Warsaw

Witold Pilecki

more than a year ago

As far as assignments go, it doesn’t get much bolder than this one: get rounded up and deliberately sent to Auschwitz in order to report back on what is actually happening inside. Yes, the camp most people were trying to avoid was exactly where Poland's Witold Pilecki volunteered to go in order to find out firsthand just what the Nazis were up to.

Who was this courageous fellow? Pilecki was an officer in the Polish military with a long and impressive career that began with service during World War I and continued in the famed Battle of Warsaw (also known as the 'Miracle on the Vistula') that helped earn Polish independence in 1920. His efforts landed him two Krzyz Waleczynch (Cross of Valour) and in the post-war years the silver Cross of Merit for his work in the community. With the outbreak of World War II Pilecki was once again mobilised, but the country’s swift defeat at the hands of the Germans led Pilecki to found the Taina Armia Polska (Polish Secret Army), one of the first resistance organizations.

Pilecki’s idea to infiltrate Auschwitz took root while working with TAP, and in 1940 he deliberately walked into a street roundup in Warsaw and became inmate #4859 (under the alias Tomasz Serafiński) at Auschwitz. Inside he wasted no time: in addition to organising the underground Zwiazek Organizacji Woskowej (Union of Military Organisations) to assist inmates with extra food and clothing and provide them with news from the outside, Pilecki also secretly built a radio to relay messages to his contacts. It was these dispatches – detailing the state of the camps, number of deaths and conditions of the inmates – that were forwarded to the Polish government in exile in London and onward to the Western allies. In April 1943 Pilecki escaped from Auschwitz, hoping to convince the Home Army to undertake a rescue mission at the camp.

Unfortunately Pilecki’s detailed reports on the millions being killed at Auschwitz were largely considered unbelievable, and the British declined to assist the Home Army in a rescue mission. Pilecki went on to serve during the Warsaw Uprising, and following the end of the war he essentially became a spy for the exiled government. It was in this role that Pilecki was arrested in 1947 by the Ministry of Public Security, tortured, and put on trial under trumped-up charges (future Polish prime minister and fellow Auschwitz inmate Józef Cyrankiewicz testified against Pilecki). Unsurprisingly Pilecki was found guilty and swiftly executed by the communists on May 25, 1948 at Mokotow Prison.

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Over a year ago
Franco / Gray Entertainment
Los Angeles, CA
New Film: OPERATION AUSCHWITZ: The Remarkable True Story of Witold Pilecki Producers Samuel V. Franco and David Aaron Gray have partnered to form Franco/Gray Entertainment, a fund specializing in developing film and television projects based on events of historical significance. The company’s first project, Operation Auschwitz, focuses on the remarkable true story of Witold Pilecki, the only person to voluntarily be imprisoned at the notorious Nazi death camp. At the onset of German occupation, Pilecki, a Captain in the Polish Army, embarked upon an extremely perilous mission to enter the newly constructed concentration camp in order to gather intelligence on the prison’s facilities, and organize inmate resistance. From September 1940 until his extraordinary escape in April 1943, Captain Pilecki bore witness to the atrocities taking place inside Auschwitz and through a covert network, smuggled out his observations via the Polish resistance to Allied forces based in London. The collection of his reports, became the first recorded evidence informing the world about the existence of the Holocaust. The film will also draw attention to the tragic betrayal that befell Captain Pilecki and the millions of innocent people he risked his life to save. Operation Auschwitz is based on primary source material recently declassified after decades of deliberate suppression by the Polish Communist Regime. The project, set to film in Poland, will be a co-production with SESSO Entertainment Group, with both Samuel V. Franco and David Aaron Gray producing. They are currently out to writers. # # # For additional information please email: info@FrancoGray.com or visit: https://www.facebook.com/WitoldPilecki2014
Over a year ago
Józef
Poland
@marie lynagh Maybe both.
Over a year ago
marie lynagh
ireland,
to volunteer for this place of horror bravery or madness?
Over a year ago
AqPo2012
USA/CA,
Pilecki’s comprehensive report of his secret undercover mission at Auschwitz, translated into English for the first time, was published earlier this year by our company, Aquila Polonica. The book trailer for “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery” is here: www.youtu.be/VGsIdhG3tBE, Amazon link: www.amzn.com/1607720108
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