Marches honour Polish WWII hero

Marches were held in Warsaw and other Polish cities on Sunday to mark exactly 117 years since the birth of so-called Auschwitz Volunteer Witold Pilecki.
Marchers honour Witold Pilecki in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Radek PietruszkaMarchers honour Witold Pilecki in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Marcin Pasierbski, who helped organise a march in Warsaw, said the event aimed to celebrate the anniversary and highlight Pilecki’s historic importance.

Polish Culture Minister Piotr Gliński took part in official events in Warsaw.

Other marches were held in the northern city of Gdańsk, the eastern city of Lublin, Stalowa Wola in the south, and Poznań in the west.

Born in 1901, Pilecki came to be known as the “Auschwitz volunteer” after he allowed himself to be arrested by the Germans in 1940 and sent to Auschwitz in order to gain first-hand knowledge of the conditions there.

In 1943, having escaped from the camp, Pilecki reached Warsaw, and a year later fought in the Warsaw Uprising.

After the war, he went to Italy and joined the Second Corps. He was sent by the Polish intelligence to Poland as a spy. However, he was captured by Poland’s communist authorities and executed after a show trial in 1948. His burial place is unknown.

He was long forgotten but his legacy was revived after the fall of communism. In 2008 posthumously received the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish state distinction. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Colonel in 2013. (vb)

Source: IAR

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