On Saturday, April 24th, WHSAD had a meeting with the creators of The Pilecki Project, a project about the life of Witold Pilecki, a Polish resistance leader and fighter who volunteered to go to Auschwitz, one of the worst Nazi concentration camps. Pilecki worked undercover to recruit people for his resistance group. The Pilecki Project enables students to interact, communicate, organize, and realize projects with one another while learning about Mr. Pilecki and how his story inspires people to this day.
Click here to visit the Pilecki Project website.
Each of WHSAD’s participants answered the following questions about the presentation:
Can you talk a bit about what you’ve done in the Pilecki Project?
What did you take away from Krzysztof Kosior?
What did this meeting leave you thinking about?
In what ways do you think you could help those around you similarly to what Pilecki did?
Jessica Como, 10th grade History Teacher
It was an incredible experience to hear Krzysko Kosier share personal family stories about his great grandfather, Witold Pilecki. What I took away from that Q&A session were the ways in which Pilecki’s memory is kept alive, the importance of telling his story, and how we all in a way share a similarity with Pilecki.
This meeting allowed us to think about Pilecki as an everyday human being in addition to the hero we all recognize him as. This meeting left me thinking about the characteristics I and others in my life share with Pilecki.
We could all emulate Pilecki by speaking out about the injustices we see occurring in our lives today. It is especially important to be an up-stander in order to address bullying, racism, injustices, and intolerance.
Yu Feng Zhou, senior
So far, we have only met two times for the Pilecki Project, so we are only in the introductory phase of this project. The first assignment’s purpose was to share out and show something from my background. Sadly, I couldn’t find much, but I managed to share out about myself. The second assignment was to create a timeline that consists of two events Witold Pilecki took part in or two crucial moments of his life, two important events from my country’s history, and four moments from your family history that I find most important.
Through Koiser, I was able to hear Koiser answer some questions that doesn’t have official answers to. On top of that, Koiser talked about this project as a good way to preserve the memories and the history his great grandfather has contributed to. While preserving his will, this project helps to see how students want to learn more about how his great grandfather did things to help out.
This second meeting left me thinking about what traits does a normal high school student like me have in common with Pilecki and what traits are wanted by a normal high school student like me?
Even though there are no events like a war taking place, there are still people suffering due to various reasons. For homeless people, people like me can spread the word about there are places like a soup kitchen that offer some temporary shelter and get fed. For those who are discriminated against in public, people can and should stand up to give a hand to those who need it. Heroes like Pilecki aimed to provide a world for everyone to have a peaceful life, a life with the least amount of suffering. We, as the future generation in this world, should help preserve the peace these heroes started.
Dimitri Brown, senior
When Krzysko Kosier spoke with us on April 24, 2021, he mentioned how his great grandfather’s legacy affected both his great-grandmother and grandmother. Given that they were relatives of Witold Pilecki, it was hard for them to find jobs because of this. They were often treated poorly and fired from their jobs leaving them with little money to feed their children. As years went by relatives would suffer less from Witold’s actions and people would become more respectful and nicer towards the Pilecki Family.
This meeting left me to think about Witold Pilecki`s life. How different it could’ve been if the Nazis and U.S.S.R hadn’t invaded Poland, or if he hadn’t gone to war. Another thing I thought about after the meeting is where is the location of Pilecki`s body? Is there any trace of his body left?
For me personally, I can help those around me by simply taking the initiative to make myself available to those who need my help, offering advice to others, and displaying selflessness. In today’s society, I believe that it is necessary to use these tactics to assist others because each and every one of us goes through tough times. Because of this, we each need someone who is present when issues arise in an effort to encourage one another. People like me who are able to provide support when needed can sometimes influence humans to do the same.
Writer’s perspective on the meet:
Witold Pilecki’s story was extremely inspiring how this one man was able to do something no one else would’ve dreamt of doing at the time, especially being of Polish descent. Quite frankly, this has to be the most heroic act Pilecki could’ve ever done by volunteering and staying at the concentration camp for almost three years. He was able to witness firsthand the horrible, unspeakable things the Germans were doing to the Jews, Poles, and other Europeans that Germany occupied. I hope that throughout my lifetime I am able to help others the way Witold Pilecki did. I believe that we have to be supportive, sympathetic, and willing to support one another so that we can grow and change, especially when it is not just one’s life but so many others’ lives as well.