August 14 Maximilian Kolbe, 1941 and Kaj Munk, 1944

Maximilian Kolbe and Kaj Munk made their deepest testimony to Christ and to the self-giving love that Christ showed us. The Lutheran Church remembers them today.

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan priest with particular devotion to Mary. When the Nazis occupied Poland, Kolbe continued to serve people as a priest, providing shelter and care for those displaced by war, assisting hundreds of Jews to escape imprisonment and execution. Eventually he was arrested and imprisoned at Auschwitz. The head of the camp sentenced ten men to death by starvation as a warning to the community against attempting to escape. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of one of the ten, a father of young children.

Kaj Munk was a Danish Lutheran pastor and writer (his first name rhymes with “high”).  A man of strong and controversial religious, political and social opinions, he supported Danish underground resistance to Hitler. When he defied a Nazi order prohibiting preaching a Christmas  sermon, he was arrested by the Gestapo. The next day his body was found in a ditch.

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