Marian Kolodziej was on the first transport into Auschwitz on June 14, 1940. He was given number 432. He survived and never spoke of his experience for 50 years. After a serious stroke in 1993, he began rehabilitation by doing pen and ink drawings depicting the experiences he and others endured in the concentration camp. These drawings, in their skeletal detail, are a gripping depiction of the pain, death, and horrors of the camp. While most of the drawings represent the memories of a young man’s hellish experiences in Auschwitz, some tell stories of small acts of kindness and dignity. Marian’s story of survival, of persistence, of life before, during, and after Auschwitz are a testament to the human spirit. Marian’s drawings and art installations, which he called The Labyrinth, fill the large basement of a church near Auschwitz and draw visitors into the horrific reality of the Holocaust. On June 14, 2023, we held a documentary screening for The Labyrinth. Following that screening we were joined in conversation with the film’s producer, Fr. Ron Schmidt. Today’s Reagan Forum podcast is of that conversation.
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