German Dachau priest beatified as martyr

By Jonathan Luxmoore, 21 September 2019
Fr Richard Henkes. Image: Wikimedia Commons.


A Catholic priest has been beatified as a martyr in Germany, 74 years after dying of typhus in the Dachau concentration camp.

“He exemplified the internally free person – the only kind of person who could withstand temptations of the contemporary spirit and follow Christ,” said Bishop Georg Batzing of Limburg. “It was this which, in the face of Nazi terror, enabled him to repeat that ‘someone must stay here and speak about it.’ This made him a martyr of humanity, as he dedicated his life to others and overcame barriers and prejudices.”

The bishop issued his pastoral letter ahead of Sunday’s beatification of Fr Richard Henkes (1900-1945), during a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Kurt Koch, chairman of the Vatican’s Papal Council for Christian Unity, who praised the martyred priest for caring for those “with no hope of survival” at Dachau and “defending the Christian image of man against National Socialist ideology.”

The priest died at the camp in February 1945 after caring for typhus victims, and was reburied in 1990 in the cathedral crypt of Limburg. A beatification process was launched for him in 2003 and approved in December 2018 by the Pope, who praised Fr Henkes in a message as “an intrepid proclaimer of the Gospel and heroic witness of Christian love.”

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With thanks to The Tablet and Jonathan Luxmoore, where this article originally appeared.



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