On February 17, 1941,
Saint Maximillian Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison, and, on May 25, was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670.
In July 1941, a man from Kolbe’s barracks had vanished, prompting SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, the Lagerführer (i.e., the camp commander), to pick 10 men from the same barracks to be starved to death in Block 11 (notorious for torture), in order to deter further escape attempts. One of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, lamenting his family, and Kolbe volunteered to take his place.
During the time in the cell, he led the men in songs and prayer. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe was still alive. Finally, he was executed with an injection of carbolic acid.
This shirt remembers his saintly and heroic sacrifice boldly and defiantly bears his prisoner number (#16670) and a quote from Saint Maximillian on the back.