Religion: Pilgrim in Poland

Some came on foot from the surrounding villages, carrying crosses and banners emblazoned with the names of their parishes. Others arrived in packed buses and trains. At least 150,000 strong, they pushed shoulder to shoulder past the rusty barbed-wire fences into the Auschwitz Birkenau extermination camp, where 4,000,000 died during the Nazi hell. The pilgrims had come to honor one of those dead, a Franciscan friar named Maximilian Kolbe who had stepped forward one day in 1941 to take the place of a family man selected for execution.

Kolbe was put in a starvation cell with nine others, then finally dispatched on...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!