In July 1941 Jan, a young Silesian, manages to escape from the concentration camp at Auschwitz. In revenge for this one fugitive, camp commandant Fritsch condemns ten prisoners to the starvation bunker. When one of them collapses under this sentence of death, the Franciscan priest, Maximillian Maria Kolbe, sacrifices his own life instead. From now on, Jan is not only fleeing the Gestapo, but also guilt for his involvement in Kolbe's death. For the rest of his life he will remain a prisoner of Auschwitz - in another, higher, sense. After his escape, Jan will be confronted by the life of Maximillian Kolbe. In addition to Jan - torn between wanting to forget and fascination with Kolbe's behaviour - another key character emerges: Brother Anselm, a young Franciscan priest, who quietly and staunchly ensures Kolbe's beatification by Pope Paul VI.