"Few return from the dead, even among those only presumed to be dead by the living. This autobiography is the astounding story of an American-born Jesuit priest who, in the service of God, survived for twenty-three years, unknown to family or friends, in the controlled society that exists in the Soviet Union.
"In 1939, he sought admission to Soviet Russia incognito, so as to serve the Poles, who were his own folk and now were being absorbed into Russia under the Hitler-Stalin pact. Father Ciszek promptly became suspect to the KGB and was required to endure fifteen years of inquisition and imprisonment as a 'spy of the Vatican.' Thereafter he was permitted to live in the Soviet Union as a socially undesirable nonperson, who made a meager living as a common laborer, hospital attendant, garage mechanic, etc.
"The extraordinary dimension of this documentary tale is that Father Ciszek for twenty-three years not only retained his sanity but also remained true to his priestly vows and dedication...He said Mass under cover, in constant danger of discovery by priest-catchers. He heard the confessions of hundreds who could have betrayed him; he aided spiritually many who could have gained by exposing his devotion to the Lord.
"This is a remarkable recital of personal experience, simply but well told. It would be most difficult to write fiction that could honestly portray the patience, endurance and fortitude lived by Father Ciszek..."
- James B. Donovan, America
Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.
About Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.
WALTER J. CISZEK, S.J. (1904–1984), spent twenty-three years in the Soviet Gulag and is now being considered for canonization in the Roman Catholic Church.