‘With penance in a world ravaged by a virus, neo-fascists and Han chauvinists, we hope that we, too, shall achieve the Illumination of Conscience.’
AS we labor under the Fiat of Sanctification, we are reminded that Earthlings more than 75 years prior had to choose between Good and Evil. Paul Schneider (first martyr of the Confessing Church) versus the fastidious and puritanical Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel.
The teenaged Helmuth Hübener of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (https://www.history.com/news/meet-the-youngest-person-executed-for-defying-the-nazis) contra Heinrich Luitpold Himmler who was hostile towards the brethren of Christ the Messiah: “We will have to deal with Christianity in a tougher way than hitherto. We must settle accounts with this Christianity, this greatest of plagues that could have happened to us in our history, which has weakened us in every conflict. If our generation does not do it then it would I think drag on for a long time. We must overcome it within ourselves. Today at Heydrich’s funeral I intentionally expressed in my oration from my deepest conviction a belief in God, a belief in fate, in the ancient one as I called him – that is the old Germanic word: Wralda.” [Speech to top leaders of the SS, June 9, 1942 Berlin; J. Noakes and G. Pridham. Nazism; A History In Documents And Eyewitness Accounts, 1919 – 1945. First American Edition. New York: Schocken Books Inc., 1990, p. 498]
Himmler’s religion was Aryanism (“I was a National Socialist, of course. I want to tell you also how this is to be interpreted. I am a strong believer in the doctrine that, in the end, only good blood can achieve the greatest, enduring things in the world…Accordingly only good blood, blood which history has proved to be leading and creative and the foundation of every state and all military activities, only Nordic blood, can be considered.”) and his disciples were the Stosstrupp/Schutzstaffeln (“We know them already from the Hitler Youth…Besides the General SS there is the Verfuegungstruppe; also the Death Head Units, the SD, and the race and population system.”). [Speech by SS-Chief Heinrich Himmler to the Officer Corps of the Wehrmacht, January 1937; Document 1992-A-PS, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (Red Series) Vol. IV., Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946]
Himmler (second in power in the Third Reich, outranked only by Hitler himself) masterminded the creation of the 4 “pure” extermination camps of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Chelmno: “I also want to mention a very difficult subject before you here, completely openly…I am talking about the ‘Jewish evacuation:’ the extermination of the Jewish people…Without mercy! We have the moral right, we had the duty to our people to do it, to kill this people who wanted to kill us…Because at the end of this, we don’t want, because we exterminated the bacillus, to become sick and die from the same bacillus.” [Poznan speech of October 4, 1943]
Although Adolf appointed him the Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung, Himmler betrayed his boss at the denouement of World War II in Europe when he plotted and parlayed to snatch an individualist deal of capitulation with the triumphant and avenging Allies. For which, Hitler expelled the “former Reichsfuehrer-SS and Minister of the Interior, Heinrich Himmler, from the party and from all offices of State” justifying that “quite apart from their disloyalty to my person, have done immeasurable harm to the country and the whole nation by secret negotiations with the enemy…and by illegally attempting to seize power in the State.” [A. Hitler. My Political Testament. Given in Berlin, this 29th of April 1945. 4:00 A.M.]
Himmler (the adulterer who commanded the systematic mass murder of “all gypsy mixed-bloods,” i.e., the Roma and Sinti minorities of central Europe) finally betrayed himself by chomping down a poisonous vial of potassium cyanide (despite vowing that he “would never commit suicide”) and those who commit suicide are imaginably sent to the second ring of the seventh circle of Hades, condemned to hang in the horrid forest (Inferno 13).
Himmler (of the Ahnenerbe and the Artaman League, petty-bourgeois believer of ancient German paganism, pedantic schoolmaster of Castle Wewelsburg) betrayed the human race by perpetrating Crimes against Humanity. In contrast, Pietro Cardinal Boetto (Archbishop of Genoa, Defensor Civitatis) resisted the Nazis and their program of extreme persecution of non-Aryans in Italy itself. [Salvatore Jona, Il Nuovo Cittadino, February 3, 1946; “The Cardinal of the Persecuted Jews,” Annals of St. Anthony’s Shrine, Volume 16, Number 2, 1988, pp.13-18]
Erich Klausener (chairman of Katholische Aktion) openly criticized Hitler and Himmler’s party at the June 1934 Catholic congress in Hoppegarten, Berlin and he was assassinated by SS officer Kurt Gildisch during the “Night of the Long Knives.” After the war, his ashes were laid in the Maria Regina Martyrum. The key has always been “’that one must obey God more than men’ and ‘If something is demanded of us that goes against God or the Faith, then not only may we, but we must, refuse obedience (towards men)’. Thus wrote Nikolaus Gross in 1943 in his doctrine of faith. It was becoming ever clearer to him that Germany had reached this state under the Hitler regime.” Gross (layman, father of seven children, union activist, newspaper editor, and martyr) was beatified by Pope John Paul II. So was Maria Restituta Kafka (Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity) – “the only woman religious to be formally sentenced to death by the Nazis.” Her crime: hanging crucifixes in the rooms of the Modling Hospital in Vienna, Austria. [https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/biographies/index_of_persons/biographie/view-bio/erich-klausener/?no_cache=1][http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20011007_beat-gross_en.html][https://angelusnews.com/faith/german-catholics-among-those-who-suffered-under-nazis/]
The Church was, of course, obliged to fight evil and political injustice and it is called “not only to help the victims who have fallen under the wheel, but to fall into the spokes of the wheel itself.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Church and the Jewish Question,” April 1933; https://www.thebonhoeffercenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=87&Itemid=403] The procession of martyrs is unabated: “Johannes Prassek, Eduard Müller, and Hermann Lange, who were killed in Hamburg by the Nazis in 1943, were beatified in Lübeck.” [Benedict XVI, Angelus, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 26 June 2011; http://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/angelus/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ang_20110626.html] “Stay with me, Jesus, only stay; I shall not fear, If, reaching out my hand, I feel Thee near.” – Father Titus Brandsma, O.Carm, of the Catholic resistance to the National-Socialist movement in the Netherlands. [Before a picture of Jesus in my cell; http://carmelnet.org/brandsma/html/biog7.html]