Hall at PM's Office named after Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki, a Polish cavalry officer, fought for truth during the most terrible days, and "died several times" as he was murdered by communists and sentenced to death by fading him into oblivion, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday.
The PM made the statement during a ceremony which named one of the halls at the PM's Office after Pilecki. Pilecki's daughter was among those present, as were war veterans, government officials and parliamentarians.
Referring to a conversation with Pilecki's daughter, who said that one should always fight for the truth, PM Morawiecki made such a promise in the hall named after Pilecki.
"We will always be faithful to the truth as it is our most important shield," the prime minister said.
Speaking about Pilecki's life, the PM recalled the officer's decision to be caught by the Germans and be sent to the German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in order to prepare a report on the situation there.
"He tried to show this truth to the entire world, just like Jan Karski did. Unfortunately, this truth was never acknowledged by the leaders of those times, which led to the hecatomb, to the Holocaust," the prime minister went on to say.
The PM stressed that Pilecki died several times as he was not only murdered after the war as a Cursed Soldier (soldiers fighting against the communist regime after the end of WWII - PAP) but he was also sentenced to death by fading him into oblivion.
"Witold Pilecki is a symbol, a great hero also of our times, who will surely be an example for us," PM Morawiecki stressed.
Witold Pilecki was a Polish soldier and cavalry captain before WWII. In German-occupied Poland he founded the Secret Polish Army resistance group in November 1939, and later joined the 1942-formed underground Home Army (AK).
Pilecki was the author of the so-called Witold's Report - the first comprehensive account of the situation in the German Auschwitz concentration camp and the Holocaust.
At Auschwitz, Pilecki organised a resistance movement and, as early as 1941, informed the Western Allies about atrocities taking place in the camp. After his escape from the camp in April 1943, he got in touch with the Home Army in Krakow (south Poland) and presented a detailed report on the situation in Auschwitz.
In 1944 Pilecki fought in the Warsaw Uprising against the Germans.
He remained loyal to the London-based Polish exile government after the communist takeover of Poland, and on May 8, 1947, was arrested on charges of working for "foreign imperialism" and after a show trial sentenced to death. His body was most probably dumped into a nameless grave and has yet to be found.
Pilecki was posthumously awarded Poland's highest decoration, the Order of the White Eagle, by the late President Lech Kaczynski, and later promoted to the rank of colonel.
The ceremony at the PM's Office was held on the eve of the Cursed Soldiers National Remembrance Day, established by the Polish parliament in 2011, and observed on March 1.