This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
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08-06-2017, 10:56 AM
This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
The title is not an exaggeration. His bravery and humanism are the most inspiring thing I've ever heard; I cannot believe that I did not learn about this man in my studies of World War Two.

Captain Witold Pilecki fought in the Polish resistance--founding the resistance group the Polish Secret Army--against the Germans occupying Poland and, when he heard the rumors of what was going on at Auschwitz, he volunteered to be captured in the hope of being sent there. He assumed the identity of a man he (incorrectly) thought was dead, in order to avoid putting his wife and children in danger, and fought against the Germans in the Warsaw uprising until captured.

Once there, he formed an organized spy group inside the camp, gathered accurate data on the number of arrivals and executions, which data he sent to the Polish government in exile in England-- only to have it ignored because the Allies were convinced he was exaggerating.

He made plans by which the camp could have been liberated by the prisoners with the aid of air-dropped weaponry, if supported by Allied and/or Polish Resistance attacks to distract the battalions stationed nearby, but both groups refused to help.

He then escaped the camp with two other volunteers to make his case in person, with all three making it to safety through some of the most heavily-patrolled parts of Europe-- only to be ignored in London, yet again, as no one had any intention of doing anything to help the prisoners.

After the war, he did the same thing against the occupying Soviets and their puppet government in Poland, gathering documents and proving that the "popular vote" to elect the puppet government was entirely falsified and that the Polish people never supported them in any significant numbers.

Eventually, he was captured and sent to prison, given a show trial that accused him (among other things) of being a Nazi collaborator (!!!), where the judge destroyed documents showing he had been a prisoner of the concentration camps.

Before his execution, he was tortured extensively, but still managed to send reports to the West of the Soviet atrocities against the Polish people. He stated that the Soviet camps were just as bad as the Nazi ones, and that it was just a matter of degrees.

Despite all of this, he never stopped teaching people to be kind to others, and to stand up for what is right. He taught his children, in his letters from prison, to respect all life, even down to ladybugs. His humanism shone through to such a degree that one of his guards contacted the Pilecki's son, after Pilecki's death, and said that his father was "a saint", and that he had changed his life, that he would never again cause harm to another human being.

We give Medals of Honor for killing other humans. This man should have a statue in every major city in the world.





I have left out much of the tale-- this video is absolutely worth a watch. I am humbled to know such a man ever existed, and somewhat angry that he is not the opening pages of any book about World War Two.

Edit to Add: If you can't watch video, they also have a text version.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/...auschwitz/

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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08-06-2017, 11:13 AM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
(08-06-2017 10:56 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  The title is not an exaggeration. His bravery and humanism are the most inspiring thing I've ever heard; I cannot believe that I did not learn about this man in my studies of World War Two.

Captain Witold Pilecki fought in the Polish resistance--founding the resistance group the Polish Secret Army--against the Germans occupying Poland and, when he heard the rumors of what was going on at Auschwitz, he volunteered to be captured in the hope of being sent there. He assumed the identity of a man he (incorrectly) thought was dead, in order to avoid putting his wife and children in danger, and fought against the Germans in the Warsaw uprising until captured.

Once there, he formed an organized spy group inside the camp, gathered accurate data on the number of arrivals and executions, which data he sent to the Polish government in exile in England-- only to have it ignored because the Allies were convinced he was exaggerating.

He made plans by which the camp could have been liberated by the prisoners with the aid of air-dropped weaponry, if supported by Allied and/or Polish Resistance attacks to distract the battalions stationed nearby, but both groups refused to help.

He then escaped the camp with two other volunteers to make his case in person, with all three making it to safety through some of the most heavily-patrolled parts of Europe-- only to be ignored in London, yet again, as no one had any intention of doing anything to help the prisoners.

After the war, he did the same thing against the occupying Soviets and their puppet government in Poland, gathering documents and proving that the "popular vote" to elect the puppet government was entirely falsified and that the Polish people never supported them in any significant numbers.

Eventually, he was captured and sent to prison, given a show trial that accused him (among other things) of being a Nazi collaborator (!!!), where the judge destroyed documents showing he had been a prisoner of the concentration camps.

Before his execution, he was tortured extensively, but still managed to send reports to the West of the Soviet atrocities against the Polish people. He stated that the Soviet camps were just as bad as the Nazi ones, and that it was just a matter of degrees.

Despite all of this, he never stopped teaching people to be kind to others, and to stand up for what is right. He taught his children, in his letters from prison, to respect all life, even down to ladybugs. His humanism shone through to such a degree that one of his guards contacted the Pilecki's son, after Pilecki's death, and said that his father was "a saint", and that he had changed his life, that he would never again cause harm to another human being.

We give Medals of Honor for killing other humans. This man should have a statue in every major city in the world.





I have left out much of the tale-- this video is absolutely worth a watch. I am humbled to know such a man ever existed, and somewhat angry that he is not the opening pages of any book about World War Two.

Edit to Add: If you can't watch video, they also have a text version.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/...auschwitz/

QFT

@mods: 100 more likes for this post please from me, +50 rep for RS76, and where can i donate for a statue?

