FRANCESCO KESY AND FOUR COMPANIONS
On 1 September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, commencing the Second World War. The Salesian House in Poznan on Wroniecka Street was occupied and transformed into a warehouse by German soldiers. Young people were still gathering in out-of-town gardens and nearby woods. Numerous secret associations arose.
In September 1940 Francesco Kesy and four oratory companions were arrested on charges of belonging to an illegal organization. They were taken to the fearsome Fortress VII in Poznan, where they were tortured and interrogated. They were later transferred to other prisons, where they were not always lucky enough to be together. Invited to Poznan were tried and accused of high treason and sentenced to death.
They were martyred in Dresden on August 24, 1942. They were imprisoned with a spirit of faith and Salesian spirituality. They continually prayed: rosary, novena to Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians, prayer in the morning and in the evening. They were trying to keep in touch with their families through messages that they often could secretly send. They were courageous, praying and praying. When they could joyfully enliven the liturgical festivals in the cell. Their faith never shaken. They were credible witnesses to the end.
The decree of martyrdom was published on March 26, 1999; beatified on June 12, 1999 by John Paul II.
Francesco Kesy was born in Berlin on November 13, 1920. The family moved to Poznan for his father’s job. Francis was aspiring to the lesser Seminary of the Salesians at Lad. During the occupation, unable to continue the studies, he was employed in an industrial establishment. The free time went to the oratory, where, in close friendship with ideals with the other four, animated youth associations and activities. He remembers that he was sensitive, but at the same time cheerful, quiet, sympathetic, and was always willing to help others. Almost every day he received communion; in the evening he played the rosary. “In Wronki, as I was only in the cell,” he wrote in the messages to the family, “I had time to look at me. I promised to live differently, as Don Bosco recommended to us, to live for the Lord and His Mother, Most Holy Mary. […] I pray to the good God that all these tribulations and sorrows should touch me and not you. ”
Edoardo Klinik was born in Bochum on June 21, 1919, shy and quiet, became more lively since he entered the oratory. He was a systematic, responsible student. He was distinguished because he was very busy in every field of activity, and he seemed to be the most serious and deep.
Jarogniew Wojciechowski was born in Poznan on November 5, 1922, was a meditative, tending to deepen the vision of things to understand the events. He was an animator in the best sense of the term. He was distinguished for good humor, commitment, and testimony.
Ceslao Jozwiak was born in Lazynie on September 7, 1919, was a bit irascible, but spontaneous, full of energy, self-sacrificing, consistent and positively authoritative. It was seen to aspire to Christian perfection and to advance in it. He writes a jail companion: “He was of good character and good heart, he had the soul like a crystal … He trusted me a concern: never stain any impurities.”
Edoardo Kazmierski was born in Poznan on October 1, 1919, characterized by sobriety, prudence and goodness. At the oratory he could develop unusual musical talents. The religious life breathed in the family and the Salesians brought him soon to Christian maturity. During his imprisonment, he showed great love for his older companions. He was free from any feeling of hatred towards the persecutors.