Rome Newsroom, 14 August, 2021 / 10:30 am (ACI Africa).
Eighty years ago St. Maximilian Kolbe died in Auschwitz on August 14 after volunteering to take the place of a father in the concentration camp’s starvation bunker.
Today devotion to the saint continues to spread, including as an intercessor for the family, according to a theologian in Rome.
Fr. Kolbe, a Franciscan priest and missionary, was sent to Auschwitz in 1941. After a Polish prisoner tried to escape the camp on July 29, the SS security forces selected 10 prisoners to starve to death as a lesson for the entire camp.
One of the prisoners chosen 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.