The following text is not a historical study. It is a retelling of the witness’s life story based on the memories recorded in the interview. The story was processed by external collaborators of the Memory of Nations. In some cases, the short biography draws on documents made available by the Security Forces Archives, State District Archives, National Archives, or other institutions. These are used merely to complement the witness’s testimony. The referenced pages of such files are saved in the Documents section.

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Tadeusz Rusnak (* 1953)

Posługa z potrzeby chwili i serca

  • 15 II 1953 - narodziny w rolniczej rodzinie w Siedlęcinie koło Jeleniej Góry;

  • W latach młodości uprawia lekkoatletykę w LZS Janowice Wielkie;

  • Ukończenie Technikum Mechanicznego w Jeleniej Górze;

  • Dwa lata studiów na Akademii Rolniczej (1973-1975);

  • Spotkanie z ks. Aleksandrem Zienkiewiczem w Duszpasterstwie akademickim „Pod Czwórką”;

  • Formacja w Wyższym Metropolitarnym Seminarium Duchownym we Wrocławiu (1975-1981);

  • Święcenia diakonatu (1980);

  • Udział w strajkach w Zajezdni przy ul. Grabiszyńskiej – posługa w czasie Mszy Św.;

  • Święcenia prezbiteratu (1981);

  • Wprowadzenie stanu wojennego – odmowa przyjęcia robotników na plebanię przez proboszcza;

  • Posługa duszpasterska w Jeleniej Górze – wsparcie lokalnych działaczy „Solidarności”, Msze za ojczyznę (1981-1986);

  • Praca w parafii św. Maksymiliana – Wrocław-Gądów (1986-1989);

  • Wikary we Wrocławiu-Ołtaszynie (1989-1991);

  • Probostwo w Strzelcach koło Namysłowa (1991-1999);

  • Proboszcz kościoła uniwersyteckiego we Wrocławiu (1999-2003);

  • Posługa w Żernikach Wrocławskich i budowa nowego kościoła (od 2003)

Tadeusz Rusnak was born in a small town Siedlęcin in 1953 in a rural family. He studied at the technical school in the nearby Jelenia Góra and he trained athletics. In 1973 he commenced studies at the Agricultural University in Wrocław. During that time he attended the Christian ministry of Fr. Zienkiewicz. Under his influence he joined the seminary in 1975.

In 1981 he took ordination as a priest and was directed to the parish of St. Wojciech in Jelenia Góra. There he engaged himself strongly in the support for the opposition. He organized, together with father Jerzy Gniatczyk and father Andrzej Koziczuk the Mass for Fartherland during monthiversary of martial law. He supported the creation of the theatre „Sceny Czterdzieści i Cztery”. At the time he had his first encounters with the security services which encouraged him to be less active. Within the parish he organized together with the youth night meetings and other patriotic events. In the subsequent years he serviced in Wrocław and Strzelce. In 1999 he became the parish priest for the university church where he conducted many renovations. Since 2003 he has been leading the parish in Zerniki Wrocławskie where he has just built a church.

Participation in Holy Mass during the strike was rather spontaneous. ” (...) when we found out, I can’t remember how anymore, or from whom, that father Orzechowski was to conduct the Holy Mass, we sort of scraped together”. Tadeusz Rusnak, while remaining at his diaconal apprenticeship, decided out of his own need to come to the Mass and serve as deacon during it. He went there together with his peers who were at the time participating an apprenticeship in Wrocław. Liturgy was celebrated at the time by their lecturer from the seminary, father Stanisław Orzechowski. He remembers very little from these moments. He does remember though the atmosphere, the climate of those days and many people who came to the depot at that time. Later, during subsequent events, also out of his own will he participated during the Mass in Pafawag. These events were just a starting point for his pastoral work. In subsequent years, already as a priest, he shaped the youth in the spirit of Solidarity at the parish in Jelenia Góra and he joined in all key events of the opposition in the region. In that period of time he obtained a passport for a pilgrimage to Rome which surprised him. He explains it that Security Services thought that perhaps due to this he would become more humble and quiet. He sometimes goes back to the events of the 80s during his meetings with fellow priests.

He was greatly inspired in his patriotic attitude by the personality of father Prelate Hilary Jastak, chaplain of Solidarity and Kaszubowie, who was a parish priest in Gdynia. He met him thanks to the travels with father Zienkiewicz during summer holidays. He visited many times father Jastak and helped him in his charity activities during summer holidays. Father Jastak on the other hand supported him in the form of scholarship during his studies.

For his engagement, father Rusnak was honooured with several distinctions. Recently, he obtained the medal of the 35th anniversary of Solidarity of Jelenia Góra and he was honoured with a title of Prelate by church authorities.

© Všechna práva vycházejí z práv projektu: 1980: A Turbulent Year in Poland and the Czechoslovak Reaction

  • Witness story in project 1980: A Turbulent Year in Poland and the Czechoslovak Reaction (Katarzyna Bock-Matuszyk)