He Saw the Messiah in Jesus

Author: ks. Mieczysław Piotrowski TChr

A dramatic history of the conversion of a Polish Jew — Father Daniel Oswald Rufeisen, a discalced Carmelite (1922-1998) — shows that searching for the truth in earnest always ends in a personal meeting with Jesus Christ who lives, teaches, forgives all sins and guides us to heaven in the Catholic Church.

Childhood and adolescence

Oswald Rufeisen was born on January 29, 1922, in the village of Zadziele, Kraków province. His parents were “progressive Jews” — they did not wear traditional clothes and spoke Polish at home. When Oswald turned 12, he joined the Zionist youth organization AKIBA that worked towards the return of the Jews to Palestine and the rebirth of a Jewish State within the borders of the ancient Kingdom of David. The boy owed to this organization his self-control, abstemiousness and a dislike for dancing, merrymaking, lavishness and luxury. It was a good school of character. After his conversion, Oswald did not have any problem with accepting the truth that Christian life calls for self-discipline, self-sacrifice and asceticism.
In May 1939, Oswald graduated from high school. On September 1st that year, Nazi Germany unexpectedly attacked Poland, starting the Second World War. The very next day, Oswald was fleeing the Germans with his parents and brother Leon. In Kraków, they boarded a train going east, to Lvov. The Germans bombed and fired on helpless columns of fleeing civilians. After seven days of travelling on the train, the Rufeisens had to abandon it and continue on foot. After two days of walking, the parents resolved to return home, while Oswald and Leon crossed into the zone occupied by the Soviet forces and reached Vilnius via Lvov with the intention to emigrate to Palestine. Witnessing the cruelty of war, Oswald realized the extremes of lawlessness and bestiality that were reached when democratically elected governments rejected God and his law. He became aware that only a community of believers, ready to make sacrifices, virtuous and just, governed by people of integrity, guaranteed peace; that these were necessary conditions for such a community to develop successfully and lead a happy life.

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