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Other Opponents of the Nazis
-- by Rev. Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J.
Among the Blessed
Venerables and Servants of God
Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892-1945) -- Hungarian
bishop (Gyor, Hungary).
Maria Teresa Fasce(1881-1947) -- Augustinian abbess (Liguria,
Blessed Rupert Mayer (1876-1945) -- Jesuit
priest (Munich, Germany).
Schuster (1880-1954) -- Italian cardinal (Milan, Italy).
Karl Leisner (1915-1945) -- A German seminarian, he was ordained
a priest at Dachau and died shortly thereafter. He was beatified
by Pope John Paul II on June 23, 1996.
Clement August von Galen (1878-1946), Cardinal of Munster who opposed
the Nazis and whose cause was introduced in November of 1959. Beatified
on Sunday, October 9, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said of him: "In the
name of God, he denounced the neo-pagan ideology of National Socialism,
defending the freedom of the Church and human rights which were being so
gravely violated, and protecting Jews and others whom the regime considered
as refuse to be eliminated."
Alojzije Stepinac (1898-1960)-- Croatian
cardinal (Zagreb, Yugoslavia). Of him, Louis Braier, President
of the Jewish Community in the United States, declared (13 October
1946): "This great man of the Church has been accused of being a
Nazi collaborator. We, the Jews, deny it. He is one of the
few men who rose in Europe against the Nazi tyranny precisely at the moment
it was most dangerous. He spoke openly and fearlessly against the
racial laws. After His Holiness, Pius XII, he was the greatest defender
of the Jews persecuted in Europe." s been accused of being a Nazi collaborator.
We, the Jews, deny it. He is one of the few men who rose in Europe
against the Nazi tyranny precisely at the moment it was most dangerous.
He spoke openly and fearlessly against the racial laws. After His
Holiness, Pius XII, he was the greatest defender of the Jews persecuted
in Europe." For more, see Ester Gitman, "A Question of Judgement: Dr. Aloizije
Stepinac and the Jews," The Review of Croatian History, vol. 2,
no. 1 (2007), 47-72.
Pavel Peter Gojdic , O. S. B. M. (1888-1960) -- A Byzantine
bishop who was beatified on November 4, 2001 by Pope John Paul II and recognized
by Yad Vashem, in an announcement of January 28, 2008, as a "Righteous
among the Nations" for saving the life of two Jews, one the Rabbi of Kosice
Maria Elisabetta Hesselblad (1870-1957) -- A convert from Lutheranism,
she was conditionally baptized by John George Hagen, a Jesuit priest who
became her spiritual father. A Bridgettine Abbess, she was beatified
by Pope John Paul II on April 9, 2000. In early June of 2005, Yad
Vashem recognized her for sheltering Jews in Rome during the Nazi occupation.
Eleven Nuns of Nowogrodek -- Sisters
of the Holy Family of Nazareth who were executed by the Nazis, on 1
August 1943, in Belarus and whose causes were introduced on 18 September
1991. On 28 June 1999, Pope John Paul II promulgated the decree for their
beatification held on Sunday, March 5, 2000.
Pawlowski (1890-1942) -- Polish priest hanged at Dachau for helping
Jews in Poland. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 13,
John XXIII (1881-1963) -- Pope from 1958 to 1963 (Angelo
Giuseppe Roncalli helped Jews escape the Holocaust
while he was the ApostolicDelegate to Turkey and Greece during World
War II). He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in September o
Omeljan Kovch (1884-1944) -- Ukrainian Greek-Catholic priest
father of six children executed by Nazis in the oven of Majdanek for helping
Jews and recognized as a "Righteous" in the Ukraine). He was beatified
by Pope John Paul II in the Ukraine in June of 2001..
-- Exarch of the Russian Byzantine Rite in Russia and Siberia, he
was the brother of Count Andrei, Metropolitcan of Lviv. He died in a Soviet
prison, on May 1, 1951, and is also recognized among the Righteous Gentiles
by the Jewish Council of the Ukraine.. He was beatified in the Ukraine
by Pope John Paul II on June 27, 2001, with twenty-six other martyrs,
mostly victims of the period from 1935 to 1973.
