Rotamaster Witold Pilecki was an extraordinary figure in our history, a great hero, a wonderful personality, whose path of wartime heroism is simply unparalleled, Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday, during the commemoration of the 75-year mark of Pilecki’s death at the Museum of Cursed Soldiers and Political Prisoners of the Polish People’s Republic.
“We meet in an extremely important place for Poland, and at the same time a terrible place, where the Communists tortured and murdered more than three thousand faithful sons and daughters of the Republic, where the soldiers who were unbroken and those who disagreed with the enslavement of Poland by the Soviets after World War II,” the president stressed.
“Among them was Rotamaster Witold Pilecki,” Duda said adding that Pilecki was regarded as one of the greatest heroes of World War II in general.
Prezydent @AndrzejDuda w @MuzeumWykletych: Tu więzieni byli żołnierze niezłomni, którzy do samego końca bronili wolnej, suwerennej i niepodległej Polski. Wśród nich był jeden z największych bohaterów – rotmistrz Witold Pilecki.
25 maja został rozstrzelany przez komunistów,… pic.twitter.com/SOzk0MOWsI
— Kancelaria Prezydenta (@prezydentpl) May 25, 2023
The president noted that Pilecki was “an extraordinary figure in our history, a great hero, an extraordinary man, a wonderful personality, whose path of wartime heroism is simply unparalleled.”
On this day 75 years ago Communists murdered Polish national hero Pilecki
Andrzej Duda recalled that May 25 is also remembered as the International Day of Heroes of the Fight against Totalitarianism. “Rotmistrz Witold Pilecki – undoubtedly an extraordinary figure, a great patriot, a man of extraordinary nobility – is a worldwide symbol of a hero who fought against totalitarianism,” he said.
“He fought for the freedom of his homeland and human rights against Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism,” the Polish head of state added.
A Polish hero
Witold Pilecki was born in 1901 and served as a 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 organize a resistance movement and to prepare a report on the situation in the camp.
In 1943 he escaped from the camp together with two other prisoners. He later continued his work in espionage and took part in the Warsaw uprising.
After the war, Communist authorities in Poland arrested Pilecki and accused him of anti-state activities in a show trial. He was executed on May 25, 1948.