Monodrama about Polish hero awarded in US

Witold Pilecki (L) during his trial. Photo: Public domain

Monodrama “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Captain Witold Pilecki" received the award for The Best Documentary Show, during the United Solo festival in New York City, the largest event of this kind in the world.

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The premiere of the multimedia performance took place on November 11, the Polish Independence Day, in Row theatre in Manhattan.

The monodrama is directed by Polish actor Marcin Probosz, who also plays the main role. The performance is the adaptation of the book “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery.”

The play was adapted to the stage by Terry Tegnazian and Debra Gendel. Mr Tegnazian is also the narrator of the show.

“Each year I try to make sure that Polish theatre is represented at the United Solo festival. This year, the celebrations of the centenary of Polish independence were a priority. In his monodrama about captain Pilecki, the actor and director Marek Probosz shows the universality of the issue and the timeless significance of independence,” said Polish actor and director Omar Sangare, who is the founder and artistic director of the United Solo festival.

Mr Probosz performs in the show in the original uniform of Polish II Corps, lead by General Władysław Anders. Captain Pilecki was an officer of this unit in 1945.

The United Solo festival involved 130 selected monodramas from all over the world.

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Hero and Auschwitz volunteer

Witold Pilecki was born in 1901 and served as cavalry captain during the Polish-Soviet War and WWII. Pilecki was also a co-founder of the Secret Polish Army, an underground organization in German-occupied Poland.

In 1940, he volunteered to be arrested by the German authorities and deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in order to organize a resistance movement there and to prepare a report on the situation in the camp. The report was presented to the Western Allies as early as 1941, In 1943, Captain Pilecki escaped the camp. A year later, he fought in the Warsaw Uprising.

After WWII, Witold Pilecki was arrested, accused of anti-state activities in a show trial, and executed in secret by the Communist authorities in 1948. Despite concerted efforts by Polish officials, his body has not been found so far.