Maximilian Kolbe

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Today, you can visit Cell 18, where Maximilian Kolbe spent his final days before being put to death by lethal injection. Tour operators even arrange visits to the cell as part of their itineraries. But is the story of Maximilian Kolbe just an unusual episode from the days of the Third Reich, or does it have something to help us in the way we live today?

 Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Andy Economides, a well-known Christian speaker in the UK, Europe and Africa, visited Auschwitz and speaks of the impact of being in Cell 18, and the relevance of the story of Maximilian Kolbe for today…

Three years ago during a trip to Poland I visited Auschwitz, which is still surrounded by a triple row of fences which were originally electrified. Inside the prison chamber I stood motionless gazing through the bars at the dark and gloomy cell in which Kolbe was kept before his death.

I could not but think about the amazing love that this one man had for another. Maximilian’s act of love was to sacrifice his own life; it was voluntary. This death had purpose – it allowed another, Francis Gajowniczek to live to a very old age. Maximilian’s gift of his life reminds me of Jesus Christ’s gift of His life for the whole of humanity.

This quote has been used with permission from True by Andy Economides © 2003 Soteria Trust. All Rights Reserved.

Here are a couple of questions to think about…

  • Maximilian Kolbe gave his life to save the life of a stranger. Can you think of anyone you might give your life for?
  • Is there a practical, everyday application of what Kolbe did which can help enrich our lives and relationships with others?

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About this module

Our famous follower in these pages is Maximilian Kolbe who was imprisoned in Auschwitz for aiding groups persecuted by the Nazis. He exchanged his life for a condemned fellow-prisoner in Auschwitz during World War II.

These pages were written by Howard Ingham.

Categories: Lives, Biographical,


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