Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Catholic Priests and the Holocaust: A Book and A Movie

9th day
If you were fortunate to watch Fr. Mitch Pacwa last week, you saw his interview with his guest, William Doino, Jr. His guest spoke with enthusiasm about the book Priestblock 25487: A Memoir of Dachau | Fr. Jean Bernard. It was a book written by Fr. Jean Bernard and fairly recently translated into English.

In May 1941, Father Jean Bernard was arrested for denouncing the Nazis and deported from his native Luxembourg to Dachau's "Priest Block," a barracks that housed more than 3,000 clergymen of various denominations (the vast majority Roman Catholic priests).

Priestblock 25487 tells the gripping true story of his survival amid inhuman brutality, degradation, and torture.
This important book, originally published in Germany in 1963, was adapted by director Volker Schlöndorff into the film The Ninth Day in 2004.
Introduction by Robert Royal. Preface by Archbishop Seán Cardinal O Malley, Archbishop of Boston.
The above description from Ave Maria Radio where you can also purchase the book.

To read the first chapter of this book, check out Ignatius Scoop

Fr. Bernard's book was adapted into a film entitled The Ninth Day. To watch the trailer and learn more about this movie, be sure to click on the title above.
Abbé Kremer is released from a living hell in the Dachau concentration camp and sent home to Luxembourg. Upon his arrival, he soon learns that this is not a reprieve or a pardon of his crime – voicing opposition to the Nazis’ racial laws – but that he has nine days to convince the bishop of Luxembourg to work with the Nazi occupiers. Gestapo Untersturmführer Gebhardt is under pressure from his superior to have the Abbé succeed in creating a rift between the Luxembourg church and the Vatican – or be transferred to duty in the death camps in the East. Gebhardt, a former Catholic seminarian, uses theological arguments to bring the Abbé around but when they don’t work he resorts to more draconian measures. The Abbé is torn between his conscience and his horror of returning to Dachau...


I regret that I didn't know about this film when it was first released. I hope to find it on DVD somewhere. I hope you do too.

Note: This movie is not for younger viewers.

1 comment:

Love2Learn Mom said...

Thanks for posting about this. I recently ordered this book and the movie is my Netflix queue. Should be interesting!