Friday, April 27, 2018

WITOLD PILECKI: The Man who volunteered for Auschwitz.

Guest Post by Rohan Srivastava

He was a reserve officer in the Polish Army born 13 May 1901 in Olonets, Russia. During World War II while attached to a Polish resistance group, he volunteered for an operation that saw him intentionally imprisoned in Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz death camp in order to gather intelligence on the site’s operations. As early as 1941, Witold Pilecki’s reports informed the Western Allies of the atrocities being committed at the death camp. Before escaping Auschwitz, Pilecki organized a resistance movement right under the noses of the camp’s Nazi German overseers, kapos and administrative staff.
Before his time in Auschwitz, Pilecki fought against the Germans during the 1939 Defensive War.
A significant group of the first Auschwitz prisoners was Poles engaged in conspiracy activities, and the first transports that arrived in the camp from Warsaw carried members of the TAP. These prisoners, among others, were going to form the backbone of the military resistance movement. 
In the summer of 1940, with several members of TAP behind KL Auschwitz’s well-guarded perimeter, Major Włodarkiewicz decided it would be prudent to send an officer to the camp on an intelligence gathering mission: at the time, little was known about what went on inside of the camp. When Pilecki heard of Włodarkiewicz desire to send someone to the camp, he volunteered and presented a plan to infiltrate Auschwitz, gather first-hand information on its functions and organize a resistance movement inside the camp. His plan was approved.
On 19 September 1940, Pilecki deliberately entered an area of Warsaw where the German Army was conducting a roundup of Polish civilians. 2,000 civilians, including Pilecki, were detained by the Germans that day. After two days of detention in the former barracks of Poland’s Light Horse Guards, where prisoners suffered beatings with rubber truncheons, Pilecki was sent to Auschwitz and was registered with number 4859. Since he carried false identification documents, he was registered under the name Tomasz Serafiński. 
That autumn, now a prisoner of Auschwitz, Pilecki created a new organization inside of the camp called the Union of Military Organization (Związek Organizacji Wojskowej or ZOW). ZOW quickly merged with another organization operating behind the camp’s walls, under the command of Union of Armed Struggle/Home Army (Związek Walki Zbrojnej or ZWZ/AK). This resistance organization aimed to help the morale of prisoners being held at KL Auschwitz by disseminating news from the fronts of World War II, clandestinely acquiring much needed food, clothing, and medicines for the prisoners, forwarding messages from outside of the camp, assisting in the organization of escapes and preparing their own members to take over the camp in collaboration with the partisans operating in the area. 
Reports from members of the resistance movement were initially sent via prisoners released from the camp, through prisoners who managed to escape and then also by initiated civilian workers employed by the SS men during the expansion of Auschwitz. From the beginning of 1940, these reports began to arrive systematically in Warsaw. The first message sent by Pilecki reached London on 18 March 1941. This document primarily contained a description of crimes committed by the Germans and the situation and living conditions in the camp. For this reason, from the end of June 1942, one can encounter numerous references to the murder of Jews in the gas chambers and to the rapid increase in the number of registered Jewish prisoners. The bodies of people who were killed in the gas chambers were buried in mass graves, a practice also described in Pilecki's message, and these people did not even go through the registration procedure, which means that the number of victims is potentially larger than what we know today. In 1942, Pilecki's resistance movement was also broadcasting details on the number of arrivals and deaths in the camp and the inmates' conditions using a secret radio transmitter that was built by camp inmates. 
In the spring of 1943, after providing intelligence on the inner workings of Auschwitz to the Western Allies for close to three years, Pilecki, sensing that he could soon be exposed and feeling that it was important that he submitted a first-hand report on the horrors he’d seen in the camp, decided that it was time to escape. For this purpose, his ZOW compatriots arranged for him to be moved to the bakers' kommando, which worked outside the main camp (about 2 km north). Two other prisoners with whom he intended to escape, Edward Ciesielski and Jan Redzej, were also transferred to the same Kommando.

The Escape:

While working at the camp’s bakery, Pilecki, Ciesielski and Redzej made their escape during the night of 26/27 April 1943. The prisoners cut telephone and alarm ring wires, opened unlocked the front door with a duplicate key and slid the bolts locking the door, open. As soon as they were outside of the bakery building, the trio barricaded the door that they’d just exited to ensure they could not be easily followed and ran east. That night, they crossed the Soła river and swam across the Vistula river before reaching a nearby forest in a boat that they had managed to find.
After taking the day after their escape to recuperate, they continued their march east, crossing the border of the General Government. After a few more days of hard travel, the trio of escapees reached Nowy Wiśnicz near Bochnia, where they established contact with the regional Headquarters of the Home Army. Speaking to the Home Army’s regional commanders, Pilecki suggested the creation of a unit which would attack the Nazi German SS garrison in Auschwitz and liberate the prisoners. The regional command officers rejected Pilecki’s plan, saying that it would be unrealistic to assume that such an operation would be a success. 
In August 1943, Pilecki reached Warsaw, where, at the General Headquarters of the Home Army, he presented an extensively detailed report concerning resistance activities and the disposition of prisoners in Auschwitz: the murder of Poles, Soviet POWs, and Jews, and the establishment of the Zigeunerlager (Gypsy camp) for Sini & Roma prisoners.

