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NO GREATER LOVE


It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe

was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism.

Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.

Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, "Wait, I have a wife and children!" Kolbe stepped forward and said, "I will take his place."

Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14.

This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, by this time 82, was shown telling this story while tears streamed down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument carefully tended with flowers. The inscription read:

IN MEMORY OF MAXIMILIAN KOLBE



HE DIED IN MY PLACE.

Every day Gasovnachek lived since 1941, he lived with the knowledge, "I live because someone died for me." Every year on August 14 he travels to Auschwitz in memory of Kolbe.

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends" (John 15:13).


Source: Victor Knowles, Peace on Earth Ministries. Adapted from Crossroads Family Circle.

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