Thursday, July 15, 2010

Maximilian Kolbe, an Auschwitz martyr

Father Maximilian Kolbe
Thanks to: Deportation & Resistance Museum, Tarbes, France
Photographed from the Aushwitz concentration camp display
[Taken with permission, August 2009]

For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

During the German Occupation of Poland in WW2 Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Catholic priest, sheltered many refugees in his friary at Niepokanòw, including it is believed about 2000 Jews. He also made clandestine radio broadcasts using the code SP3RN condemning Nazi activities.

On 17 February 1941 Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the Gestapo and initially imprisoned at Pawiak, before being transferred at the end of May 1941 to Auschwitz concentration camp. As can be seen on the above sketch, Maximilian Kolbe was given prisoner number 16670.

If any prisoner escaped from the camp the Nazis would select another 10 prisoners from the same barracks to be placed in Block 13 tortured and starved to death. The idea behind this was to deter future escape attempts. In July 1941 a prisoner disappeared from Maximilian Kolbe's block. This 'escaped' prisoner was later found drowned in the camp latrine.

Nevertheless, in the meantime 10 prisoners were selected. One of these, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out he was a married family man. Maximilian Kolbe, who had not been among the original 10 selected, volunteered to take his place. Over the next 3 weeks Father Kolbe led the others selected for special treatment in prayer and song. Maximilian Kolbe was the last survivor of the group and he was eventually killed by a lethal injection of carbolic acid and his remains cremated.

On 10 October 1982, Pope John Paul II - a Polish pope who had lived through the German Occupation - declared Maximilian Kolbe a saint. As with many saints there were critics of his worthiness of sainthood, such as pre-war anti-Semitism. However, he remains one of the best-known and respected victims of Auschwitz concentration camp.

(This article is mainly based on information from visits to two sites in France. The acknowledgements are given below).


(1) Musée de la déportation et de la résistance, 63, rue Georges Lassalle, 65000 Tarbes, France
(2) Maximilian Kolbe’s Mission of the Immaculate, 7, rue des Petits-Fossés, 65100 Lourdes, France.

Saturday, 17 July, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph- factually correct in most areas but one - as well as his radio broadcasts he also published a magazine entitled the Immaculata and which the present SSPX priest Fr Stehlin based also in Poland is trying to re publish

Sunday, 18 July, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

Interesting. I found this below, because I am always curious to know what "anonymous" contributors are referring to:

What is the first thing you think of when you hear "St. Maximilian Kolbe"? If it's "holocaust" or "concentration camp" then you're a victim of the "St. Max Kolbe, Patron Saint of the Holocaust" crowd. This new book by Fr. Karl Stehlin of the Eastern European District of the Society of Saint Pius X is partly biographical but primarily focuses on St. Maximilian Kolbe's life - long apostolate of spreading devotion to Our Immaculate Lady following the method of St. Louis de Montfort. Father debunks the typical myths of this so - called "Saint of Ecumenism" and shows his concern with combatting heresy, liberalism, modernism, Freemasonry and the need to convert heretics and Jews. One of the best features of this book is that Fr. Stehlin continually relates Kolbe's message with the Crisis in the Church...going so far, for example, as to point out how Lumen Gentium makes it nearly impossible for modern Catholics to truly understand the doctrine of this friar-knight of Our Lady."

Just so you can see that against some fanatics, we can't win.

Wednesday, 21 July, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catherine - as one of the many "anonymous" writers - I find myself confused as to whom you refer as the fanatic - Frs. Stehlin/Kolbe or the people who fully understand Lumen Gentium - as I for one can't make head nor tail of it - as it among the other 15 decrees of that council was written by the ambiguous thinking of Modernists condemned by Pope St Pius Xth in his "Pascendi Dominici Gregis" of 1907.

Both Frs Stehlin and Kolbe followed the teachings of Christ inasmuch as they proclaim and proclaimed the gospel to all even to the establishment of the only Monastery to survive the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki by Fr Kolbe.

Lumen Gentium while parotting Christs words to " go forth and teach ye all nations" destroyed the missions ! consequently the words of the Apostle has brought about this present crisis in the Church - "Woe is unto me for not preaching the gospel" !

So my friend Fr Stehlin- who again has been recently in Canada - is right that most catholics are very confused and walking away .....

