He Volunteered to Go to Auschwitz

Witold Pilecki was executed by Poland after the war, and his son is now seeking compensation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 15, 2022 9:55 AM CST
Son of Auschwitz Hero Wants Compensation
This photo taken in the 1920s and provided by the Institute of National Remembrance shows Witold Pilecki.   (AP Photo/IPN)

The son of World War II Auschwitz death camp hero Witold Pilecki is seeking millions in compensation from the Polish government for his father's post-war arrest and 1948 execution by the country's communist authorities of the time. The case opened last week before a Warsaw court and the next session is scheduled for January, per the AP. Andrzej Pilecki, age 90, argues that 26 million zlotys ($5.7 million) in compensation would be due to his father by Poland's law that redresses communist-era wrongs.

His father, cavalry Capt. Witold Pilecki, a Polish resistance member, volunteered in 1940 to be caught by the Nazi Germans and held at Auschwitz in order to organize resistance there and gather evidence of German atrocities. He escaped in 1943 and wrote a report that was the first direct account from Auschwitz made available to the Allies. After the war he was arrested, tortured, and executed by Moscow-appointed authorities on charges of spying for Poland's government-in-exile in London. His remains were never found. In 1990, Poland's democratic government paid Pilecki's widow and two children compensation for the material support that they lost due to his execution.

(More Auschwitz stories.)

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