Biography Of Maximilian Kolbe

Biography Of Maximilian Kolbe


Maximilian Kolbe

Saint Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Conventual Franciscan Friar. In his time during the German occupation of Poland and the subsequent occupation of Poland, he was a resident at Niepokalanow the monastery that published several Anti-Nazi German publications. He was detained and taken to Auschwitz which was a place where, in grueling circumstances, he continued to serve as a priest and provide comfort to prisoners. In 1941, when the Nazi guards picked 10 prisoners to starve to death as punishment, Kolbe volunteered to die as a substitute for an uninvolved person. Kolbe was later made canonized as the martyr of the Nazis.


Early Life

Raymund Kolbe was born on the 8th of January 1894 in Zdunska WOLA, located in Zdunska Wola, in the Kingdom of Poland (then part of the Russian Empire). His father was ethnic German and his mother was Polish. His parents had a poor lifestyle and, in 1914, his father was taken prisoner by the Russians and executed for his role in the fight to establish an independent Poland.

Raymund has had a deep religious zeal from the early stage of his life. He relates the vision he had in his early years that he had of the Virgin Mary. This was significant as he chose both the way of sanctity as well as to follow the route of martyrdom.

“That night I was able to ask God the Mother of God what was to come from me as a child of Faith. She then came to me with two crowns, one white and the other red. I was asked if would accept one of the crowns. The white crown meant that I should strive for pureness, while the red one meant that I would become a martyr. I stated that I would take them all.” 1. 11

Aged just 13, Kolbe and his elder brother left the family home to enroll at Lwow’s Conventual Franciscan Seminary at Lwow. The seminary was located in Austria-Hungary which meant that they had to be that they had to cross the border illegally.

In the year 1910, he was given the name of a religious priest Maximillian and was accepted to the order of an initiator. Kolbe made his final vows as a monk in the year 1914. After a brief time living in Krakow, Poland, Kolbe was able to pursue his studies in Rome, Italy. He received a doctorate degree in philosophy from Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University in 1915. In 1919, he also earned his doctorate in theology at The University of St. Bonaventure.

Kolbe was appointed a priest, and, after finishing his studies, returned to newly independent Poland after 1919. He was ordained to the church of Niepokalanow close to Warsaw. Near the end of his academic career, Kolbe suffered his first bout with tuberculosis. He was very ill, frequently having bloody coughs; the illness slowed down his studies. For the remainder of his existence, Kolbe was in unhealthiness and never complained, interpreting his condition as an opportunity to suffer in the name of Mary’.

Kolbe was a priest who was active and especially keen to work to convert people who were sinners or people who were enemies who were enemies of his Catholic Church. In his time in Rome Kolbe witnessed a number of angry protests from those who were Freemasons of the Vatican. Kolbe had a deep devotion towards his faith in the Virgin Mary and became an active member of The Militia Immaculata or Army of Mary.

“I felt the Immaculata drawing me to herself more and more closely… I had a custom of keeping a holy picture of one of the Saints to whom she appeared on my prie-dieu in my cell, and I used to pray to the Immaculata very fervently” (Link Militia of the Immaculata)

He was driven to fight for Mary and her enemies within the church. Kolbe was the one Kolbe who tried to revive and coordinate his work with the MI (Militia Immaculata). Kolbe assisted the Immaculata Friars to publish high pamphlets, publications, and the daily paper – Maly Dziennik. The magazine was published monthly and increased to a circulation of 1 million and was influential among Polish Catholics. Kolbe also obtained a radio license and was able to openly broadcast his views about the subject of religion. Kolbe had success by using the latest technology to communicate his message.

In addition to writing lengthy essays and articles for newspapers, Kolbe composed the Immaculata Prayer and the ceremony of consecration to Mary, the virgin-born in a perfect way. Mary.

Biography Of Maximilian Kolbe


Biography Of Maximilian Kolbe


Kolbe in Japan
After 1930, Kolbe traveled to Japan and spent a few years serving as a minister. He founded a monastic institution in the outskirts of Nagasaki (the monastery survived the nuclear blast protected by mountains). While the position on the outskirts of the mountain was a bit odd, however, it was the best location for it to withstand the Atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. He also had talks and discussions with the local Buddhist priests, and a few of them became close friends. However, after becoming increasingly ill He was able to return to Poland at the age of 36.

Second World War
When the Second World War, Kolbe was living in the friary in Niepokalanow known as the “City of the Immaculata.” At the time it had grown from 18 to 650 Friars, which made it the biggest Catholic residence in Europe.

In 1939, when Poland was taken over by the Nazi army 1939. was detained under suspicion for general infractions on the 13th of September. He was freed after only three months. At the time of his arrest, he stated:

“Courage, my sons. Do you not see that we’re leaving on the road to accomplish something? We are paid our fare as part of the bargain. This is a great piece of luck! What you need to do is to be faithful in prayer in order to bring as many souls to heaven as you can. We must, therefore, let the Virgin Mary know that we are happy, and she’s able to make us do whatever she would like” (Maximilian Mary Kolbe the source).

After being released, many Polish refugees as well as Jews were able to seek refuge within Kolbe’s Monastery. Kolbe and the community of Niepokalanow helped to shelter food, clothe and feed more than 3,000 Polish refugees (around 1,500 of them were Jews). In 1941 the newspaper he wrote for “The Knight of the Immaculate” provided a sharp critique against the Nazis.

