Monday, October 24, 2016


 A German priest known as the “ANGEL of DACHAU” was beatified as a martyr in Würzburg, Germany, on September 24. Like Alfred Delp, S.J. (Blog  6/3/16) he was imprisoned and murdered by the Nazis in WW II.

Icon- Lewis Williams, OFS

  was born in Greifendorf, Czechoslovakia in 1911.  He entered the Marianhill Missionaries and was ordained to the priesthood in 1939. Assigned to a parish in Austria, he spoke out on behalf of Jews in his sermons. Blessed Engelmar was imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp for the last four years of his life and voluntarily ministered to typhoid patients.

As a new priest, he said Masses for French prisoners of war, though this was strictly forbidden. After a move to Glockelberg, he came to the attention of Hitler's Youth, who were bothered by his actions and words. Their reports led to his imprisonment at the age 30.. He arrived in Dachau July of 1941 and became #26147. 3,000 clergy were gathered in priest barracks and forced to wear a red triangle on their clothes. 

Threats, terror, abuse, fear, and death were his companions, day after day, for almost 4 years. He endured 12 hour workdays on little food. He said Mass,  read the Bible and ministered the Eucharist to his fellow prisoners. His letters show he never succumbed to hate, forever trusting God’s will in his life.  He wrote from this hell of suffering: ‘Even behind the hardest sacrifices and worst suffering stands God with his Fatherly love, who is satisfied with the good will of his children and gives them and others happiness.’ 

He also  studied Russian in order to be able to help the prisoners from Eastern Europe

In December, 1944, a typhus epidemic broke out. The sick were gathered in specific barracks, and left to die alone. 20 clergy from the two priest barracks volunteered for what in reality was a death sentence. In that last month of his life he wrote to his sister: “Love doubles one’s strength,  it really ‘has not entered into the heart of any man what God has prepared for those that love him’, and “the Good is undying.” 

During his Angelus address on September 25, Pope Francis said, “Killed in hatred of the faith in the extermination camp of Dachau, he opposed hatred with love, and answered ferocity answered with meekness: may his example help us to be witnesses of charity and hope even in the midst of trials.”

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