Poland honours memory of WWII-era hero Pilecki

Witold Pilecki, a cavalry captain who penned a report on the atrocities that took place at Auschwitz German concentration camp, was murdered by the communist authorities of Poland exactly 74 years ago. The Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) came up with an initiative to commemorate this iconic hero.

A true Polish hero

Witold Pilecki was born in 1901 and served as cavalry captain during the Polish-Soviet War and WWII. He was also a co-founder of the Secret Polish Army, a resistance group in German-occupied Poland. In 1940, he volunteered to be arrested by Germans and deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in order to organise a resistance movement and to prepare a report on the situation in the camp. The report was presented to the Western Allies as early as 1941.

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 the Institute of National Remembrance, his body has never been found.


As part of the commemorations there will be a concert, including traditional patriotic and religious songs and chants, which will be performed by Krzysztof Cugowski, Krzysztof Iwaneczko, Klaudia Kołata, Andrzej Lampert, Basia Pospieszalska, Barbara Ewa Pospieszalska and Natalia Rzeźniak-Pospieszalska.

From 10:00 CEST to 18:00 CEST, people will be able to lay flowers and light candles at the Death Wall in the Museum, where death sentences were carried out after the war by communists, who shot soldiers of the anti-communist underground in the back of the head.

Moreover, Witold Pilecki's memorabilia, made available by his daughter, Zofia Pilecka, will be open to the public.

At 21:30 CEST - the hour of Captain Pilecki’s death - candles will be lit in dozens of cities across the country. The exact list of places where this will happen is available on the IPN website.