Seminary in Warsaw. The second chapter describes his studies at the Faculty of Theology of the Warsaw University and Papal Institute of Biblical Studies in Rome, work as a curate in Rzeczyca, rectorate of St. Jack’s Church in Warsaw, work as a chaplain in orphanage in Bialoleka Dworska and tragic death. In the third chapter an analysis of retained sermons for Advent, Lent and some church holidays has been made.

The figure of Tadeusz Puder, an extraordinary priest, ardent minister, biblical scholar, confessor and preacher has emerged from documents, discovered photographs and memoires of witnesses. Memoires of his mother, reports of Franciscan Sisters of Virgin Mary’s Family from Bialoleka Dworska and Pludy, Franciscan Sisters – the Cross Servants from Laski, who shared father Puder’s drama of German occupation, as well as his retained sermons, discussed in the hereby work in the context of events of liturgical year turned out to be very valuable to get to know spirituality of father Puder. The analysis of sermons of father Tadeusz Puder allowed to notice his special knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and influence of Thomas a Kempis work “On following Jesus Christ” on their contents. Incorrect information in current life stories, literary and press texts could also be verified in the hereby thesis. They concerned maiden surname of Jadwigi Puder – father Puder’s mother, year of baptism of Tadeusz Puder, the place of his battering during a liturgy, circumstances of his escape from prison hospital, date and place of his tragic death.

Father Tadeusz Puder’s life fated in the period of increase of anti-Semitic feelings in interwar Poland. As far as those tragic events of Polish-Jewish relationships are concerned, only the events with direct reference to Father Tadeusz Puder’s fate were mentioned in the thesis. They are provided without any comments and conclusions. Polish-Jewish relationship is very complex and, therefore, requires a profound analysis, confrontation with other sources and its situation on wider plane of social changes, in the context of historic events – which was not the purpose of the thesis. Taking into consideration the Year of Priesthood announced by the Pope, Benedict XVI, Father Tadeusz Puder stands in the row of those priests, who were the example of absolute obedience to ministry – until death.