How is such moral heroism possible?
Today is the feast of Maximilian Kolbe on the Roman Catholic calendar.
Although it is a deep and dangerous illusion of the Left to suppose that human beings are inherently good and that it is merely such contingent and remediable factors as environment, opportunity, upbringing and the like that prevent the good from manifesting itself, there are a few human beings who are nearly angelic in their goodness. One can only be astonished at the example of Maximilian Kolbe and wonder how such moral heroism is possible. And this even after adjusting for a certain amount of hagiographic embellishment.
Is there a good naturalistic explanation for Kolbe's self-sacrifice?
At the end of July 1941, ten prisoners disappeared from the camp, prompting SS-HauptsturmführerKarl Fritzsch, the deputy camp commander, to pick ten men to be starved to death in an underground bunker to deter further escape attempts. When one of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "My wife! My children!", Kolbe volunteered to take his place.
According to an eyewitness, who was an assistant janitor at that time, in his prison cell, Kolbe led the prisoners in prayer. Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After they had been starved and deprived of water for two weeks, only Kolbe remained alive. The guards wanted the bunker emptied, so they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid. Kolbe is said to have raised his left arm and calmly waited for the deadly injection. He died on 14 August. His remains were cremated on 15 August, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary.