HOME
The Info List - Witold Pilecki


--- Advertisement ---



(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

Polish–Soviet War
Polish–Soviet War

* Wilno
Wilno
Offensive (1919) * Kiev Offensive (1920)
Kiev Offensive (1920)
* First Battle of Grodno (1920) * Battle of Warsaw
Warsaw
(1920)

Polish-Lithuanian War

* Żeligowski\'s Mutiny (1920)

World War II
World War II

* September Campaign (1939) * Warsaw
Warsaw
Uprising (1944)

AWARDS Order of the White Eagle Order of Polonia Restituta Cross of Valour (2)

WITOLD PILECKI (13 May 1901 – 25 May 1948; Polish pronunciation: ; codenames Roman Jezierski, Tomasz Serafiński, Druh, Witold) was a Polish cavalryman and intelligence officer . He served as a Rittmeister with the Polish Army
Polish Army
during the Polish-Soviet War , Second Polish Republic and World War II
World War II
. Pilecki was also a co-founder of the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) a resistance group in German-occupied Poland
Poland
and was later a member of the underground Home Army ( Armia Krajowa
Armia Krajowa
). He was the author of Witold\'s Report , the first comprehensive Allied intelligence report on Auschwitz concentration camp and the Holocaust
Holocaust
. He was a devout Catholic .

During World War II, he volunteered for a Polish resistance operation that involved being imprisoned in the Auschwitz
Auschwitz
death camp in order to gather intelligence and later escape. While in the camp, Pilecki organized a resistance movement and, as early as 1941, informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
's Auschwitz
Auschwitz
atrocities. He escaped from the camp in 1943 after nearly two and a half years of imprisonment. Pilecki took part as a combatant in the Warsaw
Warsaw
Uprising in August-October, 1944. He remained loyal to the London-based Polish government-in-exile
Polish government-in-exile
after the Soviet-backed communist takeover of Poland
Poland
and was arrested for espionage in 1947 by the Stalinist secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa ) on charges of working for "foreign imperialism", thought to be a euphemism for British Intelligence . He was executed after a show trial in 1948. Until 1989, information about his exploits and fate was suppressed by the Polish communist regime .

As a result of his efforts, he is considered as "one of the greatest wartime heroes". In the foreword to the book The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery, Michael Schudrich , the Chief Rabbi of Poland, wrote as follows: "When God created the human being, God had in mind that we should all be like Captain Witold Pilecki, of blessed memory." In the introduction to that book Norman Davies , a British historian, wrote: "If there was an Allied hero who deserved to be remembered and celebrated, this was a person with few peers." At the commemoration event of International Holocaust
Holocaust
Remembrance Day held in the US Holocaust
Holocaust
Memorial Museum on 27 January 2013 Ryszard Schnepf , the Polish Ambassador to the US, described Pilecki as a "diamond among Poland's heroes" and "the highest example of Polish patriotism".

CONTENTS

* 1 Life

* 1.1 Polish–Soviet War
Polish–Soviet War
and later career

* 2 World War II
World War II

* 2.1 Auschwitz
Auschwitz
* 2.2 Outside the camp

* 3 Warsaw
Warsaw
Uprising

* 4 Communist Poland
Poland

* 4.1 Arrest and execution

* 5 Legacy

* 6 Polish Army
Polish Army
career summary

* 6.1 Awards, decorations and citations

* 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links

LIFE

Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
was born on May 13, 1901 in the town of Olonets
Olonets
, Karelia
Karelia
, in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
. He was a descendant of an aristocratic family (szlachta ) originally from the Grodno Region
Grodno Region
. His grandfather, Józef Pilecki h. Leliwa , was a member of the Polish landed gentry and a dedicated Polish nationalist . He had been a supporter of the secessionist January Uprising
January Uprising
of 1863–1864. Following the brutal defeat of the uprising by Russian forces, Józef Pilecki, like most Polish nobles who supported the rebellion, had his title revoked; his estate near Lida
Lida
and his other properties were confiscated by the Russian government . He was also condemned to exile in Siberia
Siberia
for seven years. After his release he and his family were forcibly resettled by Tsarist authorities to the remote territory of Karelia
Karelia
. The family was prohibited from living outside this province for the next thirty years and its members were bound by law to be employed only by the Russian state.

Witold's father, Julian Pilecki, was trained as a forester in Saint Petersburg and joined the Russian civil service , taking a position as a senior inspector with the Board of National Forests in Karelia
Karelia
. He would eventually settle in the town of Olonets
Olonets
where he married Ludwika Pilecki née Osiecimska. Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
was the fourth of couple's five children. In 1910, Ludwika and the children left Karelia and relocated to the Northwestern Krai
Northwestern Krai
. After being joined by their father the family settled in Wilno
Wilno
(now: Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuania
), where Pilecki completed primary school and became a member of the secret ZHP Scouts organization . During the First World War
First World War
, Wilno
Wilno
was occupied by the German Army on September 5, 1915 and was incorporated into the German Ober Ost administration. Pilecki and his family fled the Eastern Front for Mogilev , Byelorussia . In 1916 Pilecki moved to the Russian city of Oryol
Oryol
, where he attended gymnasium and founded a local chapter of the ZHP group.

POLISH–SOVIET WAR AND LATER CAREER

In 1918, following the outbreak of the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution
and the defeat of the Central Powers
Central Powers
in World War I
World War I
, Pilecki returned to Wilno
Wilno
(now part of the newly independent Polish Second Republic ) and joined a ZHP Scout section of the Lithuanian and Belarusian Self-Defense Militia , a paramilitary formation aligned with the White movement under General Władysław Wejtko . The militia disarmed the retreating German troops and took up positions to defend the city from a looming attack by the Soviet Red Army . However, Wilno
Wilno
fell to Bolshevik
Bolshevik
forces on 5 January 1919, and Pilecki and his unit resorted to partisan warfare behind Soviet lines. He and his comrades then retreated to Białystok where Pilecki enlisted as a szeregowy (private) in Poland's newly-established volunteer army . He took part in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919–1921, serving under Captain Jerzy Dąbrowski . He fought in the Kiev Offensive (1920)
Kiev Offensive (1920)
and as part of a cavalry unit defending the city of Grodno . On 5 August 1920, Pilecki joined the 211th Uhlan Regiment and fought in the crucial Battle of Warsaw
Warsaw
and in the Rudniki Forest (Puszcza Rudnicka). Pilecki later took part in the liberation of Wilno
Wilno
and briefly served in the ongoing Polish-Lithuanian War as a member of the October 1920 Żeligowski rebellion . He was twice awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Cross of Valor) for gallantry.

Following the conclusion of Polish-Soviet War in March, 1921 Pilecki was transferred to the army reserves . He was promoted to the rank of plutonowy (corporal ) and was designated as a non-commissioned officer . He went on to complete his secondary education (matura ) later that same year. In 1922 Pilecki briefly attended the University of Poznań where he studied agriculture . He soon returned to Wilno
Wilno
and enrolled with the Faculty of Fine Arts at Stefan Batory University . Pilecki was forced to abandon his studies in 1924 due to both financial issues and the declining health of his father. . He remained active in the military as a member of the army reserves and served as a military instructor in Nowe Święcice . Pilecki later underwent officer-training at the Cavalry
Cavalry
Reserve Officers' Training School in Grudziądz
Grudziądz
. Following his graduation Pilecki was assigned to the 26th Lancer Regiment in July, 1925 with the rank of Chorąży (ensign ). Pilecki would be promoted to Podporucznik (second lieutenant) the following year.

