He had been arrested and imprisoned after sheltering 2000 Jewish people and other refugees from Greater Poland in the Friary in Niepokalanów. As a radio amateur he had also criticized Nazi activities through his radio reports.
|Maximilian Kolbe 1939 photo|
After a prisoner disappeared from Auschwitz in July 1941, the deputy camp commander selected 10 men to die by starvation and dehydration in the notorious Block 13. Maximilian Kolbe was not one of those selected but he volunteered to take the place of another man, Franciszek Gajowniczek who was crying out for his family. This was accepted.
During the weeks that it took the 10 to die Maximilian led the others in prayer and singing. The 4 still left alive after 3 weeks, including Maximilian, were murdered by carbolic acid injections on 14 August 1941.
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15: 13
|Stained Glass in Conventual Franciscan church, Szombathely, Hungary|
- You can read a short article in the Jewish Virtual Library here
- or watch a 5 minute BBC educational video here.
- or read my previous post 'Man in Striped Pajamas
- or a nun's reflection on whether he felt a failure
Image Credits: photo of Westminster abbey statue wikicommons
1939 photo of Maximilian Kolbe wikimedia commons
photo of stained glass window in Hungary, wikimedia commons