Sentenced To Death:

In August 1944, Pilecki fought in the Warsaw Uprising and was captured in the wake of the uprising’s collapse. As a result, Pilecki was sent to the Murnau POW camp in Bavaria. After the camp was liberated by the American military, he made his way to Italy to join the Polish Second Corps—a military unit that played an essential role during the Allies campaign in the region. Returning to Poland at the end of 1945, he performed intelligence work for the Second Corps. On 8 May 1947, Pilecki was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Public Security (Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego or MBP) Poland’s post-war communist secret police service. The pro-communist MBP were no friends to pro-western military forces like the Second Corps. Prior to his trial, Pilecki was repeatedly tortured, but he sought to protect other prisoners and revealed no sensitive information.
On 3 March 1948, a show trial took place. Pilecki was charged with illegal border crossing, use of forged documents, not enlisting with the military, carrying illegal arms, espionage for General Władysław Anders, espionage for "foreign imperialism" (thought to be British intelligence) and planning to assassinate several officials of the Ministry of Public Security of Poland. Pilecki denied the assassination charges, as well as espionage, although he admitted to passing information to the 2nd Polish Corps, of which he was an officer of. Accordingly, he claimed that he was not breaking any laws. He pleaded guilty to the other charges. Testimony against Pilecki was presented by a future Polish prime minister, Józef Cyrankiewicz, himself an Auschwitz survivor. On 15 May, along with three of his comrades, Pilecki was sentenced to death. 
Witold Pilecki was murdered in Mokotów Prison on 25 May 1948 by a single gunshot to the back of the head.

The Swedish Metal Band Sabaton made a song about him called “Inmate 4859“ which was released on their 2014 album “Heroes“ 

A telegram sent from the camp at 15:00 on 27th April, 1943 reporting the escape

The first message sent by Pilecki reached London on 18 March 1941. This document primarily contained a description of crimes committed by the Germans and the situation and living conditions in the camp.

"The game which I was now playing in Auschwitz was dangerous. This sentence does not really convey the reality; in fact, I had gone far beyond what people in the real world consider dangerous." "I found a joy in myself, coming from the awareness that I want to fight.” 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Did the Vedic civilization know about Darwin's theory of evolution?

"Mom, I am a genetic scientist. I am working in the US on the evolution of man. Theory of evolution, Charles Darwin, have you heard of him? " Vasu asked.

His Mother sat down next to him and smiled, "I know about Darwin, Vasu.

"But Have you heard of Dashavatar? The ten avatars of Vishnu?" Vasu replied in no.

"Then let me tell you what you and Mr. Darwin don't know.

Listen carefully- The first avatar was the Matsya avatar, it means the fish. That is because life began in the water. Is that not right?" Vasu began to listen with a little more attention.

"Then came the Kurma Avatar, which means the tortoise, because life moved from the water to the land. The amphibian. So the Tortoise denoted the evolution from sea to land.

Third was the Varaha, the wild boar, which meant the wild animals with not much intellect, you call them the Dinosaurs, correct? " Vasu nodded wide eyed.

"The fourth avatar was the Narasimha avatar, half man and half animal, the evolution from wild animals to intelligent beings.

Fifth the Waman avatar, the midget or dwarf, who could grow really tall. Do you know why that is? Cause there were two kinds of humans, Homo Erectus and the Homo Sapiens and Homo Sapiens won that battle." Vasu could see that his Mother was in full flow and he was stupefied.

"The Sixth avatar was Parshuram, the man who wielded the axe, the man who was a cave and forest dweller. Angry, and not social.

The seventh avatar was Ram, the first thinking social being, who laid out the laws of society and the basis of all relationships.

The eight avatar was Krishna, the statesman, the politician, the lover who played the game of society and taught how to live and thrive in the social structure.

The Ninth avatar, the Buddha, the man who rose from Narasimha and found man's true nature. The nature of Buddha, he identified man's final quest of enlightenment.

And finally, my boy, will come Kalki, the man you are working on. The man who will be genetically supreme."

Vasu looked at his Mother speechless. "This is amazing Mom, how did you.. This makes sense!"

"Yes it does Vasu! We Indians knew some amazing things just didnt know how to pass it on scientifically. So made them into mythological stories.

Mythology makes sense. Its just the way you look at it - Religious or Scientific. Your call.

[This story is collected from the Internet]