In September 1926 Pilecki became the owner of his family's ancestral estate, Sukurcze, in the Lida
Lida
district of the Nowogródek Voivodeship . Pilecki rebuilt and modernized the property's manor house , which had been destroyed during World War I
World War I
. On 7 April 1931, he married Maria Pilecka née Ostrowska (1906 – 6 February 2002), a local school teacher originally from Kupa (Narach, Belarus). They had two children, born in Wilno: Andrzej (16 January 1932) and Zofia (14 March 1933). Pilecki and his family would later take up residence at Sukurcze. Pilecki developed a reputation as a community leader, a prominent social worker and amateur painter. He was also a vigorous advocate of rural development , founding an agricultural cooperative , heading the local fire brigade and also serving as chairman of a local milk-processing plant built in the district. . In 1932 Pilecki established a cavalry training school in Lida
Lida
. Shortly afterward he was appointed commander of the newly-established 1st Lidsky Squadron , a position he would hold until 1937, when this unit was absorbed into the Polish 19th Infantry Division . In 1938, Pilecki received the Silver Cross of Merit for his community activism and his social work.

WORLD WAR II

Witold Pilecki, officer of the Polish Army
Polish Army
- 1939

Part of a series on the

Polish Underground State

History of Poland
Poland
1939–1945

Authorities

* Government * Administration * Parliament * Courts

Political organizations ------------------------- Major parties -------------------------

* Polish Socialist Party * People\'s Party * National Party * Labour Party

------------------------- Minor parties -------------------------

* Camp of National Unity * Democratic Party * Jewish Labour Bund * Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair
* Betar
Betar
(Zionist youth)

------------------------- Opposition -------------------------

* National Radical Camp * Polish Workers\' Party

Military organizations ------------------------- Home Army
Home Army
(AK) -------------------------

* Service for Poland's Victory (SZP) * Armed Resistance (ZWZ) * Gray Ranks * National Security Corps (PKB)

------------------------- Mostly integrated with Armed Resistance and Home Army
Home Army
-------------------------

* Gwardia Ludowa WRN * Peasant Battalions

------------------------- Partially integrated with Armed Resistance and Home Army
Home Army
-------------------------

* National Military Organization * National Armed Forces * Camp of Fighting Poland
Poland
* Pomeranian Griffin * Konfederacja Narodu

------------------------- Non-integrated but recognizing authority of Armed Resistance and Home Army
Home Army
-------------------------

* Jewish Combat Organization * Jewish Military Union

------------------------- Opposition -------------------------

* Military Lizard Union * Armia Ludowa

Related topics

* Cultural activities * Education

* History of Poland during 1939–1945

* v * t * e

Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, on 26 August 1939, Pilecki was mobilized as a cavalry platoon commander . He was assigned to the 19th Infantry Division under General Józef Kwaciszewski, part of the Polish Army
Polish Army
Prusy . His unit took part in heavy fighting against the advancing Germans during the invasion of Poland
Poland
. Pilecki's platoon was almost completely destroyed following a clash with the Panzer Division Kempf on 10 September.

Pilecki's platoon withdrew to the southeast, toward Lwów
Lwów
(now L'viv, in Ukraine
Ukraine
) and the Romanian bridgehead , and was incorporated into the recently formed 41st Infantry Division , in which he served as divisional second-in-command under Major Jan Włodarkiewicz . Pilecki and his men destroyed seven German tanks, shot down one aircraft, and destroyed two more on the ground. On 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland
Poland
pursuant to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact . Involved in more heavy fighting on two fronts, Pilecki was seriously wounded at the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski .

After the Polish government formally surrendered to Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
on September 27, 1939 Pilecki and many of his men continued fighting as partisans . His division was disbanded on 17 October, with parts of it surrendering to their enemies. Pilecki went into hiding in Warsaw with his commander, Major Włodarkiewicz. On 9 November 1939, the two men founded the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska, TAP), one of the first underground organizations in Poland. Pilecki became organizational commander of TAP as it expanded to cover not only Warsaw, but Siedlce
Siedlce
, Radom
Radom
, Lublin
Lublin
, and other major cities of central Poland.

