Our name saint: Who was Maximilian Kolbe?

In 1990, our school was awarded the name Maximilian-Kolbe-Schule by the Bavarian Ministry of Education.

Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe OFM Conv (8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941) was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.

In 1918, Kolbe was ordained a priest. In the following year, he returned to the newly independent Poland, where he was very active in founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, a seminary, a radio station, and several other organizations and publications. Between 1930 and 1936, he took a series of missions to Japan, where he founded a monastery at the outskirts of Nagasaki, a Japanese paper, and a seminary.

During the Second World War, he provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 2,000 Jews whom he hid from Nazi persecution in his friary in Niepokalanów.

On 17 February 1941, he was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison. On May 28, he was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670.

At the end of July 1941, three prisoners disappeared from the camp, prompting the deputy camp commander to pick 10 men to be starved to death in an underground bunker in order to deter further escape attempts. When one of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "My wife! My children!", Kolbe volunteered to take his place.

He was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. Pope John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century".

The life of Maximilian Kolbe:

7th January 1894 Born as the second of five children of a working-class family near Lodz, Poland
September 1910 Admission as a Friar Minor
1911-1919 Studies of philosophy and theology
28th April 1918 Ordination to the priesthood
24th Juli 1919 Working as a journalist and publisher
1930 / 1933 Missionary travel to Japan
17th February 1941 Arrested by the Gestapo
28th May 1941 Abduction to Auschwitz
July 1941 Decision to die for the father Franciszek Gajowniczek
14th August 1941 Death due to phenol poisoning

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