Loading
Latvian priest declared ‘Righteous among the Nations’ for saving Jews
Latvian priest declared ‘Righteous among the Nations’ for saving Jews
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- 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

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
22

Liturgical Calendar

November 22, 2014

Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 20:27-40

Gospel
Date
11/22/14
11/21/14
11/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 11: 4-12
Gospel:: Lk 20: 27-40

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14