By 1940, TAP had approximately 8,000 men (more than half of them armed), some 20 machine guns and several anti-tank rifles . To maintain his cover Pilecki worked as a manager of a cosmetics storehouse. Later, TAP was incorporated into the Union for Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej), later renamed and better known as the Home Army
Home Army
( Armia Krajowa
Armia Krajowa
, or AK). Within the AK, TAP elements became the core of the Wachlarz unit.

AUSCHWITZ

"The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland", by the Polish government-in-exile
Polish government-in-exile
addressed to the wartime allies of the then-United Nations , 1942 Main article: Witold\'s Report

In 1940, Pilecki presented to his superiors a plan to enter Germany's Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp
at Oświęcim (the Polish name of the locality), gather intelligence on the camp from the inside and organize inmate resistance. Until then, little had been known about how the Germans ran the camp, and it was thought to be an internment camp or large prison rather than a death camp . His superiors approved the plan and provided him with a false identity card in the name of "Tomasz Serafiński". On 19 September 1940, he deliberately went out during a Warsaw
Warsaw
street roundup (łapanka ) and was caught by the Germans, along with some 2,000 civilians (among them, Władysław Bartoszewski ). After two days of detention in the Light Horse Guards Barracks, where prisoners suffered beatings with rubber truncheons, Pilecki was sent to Auschwitz
Auschwitz
and was assigned inmate number 4859. During his imprisonment, Pilecki was promoted by the Home Army
Home Army
to the rank of Porucznik (first lieutenant). Auschwitz
Auschwitz
concentration camp photos of Pilecki (1941).

At Auschwitz, while working in various kommandos and surviving pneumonia , Pilecki organized the underground Union of Military Organizations (ZOW). Many smaller underground organizations at Auschwitz
Auschwitz
eventually merged with ZOW. ZOW's tasks were to improve inmate morale, provide news from outside, distribute extra food and clothing to members, set up intelligence networks and train detachments to take over the camp in the event of a relief attack by the Home Army, arms airdrops or an airborne landing by the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade based in Britain.

ZOW provided the Polish underground with invaluable information about the camp. From October 1940, ZOW sent reports to Warsaw, and beginning in March 1941, Pilecki's reports were being forwarded via the Polish resistance to the British government in London. In 1942, Pilecki's resistance movement was also broadcasting details on the number of arrivals and deaths in the camp and the inmates' conditions using a radio transmitter that was built by camp inmates. The secret radio station, built over seven months using smuggled parts, was broadcasting from the camp until the autumn of 1942, when it was dismantled by Pilecki's men after concerns that the Germans might discover its location because of "one of our fellow's big mouth".

These reports were a principal source of intelligence on Auschwitz for the Western Allies. Pilecki hoped that either the Allies would drop arms or troops into the camp or that the Home Army
Home Army
would organize an assault on it from outside. Such plans, however, were all judged impossible to carry out. Meanwhile, the Camp Gestapo under SS-Untersturmfuhrer Maximilian Grabner redoubled its efforts to ferret out ZOW members, succeeding in killing many of them. Pilecki decided to break out of the camp with the hope of convincing Home Army
Home Army
leaders personally that a rescue attempt was a valid option. When he was assigned to a night shift at a camp bakery outside the fence, he and two comrades overpowered a guard, cut the phone line and escaped on the night of 26/27 April 1943, taking with them documents stolen from the Germans.

OUTSIDE THE CAMP

After several days as a fugitive Pilecki made contact with units of the Home Army
Home Army
. On 25 August 1943, Pilecki reached Warsaw
Warsaw
and was attached to Section II (intelligence and counter-intelligence) of the Home Army\'s regional headquarters . After losing several operatives reconnoitering the vicinity of the camp, including the Cichociemny Stefan Jasieński, it was decided that the Home Army
Home Army
lacked sufficient strength to capture Auschwitz
Auschwitz
without Allied help. Pilecki's detailed report (Raport Witolda – Witold\'s Report ) estimated that "By March 1943 the number of people gassed on arrival reached 1.5 million.".

