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On This Day… The Man Who Volunteered For Auschwitz

Written by: George Chittenden : 03 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 19th Sept, back in 1940 when Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki deliberately had himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where he spent two years supplying Allied forces with information about the concentration camp. Witold’s story is one of the bravest of World War Two, and possibly the history of the entire world.

Witold Pilecki served as a Polish cavalry officer, intelligence agent and resistance leader. He co-founded the Secret Polish Army, a resistance group in German-occupied Poland. He volunteered for an operation that involved being imprisoned in the Auschwitz death camp to gather intelligence and later escape. He is the only person to ever volunteer to enter Auschwitz. He completed his incredibly dangerous mission and supplied the first comprehensive Allied intelligence report on Auschwitz concentration camp and the Holocaust. He escaped from the camp in 1943 after nearly two and a half years of imprisonment.

After earning his freedom Pilecki took part as a combatant in the Warsaw Uprising and remained loyal to the London-based Polish government-in-exile after the Soviet-backed communist takeover of Poland. So, what happened to this absolute hero? Well unfortunately Witold Pilecki was arrested for espionage in 1947 by the Stalinist secret police on charges of working for "foreign imperialism” and was executed in 1948. Today we remember Witold Pilecki and the extreme risks he took for the benefit of others. Lest we forget.

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