Nikolaus Gross (1898-1945) -- Involved in the Catholic Worker
Movement in Germany, he opposed the Nazis in his underground writings and
was associated with the Jesuit Alfred Delp and others in the resistance
movement and martyred after the July 1944 plot against Adolf Hitler.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 7, 2001.
Polish Victims of Nazism: These were beatified by Pope John Paul
II in his visit to Warsaw.
Sara Salkahazi (1899-1944), a nun of the Sisters of Social
Service, Sister Sara was shot by the Nazis for helping the Jews in Hungary
by hiding them in a home for working women. Her body was then thrown into
the Danube. At the end of April 2006, her cause for beatification
was advanced with a decree on her martyrdom. She was beatified
on September 17, 2006 in Budapest, Hungary.
Franz Jagerstatter (1907-1943), an Austrian layman who was executed
as a conscientious objector to service in the army of Adolf Hitler.
His cause for canonization was launched, on January 19, 1995, by
the University of Linz On June 1, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI authorized
the promulgation of the decree for hm. His beatification date is October
The first grades on the way to canonization are Venerables and Servants
of God and a number of Catholics are in one or the other of these categories:
In the spirit of Pope John Paul II's plea
to honor Christian martyrs during the Jubilee Year 2000, one should recall
that other Christians too had their heroes. There was Martin
Niemoller (1892-1984), the Lutheran pastor who preached against
the Nazis and was imprisoned in Dachau from 1937 to the end of the war.
There was Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(1906-1945), the Evangelical pastor who opposed the Nazis, especially on
their treatment of the Jews, and was hanged at Flossenburg. There
Munk (1898-1944), the Danish pastor and dramatist killed for his
resistance to the Nazis. There was Paul
Schneider (1897-1939), the apostle of Buchenwald, who died a martyr
in that concentration camp for his opposition to the Nazis.
There were rescuers Andre
Trocme (1901-1971), the pastor of the Hugenots in Le Chambron-sur-Lignon,
France, who risked his life to save 5,000 Jews. There was Dr.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes (1885-1954), the Portuguese Consul-General
in Bordeaux, France who saved
the lives of 30,000 people by issuing them visas to neutral Portugal
against the orders of Portugal's dictator. And, others
Podorska and the Schindlers, Oskar
and Emilie (1907-2001), not to mention Father
Anton Weber and Giorgio
Perlasca, helped to save Jews.
Morever, the Catholic clergy was involved.
Marie Benoit (1895-1990) , a Capuchin
known as Padre
Maria Benedetto in Italy), rescued 4,000 Jews, not
to mention Dom
Bruno (Henri Reynders), a Belgian Benedictine monk who died in
1981 and who had helped to protect at least 300 Jewish children from
the Holocaust by providing them with false identification papers.
Patrick Carroll-Abbing (1912-2001), the Irish Monsignor, was involved
in the resistance in Rom, and Hugh
O'Flaherty (1898-1963), about whom J. P. Gallagher wrote in The
Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican (1967) was instrumental in saving
Jews and others during the Nazi occupation of Rome. . The late Pietro
Cardinal Palazzini (1912-2000) was honored by the State of Israel
in 1985 for risking his life to save Jews during the war (see papal
homily at his funeral). Vincenzo
Cardinal Fagiolo (1918-2000) was also recognized as one of the
Righteous. Among the prominent Catholic leaders who defied Adolf
Hitler there were Catholic bishops like Iuliu
Cardinal Hossu of Romania (1885-1970),
Clemens August Graf von Galen of Munster (1878-1946) not to overlook
Baptist Dietz of Fulda (1879-1959) and Konrad von Preysing of Berlin
de Jong of Utrecht (1885-1955), Joseph
Ernest van Roey of Belgium (1874-1961), and Adam
Sapieha of Krakow (1867-1951).
