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Entrances & Exits

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168740.  Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:31 am Reply with quote

Q: What's unique about the place that Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki spent the World War II?

Answer: It was in Auschwitz, but he volunteered to go in.

In 1940, Pilecki was working for the Polish underground resistance, and presented a plan to his suerior officers to help those that had been rounded up into concentration camps. He would get inside one and organise resistance, raising morale and trying to coordinate food or troop drops into the camps. He would also try to get intelligence out of the camps so that their secretive activities could be known to the rest of the world.

In September, he deliberately stayed in the street during a roundup in Warsaw, and was taken off to Auschwitz by the Germans. There he set up the first chapter of ZOW (Związek Organizacji Wojskowych -pronounciation?) which would, amongst other activities mentioned above, help train the inmates in responding to an allied attack. Many systematic intelligence reports got out with various escapees, but by 1943 it was clear the Gestapo was onto them, and he knew they would be coming for him.

So, in April 1943 he escaped from Auschwitz with some German documents by overpowering a guard, and spent the remaining years of the war with the resistance.

After the war, in May 1947, he was arrested by the new soviet communist regime and accused of spying for the allies. He was sent through a staged trial in 1948 with three comrades, and then summarily executed.

In 1995, some years after Poland had regained its freedom from Russia, and only five years after this information was made publicly available, Pilecki and his comrades were posthumously 'rehabilitated' and all charges and sentences were reneged. He was given the Order of Polonia Restituta.

His name is pronounced 'Vitold Piletski'.



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