"On Auschwitz" (23): the sacrifice and death of father Maximilian Kolbe
At the end of July 1941 the camp commander Karl Fritzch selected 10 hostages from among the prisoners in Block 14 in retaliation for the escape of a prisoner. He condemned them to death by starvation in the bunker of Block 11.
During the selection, a Polish prisoner who was a Franciscan monk and missionary, Maksymilian Kolbe (no. 16670), stepped out of link and asked the camp commander to take him instead of a desperate selected prisoner Franciszek Gajowniczek (np. 5659). After a brief dispute with Father Kolbe, Fritzch agreed to the substitution, especially when he found out that Kolbe is a Catholic priest. The 10 selected prisoners were led off to Block 11. In the Bunker Register the admission of them is noted without listing names, numbers, day of admission or day of death.
Franciszek Gajowniczek survived the war and died in 1995.
Maksymilian Kolbe was murdered with a poisonous injection on 14 August 1941. He was canonized by the pope John Paul II in October 1982.
Teresa Wontor Cichy from the Auschwitz Memorial Research Center talk about Father Maksymilian Kolbe.
The Germans incarcerated at least 464 priests, seminarians & monks as well as 35 nuns in #Auschwitz. Learn about the fate of Christian clergy and religious life in the camp: http://lekcja.auschwitz.org/en_18_duchowienstwo/