Architects of a New Dawn

We’d like to show the side of the world you don’t normally see on television.

In true acts of kindness that come through pure love, they do not require being published, broadcast or catalogued. This expression of unconditional love is the mark of true change makers as the purity of the act amplifies energetically and reflects the individuals self realization of true awareness.
So I have created a series of short articles in my mission of truth, knowledge and awareness to support, remember and amplify the kindness and love.

The first in the series is Maximillian Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar. You may think as a friar it would follow there would be love and kindness, what makes Maximillian a change maker is his act of volunteering to be starved to death in Auschwitz concentration camp, to take the place of another prisoner who had a family. Who as the only survivor of three ordered to be starved, was then killed with a lethal injection.

Maximillian (christened Raymund) Kolbe (8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941) was born in  Zduńska Wolaa region of Poland that at the time was still Russian. His father was German and his mother Polish and had four siblings (two of whom died as infants).

From an early vision of the Virgin Mary, Maximillian felt his purpose was devotion to God and by 1907 he and his elder brother Francis, illegally crossed the border between Russia and Austria-Hungary, to join the Conventual Franciscan order. In 1910 began his journey as a friar, taking the name of Maximillian, by 1912 he was sent to Krakow and then onto Rome where he studied philosophy, theology, mathematics and physics earning a doctorate in Philosophy and theology. In 1918 Maximillian was ordained a priest  and in 1919, he returned to the newly independent Poland, where he was very active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, a seminary, a radio station, and several other organizations and publications. Maximillian founded the monthly periodical Rycerz Niepokalanej in 1922, and in 1927 founded a Conventual Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanow, which became a major publishing centre. Maximillian left Poland for Japan in 1930, spending six years there.

Maximillian has been accused of anti-Semitism based on the content of the newspapers he published, which allegedly included claims of a Zionist plot for world domination. Other writers often point to the facts, that Maximillian sheltered Jewish refugees during the war, at one point sheltering around 2,000 whom he hid from Nazi persecution in his friary.

On the 17th February 1941 Maximillian was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison in Warsaw, by May 1941 he became prisoner, no 16670 having been transferred to Auschwitz.

In July 1941, three prisoners escaped and the deputy camp commander SS  Karl Fritzsch, ordered 10 prisoners to be taken to an underground bunker and starved to death, as an example. One selected wasFranciszek Gajowniczek, who distraughtly cried out ‘My wife! My children!’, in the hope for compassion. When Maximillian saw the commander had no compassion he made the ultimate sacrifice and offered himself in place of Franciszek.

In his prison cell, Maximillian celebrated Mass each day and sang hymns with the prisoners. He led the other condemned men in song and prayer and encouraged them. Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Maximillian remained alive. The guards wanted the bunker emptied and they gave Maximillian a lethal injection of carbolic acid. Some who were present at the injection say that he raised his left arm and calmly waited for the injection.

Franciszek Gajowniczek survived to live until he was 95 years of age and was present at the ceremony of Maximillian’s canonization by Pope John Paul II on 10 October 1982. Maximillian Kolbe is one of ten 20th-century martyrs who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London.

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