Yom Hasho’ah - Holocaust Remembrance Day today. Lest we forget the millions murdered for being different: Jews, gypsies, nuns, priests, gays, non-aryans. Of the 11 million people killed during the Holocaust, six million were Polish citizens. 3 million were Polish Jews and another 2.5 million were Polish Catholics.
Please light a candle tonight.
Tonight I will light a candle for Saint Maximilian Kolbe a Polish Priest interred at Auschwitz Camp. He gave his life for Jewish fellow prisoner Franciszek Gajowniczek. When Franciszek name was called by the German guards as one of ten to be executed due to the escape of 3 prisoners, the young man collapsed and cried out for his wife and children. Fr Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward and volunteered to take his place.
The 10 men were placed in the starvation bunker designed to starve prisoners to death. After two weeks only Fr Kolbe remained. He was given a lethal injection of carbolic acid.
Franciszek made it home alive promising he would make sure the world never forget Fr Kolbe. He was instrumental in adding Fr Kolbe’s name to Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Museum, Yad Vashem, committed to honoring those Righteous Among the Nations. Franciszek also contacted the Vatican. Finally on October 10, 1982 Fr Kolbe was canonized by the Catholic Church as Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Martyr of Auschwitz by Pope John Paul II. Franciszek was there to witness the ceremony.