From The Jerusalem Post:
Later this week, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who became a Catholic priest in Poland, moved to Israel and served the Christian community here for nearly four decades, will be buried in Poland as a Jew alongside his mother and sister who were murdered by the Nazis.
Having grown up in a religious Jewish household, Father Gregor Pawlowski, born Jacob Zvi Griner, was saved during the Holocaust by dint of papers he obtained stating he was Catholic, and he eventually was baptized and ordained as a priest.
He eventually moved to Israel stating that he was part of the Polish people but that he was part of another nation first, the Jewish people, with whom he felt an ongoing attachment and among whom he wished to live.
Many years later, Rabbi Shalom Malul, dean of the Amit Ashdod Yeshiva in Israel was on a trip to Poland with his students, and noticed a headstone Pawlowski had made for himself at the mass grave where his mother and sisters had been murdered by the Nazis, and made contact with the priest upon his return to Israel and formed a friendship.
Malul will this week fly out to Poland with several of his students, give Pawlowski a Jewish burial at that site and recite kaddish, the mourners’ prayer, in accordance with the priest’s wishes that he be buried as a Jew.
Yeshiva World adds this detail:
Hirsch [Griner] also decided then that when he passes away, he wants to buried next to his mother and sisters. He established a burial plot for himself next to the mass grave with the following inscription:
Father Gregor Pawlowski
Jacob Zvi Griner
Son of Mendel and Miriam of blessed memory
I abandoned my family
In order to save my life at the time of the Shoah
They came to take us for extermination
My life I saved and have consecrated it
To the service of G-d and humanity
I have returned to them this place
Where they were murdered for the sanctification of G-d’s name
May their souls be set in eternal life
In 1970, Hirsch made aliyah and settled in Yafo, where he served the Polish speaking Christian community for 38 years. He used to say: “My place is here, among the Jewish people. I sensed a call to come and serve Christians living in my country.”
[He] was open about his story, saying: “I did not want to live a lie. I did not want to deny my roots, my mother, my father, my people. I want to be truthful. Thus, I have a homeland and that is Poland and I belong to the Polish people. However, I have a nation that is first – the Jewish people. I was circumcised on the eighth day and I belong. I belong both to Poland and to Israel. I cannot speak against Poles because they saved me and I cannot speak against Jews because I am one of them.”
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…
May his memory be a blessing.