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Catholic Martyrs of the Holocaust

-- By the Rev. Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J.
 On Martyrs:  Bibliography
      When one recalls that millions of Catholics were martyred by the Nazis, these constitute just a fraction of them.  For an idea of how large is that number, see such sources as the documents of the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial and such studies as James F. Dunnigan's Dirty Little Secrets of World War II (Morrow, 1994); Martin Gilbert's Final Journey (Mayflower, 1979); Nerin E. Gun, The Day of the Americans (Fleet, 1996); Louis S. Snyder's Historical Guide to World War II (Greenwood, 1982); and Bohdan Wytwycky'sThe Other Holocaust (Novak Report, 1980). 
     For more on the many Catholics martyred during the Holocaust, see: Josse Alzin's Martyrologe 40-45 (Editions Fasbender, 1947); Ulrich von Hehl's  Priester unter Hitlers Terror  (Matthias-Grunewald, 1984); Bedrich Hoffman's And Who Will Kill You? (Pallottinum, 1994); Wiktor Jacewicz's Martyrologium Polskiego Duchowienstwa (ATK, 1977-81); Benedicta Maria Kempner's Nonnen Unter der Hakenkreuz (Naumann, 1979); Zygmunt V. Szarnicki, Polish Martyrs and Others Beatified (Pittsburgh, 2003); Eugen Weiler's Die Geistlichen in Dachau (Missionsdruckerei St. Gabriel, 1971-72); and Waclaw Zajaczkowski's  Martyrs of Charity  (St. Maximilian Kolbe Foundation, 1987-1989).  To this list, one can add Kevin P. Spicer, Resisting the Third Reich: The Catholic Clergy in Hitler's Berlin  ( DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2004).. 
     One of those who suffered martyrdom was Max Joseph Metzger (1887-1944), a priest.  At that time, he was one of the few who was a conscientious objector at a time when the Catholic Church's teaching on the subject was opposed.  Since the Vietnam War, there is a heightened consciousness on the subject, especially because of the work of the Berrigan brothers and others like the writer Gordon Zahn who wrote about the failure of the Catholic Church to warn  the German people about the unjust wars of Adolf Hitler in German Catholics and Hitler's Wars (1962) 
     In the summer of 1999, the first volume of Martyrologium Germanicum, entitled Die Katholischen Deutschen Martyrer des 20. Jahrhunderts [German Catholic Martyrs of the 20th Century], was published by Ferdinand Schoningh.  This is the result of a work under  Helmut Moll, the auxiliary bishop of Cologne, who directed a lengthy investigation into the Catholic martyrs under Nazism and found at least 300, about a third of them lay persons. At least five bishops were among the Polish martyrs during World War II: Marian Leon Fulman (1866-1945) of Lublin, Wladyslaw Goral (1898-1945) of Lublin, Michal Kozal (1893-1943) of Wloclawek, Antoni Julian Nowowiejski (1859-1941) of Plock, and Leon Wetmanski (1886-1941) of Plock. 
     While visiting this web site you may also want to read.  "Five Heroic Catholics of the Holocaust" and "The Cardinal of the Persecuted Jews" both by Rev. Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J. 
     A Bibliography of Works on Catholic Priests in Nazi Prison Camps is also available online. Also, see Faith and Fatherland by Thomas McGovern, and  The Priests of Dachau by Rev. William J. O'Malley, S. J.;  Rosaries and Stations of the Cross in KZ Gusen; and John S. Conway's review, "Records and Documents of the Holy See Relating to the Second World War," Yad Vashem Studies, 15 (1983), 327-345; not to mention Franz Reinisch, an Austrian priest beheaded by the Nazis.
      To the above listing of martyrs, add Bernhard Heinzmann, a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Augsburg, whose preaching was against Adolf Hitler's idea of racial supremacy.  For this, he was arrested on November 4, 1941,  at Illerbeueren near Memmingen by the gestapo.  Taken to Dachau, he was listed as prisoner number 24433.  He was executed by gas  and burned at Schloß Hartheim Castle in Linz Austria on August 11, 1942. 

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 Rev. Vincent A. Lapomarda, S. J.  (
Last updated June 24, 2008.
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