Open main menu

Witold Pilecki

Polish underground resistance soldier, World War II concentration camp resistance leader

Witold Pilecki (13 May 1901 – 25 May 1948) was a Polish resistance leader against Nazi Germany during World War II. He was also a spy, and cavalry officer. He was a captain in the Polish Army during World War II and the Polish-Soviet War. He was also one of the creators of the Secret Polish Army, which was a resistance group in German-occupied Poland. He was the writer of Witold's Report, the first spy report on Auschwitz, a German concentration camp, and the Holocaust.[1] His religion was Roman Catholic, a Christian group.[2]

Witold Pilecki
Pilecki in a colorized pre-1939 photo
Born(1901-05-13)13 May 1901
Olonets, Olonets Governorate (Karelia). Russian Empire
Died25 May 1948(1948-05-25) (aged 47)
Mokotów Prison, Warsaw, Polish People's Republic
Buried atUnknown; possibly in Powązki Cemetery
AllegianceSecond Polish Republic; Polish Government in Exile
Years of service1918–1947
RankCaptain, Cavalry master
Commands held
  • Commander of the 1st Lidsky Squadron (1932–1937)
  • Deputy Commander of the 41st Infantry Division (1939)
  • Organizer of the Secret Polish Army (1939–1940)
  • Organizer of the Union of Military Organizations (1940–1943)
  • Commander of the Warszawianka Company (1944)
Battles/warsPolish–Soviet War

Polish-Lithuanian War

World War II

Awards

During World War II, Pilecki signed up to be jailed in Auschwitz, a German concentration camp, to tell the Allies about what is inside, and then escape.[3] While inside the camp, he created a rebellion and told the Allies about the terrible things happening in Auschwitz as early as 1941.[4] He escaped from the camp in 1943.[5] He was a soldier in the Warsaw Uprising, which was an attack to free Warsaw from Nazi Germany. He was arrested in 1947 by Soviet secret police, and killed by them in 1948. Knowledge of the killing was kept secret until 1989, when Poland revealed his death. [6][7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Marco Patricelli, Il volontario, Laterza, Roma 2010,
  2. The Book Heaven, The man who volunteered for Auschwitz: the greatest story never told, Stanford University. Posted 10 June 2012.
  3. Paliwoda, D (2013). "Captain Witold Pilecki". Military Review 93(6): 88–96. 
  4. M. Patricelli, cit., pp.53-180.
  5. M. Patricelli, cit., pp. 181-202.
  6. Tchorek 2009
  7. Piekarski 1990, p. 249