Profession: Polish Resistance Fighter
Why Famous: Considered one of the greatest wartime heroes, Pilecki founded one of the first Polish resistance movements against the Nazi occupation. He volunteered in 1940 to be imprisoned in Auschwitz, where he gathered some of the first information about the Holocaust, passing it onto the Western Allies. In 1943 he made a daring escape, rejoined the Polish Home Army, and took part in the Warsaw Uprising.
After the war he remained loyal to the London-based Polish government-in-exile. In 1948 he was executed by the communist authorities in Poland.
- 1940-09-19 Witold Pilecki is voluntarily captured and sent to Auschwitz in order to smuggle out information and start a resistance
- 1942-12-10 An early report the Holocaust prepared by the Polish government-in-exile, using information obtained by Witold Pilecki, is addressed to UN member states
- 1943-04-27 Witold Pilecki escapes from Auschwitz after having voluntarily been imprisoned there to gain information about the Holocaust
- 1947-05-08 Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki, who had volunteered to be imprisoned in Auschwitz to gain information about the Holocaust, is arrested by Polish communist police
- 1948-05-25 Polish war hero Witold Pilecki is executed by communist police after a show trial in Warsaw