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08-06-2017, 11:27 AM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
Awesome guy. I'll have to find a book on him now to satisfy my curiosity Tongue

And, to be fair, you can't get a medal of honor just for killing, though it's usually part of the story (but not anyways). You generally have to put yourself at great personal risk.

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08-06-2017, 11:39 AM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
(08-06-2017 11:27 AM)yakherder Wrote:  Awesome guy. I'll have to find a book on him now to satisfy my curiosity Tongue

And, to be fair, you can't get a medal of honor just for killing, though it's usually part of the story (but not anyways). You generally have to put yourself at great personal risk.

Indeed. A few MoH have been awarded for people who didn't even use guns.

I was simply referring to the fact that we as a species often laud one type of bravery, and highlighting that our society's "highest award" is given mainly for bravery in combat... and we need something beyond that. That's all.

He did receive several (recent) posthumous honors, now that the Polish government is capable of giving them to such a man.

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08-06-2017, 12:00 PM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
Wow, what an amazing person through and through Heart

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08-06-2017, 02:26 PM (This post was last modified: 08-06-2017 02:48 PM by Szuchow.)
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
(08-06-2017 11:27 AM)yakherder Wrote:  Awesome guy. I'll have to find a book on him now to satisfy my curiosity Tongue

And, to be fair, you can't get a medal of honor just for killing, though it's usually part of the story (but not anyways). You generally have to put yourself at great personal risk.

There is biography* of his but I don't know if it was translated from Polish**. Here is article from Culture. Seems to be good if short.


*Several ones in fact.
**According to Amazon at least one was translated: Rotamaster Witold Pilecki 1901-1948. There is also translation of Pilecki wartime report The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery.

@RS

He may not be on forefront of history books but from what I recall he is mentioned in books about Shoah. It's not like his actions are unremembered.

Edit: Did quick search and found mention of him in Richard Lucas Forgotten Holocaust. I would swear that I seen his name in several other books.

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08-06-2017, 02:43 PM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
And people still make a big deal about Jesus having a bad weekend Dodgy

Ignorance is not to be ignored.

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08-06-2017, 03:07 PM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
(08-06-2017 02:26 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  He may not be on forefront of history books but from what I recall he is mentioned in books about Shoah. It's not like his actions are unremembered.

I did not mean to imply his actions are unremembered... I meant to say that I think his actions should be as well- and commonly-known in any treatment of the second World War as those of Patton (or Doolittle, or whoever), and should be featured in the introduction chapter of any book that covers WW2, not just ones about the Holocaust. And that he deserves to be so remembered that statues of him should be a common sight, as an example to the rest of us.

This man is an ultimate hero in every sense of the phrase, both in battle and in fighting for the rights of others, at extreme danger to his own life-- indeed, at the cost of it.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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08-06-2017, 03:17 PM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
(08-06-2017 03:07 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(08-06-2017 02:26 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  He may not be on forefront of history books but from what I recall he is mentioned in books about Shoah. It's not like his actions are unremembered.

I did not mean to imply his actions are unremembered... I meant to say that I think his actions should be as well- and commonly-known in any treatment of the second World War as those of Patton (or Doolittle, or whoever), and should be featured in the introduction chapter of any book that covers WW2, not just ones about the Holocaust. And that he deserves to be so remembered that statues of him should be a common sight, as an example to the rest of us.

This man is an ultimate hero in every sense of the phrase, both in battle and in fighting for the rights of others, at extreme danger to his own life-- indeed, at the cost of it.

I can agree with such take. I would also add Raoul Wallenberg (who met his end at the hand of Soviets) and Chiune Sugihara to this list.

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08-06-2017, 05:07 PM
RE: This Polish Soldier is the Most Heroic Man of Whom I Have Ever Heard. Ever.
(08-06-2017 03:17 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  I would also add Raoul Wallenberg (who met his end at the hand of Soviets) and Chiune Sugihara to this list.

Good additions! These men deserve much honor. This really has me thinking a lot about the way we teach history... and little of it is complimentary to the American educational system. Sad

So I think I'll quote a part of what I just learned about Sugihara, on Wikipedia, for others to enjoy without having to click anything:

Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara (杉原 千畝? Sugihara Chiune, 1 January 1900 – 31 July 1986) was a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania. During World War II, he helped between 10,000 and 40,000 Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas so that they could travel to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. The Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Western Poland or Soviet-occupied Eastern Poland, as well as residents of Lithuania. In 1985, Israel named him to the Righteous Among the Nations for his actions, the only Japanese national to be so honored.

Sugihara had told the refugees to call him "Sempo", the Sino-Japanese reading of the characters in his given name, discovering it was much easier for Western people to pronounce.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara

So Sugihara saves at least five times as many people as Oskar Schindler (the low-ball estimate of the number saved is at 6000 for Sugihara, with 1200 for Schindler), but Schindler gets a movie. Dodgy

I would loooove to see a Sugihara movie... oh please, oh please, oh PLEASE let the lead be played by Ken Watanabe! (Tied for my favorite actor.)



I did actually know about Wallenberg... and agree with his heroism, but I can understand why he made a poorer subject for a film treatment than Schindler, given how little actual information is available, and the blowback that might have occurred if too much speculation in crafting the script led to people (esp. family members) feeling like he had been disrespected. Nevertheless, you're right, such people should be household names.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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