The Life and Death of a Martyr: Saint Maximilian Kolbe


St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Patron Saint of Political Prisoners

Sacrifice is a word that the modern era has largely forgotten. Many of us, myself included, get caught up in the day to day struggles of life. From paying the bills, spending time with family or friends, and the hustle and bustle of the American experience, it is easy to forget that we as Christians are called to be constantly sacrificing.

Scripture states in John 15:13 that “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Our sacrifice for others is not just donating time at the homeless shelter or giving in the offering plate, although those are important everyday works of faith, but to be willing and ready to lay down our very lives for others, just as Christ gave up his life for us. August 14th is the Feast day of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, and throughout his life he demonstrated what true devotion to sacrificing for Christ and for others was. Without complaint he sacrificed himself in another man’s place to die a terrible death, Father Maximilian Kolbe was a true Christian, a patriot, and a hero for all Traditionalists.

Maximilian Kolbe was born to a modest family in Poland, right before the beginning of the 20th century. His parents were faithful Catholics who worked hard to provide for their family. From an early age it was clear that Maximilian had a special and fiery passion for the Church, Christ, and the Virgin Mother. When all of their children had entered seminary, Kolbe’s parents both decided that they as well would enter the religious life in order to dedicate themselves totally to Christ.

Raised in a devout Catholic home with a strong loyalty to nationalism and a martial spirit, Maximilian had the upbringing to prepare him to become a Saint. Originally desiring to be a soldier to fight for the independence of Poland, Maximilian realized that he could be a warrior in God’s army. The discipline of hard work, the ingrained importance of Faith, and the love of a supportive family all built the foundation in which Father Kolbe’s life was built.

At a very young age Maximilian Kolbe was visited by the Virgin Mary. In this blessed apparition he was given his life’s calling by the Virgin Mother.

Later in life he wrote about the visitation of the Virgin and he wrote that he “asked the Mother of God what was to become of me, a Child of Faith. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.” From this moment onward he knew that God had a special calling for him, to take up the cross of purity and of eventual martyrdom, something that Father Kolbe did without concern or complaint.

This moment should be an inspiration for all Christians, we must all be willing to accept the crown of thorns of abuse, ridicule, and death, first to ourselves and our desires and then be willing to lay down our life for Christ and his Church. As a small child Maximilian Kolbe became a true Christian warrior, dedicated to a mission that he would fight for unceasingly until the day of his death.

All Christians are called to be warriors for Christ to advance His kingdom. Christians are soldiers in both the physical and spiritual realm. Following in the tradition of the martyrs before him, Maximilian Kolbe threw himself into working in Christ’s Church. Maximilian Kolbe became a Catholic priest after taking his vows in Rome. He took on the name Maria to show his devotion to the Virgin Mother, thereby making his full name Maximilian Maria Kolbe. At an age before American youth have the legal right to drink, Father Kolbe had given up the ability to pursue fame, glory, or money in order to bring the Gospel to the masses and to help those in need.

Father Kolbe should be a hero and inspiration for Traditionalists not only for his sacrifice of his life, but the years of work he did as a priest. Father Kolbe understood the united push of Jewish power and Freemasonry in the attack upon Western civilization and the Church. One cannot be a defender of Christendom or the European race until they acknowledge that Jewish money and subversion coupled with the Enlightenment traitors of the Freemasons are united in a Satanic pact to destroy our entire civilization. Focusing only on the Jews or only on the liberals or Freemasons leaves ones flanks exposed to attack by the other opponents. Satan’s forces on this earth are like a mythical hydra, a beast with many heads but only one body. The Evil One uses the Jews who have Christ’s blood on their hands and have rejected the Gospel alongside the atheists and “Enlightened” Europeans in an alliance to dismantle our Church and race simultaneously.

In his studies to become a priest, Father Kolbe witnessed firsthand the movements of the Freemasons and organized Jewry to attack and subvert the Church. One such event was described by Kolbe as seeing Freemasons place “the black standard of the “Giordano Brunisti” under the windows of the Vatican. On this standard the archangel, St. Michael, was depicted lying under the feet of the triumphant Lucifer. At the same time, countless pamphlets were distributed to the people in which the Holy Father (i.e., the Pope) was attacked shamefully.”

