10 November 2020

November 10: (3) 1943 The Guillotined Priests of Luebeck

On November 10, 1943, three Catholic priests at Luebeck were taken, one by one, from their prison cells to the execution chamber and, within two or three minutes, guillotined. They had been found gulty of sabotaging the German War Effort; one at least of them had been noticed showing friendship towards Jews. Among their crimes was their study of the sermons of Blessed Count Clemens von Gallen, Bishop and Confessor, in which he made the point that, given the policies of its government towards the 'unfit', Germany did not deserve to win the War.

Blessed Johannes Prassek, pray for us.

Blessed Eduard Mueller, pray for us.

Blessed Hermann Lange, pray for us. 

These were youthful priests; Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam was fresh upon their lipsThis was the beautiful holocaust of their young priesthood; their blood which covered the floor was the blood of the Jew who died on the Altar of a Cross.

And, in their company, an elderly Lutheran pastor, their friend, mingled his blood with theirs.

blessed Friedrich Stellbrink, pray for us. 

The Bishop of Osnabrueck visited his priests and did what he could to prevent their execution. The Lutheran 'church' disowned its pastor and expelled him from its ministry.

I am sure that this is precisely how the the foul-mouthed Jew-hating founder of Lutheranism would have wished things to be. 


Frederick Jones said...

Was it not 82 years ago last night ("Crystal Night") that the Provost of Berlin Bernhard Lichtenberg preached, "Outside the Synagogue burns, that too is a house of God"?

Ellen said...

I had never heard of these brave martyrs. Thank you for this article, I will ask for their intercession.

Paul said...

Thank you, Fr Hunwicke. I found that both fascinating and uplifting.

Mr Grumpy said...

I am glad to see these men's heroic sacrifice commemorated here, dismayed that you make it an occasion for confessional point-scoring. That really does miss the point.

Friedrich Stellbrink, who was not elderly but had just turned 49 when he was executed, played a full part in the group's work. One of their "crimes" was the circulation of a protest letter by Friedrich Wurm, a Lutheran bishop (yes, I know) who had moved from supporting the deplorable Ludwig Müller to being a fearless critic of the regime, particularly over its treatment of the Jews and its euthanasia programme.

Luther did not invent Christian anti-Semitism. His verbal violence was hardly worse than the pogroms which followed the preaching of the First Crusade in the Rhineland. To suggest Luther would have applauded genocide is baseless calumny and lets off the hook the godless ideologies in which it took root.

On both sides of the confessional divide the Third Reich called forth some heroic resisters and some eager collaborators, while most kept their heads down. You know which religious denomination stands head and shoulders above the rest in its record of resistance? The Jehovah's Witnesses. Out of 20,000 members, it's estimated that half were arrested, 250 executed and approaching 1,000 died of mistreatment in the concentration camps. If the Catholic Church could match this we'd be talking about a couple of million German and Austrian martyrs.

Whilst I wouldn't for a moment encourage you to turn JW, we have Christ's word that those men and women are his mother and his brother and his sister, do we not?