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World premiere of film about Polish hero at Cannes

A film about the life of Maximilian Maria Kolbe, a Polish Catholic martyr who died at Auschwitz concentration camp, will premiere on Monday at the Cannes Film Festival.

The director of the “Two Crowns” feature-length docudrama, Michał Kondrat, said he is happy to be able to present a film about the Polish missionary who volunteered to give his life for a fellow prisoner at the Nazi German Auschwitz concentration camp.

“Two Crowns” was shot in Poland, Italy and Japan.

The cast includes prominent Polish actors Adam Woronowicz, Cezary Pazura, Artur Barciś and Dominika Figurska.

The film will be shown in the United States before it is released in Poland in October.

Kolbe became an Auschwitz prisoner on 28 May, 1941.

The priest, who had German roots, refused an offer to be added to a list of “ethnic-Germans”, helped shelter some 2,000 Jews in a Polish monastery which German occupiers eventually shut down, and was finally imprisoned.

At Auschwitz, Kolbe offered to take the place of a man randomly selected to receive the death penalty with nine others in retribution for the escape of three prisoners.

He spent two weeks without bread and water in the camp’s starvation bunker, before being given a lethal injection.

He was canonised in 1982 by Pope John Paul II.

The man he saved survived the war and died in Poland in 1995. (mk/vb/rg)

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