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A special mass was celebrated Saturday in St. Patrick’s Cathedral to commemorate the beautification of the Rev. Maximilian M. Kolbe who died in a starvation cell in Auschwitz in 1941 after volunteering to take the place of a Polish underground leader who pleaded to be spared so that he might return home to his wife and children. Father Kolbe, a prisoner at Auschwitz, had been arrested for distributing anti-Nazi literature and for helping Jews and Catholics who had been expelled from Polish lands annexed by the Germans. The underground leader was one of 10 prisoners sentenced to death by starvation in reprisal for an inmates’ escape from the camp.

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