On 11 November 1943, Pilecki was promoted to Rotmistrz (cavalry captain) and joined a secret anti-communist organization, NIE (in Polish: "NO or NIEpodległość – INdependence"), formed as a clandestine unit within the Home Army
Home Army
with the goal of preparing resistance against a possible Soviet occupation. The Soviet Red Army , despite being within attacking distance of the camp, showed no interest in a joint effort with the Home Army
Home Army
and the ZOW to free it. Until he became involved in the Warsaw
Warsaw
Uprising , Pilecki remained in charge of coordinating ZOW and AK activities and provided what limited support he was able to offer to ZOW.

WARSAW UPRISING

When the Warsaw
Warsaw
Uprising broke out on 1 August 1944, Pilecki volunteered for service with Kedyw
Kedyw
's Chrobry II Batallion . At first, Pilecki served as a common soldier in the northern city center, without revealing his actual rank to his superiors. Later, after many officers were killed in the fierce fighting that occurred during the early days of the uprising, Pilecki disclosed his true identity to his superiors and accepted command of the 1st "Warszawianka" Company located in Śródmieście in downtown Warsaw. Pilecki fought under the nom de guerre "Captain Roman". His forces held a fortified area called the "Great Bastion of Warsaw", one of the most outlying of partisan redoubts. Pilecki and his men inflicted significant casualties and caused considerable logistical difficulties for German supply lines by routinely seizing control of a strategically placed building overlooking the city's main west-east thoroughfare, Jerusalem Avenue . The bastion held for two weeks in the face of almost constant attacks by German infantry and armor.

In mid-August Pilecki's Company occupied the insurgent stronghold in the Railway Post Office connected to the Warszawa Gdańska station . Here again he and his men would hold out against frequent German attempts to dislodge them. Pilecki would keep this position in insurgent hands for six weeks and was ejected only after a specialized German task force was brought in and drove the partisans out using flame throwers and explosives . After the capitulation of the uprising, Pilecki hid a cache of weapons in a private apartment and surrendered to the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
on October 5, 1944. He was imprisoned at Stalag VIII-B , a German prisoner-of-war camp near Lamsdorf , Silesia . He was later transferred to Oflag VII-A in Murnau , Bavaria
Bavaria
where he was liberated by troops of the US 12th Armored Division on April 28, 1945.

COMMUNIST POLAND

Photos of Pilecki from Mokotów prison (1947)

After the defeat of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in May 1945, Pilecki was sent to Great Britain
Great Britain
as a staff officer of the Polish Armed Forces in the West . In July, 1945 he was reassigned to the military intelligence division of the Polish II Corps under General Władysław Anders
Władysław Anders
in Ancona
Ancona
, Italy
Italy
. While stationed there Pilecki began writing a monograph on his experiences at Auschwitz.

In October, 1945, as relations between the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviet-backed regime of Boleslaw Bierut deteriorated, Pilecki was ordered by General Anders and his intelligence chief, Lt. Colonel Stanislaw Kijak, to return to Poland
Poland
and report on the prevailing military and political situation under Soviet-occupation . Pilecki arrived in Warsaw
Warsaw
in December, 1945 and proceeded to begin organizing an intelligence gathering network , which included several wartime associates from Auschwitz
Auschwitz
and the Secret Polish Army (TAP).

By mid-1946 Pilecki’s network had successfully made contact with Poland’s anti- Soviet partisans
Soviet partisans
and established an underground courier system to spirit information from Warsaw
Warsaw
to the headquarters of the Polish II Corps in Italy. However, its greatest achievement was the recruitment of Captain Wawel Alchimowicz, an official of Poland’s Ministry of Public Security (MBP), the communist secret police .