Not too well known are certain other bishops. Quite outspoken in
his opposition to the Nazis for their treatment of the Jews in his part
of Italy was Bishop Antonio
Santin (1895-1981) of Trieste. In Poland, for example,
in addition to Sapieha, the following bishops either risked their lives
to save Jews or encouraged their clergy to do so: Romuald
Teodor Kubina of Czestochowa, Jan
Kanty Lorek of Sandomierz, Stanislaw Lukomski of Lomza,
Niemira of Pinisk, and
Boleslaw Twardowski of Lviv (this prelate
was the one who had consecrated Eugeniusz
Baziak,the archbishop from whom the future Pope John Paul II received
his episcopal consecration
on the 28 September 1958). Among the Salesians,
two were honored by the State of Israel on May 6, 1997, for helping Jews:
Antonioli and Armando
Alessandrini. Of course, one cannot overlook Karol
Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) helped Jews and there is a move to
place him among the Righteous Gentiles.
On October 25, 2001, ANSA, Italy Daily, reported
that Father Giuseppe Carozzi (d. 1958), acting on direct instructions from
Pope Pius XII, intervened with Leonardo Marinelli (d. 1981), who headed
the Aprica internment camp in the northern part of Italy, to save Yugoslav
Jews. Due to this intervention on September 12, 1943, 300 Jews were
able to exit Italy and enter Switzerland thereby being rescued from the
Nazis who had taken over Italy. In Milan today, there is a
street named for Carozzi.
One of the most unusual opponents of the Nazis was
Dr. Charles Schepens, a specialist in retina surgery, who helped to rescue
many people from the Nazis in Vichy France. While a member of the
Belgian resistance, he was working in the Pyrennes with a shephered,
Jean Sarochar (1892-1975) and this story is related in the book by Meg
Surgeon and the Shepherd (2004), He was honored
by the French consul with the French Legion of Honor in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
March 21, 2006.
A Native of New England
for Helping Jews Escape the Holocaust
A priest of the Diocese of Tarnow in Poland and a native of Pittsfield,
Massachusetts, he was killed in Biegonice, on 21 August 1941, because
he gave out birth certificates to help Jews escape the Holocaust.
A. Ribezzi (1915-2001), a native of Udine, Italy, and a Stigmatine
Father, he concealed some 150 from the Nazis, among them American
pilots and refugee Jews, at the Church of Santa Croce in Rome, where
he was assistant pastor, during the Nazi occupation. Coming to the
United States in 1947, he spent the rest of his life in the western part
of Massachusetts (The Springfield Union, June 27, 2001, and The
Boston Globe, June 28, 2001).
Walter C. Bayer (1912-2002), a friend close to Pope John
Paul II. He had hidden some fifty Jews when the Nazis occupied Poland
and migrated to the United States where he spent most of priestly life
(The Boston Globe, February 28, 2002).
John P. Wodarski (1905-2002), a native of Salem, Massachusetts
who was known in Connecticut as "Mr. New Britain." He had helped
to liberate the priests at Dachau while an Army chaplain in World War II
(The Boston Globe, October 17, 2002).
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
Journey (Mayflower, 1979); Nerin E. Gun, The Day of the Americans
1996); Louis S. Snyder's Historical Guide to World War II
(Greenwood, 1982); and Bohdan Wytwycky'sThe Other Holocaust (Novak
Report, 1980). Other important works inclukde 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); 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). And,
works on martyred conscientious
objectors like Franz
Jagerstatter, Brother Maurus, Brother Michael, Josef Mayr-Nusser, Max
Josef Metzger, Franz Reinisch, who were victims of the Nazis
should not be forgotten.
| 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. For a recent study of the
Church in helping the Jews, see Gerald Arboit, "Le Saint-Siege et la Questioni
Juive en Europe Centrale pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale (1939-1945),"
Historiae Pontificiae, 37 (1999), 161-190.
Adam Cardinal Kozlowiecki (b. 1911), a Jesuit who spent World War
II in concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau, has written his own
work on the Jesuits who died in those camps and is listed in the bibliography
below. At the same time, Alois
Cardinal Grillmeier (1910-1998) was a Jesuit serving in the German
Army during World War II. For other priests in the German Army, see
Hans Jurgen Brandt's Priester in Uniform (Pattloch, 1994).
| A Bibliography of Works
on Catholic Priests in Nazi Prison Camps is also available online.
Write to: Rev.
Vincent A. Lapomarda, S. J. (firstname.lastname@example.org) with comments
Last updated February 7, 2008. Copyright
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