In February, 1941, [Maximilian] Kolbe was incarcerated at Auschwitz. He was a Franciscan priest. In the harshness of the slaughterhouse he maintained the gentleness of Christ. He shared his food. He gave up his bunk. He prayed for his captors. He was soon given the nickname "Saint of Auschwitz".
In July of that same year there was an escape from the prison. It was the custom at Auschwitz to kill ten prisoners for every one that escaped. All the prisoners would be gathered in the courtyard and the commandant would randomly select ten names from the roll book. These victims would be immediately taken to a cell where they would receive no food or water until they died.
The commandant begins calling the names. At each selection another prisoner steps forward to fill the sinister quota. The tenth name he calls is [Franciszek] Gajowniczek.
As the SS officers check the numbers of the condemned, one of the condemned begins to sob. "My wife and my children," he weeps.
The officers turn as they hear movement among the prisoners. The guards raise their rifles. The dogs tense, anticipating a command to attack. A prisoner has left his row and is pushing his way to the front.
It is Kolbe. No fear on his face. No hesitancy in his step. The capo shouts at him to stop or be shot. "I want to talk to the commander," he says calmly. For some reason the officer doesn't club or kill