Alchimowicz provided the underground with highly-sensitive material on the MBP’s covert operations, internal organization and senior personnel as well as evidence that the results of the people’s referendum of June, 1946 had been forged by the MBP to favor the communists and their allies . This information was compiled into the so-called “Blade Report” and was dispatched to the II Corps in December, 1946 by Pilecki. During this time Pilecki’s group was itself infiltrated by Leszek Kuchinski, a former TAP member and double agent for Poland\'s Stalinist
Stalinist
government .

To maintain his cover identity, Pilecki lived under various assumed names and changed jobs frequently. He would work as a jewelry salesman, a bottle label painter and as night manager of a construction warehouse. Nevertheless, Pilecki was informed in July, 1946 that his actual identity had been uncovered by the MBP. He was ordered to leave the country; but he declined. In April 1947, he began independently collecting evidence of Soviet atrocities committed in Poland
Poland
during the 1939-1941 occupation as well as evidence of the unlawful arrest and prosecution of Home Army
Home Army
veterans and ex-members of the Polish Armed Forces in the West
Polish Armed Forces in the West
, which often resulted in execution or imprisonment.

ARREST AND EXECUTION

Pilecki in the court (1948) Trial of Pilecki (1948)

On 8 May 1947, Pilecki was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Public Security . Prior to trial, he was repeatedly tortured. The investigation of Pilecki's activities was supervised by Colonel Roman Romkowski . He was interrogated by Col. Józef Różański , and lieutenants S. Łyszkowski, W. Krawczyński, J. Kroszel, T. Słowianek, Eugeniusz Chimczak and S. Alaborski – men who were especially infamous for their savagery. But Pilecki sought to protect other prisoners and revealed no sensitive information.

On 3 March 1948, a show trial took place. Testimony against Pilecki was presented by a future Polish prime minister, Józef Cyrankiewicz , himself an Auschwitz
Auschwitz
survivor. Pilecki was charged with illegal border crossing, use of forged documents, not enlisting with the military, carrying illegal arms, espionage for General Władysław Anders
Władysław Anders
, espionage for "foreign imperialism" (thought to be British intelligence ) and planning to assassinate several officials of the Ministry of Public Security of Poland
Poland
. Pilecki denied the assassination charges, as well as espionage, although he admitted to passing information to the 2nd Polish Corps , of which he considered himself an officer and thus claimed that he was not breaking any laws. He pleaded guilty to the other charges. On 15 May, with three of his comrades, he was sentenced to death . Ten days later, on 25 May 1948, Pilecki was executed at the Mokotów Prison in Warsaw
Warsaw
(also known as Rakowiecka Prison), by Staff Sergeant Piotr Śmietański (who was nicknamed "The Butcher of Mokotow Prison" by the inmates).

I've been trying to live my life so that in the hour of my death I would rather feel joy, than fear. — Pilecki after the announcement of the death sentence, Bartłomiej Kuraś, Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
– w Auschwitzu z własnej woli, „Ale Historia”, in „Gazeta Wyborcza ”, 22 April 2013.

During Pilecki's last conversation with his wife he told her: "I cannot live. They killed me. Because Oświęcim compared with them was just a trifle." His final words before his execution were "Long live free Poland".

Afterward, the Polish government-in-exile
Polish government-in-exile
decided that the post-war political situation afforded no hope of Poland's liberation and ordered the remaining active members of the Polish resistance (who became known as the cursed soldiers ) to either return to their normal civilian lives or escape to the West.

Pilecki's place of burial has never been found but is thought to be somewhere within Warsaw's Powązki Cemetery
Powązki Cemetery
. After the fall of communism in Poland
Poland
a symbolic gravestone was erected in his memory at Ostrowa Mazowiecka Cemetery. In 2012, Powązki Cemetery
Powązki Cemetery
was partially excavated in an effort to find Pilecki's remains.

