On 24 March 1921, Father Franciszek Blachnicki was born. He was the founder of the Oasis movement, which in communist Poland, to the displeasure of the authorities, formed around 2 million young people belonging to the Light-Life Movement. According to the latest findings of the investigation by the Institute of National Remembrance, the priest was murdered on 27 February 1987.
The future priest was born in Rybnik and completed his secondary education in Tarnowskie Góry, where his family had moved. Here he became heavily involved in scouting activities. After passing his secondary school-leaving exams in 1938, he began his military service.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Blachnicki took part in the defensive war, ending his combat route in the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski. After returning to his home area, he joined the underground movement, which ended with his arrest by the Germans. He was deported to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, from where he was taken to the prison in Katowice, where he awaited the execution of his death sentence. In his cell, he experienced a religious conversion, and it soon emerged that his sentence had been commuted to a stay in concentration camps.
After the war, he entered the seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1950 and began pastoral work in the Katowice diocese. This was a time when the communists in Poland were waging a ruthless struggle against the Catholic Church. They soon removed the bishops from Katowice and tried, through the priests subordinate to them, to take control of the diocese. This was fiercely opposed by the young Fr Franciszek, which resulted in his removal from his parish in Cieszyn. After the bishops returned to the diocese, Fr Blachnicki organised the “Crusade of Temperance” in 1957 – a movement against the plague of alcoholism in Poland. These activities resulted in communist repression of the clergyman. In 1961, he was arrested and sent for several months to the same prison in Katowice where he had been imprisoned earlier during the war by the Germans.
In 1963, Fr Blachnicki began to organise the Oasis movement on a mass scale, which for decades shaped generations of children and young people in Poland, and which was a proverbial salt in the eye of the communist authorities. It is assumed that around 2 million people passed through the oasis.
The introduction of martial law in 1981 found the priest in Rome, from where he travelled to Germany. There, in Carlsberg, he founded the Christian Service for the Liberation of Nations, which undertook various peaceful activities aimed at overthrowing the communist system in Europe. His activities were opposed by the secret services of the communist states, with the Soviet Union at the forefront. Agents of the Polish Security Service were placed in Fr Blachnicki’s entourage. On 27 February 1987, the priest died suddenly, and according to the latest findings of the Institute of National Remembrance, he was poisoned that day.