Catholic Priests of Dachau

Saturday, June 18, AD 2016


A very brave man has died:

The last surviving Catholic priest imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp has died at the age of 102, more than 70 years after surviving a Nazi death march.

 The Rev. Hermann Scheipers died on June 2 in Ochtrup, Germany, the Catholic website Aleteia said.

 He spent more than four years at Dachau after being arrested in 1940, reportedly for supporting Polish forced laborers. “Here, you are defenseless, without dignity or rights,” Scheipers recalled being told on arriving at the Nazi camp.

Go here to read the rest.


2,579 Catholic priests, seminarians and brothers were thrown by the Nazis during World War II into Dachau.  1,780 of these were from Poland.  Of these, some 868 priests perished, 300 in medical “experiments” or by torture in the showers of the camp.

The remaining priests, seminarians and brothers came from 38 nations.  Besides the Poles the largest groups were 447 German and Austrian priests, 156 French priests and 46 Belgian priests.

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6 Responses to Catholic Priests of Dachau

  • Hero’s all, these Holy souls that managed through hell lasting “five years a day.” What a description. To have so many priests and deacons suffering along with the Jews imprisoned, I can only imagine that the offerings made during those horrific years helped countless souls. Redemptive suffering. May those who benefited from their prayers and sacrifices continue the offerings.

    Today one of our deacons, Chris Jarvis, is being ordained into the priesthood.

    Please say a prayer for his vocation.

    May Blessed Karl Leisner and St. Kolbe help guide his future flock to the glory of God’s love.

  • Many years ago, Mother (RIP) gave me Bennett’s Book of Virtues. I have as a bookmark at Father Kolbe’s pages the NYT obituary for the Polish man whose life Father Maximilian Kolbe saved with his death. In a moment, I will take out the book and prayerfully read both.
    St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
    “Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever.”

  • Polish sergeant Francis Gajowniczek.

    His life was the life given him by Christ through the gift of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

    He travelled the world giving his testimony about a stranger who sacrificed himself to save his own life. By his testimony and the free gift of Kolbe, I have come to experience God’s Love and forgiveness.

    Glory to God in the highest!

  • In recent years much has been made of the death toll of Catholic priests in Dachau. It remains a fact that more priests died in the other German camps and prisons combined than in Dachau. Sometimes I wonder if the recent fixation by non-Christian historians is an attempt not to recognize the true numbers but to deflate them.

  • Sometimes I wonder if the recent fixation by non-Christian historians on Dachau…

  • I am not sure that the work of preparation for the re-establishment of the Diaconate to the Church as a distinct ministry in Dachau is known of very well. Fr Otto Pies was among the group of clerics and others which considered the question, “How will we rebuild the Church in Germany after the war?” The Diaconate was seen as a definite pathway to follow. The issue was raised with Pius xii who reportedly said that “the time was not yet right”. The work of discernment went on and the Fathers of the Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) were asked the question and responded positively. As a result the College of Bishops have over 30,000 extra pairs of hands to assist them today.

Von Galen Contra the Swastika

Sunday, March 20, AD 2011

In my first post on Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, which may be read here, we examined the life of this remarkable German bishop who heroically stood up to the Third Reich.  Today we examine the second of three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.  One week after his first breathtaking sermon against the Gestapo, my examination of which may be read here, he preached on July 20, 1941 a blistering sermon against the Nazis and their war on Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular.

Today the collection which I ordered for the inhabitants of the city of Münster is held in all the parishes in the diocese of Münster which have not themselves suffered war damage. I hope that through the efforts of the state and municipal authorities responsible and the brotherly help of the Catholics of this diocese, whose contributions will be administered and distributed by the offices of the Caritas, much need will be alleviated.

Charity, always a prime duty of Catholics.

Thanks be to God, for several days our city has not suffered any new enemy attacks from without. But I am distressed to have to inform you that the attacks by our opponents within the country, of the beginning of which I spoke last Sunday in St. Lambert’s, that these attacks have continued, regardless of our protests, regardless of the anguish this causes to the victims of the attacks and those connected with them. Last Sunday I lamented, and branded as an injustice crying out to heaven, the action of the Gestapo in closing the convent in Wilkinghege and the Jesuit residences in Munster, confiscating their property and possessions, putting the occupants into the street and expelling them from their home area. The convent of Our Lady of Lourdes in Frauen­strasse was also seized by the Gau authorities. I did not then know that on the same day, Sunday 13th July, the Gestapo had occupied the Kamilluskolleg in Sudmühle and the Benedictine abbey of Gerleve near Coesfeld and expelled the fathers and lay brothers. They were forced to leave Westphalia that very day.

The Nazi war on the Church is becoming more brazen in the midst of the War.

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7 Responses to Von Galen Contra the Swastika

The Scarlet and The Black

Thursday, August 13, AD 2009

Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty

Here, at 8:39, in my opinion, is one of the more profound observations on film about the Catholic Church and History.  The evil that men do make many a blood stained page of History, but the Church survives throughout History as Caesars, Emperors, Kings, Prime Ministers, Presidents, Commissars, Fuhrers, Caudillos, Duces, General Secretaries, would be fake messiahs, etc, pass away.

The Scarlet and the Black (1983) is one of the better films dealing with the Catholic Church.  Gregory Peck is brilliant as Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican, who during World War 2, hid 4000 escaped Allied POWs and Jews from the Nazi occupiers of Rome.  Christopher Plummer gives the performance of his career as Obersturmbanfuhrer (Colonel) Herbert Kappler, the head of the Gestapo in Rome.  John Gielgud gives a stunningly good performance as Pius XII.  At one point when he confronts a Nazi delegation he merely stares at them with steely disdain until they get the hint and leave.  I imagine the actual Pius XII used a similar look of disdain when, on March 11, 1940, his response to a complaint by the Nazi  Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop that the Church was siding with the Allies, was to read to Von Ribbentrop a long list of atrocities committed by the Nazis in Poland, which had been compiled by the Church.  This is a superb film that should be seen by every Catholic.

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7 Responses to The Scarlet and The Black

  • Didn’t know about this one. I’ll have to check it out. thanks for the heads up.

  • I was introduced to this film when I was in Rome in the late 1990s by a dynamic young priest working in the Roman Curia.

    He’s since been elevated to the dignity of the episcopate, and I continue to watch this film about once a year.

    I’ve never been able to discover what happened to Kappler’s wife and children, but the post-script in the movie implies they never visited him while he was imprisoned.

  • One of my favorites!

  • This post reminded me of ne of the finest tributes to the Church’s endurance while secular powers vanish into the dust. It was written as part of the rumination of an atheist character in “The Sunrise Lands”, a sci-fi book about the death of electricity, gunpowder and the internal combustion engine. Alas, it’s not at my fingertips, but I’ll post it later. It even included a mocking swipe at Stalin’s “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

  • One of the best films out there concerning the Church.

    Very heartwarming.

  • Here it is:

    Stalin had meant mockery when he asked how many divisions the Pope had, but in the end his bewildered successors had found it didn’t matter; and men-at-arms and castles could come into the same category. At seventh and last men were ruled from within their heads by ideas as much as by clubs from without, and a careful ruler kept it in mind.

    The Church had outlasted any number of systems that looked stronger than iron at the time, and had ridden out many storms that claimed to be the wave of the future; she was wise with years, and infinitely patient, and bided her time.