Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2012 | 67 | 3 | 57–75

Article title

Męczeński finał wojny. Losy sióstr z górnośląskich domów Zgromadzenia sióstr z górnośląskich domów Zgromadzenia Sióstr św. Elżbiety w 1945 r.


Title variants

Martyrdom in final stages of the war. The fate of Sisters of Saint Elizabeth of Upper Silesia in 1945

Languages of publication



In 1945 the Red Army was supposed to liberate Upper Silesia from Nazi oppression, instead it brought destruction, suffering and death. Among the victims were Sisters of Saint Elizabeth. The nuns stayed in the area mainly due to their principles, driving them to help children, elderly and ill people under their care. They met the same fate as thousands of other women „liberated” by the Red Army. The followers of blessed Maria Merkert paid for devotion to fellow humans with their lives. Dozens of nuns were murdered with malice (ten of these martyrs are undergoing a beatification process); dozens died in the ruins of bombed buildings; many were also brutally raped. It is difficult to establish the number of nuns who died from diseases and weakness caused by wartime conditions. The author shows both the lives of individual nuns and the history of monasteries and convents in that terrible time. The greatest harm came to the ‘grey sisters’ of Saint Elizabeth from the Nysa convent, the home of this religious institute. These old and ailing women were treated despicably by degenerate Red Army soldiers. There were instances of kindly treatment of the nuns by soviet soldiers, however those were rare. After post-war chaos was tamed the nuns were subjected to further oppression by the communist regime. Under the new organisational structure (adjusted for the change in country’s boarders) they continued their work of Christian charity.


  • Instytut Historyczny Uniwersytetu Opolskiego, ul. Strzelców Bytomskich 2, 45-084 Opole


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.