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    80 years ago died St. Maksymilian Kolbe

    The 80th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Polish Franciscan Father Maksymilian Kolbe in the German Auschwitz camp falls on Saturday. The monk gave his life for his fellow prisoner Franciszek Gajowniczek. He was killed in a starvation bunker on August 14, 1941.

    Shortly before imprisoning in the bunker in the basement of camp block 11, Father Maksymilian said to his fellow inmate Józef Stemler: “Hate is not a creative force. A creative force is a love”.

    On Saturday at the Franciscan Center of St. Maximilian in Harmęże near Oświęcim, anniversary celebrations took place. Their culmination was the Holy Mass in the local church of Our Lady Immaculate.

    Rajmund Kolbe was born on October 8, 1894 in Zduńska Wola. In 1910, he entered a convent, where he took the name Maksymilian. He studied in Rome, where in 1917 he founded the Association of the Knights of the Immaculate. He returned to Poland two years later. In 1927, he founded the Niepokalanów monastery-publishing house near Warsaw. Three years later he left for Japan, from where he returned in 1936. He took over the leadership of Niepokalanów, which became the largest Catholic monastery in the world.

    In September 1939, the Germans arrested Kolbe and the Franciscans for the first time. The clergy regained freedom in December. On February 17, 1941, Maksymilian was arrested for the second time. He ended up in Pawiak and then in Auschwitz.

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