A Polish priest who survived the horrors of a concentration camp and went on to serve the Polish Catholic community around York for more than 50 years has died at the age of 93.

Monsignor Boleslaw Zabludowksi regularly said mass at St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Church in Duncombe Place, York, until five years ago when his health declined. He died on Sunday at his home in York where he had been cared for by his housekeeper and friend, Bronya.

Those who knew him today paid tribute to a "warm-hearted" and "humble" man who was fiercely proud of his nationality and faced life's trials with fortitude.

Janine Pearson, of Haxby, knew Mgr Zabludowski from the age of eight.

She said: "He was a humble man but he was incredibly proud of Poland, its history and his roots."

Canon John Mortell, of Haxby, said: "He was very warm-hearted."

As a priest in Poland at the outbreak of the Second World War, Mgr Zabludowski was arrested by the invading Russians, and sentenced to death.

But before he faced the firing squad, his sentence was commuted to hard labour and he was sent to a concentration camp in the north of Russia.

He took Holy Communion to the dying, hidden in pieces of bread, knowing he would be killed if caught.

When freed, he served as a Polish Army chaplain in Iran and Italy and won two medals.

He came to England in 1946, eventually serving the Polish community of York.

A requiem mass will take place at St Wilfrid's on Monday at 12.10pm followed by interment at Fulford Cemetery. Mgr Zabludowski will be received into the church at 6pm on Sunday for a vigil and mass.

Updated: 10:48 Wednesday, March 28, 2001