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Pilecki's Report (wikipedia.org)
104 points by jorgenveisdal on Jan 23, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

Jan Karski https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Karski had a similar story, though he went in an out of the Warsaw Ghetto a few times during the war, rather than Auschwitz. He ended up as a professor at Georgetown University until the 90's. If he drifted off topic in class, his stories of being in the resistance in occupied Poland were amazing.

These were his words after his death sentence:

“I've been trying to live my life so that in the hour of my death I would rather feel joy, than fear.”

What a hero.

I'm nearly speechless. Those are amongst the most moving words I've heard in my 40+ years. Thank you for posting that.

Those words are also quite a challenge. They make so much of my own life sound... trivial.

Probably the bravest man, for the longest time, I have ever read about of any period in history. If ever a life deserved a major movie...

He did so much for Poland, yet was ultimately shot in the back of the head by a communist Pole, after the show trial in 1948, and after months of torture. He'd been trying to gather information of Soviet bloc atrocities.

The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather, published last year is well worth a read.


Edit: You can also get the reports themselves, with little extra translated to English. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Auschwitz-Volunteer-Beyond-Bravery/...

"He remained loyal to the London-based Polish government-in-exile after the communist takeover of Poland and was arrested in 1947 by the secret police on charges of working for "foreign imperialism". Pilecki was executed after a show trial in 1948."

Incredibly sad, and probably typical of how communist regimes dealt with resistance heroes after the war. See František Fajtl [0] for instance.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franti%C5%A1ek_Fajtl#Persecuti...

Pilecki after the announcement of his death sentence:

"I've been trying to live my life so that in the hour of my death I would rather feel joy, than fear."


What's even more sad is that he was horribly tortured while in prison.

He was essentially abandoned and ignored by even the non-communist Allies.

Incidentally wonderful song called Inmate 4859 by Swedish power metal band called Sabaton that is about Pilecki.

If you think this story is interesting Sabaton has an entire album dedicated to stories of people like this called Heroes.

Surprisingly they also have a history channel, with the real stories behind many of their songs.

I recommend reading his Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witold_Pilecki.

In 1948 Pilecki was executed by communists after a show trial.

The Polish entry has a bit more info (https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witold_Pilecki). What is horrifying are his words during the last seeing of his wife: "Auschwitz was a plaything". While in arrest he was tortured: the denailed his feet, crushed his genitals, impaled him on a table leg.

The historian Dan Snow recently did a podcast with the author of a new book about Pilecki. Definitely worth a listen.


(2nd one down on the left)

Book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Volunteer-Mission-Underground-Ausch...

This guy is badass. He went to auchswitz and escaped. Then did it again.

He is our hero! The core of polish “magical” heroism. It’s unbelievable that Poland after second war war, abounded by allies, stood agains oppression of communism and won after 50 years.

America takes all the credit for the fall of the Iron Curtain but Poland played a crucial part and this is often forgotten or ignored.

The Allies and the USA knew all about the Holocaust thanks to this man but kept it a secret. Total farce of a narrative that American troops 'discovered' concentration camps when they went into Germany.

There are a lot of silly lies about the War that have yet to be dispelled. Actually, a recent book that contributes to this effort is "First to Fight" by Roger Moorhouse[0].

[0] https://www.amazon.com/First-Fight-Polish-War-1939/dp/184792...


> How can you believe that something like this is happening?

Humans are capable of incredible atrocities, once you convince them that the "other" side are not (worthy) humans ("Untermenschen").

What is even worse for me: humanity has not learned much from the horrors of the Nazi regime, it seems. China is locking up millions in concentration camps, using prisoners for forced organ harvesting and medical "experiments"... and the West, similar to what happened with the "appeasement" politics, is doing nothing. Meanwhile, Australia and the EU see letting refugees drown in the sea as an effective deterrent, and what is happening in the border camps both at the US-Mexican border and in the camps in Greece and Libya is utterly inhumane.

After WW2, many Germans excused their actions with "we had not known/realized what happened" and "we just followed orders" - history repeats itself today, and unlike our ancestors we know what is going on, and still do nothing. We are all failures.

The comparison you've made between the atrocities of WWII and the migrant crisis on the US and EU borders is completely off base. In the first case, were are speaking of extermination programs based on race and class as well as social engineering programs run by the Nazis and the Soviets. In the latter case, we're talking about keeping a flood of undocumented people from crossing into these regions. How could you even draw that comparison? It's shocking and disgusting.


It's natural that that comment was downvoted, since it's a step further into the generic, which is always a step down in quality when the topic is inflammatory. Consider how well the other commenters in the other subthreads have managed to stay related to the specific topic. The contrast is striking.

Generic tangents are ok when they're unpredictable. It's the predictable part that we're trying to avoid here, since it's bad for intellectual curiosity, however justified the indignation may be.

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