Latvian priest declared ‘Righteous among the Nations’ for saving Jews
Latvian priest declared ‘Righteous among the Nations’ for saving Jews

.- A Latvian priest has been awarded the title “Righteous among the Nations” by Yad Vashem for risking his life to save Jews during World War II.

Father Kasimir Vilnis was parish pastor in Riga, Latvia during the war. He hid Jews from Nazi persecution in his church and in houses belonging to the church. The heroic actions of Fr. Vilnis were attested to by David Packin, a man who later left for the United States.

When the communists were about to occupy Latvia in 1944, Father Kasimir had to flee to Sweden, where he lived until his death in 1988.

The Catholic Diocese of Stockholm brought proof of Father Kasimir’s actions to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. Yad Vashem decided to name the priest “Righteous among the Nations” on March 27. Father Kasimir’s name will be inscribed on the Righteous Honor Wall in Yad Vashem, and a medal and diploma will be given to his relatives in Latvia later this summer.

Bishop of Stockholm Anders Arborelius said in a press release he was glad Father Kasimir had been recognized.

“I am grateful that an effort, done secretly, is acknowledged,” Bishop Arborelius said. “It also shows the close bonds between Jews and Christians. Father Kasimir’s effort is one more proof that even during the hardest of times we human beings have the possibility to reach out to our fellow man and make the choice to do what is good and just.”

The priest himself never discussed how he helped Jews during the war, though in the year before he died he was awarded a medal for his deeds by a Latvian Jewish society in the United States.

According to a press release from the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm, Catholics in Sweden remember Father Kasimir as a good-hearted man, a good priest who loved a joke.

Since its establishment by the Israeli Knesset in 1953, Yad Vashem documents the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust and preserves the memory of each of its six million Jewish victims. It also recognizes the “Righteous among the Nations” to convey the gratitude of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Those named Righteous among the Nations, Yad Vashem’s web site says, come from all backgrounds. “The only common denominator,” the web site says, “is the humanity and the courage they displayed by standing up for their moral principles.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28


Daily Readings

First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »


Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: