Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Maximilian Kolbe's Ultimate Sacrafice in a Nazi Death Camp

Maximilian Kolbe was a Roman Catholic priest who was an active voice against the violence perpetrated by the Nazis in Germany during the Second World War. He operated a ham radio, in which he condemned the Nazis. He also provided shelter for 200 Jews during the Holocaust, in order that they may live.

Eventually, Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo and put into the notorious Auschwitz Concentration Camp in John Paul II's homeland, Poland. In July 1941, a man escaped the camp. In order to discourage further escape attempts, a Nazi official sent 10 men from the block where the man escaped to be executed. One man, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out in horror and pleaded not to be killed. He begged because he had a family.

With great compassion and no fear of death, Maximilian Kolbe volunteered himself to be killed instead. This was a completely selfless act. After two weeks of being starved, only 4 of the original 10 men survived, including Kolbe. The Nazis took the remaining 4 and killed them with a lethal injection, saying they needed the room they were occupying. Kolbe was martyred.

On October 10, 1982, in front of a crowd of thousands, John Paul II canonized Maximilian Kolbe a saint. Among the crowd, over 40 years later, was the man who was saved by Kolbe's act of charity - Franciszek Gajowniczek.

No comments:

Post a Comment