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The Priest Barracks: Dachau 1938 - 1945


A Commentary by Gordon Nary


 

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When Dachau is mentioned, many of us associate the Nazi Death Camp with the persecution and murder of our Jewish brothers and sisters. However there were three barracks out of thirty were occupied by clergy from 1938 to 1945 with 2,579 priests, monks and Catholic seminarians  

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More than a third of the prisoners in the "priest block" died there.

This book will make you cry, You will learn of the nightmarish forced march of "Holy Week" in 1942. the outbreak of typhoid that resulted in so many death and those that lived with cared for them , the ordination of a young German deacon by a French bishop., and many stories of heroism

As the result of diplomatic pressure from the Vaticanat the end of 1940, a chapel was permitted to be set up in Block 26. The first Mass at Dachau was celebrated on January  21, 1941.I will always remember Marcel Dejean stating : “…We rediscovered the idea of Love in the midst of suffering, hunger, egoism, hatred or indifference and also a palpable sense of calm: the beauty of the altar…in the midst of our filth and poverty, tranquility, recollection and solitude in the midst of constant overcrowding…The SS were no longer anything but a sad nothingness beside the splendid, immortal reality of Christ.”

We need to remember the history of our faith and the heroism of our religious when we lived in a world where people of faith were persecuted and murdered.