The Freemasons were united with Satan to attack the Faith. Financed with Jewish money, Kolbe wrote how the Freemasons were able to poison the well of European public discourse. The “Jewish-Masonic conspiracy” was alive in well in Europe as secularism began to chip away at Traditional Europe. The unity of international Communism, Jewry, and Freemasonry was demonstrated in a united march against Rome in which the Modernist held signs that included phrases such as “Satan must reign in the Vatican. The Pope will be his slave.” Father Kolbe fought back against Modernism within the Church and in society as a whole.

To counteract the rise of secularism and the united forces of Freemasonry and Jewry, Father Kolbe established the Militia Immaculata and called all Christians to become Knights to rise to “to seek the conversion of sinners, heretics, schismatics, Jews, etc., and, especially, Masons.” This Militia was created “to fight the Freemasons and other agents of Lucifer” while promoting devotion to the Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus Christ.

Maximilian Kolbe declared that the fight against the forces of Satan was to be a crusade, one that would not end until total victory had been declared. Prince Drucki-Lubecki donated property to Father Kolbe in order to allow the Militia Immaculata to be able to further the crusade against Modernism. In 1929 Father Kolbe wrote that “For us it is not merely enough to defend the Faith.. We have the fortress and, full of trust in our Leader, we go among the enemy hunting hearts to conquer for the Immaculata….Every heart that beats or will beat on earth until the end of time must become the Immaculata’s prize. This is our aim. And this as soon as possible.” Under Father Kolbe’s leadership, a base of operations was established, the faithful were gathered, and the battle lines were drawn. There would be no compromise with the foe, Christian warriors would only put down their weapons of spiritual war when every knee bowed to honor Christ.

At the same time that Father Charles Coughlin in the United States was using the radio and newspapers to reach an American audience, Father Kolbe did the same in Eastern Europe. With a publication that had over a million subscribers and a very popular radio program, Father Kolbe was able to promote the Gospel and inform the public about the dangers of secret societies and the growing prevalence of Satanic forces within European culture.

Father Kolbe made a crucial distinction that must be made by Christians about the role of Jews. While remaining hardline on the issues, acknowledging that Jews “work (the Talmud) breathes hatred against Christ and the Christians” but also reminding Christians that we must pray for the Jews’ conversion and that we must strive to “ not to stir up accidentally nor to intensify to a greater degree the hatred… against them.” One can fight against organized Jewry without hating every Jewish rag merchant and tinker throughout the land. We must stand firm in fighting against the forces of Satan, but have mercy and kindness in our hearts toward our opponents. Organized Jewry and the push to destroy Christendom as declared in the Jewish Talmud is our foe, not every single Jew.

In Japan and around the globe, Father Kolbe planted missionaries and inspired large amounts of converts. When over a century earlier almost all Christianity was driven out of Japan, Father Kolbe helped reinvigorate the faithful and began to bring the Japanese nation to Christ. Although he was suffering from tuberculosis, Father Kolbe worked tirelessly to be able to establish vibrant faith communities around the globe.

Father Kolbe demonstrated this principle when after suffering through nearly three months of torture by German authorities at the beginning of the Second World War, he began taking in refugees, including Jews. With a heart of Christian charity the priest gave food, medicine, water, and shelter to those who were displaced by war and were suffering. Countless converts came to the faith through the example of Father Kolbe and the members of the Militia Immaculata.

In February of 1941, Father Kolbe was arrested again. Although it is undeniable that the modern story of the Holocaust has been used to promote political agendas, it is undeniable that as with every war, great amounts of suffering and cruelty were inflicted on the innocent. Anytime men are put in charge of the very lives of others, there is bound to be levels of abuse within any system. Father Kolbe, now known as prisoner #16670, and his fellow prisoners were tragically put under the care of a madman, one who disgraced his nation but also the uniform he wore.

The vast majority of German soldiers were valiant and God-fearing men, but Auschwitz deputy commander Karl Fritzsch was without a shadow of a doubt a cruel man. Karl Fritzsch used brutal tactics and intense psychological torture on the prisoners that he was charged to care for. His actions were so horrendous that when the SS heard about his actions an investigation was ordered. The SS-Hauptsturmführer found him guilty of corruption and prisoner abuse and quickly transferred out of the camp and sent onto the frontlines of the Eastern Front. Unfortunately this was not done soon enough for Father Kolbe and scores of other prisoners.

