LDS Posthumous Baptism Controversy Includes Polish Catholic Witness To Holocaust

And the controversy continues…

The following is from an extensive article written by Howard Berkes, and posted at the kuhg Houston Public Radio website.

He wasn’t Jewish and he wasn’t a victim of the Holocaust, but the discovery of Jan Karski‘s name on Mormon proxy baptism records has angered those already upset about posthumous Mormon baptisms of prominent Jews and Holocaust victims.

Jan Karski was a Catholic whose mission for the Polish resistance during World War II included sneaking into the Warsaw ghetto, where he witnessed executions and naked bodies piled in the streets. Then he disguised himself as a Ukrainian guard and infiltrated a concentration camp.

Karski biographer E. Thomas Wood credits the former Polish diplomat with providing the first detailed descriptions of the systematic extermination of Jews to Allied leaders in London.

Wood heard last week’s news about the father and grandfather of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, whose names were discovered on genealogical records used to identify candidates for the Mormon practice of posthumous baptism.

The week before, the Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the appearance of the names of Wiesenthal’s parents on Mormon baptism records.

So, Wood asked genealogical researcher Helen Radkey to check the records for Karski’s name, and was shocked to find a baptism and other “ordinances” that confirm the Mormon faith of the deceased.

“I know what his faith meant to him, and I know he would be outraged at this effort to appropriate his mortal soul for another religion,” Wood wrote in a letter to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “This act will bring pain to his Roman Catholic and Jewish friends and admirers around the world, among others.”

Wood called on Mormon leaders to remove Karski’s name from church records.

Read the full article.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

4 thoughts on “LDS Posthumous Baptism Controversy Includes Polish Catholic Witness To Holocaust”

  1. A quick check showed he was not baptized by proxy. Only the database, and ordinances are locked out. “Not Available” on his record, much like Elie Wiesel’s parents.

  2. How foolish of people to think that their ancestors give a darn about what religion they are at the present time. As far as I can gather from my 50 years of research, they have passed from the present into eternity and they can be anything THEY want to be.

    If it wasn’t for the Mormon church making records from around the world available to the public, many people would not even know what religion their ancestors were. As a matter of fact, over the years I have learned that the earlier the records (especially in Europe) the Catholic church would put the Jewish records into their church records as Jews were not allowed to record births, deaths or marriages until themidle of the 1800s. I have also done research for people that swore up and down that their family was ALWAYS Catholic and I have been able to prove them wrong by seeing the original records in Europe.

    Grow up! Our ancestors are probably pleased that we care enough to do research on them. I know that with my lines going back to Europe in 1710 and 1715, I would not have even known anything about my family. My grandparents and great grandparents were not educated until they came to America. Just be proud of them and throw religion out the door and don’t forget, Mormons are connected to every religion whether you like it or not and NO, I am not a Mormon, but worked in their Family History Librarys for 17 years teaching ALL religions how to trace their families!

  3. I so agree with Marie Katonak. Wood wrote: “I know what his faith meant to him, and I know he would be outraged at this effort to appropriate his mortal soul for another religion,”. What a ridiculous thing to think and write. And the Jewish organizations never miss an opportunity to exaggerate and scream about being hated and discriminated against in some way. I am not Mormon either, and while I am sure that church is investigating the who and why of these baptisms, let’s remember folks that it’s a virtual ceremony; they don’t dig up remains! A Mormon baptism or any baptism or its equivalent would be invalid and unrecognized if performed on a person of another faith irregardless of whether they were dad or alive! Unless there is an agreement between two disparate religions recognizing each others binding ceremonies and baptism isn’t generally one of them! I recall as a boy going to RC mass with my grandmom and she was erroneously convinced I had already had my 1st Communion and insisted I receive it with her. My mom was panic stricken and called the parish and was told since I wasn’t prepared for it, it had no significance. One can argue their point, but despite not being ‘prepared’ for it officially, I knew the significance of and revered the reception at the time. So religious leaders can whine and throw their infantile tantrums all they want of situations like these. I’m personally sick of the political posturing… it’s like the dark ages when churches were afraid of losing followers to competing religions. How archaic. One day //they// will be judged for their hate mongering.

  4. Last I knew we believe in one God, and the religions go about honoring Him in different ways, but to the glory of our one God.
    Personally, I think that having many religions appreciate ones life is a gift.

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