Information and Help required


My request on this forum might seem strange but here goes… my father (who is now deceased) was born in the Ukraine and was taken by the Germans in 1944 when he was 15 and was injured on a battlefield. We have some information on his movements between 1944/45 when he eventually arrived in the UK but there are gaps…I am named after a priest who apparently helped him in some way but this is where we run out of information. What i am looking for is a list of priests names with the name “Karol” and who would have been located in south eastern europe - poland / germany during the above period. Can anyone give me the name/email address of someone who might be able to help me find this needle in a haystack ?


See if you can find a library near you that has all the volumes, for the period you’re interested in, of the Pontifical Yearbook (Annuario Pontificio).

Are you in London? I remember going to a Catholic library, years ago, just round the corner from Westminster Cathedral.


Thanks BartholomewB - its a starting point and I will follow it up.


Many libraries also now have online resources to help with genealogy research, which are free. There are also websites that will provide information for a fee. A co-worker of mine who lives in the US used such a site to find information about an ancestor fro Poland. He was given contact info for a church in Poland, which provide more info.


Thanks spockrates - I’ll follow this up too.


Were the priests Ukraine Catholic, Roman Catholic or Orthodox - that may determine where you’ll need to look.

Southeast Poland at that time was under Austro-Hungarian rule. It would be helpful to try and narrow down where he might have been when he met the priest.

‘Karol’ sounds more like a Polish name to me than Ukrainian.


Pope John Paul II’s name was Karol and he was in Poland about that time and would have been a priest


Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, was ordained on November 1, 1946 … too late, I think, to be the Karol the OP is hunting for!


Thanks for the replies and I have further thoughts about what you all have advised:

BartholomewB - do you know if the Annuario Pontificio give the names of all the parish priests or only those of a more senior rank ? If only those of a senior rank, where could i obtain the names of the parish priests ?

Medawlinno: I agree that the name “Karol” is more of a Polish name - I have a feeling the priest was Roman Catholic but i am not 100% certain. If the priest were of a different denomination, do you know where I could start to look ?

thanks for your help.


I wouldn’t even know where to look, I do genealogy in my family, which is kind of similar to what you’re talking about, and I hit so many brick walls searching for things that I would think would be easy to find. If all you have is a first name, in a place where that first name is incredibly common, that’s probably going to be a very little use. Not by much, but it will narrow it down a little bit. Wish I could help you more.


I think the only other denomination would be Ukraine Catholic (a/k/a Greek Catholic). I want to say off the top of my head that the records (what still exists of them) for both Catholic and Ukraine Catholic churches would be in the city of Przemysl. The Eparchy of Przemysl would be for U/C and the Archdiocese would be for R/C.

Here’s a good source of info -

Galicia is an area that comprises south east Poland and south west Ukraine - the part of Poland that went to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


@zed, apologies for the long delay in replying – your post never showed up on my dropdown list, I just spotted it today by chance.

It’s been many years since I actually handled a copy of the Annuario Pontificio in a library. From memory, I think I found the name of every priest I was looking for at the time (only about four or five, all in the same city). But after such a long time I can’t be sure, and in any case I’ve never even seen such an old issue as the ones you’re going to need to look at, from the wartime period.

The Catholic library I mentioned is a short walk from Westminster Cathedral, possibly in Francis St. or Morpeth Terrace, or one of the other little streets in that area, in between the cathedral and Vauxhall Bridge Road. But I only went there two or three times in the course of a visit to London in the mid-nineties. I can’t guarantee that it’s still in the same place!

Here’s what I suggest, if you’re too far away from London to get on the tube to Victoria. Phone the diocese of Westminster at this number (see link) and ask them about the library – or even, if they seem friendly and helpful enough, ask a more direct question about your search for the missing wartime priest!


Thanks so much for that information - my home is not London but I’m down once or twice a year so I’ll try the phone route first. Thanks again and well worth following up.



Hello Medawlinno - thanks for your reply. Your response is very interesting as it covers the area my father belonged to and could well give some information for us. I will follow this lead too. Many thanks.


You could ask them to give you the library phone number, and then phone the librarian to ask him whether they do, in fact, have a complete set of the Pontifical Yearbook on their shelves, dating back to the 1940s. He would also probably be able to give you the address of another Catholic library, closer to where you live.


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