“No one on earth can alter Truth. What we can and should do is look for truth and then serve it once we have discovered it. The real battle is an inner one. Beyond the army that is occupied and the devils and savagery of the extermination camps, there are two inseparable adversaries in the deepest part of each soul both evil and good, and sin as well as love. What are the victories on the battlefield when we are ourselves defeated in our most intimate self?”

Even though Kolbe did not pen this, however, it is believed that this was one of the reasons which led to his arrest.


Kolbe in Auschwitz

Shortly following this publication on February 17, 1941, the author was detained by the Gestapo to be a fugitive of Jewish people. After a brief stay in the notorious Polish prison in 1941, he was taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp and was branded prisoner number 16670.

Kolbe was taken to the camp for work. It involved carrying blocks of heavy stone to be used in the construction of the crematorium’s wall. The construction crew was supervised by a vicious former criminal “Bloody” Krott,” who was able to target Kolbe for his brutal treatment. People who witnessed the incident reported that Kolbe was a victim of the abuse and took his strike with astonishing ease.

Despite the horrific conditions at Auschwitz People have reported that Kolbe maintained a strong faith as well as a sense of dignity and equanimity when confronted with horrible treatment. On June 15th, he was even in a position to write an email for his mom.

“Dear Mama, at the closing of May, I was moved to the camp at Auschwitz. Everything is in order for me. Keep me in peace and regarding my health, for the goodness of God is all around and cares for all things with compassion. It’s best if you don’t write me until you’ve received additional information from me, as I don’t know how long I’ll be here. Cordial wishes and kisses with affection. Raymond.”

One time, Krott forced Kolbe to carry the heaviest planks to the point that he collapsed. He then beats Kolbe brutally leaving him to die on the ground. But the prisoners secretly transferred Kolbe to the prison camp which allowed him to recuperate. Prisoners have also reported that he was selfless, frequently sharing his rations with other prisoners.

The prisoners of July 1941 were reported to have escaped the camp. Consequently, the Deputy Commanding Officer of Auschwitz instructed 10 men to be hung to death in the underground bunker.

When one of the select men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, heard that he was chosen, he shouted in his sleep “My wife! Children!” At this point, Kolbe volunteered to take his place.

Biography Of Maximilian Kolbe


The Nazi commander then replied, “What does this Polish pig want?”

Father Kolbe pointed with his hand toward the jailed Franciszek Gajowniczek, and recited: “I am a Catholic priest from Poland; I would like to take his place because he has a wife and children.”

Astonished, the commander was astonished when the commander accepted Kolbe as Gajowniczek’s replacement. Gajowniczek later stated:

“I was able to only acknowledge him by looking him in the eyes. I was stunned and unable to understand what was happening. The enormity of it all is that I, the one who has been condemned to living, will live forever while someone else is willing to give up his life to me, the stranger. Does this sound like a dream?

I was re-assigned to my home without having the opportunity to talk anything about Maximilian Kolbe. My life was spared. And I owe him my ability to tell you this story. was able to be able to tell you this. The word quickly circulated across the camp. The incident was a unique time and the only time such an incident occurred in the time of Auschwitz.”

Franciszek Gajowniczek was able to miraculously escape Auschwitz and, later on, attend Kolbe’s canonization in 1971.

The men were led towards the underground bunker, where they were to starve until death. According to legend, in the underground bunker, Kolbe led the prisoners in prayer, while singing songs to Mary. While the guards were checking the cells, Kolbe could be seen praying in the middle of them. Bruno Borgowiec, a Polish prisoner charged with serving the prisoner, later provided his account of what he witnessed:

“The Ten condemned to die endured a long and painful time. From the cell beneath which they were kept, there was a constant echo of prayer and canticles. The person in charge of taking the buckets of urine out discovered that they were never empty. In the end, the prisoners were driven to consume the contents. Because they were becoming very weak, their prayers were just whispered. Each time a check was made, even when most of the other soldiers were lying on the ground, Father Kolbe was seen kneeling or standing in the middle of the room while smiling at his fellow SS men.

Father Kolbe never asked for anything and didn’t even complain instead he urged the other priests by telling them that the person who was fugitive could be located and they could all be released. A member of SS guards said: “This priest is a truly great man. There has never been a person like him. …”

In the space of two weeks, nearly all prisoners, with the exception of Kolbe had passed away due to starvation and dehydration. Since the guards wanted to see to empty the cells all the prisoners, including Kolbe, were executed by lethal injection. People who were present said that Kolbe was calm and accepted his death, extending his arm. The remains of his body were cremated without ceremony on the 15th of August.

The bravery and action of Maximillian Kolbe were widely known to his fellow Auschwitz prisoners, providing an uncommon glimpse of humanity and light even in the face of violence. Following the conflict, Kolbe’s fame was boosted and he became a symbol of courage and dignity.

Photo of the cell where Kolbe was executed

Kolbe was baptized as a Confessor of Faith on the occasion of the year 1971. He was made a saint for his martyrdom in 1981 by Papa John Paul II (who himself was a victim of Poland during the German occupation of Poland) 1981.

Pope John Paul II decided that Kolbe was worthy of being recognized as a martyr, since the constant hatred of the Nazism Nazi regime was essentially an act of hate against religious beliefs, meaning Kolbe’s death could be compared to martyrdom. When he was canonized, in 1982, Pope John Paul II said:

“Maximilian did not die but gave his life … for his brother.”


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