Życie za życie (1991, Poland)
Life for Life: Maximilian Kolbe
Leben für Leben - Maximilian Kolbe

Direction : Krzysztof Zanussi
Writing credits : Jan Józef Szczepanski / Krzysztof Zanussi
Music : Wojciech Kilar
Father Maximilian and four companions were deported to Auschwitz on May 28th, 1941, which was then both a labor and a death camp. Over the entrance gate of this concentration camp was a sign in German: Arbeit macht frei - "Work makes you free," a mockery of human spirit and human endeavors. Few who passed through that gate left the camp alive. Upon entering Auschwitz, Camp Commandant Karl Fritsch ("Butcher" Fritsch) told prisoners that Jews had the right to live only two weeks, and Roman Catholic priests one month. Cruelly, they were told that the only way out of the camp was through the chimneys of the crematorium.
Father Maximilian received the striped convict garment and was tattooed with the number 16670. He was put to work immediately carrying blocks of stone for the construction of a crematorium wall.
Near the end of July, a prisoner apparently escaped, and men from Kolbe's bunker were paraded in the blazing midday sun, knowing what to expect. One man from each line was selected at random, including a sergeant, Francis Gajowniczek. He cried out in a despairing voice, "My wife, my children, I shall never see them again!" Then a man stepped out from the ranks and offered to take Gajowniczek's place. The SS man, "Butcher" Fritsch, did not care who went to the Bunker, so long as there were ten of them, so he nodded. "Who are you?" he asked carelessly. "I am a Catholic priest. I wish to die for that man. I am old; he has a wife and children." Father Kolbe and the nine others were led off to the death chamber of Cell 18.
In 1982, Pope John Paul II made Maximilian Kolbe a Catholic Saint. His feast day is August 14.

Cast (in credits order)

Edward Zentara .... Maximilian Kolbe
Christoph Waltz .... Jan
Artur Barcis .... Father Anselm
Gustaw Lutkiewicz .... Konior
Krzysztof Zaleski .... Olszanski
Andrzej Szczepkowski .... Górecki
Krzysztof Kowalewski .... Editor in chief
Jerzy Stuhr .... Pralat
Franciszek Pieczka .... Banasik
Tadeusz Bradecki .... Priest
Jerzy Przybylski    
Jan Peszek    
Grazyna Strachota .... Olszanska
Markus Vogelbacher .... Fritsch
Peter Drescher .... Palitsch
Joachim Król .... SS officer
Jan Pietrzak .... Marek
Ewa Wisniewska .... Klara
Andrzej Pieczynski .... Marian
Wlodzimierz Musial    
Henryk Bista    
Asia Lamtiugina    
Ryszard Kotys    
Jerzy Slonka    
Zbigniew Moskal    
Rest of cast (listed alphabetically)
James D. Black .... News Caster's voice
Marian Dziedziel .... Interpreter
Wit Dziki .... Rajmund Kolbe as a Child
Agnieszka Krukówna .... Konior's Daughter