Event Title

Witold Pilecki: The Auschwitz Volunteer

Author/ Authors/ Presenter/ Presenters/ Panelists:

Danuta Chlebek, Governors State UniversityFollow

Start Date

4-12-2019 11:15 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 12:15 PM

Abstract

In the wake of the current dispute over recent Polish law criminalizing the term Polish Death Camps, this project aims at explaining the Polish role in the Holocaust by focusing on the life of Witold Pilecki. Pilecki, a Polish soldier and member of the Polish resistance during World War II, volunteered to be captured and sent to the Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camp. His observations, compiled into Report W, provided the Allied governments with the much needed information about the true purposes of the Nazi camps and its inner workings. Using both primary and secondary sources in English and Polish -including Pilecki’s own reports- the project argues that Pilecki’s methods and bravery were exceptional but also represented a majority of the Polish population who willingly fought against the Nazi invaders and aided Jews during the Holocaust. The project attempts to dispel the notion that all Poles collaborated with the Nazis in the destruction of the Jews and to showcase the importance of his heroic deeds as they can be understood in the 21st century.

Description of Program

A presentation focused on challenging common opinion about Poland’s role in World War II by exploring the acts of Witold Pilecki, whose reports on his time in Auschwitz are credited as some of the first evidence on the internal workings of Nazi concentration camps.

Identify Grant

Student Life Grant

Faculty / Staff Sponsor

Dr. Ellen Walsh

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Apr 12th, 11:15 AM Apr 12th, 12:15 PM

Witold Pilecki: The Auschwitz Volunteer

In the wake of the current dispute over recent Polish law criminalizing the term Polish Death Camps, this project aims at explaining the Polish role in the Holocaust by focusing on the life of Witold Pilecki. Pilecki, a Polish soldier and member of the Polish resistance during World War II, volunteered to be captured and sent to the Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camp. His observations, compiled into Report W, provided the Allied governments with the much needed information about the true purposes of the Nazi camps and its inner workings. Using both primary and secondary sources in English and Polish -including Pilecki’s own reports- the project argues that Pilecki’s methods and bravery were exceptional but also represented a majority of the Polish population who willingly fought against the Nazi invaders and aided Jews during the Holocaust. The project attempts to dispel the notion that all Poles collaborated with the Nazis in the destruction of the Jews and to showcase the importance of his heroic deeds as they can be understood in the 21st century.