WW II hero Witold Pilecki biography in Italy

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A biography of Witold Pilecki, one of the unsung heroes of World War Two, has been published in Italy.

Entitled A Volunteer, it was written by Marco Patricelli, a lecturer in modern history at the University in Chieti. The ANSA Agency stresses in its review of the book that Pilecki’s war-time exploits and his tragic post-war plight remain virtually unknown in the West.

In 1940 Witold Pilecki allowed himself to be arrested by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz, where he organized a conspiracy among the prisoners with the idea of an insurrection in the camp. He was the author of the first report on the murder of European Jews that was passed over to the Allies. After three years in Auschwitz, Pilecki escaped from the camp, reached Warsaw, joined the Home Army’s intelligence department and formed a secret organization within the Home Army to prepare resistance against a possible Soviet occupation. He fought in the 1944 Warsaw Rising.

After the end of the war he went to Italy and joined the Second Corps. He was sent by the Polish intelligence to Poland as a spy. However, he was captured and executed by the communist authorities in 1948. His burial place has never been found. In 1990, he was rehabilitated and in 2008 received posthumously the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish state distinction.

In the book Six Faces of Courage by the British author Michael Foot, Pilecki was named one of the six greatest heroes of World War Two.

Marco Patricelli’s biography of Witold Pilecki reached Italian bookshops a few days before the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

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