Auschwitz Memorial chronicles the sacrifice of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Auschwitz Memorial chronicles the sacrifice of St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe. Public domain
St. Maximilian Kolbe. Public domain

.- On July 29, the Auschwitz Memorial published historical photos chronicling the sacrifice of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who died in that Nazi concentration camp on August 14, 1941.

On July 29, 1941, after a Polish prisoner, Zygmunt Pilawski tried to escape, the SS security forces selected 10 prisoners to starve to death, as a lesson for the entire camp.

One of the prisoners chosen to be starved was Franciszek Gajowniczek, who asked for mercy. He mentioned that he had a wife and children. Fr. Kolbe offered to die in his place.

"Fr. Kolbe told the commandant, 'I want to go instead of the man who was selected. He has a wife and family. I am alone. I am a Catholic priest,'" Gajowniczek told the NY Times in 1995.

In a Twitter thread, the Auschwitz Memorial has published the photos of both Gajowniczek and Zygmunt Pilawski, the man whose escape attempt prompted SS punishment.
 

The Auschwitz Memorial also published a photo of the starvation cell in which Kolbe died. He is reported to have led other prisoners in prayer as, one by one, they died. Though Kolbe was held without food or water for two weeks, he did not die of starvation. Instead, camp guards killed him with an injection of carbolic acid on Aug. 14, 1941.
 


 
He was canonized a saint on Oct. 10, 1982.

Tags: St. Maximilian Kolbe, Catholic News