U.S. premiere of film about St. Maximilian Kolbe at Bellarmine on Jan. 29

“Hero of Auschwitz: The Life Story of St. Maximilian Kolbe,” features two actors from Bellarmine’s faculty and staff, and was produced by a former Bellarmine campus priest.

The film tells the story of Kolbe (1894-1941) from his childhood in Poland to his martyrdom in Auschwitz during World War II, when he gave his life to save another man.

The free film premiere, at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Bellarmine’s Cralle Theater in Wyatt Hall, will feature the film’s writer and director, Jessy Maria, and members of the cast discussing the film and Bellarmine’s involvement. Indian food from area restaurants will be available.

Filming took place in September 2016 at more than 10 locations in the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The 50-minute film is in Malayalam with English subtitles.

The film also stars Franciscan friars, nuns, seminarians and novices, as well as professional actors from Kerala and America.

Kolbe, ordained as priest in 1918, is known mostly for his act of martyrdom in the Auschwitz concentration camp. During World War II, until his arrest, he helped provide shelter for refugees hiding from German prosecution. At Auschwitz, when guards began choosing 10 men to face death by dehydration and starvation, Kolbe took another man’s place. Kolbe was the last of the chosen prisoners to survive and, after two weeks, was executed by lethal injection.

Kolbe was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

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