April 27, 2018




On the night of April 26-27, 1943 Witold Pilecki broke out of Auschwitz concentration camp. When Pilecki was assigned to a night shift at a camp bakery outside the fence, he and two other prisoners overpowered a guard, cut the phone line and escaped  taking with them valuable documents stolen from the Nazi Germans. Pilecki was a member of the Polish underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa). In September 1940, using a fake ID with the name of Tomasz Serafinski, he voluntarily allowed himself to be arrested in a roundup along with 2,000 other Poles (among them Wladyslaw Bartoszewski), and was deported to Auschwitz.  His inmate number was 4859.  Before Pilecki started gathering intelligence of the activities in the camp, the Allies had no idea that it was a death camp. Pilecki also attempted to organize a inmate resistance and proposed that the Allies bomb the camp.. He organized the underground Union of Military Organizations (ZOW) whose task it was to   improve inmate morale, provide news from outside, distribute extra food and clothing to members, set up intelligence networks and train detachments to take over the camp in the event of a relief attack by the Home Army, arms air drops or an airborne landing by the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade based in Britain. The reports Pilecki provided the Allies were a principal source of intelligence on Auschwitz, but the Allies replied that his plans were impossible to carry out.


U.S. troops liberated Kaufering concentration camp: Kaufering and Mühldorf were two sub-camps attached to Dachau.  Kaufering was constructed to accommodate a fighter plane factory in the Landsberg region and included eleven camps, the largest containing thousands of prisoners, primarily Jewish, living in partially buried huts for camouflage from aerial reconnaissance. On April 27, 1945,  soldiers of the 134th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion of the 12th Armored Division led by Capt. John P. Jones discovered the camp. The SS had forced the prisoners on a death march ahead of the arrival of the Battalion.  Six of the Kaufering Concentration Camps were liberated by the 7th Army's 103rd Infantry Division, 411th Regiment.  The camp was filled with the skeletons of Jews, Poles, Russians, French and un-Nazified Germans. In two of the camps the soldiers found Jewish men, women and children shoved together, 100 to a hut. Military officers secured from the neighbouring countryside 1,000 loaves of bread, 1,000 quarts of milk and 750 pounds of fresh meat per day to feed the emaciated living who weighed just 50 to 60 pounds from 5 to 6 years of forced labor, starvation and exposure. In one camp, 300 dead bodies lay on the ground while 600 "living zombies shuffled aimlessly." Colonel Edward F. Seiller, commander of the 12th Armored Division's Military Government, took control of the camp and had some 250 civilians from the nearby town of Landsberg brought to the camp and ordered them to bury the dead prisoners.


The Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II was held on this day , Divine Mercy Sunday. The canonization Mass was celebrated by Pope Francis (with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI),  in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.  About 150 cardinals and 700 bishops concelebrated the Mass, and at least 500,000 people attended the Mass, with an estimated 300,000 others watching from video screens placed around Rome.

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