Yom Hasho'ah - Holocaust Remembrance Day 16APR15

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.

So long as there are saints like Maximilian Kolbe in the world, I am convinced all is not lost for humanity. Let us light a candle in memory of all who perished.

I agree with you, meltzerboy.

Don’t forget Edith Stein.

If this event tells me anything it’s that man is capable of great evil, but also great good. Remembering all those who perished.

P.S. Gajowniczek was actually a Catholic: “After Fr. Maximilian’s sacrifice for me, it strengthened my spirit. What I do now is my mission for him and his message. And I will do so as long as I live! I was raised a Catholic and I kept my faith in the darkest moments … religion was my only hope. The sacrifice of Fr. Maximilian strengthened my faith and bound me more closely to the Catholic Church, which had given rise to such heroes.”

In fact, AFAIK most of the earliest prisoners who were deported to Auschwitz were Polish Catholics; the mass deportations of Jews (which began to happen around late 1941/early 1942-1944) had not begun yet when Gajowniczek was sent there (1940) and was only just beginning when Fr. Kolbe died (1941). And Fr. Kolbe is not officially a ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, though he is on record AFAIK as saving Jews.

Wow, it takes an incredible sort of courage to give your life for someone like that.

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