It could hardly have been a riskier mission - to infiltrate Auschwitz and chronicle Nazi atrocities. Witold Pilecki survived nearly three years as an inmate in the death camp, managing to smuggle out word of executions before making a daring escape.

But the Polish resistance hero was crushed by the post-war communist regime tried on trumped-up charges and executed. Six decades on, Poland hopes Pilecki's remains will be identified among the entangled skeletons and shattered skulls of resistance fighters being excavated from a mass grave on the edge of Warsaw's Powazki Military Cemetery.

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