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Walter J. Ciszek, SJ Interviews

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS191

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

Consisting of audio taped interviews with Walter J. Ciszek, SJ, this collection documents the American-born Jesuit's life, ca. 1938-1963. Discussed are: his mission work in Poland and Russia, 1938-1941; arrest by Soviet secret police in 1941; imprisonment in Moscow and Siberia; and eventual release and return to the United States in 1963. The interviews are contained on 9 tapes (duplicates of tapes 1-8 included). The tapes give no indication, either on their face or by their content, of their recording date. However, an accompanying packing label states that they were recorded: 'Upon [Father Ciszek's] return from Russia.' There is similarly no indication of the identity of Ciszek's interviewer.

This collection has been digitized and is available to view online in DigitalGeorgetown.


  • 1964


Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Collection-level Use Restrictions

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Reproduction requests must be approved by the Socius of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.

Biographical note

Walter J. Ciszek was born in Shenandoah, Pa., 11/04/1904, the son of Martin and Mary (Mika) Ciszek. Entering the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), 09/07/1928, he was ordained in the Oriental rite in Rome, 06/24/1937, and was sent to the Jesuit mission in Albyrtyn (also spelt Albertin and Albertyn), eastern Poland, in November 1938. After the Russians overran eastern Poland and closed his mission, he crossed into Russia in 1940 hoping to work as a priest among those deported to lumber camps in the Ural Mountains. Arrested in June 1941 as a 'Vatican spy', he was sent to Moscow's Lubianka prison and subsequently sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor. Transferred to prison camps in Siberia after World War II, he was presumed dead by his family and order and not until 1955 did word reach the United States that he was still alive. In October 1963, he was returned to the U.S. in exchange for two Soviet agents. Upon repatriation, he lectured at the John XXIII Center for Eastern Christian Studies, Fordham University, and wrote two books based on his experiences, 'With God in Russia', McGraw-Hill (1964) and 'He Leadeth Me', Doubleday (1973). Father Ciszek died, 12/08/1984.

He is currently being considered for sainthood.


0.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Walter J. Ciszek, SJ, Interviews
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057