Birth of Polish Franciscan Priest Maksymillian (Maximillian) Kolbe

Birth of Polish Franciscan Priest Maksymillian (Maximillian) Kolbe

Map of the Holocaust in Europe under Nazi Germany
Source: Wikipedia

Maksymilian (Maximilian) Kolbe is born. Later a Francsican priest in Poland, Kolbe will offer to take the place of another prisoner on his way to be executed in Auschwitz. The inmate for whom Kolbe volunteers to take the place of is not a Jew and Kolbe is no friend of the Jews; in fact, he will be editor of a viciously anti-Semitic journal.

Kolbe will become the first victim of the Nazi concentration camps to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. Kolbe is not, however, put in Auschwitz because of his Christianity nor does he die for his faith, conditions which are normally prerequisites for canonization.

ome believe that Kolbe is only canonized to help create the impression that Catholics are as much victims of the Holocaust as the Jews, rather than in fact being among the victimizers.

The belief that Christians in Germany are victimized by the Nazis just as much, or more than, the Jews is one which takes root very early on after the war. The canonization of Kolbe serves to perpetuate this myth; Christians in Germany will be unwilling to face the fact that not only were they not so victimized as the Jews but, even worse, were often enthusiastic participants in the victimization, oppression, and even murder of others.

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