In July 1941 a prisoner escaped the camp, resulting in deputy commander Fritzsch ordering ten men to be sent into a small bunker to be starved to death in punishment. One of the chosen men begged for his life, announcing that he was a husband and a father. Without waiting an instant, Father Kolbe stepped out of ranks and said “I am a Catholic priest from Poland. I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children.” In the truest form of self sacrifice, Father Kolbe walked into the bunker with peace and serenity, knowing full well that death was the only way out.

Alongside of nine other men, Father Kolbe was locked into a dark and stuffy bunker. The camp guards were ordered to deprive the men of food, water, and medical attention until they died. From the beginning of the imprisonment Father Kolbe began ministering to his fellow prisoners, saying daily Mass, and performing last rites upon those who were on the verge of death. Instead of the wailing of sorrowful men, the camp guards were shocked to hear the sound of hymns being sung inside of the bunker. The men inside the bunker who were supposed to die in misery were able to pass on with peace and be surrounded by someone who truly loved them, a blessing to any person at their moment of death.

Father Kolbe was said to have been in a constant state of prayer either by himself or with his fellow prisoners. One worker at the camp who was Father Kolbe throughout his ordeal was quoted as saying “As if in ecstasy, his face was radiant. His body was spotless, and one could say that it radiated light.” Those who were not Christians could see the power of Christ working within the frail and dying priest. Although the circumstances were barbaric and he was surrounded by men who were dead or dying, Father Kolbe’s faith was unshaken. Instead of asking for a way out, Father Kolbe cared for others and exemplified the role of a Christian as a comforter of a sick, a friend to the dying, and a light for Christ’s Gospel to shine through.

In the span of two weeks, every other inmate in the small and cramped bunker had died. To the astonishment of the guards, Father Kolbe was alive and still deeply in prayer. With a desire to end this ordeal and free up space within the bunker, the guards decided to end Father Kolbe’s life. One of the camp’s doctors came with a deadly dose of carbolic acid to end the Polish priests life. Expecting a struggle the guards were surprised once again that Father Kolbe simply lifted his arm and smiled at his would-be murderer. With a prayer on his lips and a smile on his face, Father Kolbe left behind his mortal coil and joined our Lord in Heaven.

One day later on the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mother, Father Kolbe was cremated. Before his imprisonment, Father Kolbe had declared that he hoped he “would like to use myself completely up in the service of the Immaculata, and to disappear without leaving a trace, as the winds carry my ashes to the far corners of the world….” With the act of his martyrdom of charity and his cremation, Father Kolbe achieved his dream of giving everything in the name of our Lord and the Virgin Mother. Father Kolbe died as he lived, humbly and with unending dedication to a cause greater than himself.

The life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe is one that should inspire all Traditionalists. When he felt the call to service he sacrificed everything for his beliefs. As Modernity led by the Jews and Masons engaged in battle to destroy the Church, Father Kolbe rallied the faithful in defense of the Church and Tradition. Meeting the enemies of Tradition on the airwaves, on the streets, and in the spiritual realm, Father Kolbe began a movement that lives on to this day. His selfless sacrifice for the life of a total stranger is an inspiration to all believers who say that they truly desire to fight for a cause. The thoughts of glory and victory are great, but if one truly believes in a cause they must be willing to lay down their life whenever and wherever the cause takes them. From the fields of battle to a cold dark bunker, Traditionalists must be willing to fight and if need be, die, for the defense of Faith, Folk, and Fatherland. Maximilian Kolbe was a hero, a martyr, and an inspiration to myself and to all Traditionalists.

Novena to Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Novena to Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “greater love than this no man has that a man lay down his life for his friends,” through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe whose life illustrated such love, we beseech you to grant us our petitions . . .

(here mention the requests you have).

Through the Militia Immaculata movement, which Maximilian founded, he spread a fervent devotion to Our Lady throughout the world. He gave up his life for a total stranger and loved his persecutors, giving us an example of unselfish love for all men – a love that was inspired by true devotion to Mary. Grant, O Lord Jesus, that we too may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellow man in imitation of your humble servant, Maximilian. Amen.


  • Walt Bialkowski

    Dear Matt,
    Thank you for this beautiful story/meditation about the life and sacrifice of Father Maximilian Kolbe. Like Jesus, he sacrificed himself for his brothers – I think that is being Christlike in the highest degree. Thanks very much, Matt ! 🙂

  • Leslie H. Higgins

    Fine and stirring piece, Mr. Heimbach. I had not known this much of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s story before.

St. Maximilian Kolbe

By: Matthew Heimbach



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