Thursday, 22 July, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

Must say, Tomcan, I am losing track - too many inside intricacies I am not familiar with, and that have little to do with the topics of that blog. What I quoted there is enough for me, and this is why I believe there is fanaticism behind some of these theories :

"Father debunks the typical myths of this so - called "Saint of Ecumenism" and shows his concern with combatting heresy, liberalism, modernism, Freemasonry and the need to convert heretics and Jews."

My concern, and ours on the blog, is to explain what happened in WW2, who helped fight the Nazi ideology, not necessarily why Catholics today might be confused, and over what.

Thursday, 22 July, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catherine - I thought initially that you had actually read the book and had studied Lumen Gentium- this is why I was so confused but now I find that all you had done was to quote - verbatim - the advertising blurb of the Angelus Press and added your own vitriolic anti catholic statement...
and so I must apologise for giving you the credit of thinking for yourself.....
and what you hope to win is quite beyond me there is much more at stake to-day than there was in the time of the Nazi ideology as I recall that I took part in that WW2 affair !

Thursday, 22 July, 2010  
Blogger Peter G said...

'Anonymous of Aggazis', is there any reason why you, a Member, are posting anonymously?

Google blogs do allow anonymous comments, and so do I, but for non-members who may not wish at an early stage to reveal their identity.

Furthermore,comments to Members like these:

"[i]... added your own vitriolic anti catholic statement...
and so I must apologise for giving you the credit of thinking for yourself..... [/i]

are most certainly not welcome from anyone, whether posting anonymously or not.

Thursday, 22 July, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter -
The main reason for posting in that fashion is that I keep on forgetting passwords etc...

as for my statements - I found it very strange that a normally erudite person would quote - verbatim - an advertising blurb for a book which has not been read and quoting a decree of a Catholic Council - which had not been studied - and NOT thinking for her self in the matter and then claiming fanaticism and the inability to win....

However - if these Statements are offensive then I withdraw them unreservedly ....and trust that your forthcoming book will be better acknowledged..
Tomcann from Agassiz !

Thursday, 22 July, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter G said...

This is a simple temporary solution. Another obvious way is to sign off with your name:

Peter G

Thursday, 22 July, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

I did say earlier on I had FOUND the text I was quoting, I never let on that this was my own review.

Here is the definition of a fanatic:

fa·nat·ic (f-ntk)
A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause.
[Latin fnticus, inspired by orgiastic rites, pertaining to a temple, from fnum, temple; see dhs- in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
fanatic [fəˈnætɪk]
1. a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits
2. Informal a person devoted to a particular hobby or pastime; fan a jazz fanatic
a variant of fanatical
[from Latin fānāticus belonging to a temple, hence, inspired by a god, frenzied, from fānum temple]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Maybe it is a little extreme to define as such the members of a group that is dedicated to combatting what I mentioned above. Maybe not.

I am certainly not anti-Catholic, but certainly hostile to the dogma that says that all non Catholics are heretics should convert, or be converted.

That is all I have to say on the matter.

Thursday, 22 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

During my visit to the Maximilian Kolbe Centre at Lourdes I spoke with one or two Japanese visitors who were part of a group visiting the town. I had the impression that most of them were Catholics, although I could not say for definite this was the case.

These visitors were from near a town called Nagasaki - which was one of the places the Atom Bomb was dropped in 1945. Maximilian Kolbe is apparently well known and respected in Japan and before WW2 had undertaken Christian missionary work there. He founded a monastery in the Nagasaki - a place which survived the Atom bomb because it was on the 'lee side' of the mountain from where it was dropped. Several Japanese families (presumably Christians) were saved from the effects of the atomic bomb because they had taken shelter there. Hence, because this place had been founded by Maximilian Kolbe in Japan many were spared the worst horrors of August 1945.


Regarding what should or should not be debated via this forum I would say this is ultimately a place for true WW2 stories. During the course of researching the war I tend to visit archives, museums, churches, church records etc.

Yes - Maximilian Kolbe was a Christian (Catholic) martyr of Aushwitz. He stood forward to take the place of another. My opinion, such as it is, is that he was a brave man whose story and his life should be known.

There were also other Christians, Gypsies, Trade Unionists etc who died at Auschwitz. However, the majority of those who died in that camp were of the Jewish faith, who had no choice whether they went into the solitary cells or gas chambers at all. They too such be remembered.

Sunday, 01 August, 2010  

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