There was a priest named Maximilian Kolbe. He became a priest in 1917, and with his brother they went to Poland. He was very active there promoting the faith. During the Second World War he provided shelter for refugees of greater Poland, including 2000 Jewish people. He hid them from Nazi persecution.
He was also very active as a radio announcer and his Polish call letters P3 RN vilified Nazi activities in his Reports. In 1941 he was arrested by the German Gestapo, imprisoned and transferred to Auschwitz. His prisoner number was 16670.
While in the Nazi concentration camp for his anti-Nazi activities, he taught the prisoners to pray and sing songs. Each day that Nazis would choose one person from the group for execution. One of the first people they selected was a man who pleaded for his life. He said he had wife and children who were dependent on him. He said he needed to live in order to look after them.
Just as the Nazis were about to drag him from the room and kill him. St. Maximilian Kolbe stood up and said, "take me in his place." The Nazis refused, but the priest insisted. So the priest told them, â€œI donâ€™t have family, Iâ€™m older, and I wonâ€™t be missed like him.â€?
The Nazis finally agreed, and St. Maximilian Kolbe went to his death. The man whose place he took survived the war, survived the Austerlitz concentration camp, and returned to his family.Â
Scripture tells us that Christ the Lord said: John 15:13 â€“ â€œGreater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.â€?
St. Maximilian Kolbe was canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint on October 10th 1982 by Pope John Paul II. He was declared a martyr of charity.