LEGACY

Pilecki's show trial and execution was part of a wider campaign of repression against former Home Army
Home Army
members and others connected with the Polish Government-in-Exile in London. In 2003, the prosecutor, Czesław Łapiński, and several others involved in the trial were charged with complicity in Pilecki's murder. Józef Cyrankiewicz , the chief prosecution witness, was already dead, and Łapiński died in 2004, before the trial was concluded. Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
memorial plaque in Warsaw
Warsaw

Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
and all others sentenced in the show trial were rehabilitated on 1 October 1990. In 1995, he was posthumously awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta and in 2006 he received the Order of the White Eagle , the highest Polish decoration. On 6 September 2013, he was posthumously promoted by the Minister of National Defence to the rank of Colonel.

Films about Pilecki include a 2006 made-for-TV movie, Śmierć rotmistrza Pileckiego (The Death of Captain Pilecki), starring Polish actor Marek Probosz; the 2015 film Pilecki starring Mateusz Bieryt; and the documentaries Against the Odds: Resistance in Nazi Concentration Camps (2004); and Heroes of War: Poland
Poland
(2014) produced by Sky Vision for the History Channel UK . A number of books have been written about Pilecki. In addition, Pilecki's comprehensive 1945 report on his undercover mission at Auschwitz
Auschwitz
was published in English for the first time in 2012, under the title The Auschwitz
Auschwitz
Volunteer: Beyond Bravery, and was hailed by The New York Times
The New York Times
as "a historical document of the greatest importance".

POLISH ARMY CAREER SUMMARY

* Ensign (chorąży ) from July, 1925 * Second Lieutenant (podporucznik ) from 1926 * First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
(porucznik ) from 11 November 1941 (promoted while at Auschwitz
Auschwitz
) * Captain (rotmistrz ) from 11 November 1943 * Colonel (pułkownik ) from 6 September 2013 (posthumously).

AWARDS, DECORATIONS AND CITATIONS

* Knight of the Order of the White Eagle (posthumously, 2007) * Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta – (posthumously, 1995) * Cross of Valour , awarded twice * Silver Cross of Merit (1938) * Army of Central Lithuania
Lithuania
Cross of Merit * War Medal 1918–1921 * Decade of Independence Regained * Auschwitz
Auschwitz
Cross * Warsaw
Warsaw
Uprising Cross * Order of the Star of Perseverance (posthumously)

SEE ALSO

* Scouting portal

* History of Poland
Poland
(1939–45) * Polish contribution to World War II
World War II
* Jan Karski * Vrba-Wetzler report * Western betrayal * Soviet repressions of Polish citizens (1939–46) * Anti-communist resistance in Poland
Poland
(1944–46) * 1951 Mokotów Prison execution * Emil August Fieldorf * Łukasz Ciepliński * Heroes (Sabaton album) , where the song "Inmate 4859" tells Captain Pilecki's story

