Maximilian Kolbe

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Maximilian Kolbe
Fr.Maximilian Kolbe 1939.jpg
Born7 January 1893
Zdunska Wola, Poland
Died14 August 1941
Auschwitz
Venerated inRoman Catholicism
Beatified17 October 1971 by Pope Paul VI
Canonized10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II
FeastAugust 14
Patronagedrug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, pro-life movement

Maximilian Maria Kolbe (originally christened Raymund) (1894-1941) is a Catholic saint. He was a Polish Franciscan who worked in Poland and Nagasaki, Japan. He died in Auschwitz because he wanted to save another prisoner. Maximilian saved the life of that prisoner. Maximilian is remembered on August 14, the date of his death. The first-class relics of St Maximilian Kolbe are preserved and distributed by the friary of Niepokalanów, establish by St Maximilian in Poland.


Kolbe was smuggled to a prison hospital to try to stop beatings and lashings as part of being a priest. One day three prisoners disappeared from the camp and then the deputy camp commander decided to choose ten men at random to be starved to death to prevent any more escapes.

One of the men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "My wife! My children!" When Kolbe heard this he volunteered to take his place.

After two weeks of starvation and dehydration Kolbe was the only one of ten men that was still alive. He was always standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell looking very calm whenever the guards arrived. The guards then decided to give a lethal injection as he was still alive. Kolbe then raised his arm and waited for this deadly injection.

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