Introduction by Paul Hensler: Father Popieluszko was wrapping a few meager Christmas presents in his apartment on December 13, 1982, the first anniversary of martial law. Small gifts to be distributed to the families of political prisoners and the few shut-ins who lived close to his church.
The Secret Police could silence Popieluszko, stopping his monthly masses either directly by building up criminal charges against the priest, or by stealth, by demonstrating that the he was in so much personal danger the Church should transfer him. Perhaps to Rome, perhaps to the countryside, far away from workers from intellectuals and from Solidarity.
They decided on the third option, scare him, show the Church that he was in grave danger. They delivered an early Christmas present to Father Jerzy on December 13th, a half-stick of dynamite, tied to a brick, wrapped in Christmas paper and thrown through Father Popieluszko’s apartment window. Father Jerzy was not hurt as the bomb landed behind his bookshelves and went off with a dull thud. The only damage was a burn hole in the carpet and a lot of smoke.
“In the beginning of 1982 we really didn’t think the priest was in danger”, says Karol Sadurski of the Huta Steel Mill, “But the first attack on Father Jerzy’s life in December 1982 and that was a first warning sign that his life was in peril. We took turns watching him, and guarding his flat – that was the moment we decided he needed protection.”