Time of An Ordeal: Story of Polish Clergy at the Nazi Dachau Concentration Camp

Recently I came across this video. Though I already knew about this fact, the photos and documents, showing the ordeal the martyred priests had to endure, shocked me.

One thought occurs to me: whosoever denies the terror of Hitler’s regime, he is also acting against the real spirit of Catholicism. How can anyone who claims to be Catholic deny the Shoah, or deny the existence of the Gas Chambers, when his own co-religious endured the same fate as those Jews whom the Nazis massacred?

For those New Atheists who try to conflate Nazism with Catholicism, (because Hitler used some seemingly Christian phrases in his speeches to mobilize the masses), this video will teach them a lesson, if they still have a conscience:

The description of the video (from googlevideo):
Time of An Ordeal: The Story of Polish Clergy Imprisoned and Killed at Dachau. Half of the Polish priests imprisoned by the Nazi’s died at the Dachau concentration camp. The death of more than 2,000 Polish clergy, including five bishops, at the start of World War II seems to be forgotten by many history books, says a survivor of Dachau. Kazimierz Majdanski, now archbishop emeritus of Warsaw, was arrested Nov. 7, 1939, by the Nazis, when he was in the seminary of Wloclawek. He was arrested with other students and professors, and taken first to Sachsenhausen concentration camp and later to Dachau. In Dachau, he was subjected to pseudoscientific criminal experiments.

Archbishop Majdanski: ‘Half of the Polish priests died who were imprisoned in Dachau. I saw so many priests die in a heroic way. All of them were faithful to Christ who said to his disciples: “You will be my witnesses.” They died as Catholic priests and Polish patriots. Some of them could have saved themselves, but none of them lowered themselves to such pacts. In 1942 the authorities of the camp offered Polish priests the possibility of special treatment, on the condition of declaring that they belonged to the German nation. No one came forward. When Father Dominik Jedrzejewski was offered his freedom on the condition that he give up his priestly functions, he calmly answered “no,” and died. The martyrdom of the Polish clergy during the Nazi inferno was a glorious page of the history of the Church and of Poland. It is too bad that it has been covered by a veil of silence.’

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9 Responses to Time of An Ordeal: Story of Polish Clergy at the Nazi Dachau Concentration Camp

  1. Benedict Carter says:

    A few years ago I flew from Moscow to Krakow in south-west Poland for a seminar, and while there took a day out to visit Auschwitz 40 km down the road.

    A truly horrible place, really terrible.

    There were several things that touched me very deeply. Two of them related to Catholics, and neither of them are of course in the public consciousness.

    The first was the sign between Huts 11 and 12 I think (12 was where Mengele did his “experiments”), which read, “Please be silent in this space, in which at least 10,000 Polish Resistance members were executed”. I was in tears. Poor Poland, which lost 20% of its population in that awful war, far more as a percentage of population than any other country. It was wonderful how groups of Polish nuns (dressed like real nuns, too) stood in prayer by the execution wall, left flowers and candles.

    The other thing was coming to the cell in which St. Maximilian Kolbe was starved for two weeks and then, still alive, was injected with formaldehyde to finish him off. As you all know, he gave his life to save a condemned Polish prisoner, who lived long enough to see him canonised by John Paul II.

    May God rest all their souls and may perpetual light shine upon them!

    St. Maximilian, pray for us.

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  2. shane says:

    Percentage of Nazi Votes : July 31, 1932

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  3. shane says:

    VS Percentage of Catholics in Germany (census 1934)

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  4. toadspittle says:

    Well, Teresa,

    Plenty of people in Spain conflated (exactly the correct word) Catholicism with Fascism in Franco’s time – and they were exactly right to do so.
    Not such a far cry from Nazism, in many people’s minds. Perhaps that’s where the confusion arises. But I will be quick to say that things are very different now, although the Church is still seen here by many as nostalgic for those ‘good old days,’ when the cure for any dissent was a bullet in the head against the cemetery wall.
    Hence the dwindling congregations, I suspect.

    (off to Mass now. Must keep the pitiful numbers up.)

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  5. bmcp4tr01 says:

    Poland’s big mistake was forming an alliance with Britain. The Czechs and Slovaks, by contrast, got off lightly and undamaged Prague remains a popular destination for British thugs on ‘stag weekends’.

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  6. Benedict Carter says:

    bmcp:

    Come off it. Poland’s problem was in being sandwiched between two great powers who alternately through history swallowed her up. And in the Second War War, as Slavs, they had the special hatred of the “superior race” to deal with. One can only feel great sorrow for the Poles and salute their great courage, which included the courage and steadfastness of the Polish clergy.

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  7. egilthearcher says:

    A very moving program. One can read the statistics of the many victims who were murdered by totalitarianism, but the story becomes especially powerful and shocking for me when I see the faces, such as the portraits of these Polish priests, and when I hear their words. Does anyone know the story of Archbishop Kazimierz Majdanski?

    This program reminds me of the excellent documentary “Russia’s War,” about the experiences of the Soviet people during the Stalin years. It was made by Russians, and I viewed it in the USA in the 1990’s. It includes little-seen film of the Gulags, along with many haunting images and stories of people who were caught up in the various horrors of the period.

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  8. Kageki says:

    Poland was anti-semitic:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Poland#Growing_anti-Semitism

    “The main strain of anti-semitism in Poland during this time was motivated by Catholic religious beliefs and centuries-old myths such as the blood libel. This religious-based anti-semitism was sometimes joined with an ultra-nationalistic stereotype of Jews as disloyal to the Polish nation.[75] On the eve of World War II, many typical Polish Christians believed that there were far too many Jews in the country and the Polish government became increasingly concerned with the “Jewish Question”. Some politicians were in favor of mass Jewish emigration from Poland.”

    Sounds like National Socialism to me. The ones that got picked out were probably opposing the Nazis and in turn possibly supporting the Communists.

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  9. egilthearcher says:

    Kageki writes “The ones that got picked out were probably opposing the Nazis and in turn possibly supporting the Communists.”

    Wrong, Kageki. Try reading a few history books instead of relying on Wikipedia. I suggest that you start by reading about the Home Army, or Armia Krajowa. The Home Army was Poland’s largest and most significant resistance group during World War II, and it was both anti-Nazi and anti-Communist. It also helped Jewish resistance groups and Jews in general. It was allied with Poland’s government in exile, not the bogus government that the USSR propped up.

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