Witold Pilecki

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Witold Pilecki

Witold Pilecki (13 May 190125 May 1948) was a Polish cavalry captain, the founder of a WWII resistance movement Secret Polish Army ("Tajna Armia Polska"), who deliberately let himself get caught and imprisoned in Auschwitz in order to organize resistance there.


  • During the first 3 years at Auschwitz, 2 million people were killed. Over the next 2 years, 3 Million.
  • I found a joy in myself, coming from the awareness that I want to fight.
  • Dlatego więc piszę niniejszą petycję,
By sumą kar wszystkich – mnie tylko karano,
Bo choćby mi przyszło postradać me życie –
Tak wolę – niż żyć, a mieć w sercu ranę.
(Therefore I am writing the present petition/ So that only I may be punished with the sum of all our sentences,/ As—though it would fall upon me to lose my life—/ I prefer it so. —To staying alive with a wound in my heart).
  • The last stanza of the poem Dla Pana Pułkownika Różańskiego ("For Colonel Różański"), written by Pilecki on May 14, 1947 to the supervisor of his case in the 10th Block of the Mokotów Prison.[1]
  • In prison, 1948.
  • The game which I was now playing in Auschwitz was dangerous. This sentence does not really convey the reality; in fact, I had gone far beyond what people in the real world consider dangerous.[2]
  • I was not a[n intelligence] resident, only a Polish officer. I carried out my orders until arrested. I had no sense that I was a spy, and I ask that this be taken into account in deciding my verdict.
  • During his trial, 1948.
  • So they didn't let anybody else off. I can't live anymore, they've done me. Auschwitz was just a child's play.
  • Having just been sentenced to death, 1948.[3]
  • I've been trying to live my life so that in the hour of my death I would rather feel joy, than fear.
  • After the announcement of the death sentence.[4]


  1. Gazeta Wyborcza, Odsłonięto pomnik poświęcony rotmistrzowi Pileckiemu, 25.05.2011 [1].
  2. Lawrence W. Reed, Witold Pilecki: Bravery Beyond Measure, 23 October 2015 [2]
  3. Ewa K. Czaczkowska, Chcą beatyfikacji Pileckiego, Rzeczpospolita. Nr 249 (8150), 24 October 2008, p. A9
  4. Bartłomiej Kuraś, Witold Pilecki – w Auschwitzu z własnej woli, „Ale Historia”, w: „Gazeta Wyborcza”, 22 kwietnia 2013.

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