Part of the writer’s life includes researching all kinds of things for stories, from whether or not something besides a carbon-based life form could potentially exist on other worlds to zoning ordinances in Peoria, Illinois. (Now if only I could figure out a way to combine BOTH of those things in one story, I’d really be onto something….)
Well, for Playing Cupid–the third Heavenly Bites novella–one of my characters is a history professor with a deep love for that particular subject matter, so I did a little research to see what kind of historical figures he might find particularly interesting or inspiring. And that’s when I stumbled onto a man named Witold Pilecki.
I had never heard of him before, and maybe you haven’t either. If you haven’t, he is apparently the only known person to voluntarily enter Auschwitz during World War II. He was a Polish army captain who suspected something awful was happening inside the camp–at the time people believed it was just a POW camp–and he decided to get himself arrested and thrown into the camp in order to smuggle out intelligence. For two and a half years, that’s exactly what he did, opening the eyes of outsiders to the real horrors going on inside of Auschwitz. He even hoped to organize a mass escape but was unable to get the support he needed, and then finally–suspecting his death was imminent–he was forced to make his escape.
I’m sure he had his flaws like the rest of us, but I was floored by his story. And then I read further and discovered the sad reason why I, and probably many others, had never heard of him. There are several articles about him online, and if you’d like to read a little more about him, here’s a link to an article on www.npr.org called Meet The Man Who Sneaked Into Auschwitz.
Kind of makes me wonder how many other incredible real-life stories are out there that few people–if any–know about…