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Edmund's work as a physician eventually led to his death from scarlet fever, a loss that affected Wojtyła deeply. And what struck me about some of them was their Polish patriotism." It was around this time that the young Karol had his first serious relationship with a girl.

In September 2003, Emmanuelle Pacifici, the head of Italy's Jewish community, proposed that John Paul II receive the medal of a Righteous Among the Nations for saving a two-year-old Jewish boy by giving him to a Gentile Polish family to be hidden in 1942, when Karol Wojtyła was just a seminarian.

After the war, this boy's Christian adopted parents asked the future Pope John Paul II to baptise the boy, yet once again he refused, as with Berger.

B'nai B'rith and other authorities have said that Wojtyła helped protect many other Polish Jews from the Nazis.

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, a Jewish family sent its son, Stanley Berger, to be hidden by a Gentile Polish family.

During this time, his talent for language blossomed, and he learned as many as 12 languages — Polish, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, German, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak and Esperanto, Able-bodied males were required to work, so from 1940 to 1944 Wojtyła variously worked as a messenger for a restaurant, a manual labourer in a limestone quarry and for the Solvay chemical factory, to avoid deportation to Germany.

"I was not at my mother's death, I was not at my brother's death, I was not at my father's death," he said, reflecting on these times of his life, nearly forty years later, "At twenty, I had already lost all the people I loved." Soon after, he began courses in the clandestine underground seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków, Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha.He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate.As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries.He spent two weeks there recovering from a severe concussion and a shoulder injury.It seemed to him that this accident and his survival was a confirmation of his vocation.On 29 February 1944, Wojtyła was hit by a German truck.

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