Top authorities, daughter honour WWII hero Witold Pilecki

On Monday, President Andrzej Duda spoke with Zofia Pilecka, the daughter of the Polish WWII hero Witold Pilecki, to mark the 72nd anniversary of Pilecki's execution by Poland's post-war communist regime.

After the meeting, President Duda tweeted that Witold Pilecki's heroism and patriotic stance served to bolster the Poles' national identity.

Later on Monday, Zofia Pilecka, accompanied by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, laid flowers in the Warsaw museum dedicated to the memory of Polish anti-communist fighters and political prisoners of the communist regime, located on the premises of the prison where the father of Ms Pilecka was executed.

Witold Pilecki was a Polish soldier in the pre-war Polish cavalry, who, after the outbreak of WWII, commanded a cavalry platoon which engaged in heavy fighting with the invading German forces.

Following the fall of Poland to a joint German-Soviet invasion, Pilecki engaged in resistance efforts. He purposely got himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, to investigate its inner workings. Inside he organised resistance efforts and sent out reports on the situation. In 1943 he escaped and wrote a detailed report on the atrocities committed in Auschwitz, including the mass murder being conducted in gas chambers.

Afterwards, he went on to fight in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. After the war, he went to Italy and joined the Polish Armed Forces there. In late 1945, Witold Pilecki returned to Poland to report on the puppet communist government installed by the Soviet Union.

He was arrested by the communist police in 1947, tortured and charged with espionage and preparing assassination attempts. After a show trial, he and three of his colleagues were sentenced to death in 1948. His burial site remains unknown.

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