REFERENCES

* ^ A B C The Book Heaven, The man who volunteered for Auschwitz: the greatest story never told, Stanford University. Posted on 10 June 2012. * ^ For a detailed history of the Warsaw
Warsaw
uprising, and the role of Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
(known as "Captain Roman"), see Norman Davies, Rising '44. "The Battle for Warsaw" (London: Pan Books, 2004). * ^ A B C Snyder, Timothy (22 June 2012) Were We All People?, The New York Times. * ^ A B C D Tchorek 2009 * ^ A B Piekarski 1990 , p. 249 * ^ Remembering Unsung Heroes Of The Holocaust, The Jewish Week. Published on 1 February 2013. * ^ A B Auschwitz
Auschwitz
inmate Pilecki – \'diamond among heroes\', Thenews.pl (Polish Radio English Section). Published on 28 January 2013. * ^ The Auschwitz
Auschwitz
volunteer: about the book, Aquila Polonica Publishing, Los Angeles. * ^ Captain Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
commemorated at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, DC. * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA AB AC AD AE AF AG AH AI AJ AK AL Świerczek, Lidia. Pilecki\'s life. Institute of National Remembrance . Last accessed on 14 March 2009. * ^ A B C D E (in Polish) "Detailed biography of Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
on Whatfor". Archived from the original on 2007-05-16. Retrieved 21 November 2007. * ^ Beadle, Jeremy and Harrison, Ian (2008) Firsts, lasts & onlys: military. Anova Books. ISBN 1-905798-06-7 . p. 129 * ^ Wysocki, Wiesław Jan (1994) Rotmistrz Pilecki. "Gryf". ISBN 83-85521-23-2 . p.32 * ^ A B Lewis 1999 , p. 389 * ^ Lukas, Richard C. (1989) Out of the inferno: Poles remember the Holocaust. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1692-9 . p. 5 * ^ A B C Lewis 1999 , p. 390 * ^ A B Pilecki, Witold (2012). The Auschwitz
Auschwitz
Volunteer: Beyond Bravery. USA: Aquila Polonica (US) Ltd. p. 460. ISBN 978-1-60772-010-2 . * ^ A B C D Wyman 1976 , p. 1168 * ^ A B C D Foot 2003 , pp. 117–126 * ^ Lewis 1999 , p. 393 * ^ Lewis 1999 , p. 394 * ^ Garlinski, Jozef (1975) Fighting Auschwitz: the Resistance Movement in the Concentration Camp. Fawcett. ISBN 0-904014-09-6 . pp. 191–197 * ^ Lewis 1999 , p. 399 * ^ "Raport"W"". polandpolska.org. Retrieved 2 February 2016. * ^ Wyman 1976 , p. 1169 * ^ The Times, 1948 * ^ Płużański, Tadeusz M. "Strzał w tył głowy." Publicystyka Antysocjalistycznego Mazowsza. * ^ A B (in Polish) "60 lat temu zginął rotmistrz Witold Pilecki" (Sixty years ago Captain Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
died) Gazeta Wyborcza, PAP, 23 May 2008 * ^ Puhl, Jan. (9 August 2012) Poland
Poland
Searches for Remains of World War II Hero Witold Pilecki. Spiegel.de. Retrieved on 19 September 2015. * ^ "MON awansował Witolda Pileckiego" (in Polish). RMF FM/PAP. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013. * ^ Śmierć Rotmistrza Pileckiego. FilmPolski.pl. Retrieved on 19 September 2015. * ^ "Pilecki (2015)". IMDb. * ^ Against The Odds. Capital j. Films. Retrieved on 19 September 2015. * ^ History UK orders "Heroes of War" from Sky Vision. Realscreen (25 April 2013). Retrieved on 19 September 2015. * ^ Pilecki, Witold (30 April 2015). The Auschwitz
Auschwitz
Volunteer: Beyond Bravery. Translated by Garlinski, Jarek. Aquila Polonica. ISBN 1-60772-009-4 .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Foot, Michael Richard Daniell (2003), Six Faces of Courage. Secret agents against Nazi tyranny. Witold Pilecki, Leo Cooper, ISBN 0-413-39430-1 * Davies, Norman, Rising '44. "The Battle for Warsaw" (London: Pan Books, 2004),ISBN 0-333-90568-7 . * Lewis, Jon E. (1999), The Mammoth Book of True War Stories, Carroll & Graf Publishers , ISBN 0-7867-0629-5 * Piekarski, Konstanty R. (1990), Escaping Hell: The Story of a Polish Underground Officer in Auschwitz
Auschwitz
and Buchenwald, Dundurn Press Ltd., ISBN 1-55002-071-4 * Staff correspondent (5 March 1948), "Polish Left-Wing Relations: No Fusion as Yet", The Times, London, p. 3, retrieved 12 March 2009 * Tchorek, Kamil (12 March 2009), "Double life of Witold Pilecki, the Auschwitz
Auschwitz
volunteer who uncovered Holocaust
Holocaust
secrets", The Times, London, retrieved 16 March 2009 * Wyman, David S. (December 1976), "Review: Jozef Garlinski. Fighting Auschwitz: The Resistance Movement in the Concentration Camp", American Historical Review, American Historical Association, 81 (5), pp. 1168–1169, ISSN 0002-8762 , JSTOR