October 19 marks 37 years since Popiełuszko, a staunch supporter of Poland’s Solidarity freedom movement, was brutally murdered at the age of 37.
Popiełuszko strongly supported Poland’s Solidarity trade union in the 1980s, serving as chaplain to workers at a Warsaw steel mill in 1980 and 1981.
During martial law, he celebrated monthly "Masses for the Homeland" that attracted tens of thousands of people.
In his homilies, he condemned violations of human rights and called for freedom and dignity for working people.
On October 19, 1984, he was abducted, then tortured and murdered by communist secret police officers. He has since been recognised as a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church and was beatified on June 6, 2010.
Jerzy Popiełuszko, pictured in August 1981. Photo: IPN
Popiełuszko’s grave in Warsaw has drawn millions of pilgrims from Poland and beyond.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has said that Popiełuszko was a key figure in modern Polish history and that his death was a defining moment on his country’s road to freedom from communist oppression.