Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram last Friday expressing his condolences at the death of Cardinal Adam Kozlowiecki, a Jesuit missionary from Poland and Holocaust survivor who died in Lusaka, Zambia at the age of 96.
In the message sent to the current Archbishop of Lusaka, Telesphore George Mpundu, the Holy Father said he recalled “with gratitude the first archbishop of Lusaka's selfless years of zealous episcopal and missionary service” and his “unwavering commitment to the spread of the Gospel and service to the universal Church.”
Arrested by the Gestapo at the beginning of World War II at the Jesuit School in Krakow, together with 24 companions, he was a prisoner at the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau, a long period of trials and suffering which he recounted in his book, “Oppression and Affliction: Diary of a Prisoner.”
After his liberation by US soldiers at the end of the war, he went to Rodesia, today Zambia, where he spent most of the rest of his life in the missions founded by Polish Jesuits.
In 1959 he was named the first Archbishop of Lusaka. He also participated in Vatican II.
After the country’s independence in 1964, he urged the Holy See to leave the see in the hands of a native African. The Vatican agreed and after retiring in 1969 he remained in Zambia, where he continued his work as a simple missionary.
John Paul II named him a cardinal in 1998.