|St Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)|
|Franciszek Gajowniczek with Pope John Paul after the canonization|
On February 17, 1941, he was arrested again by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison, and on May 25 was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670. In July 1941 a man from Kolbe's barracks vanished, prompting the deputy camp commander to pick 10 men from the same barracks to be starved to death in Block 13 (notorious for torture), in order to deter further escape attempts. One of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, lamenting his family, and Kolbe volunteered to take his place. The guards accepted this move, and Francizek was spared and eventually lived until the late 1990s. During the time in the cell, St Maximilian led the men in songs and prayer. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe and three others were still alive. Finally, he was murdered with an injection of carbolic acid. Father Kolbe was beatified as a confessor by Pope Paul VI in 1971 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982 in the presence of Franciszek Gajowniczek and his family.