Priestblock 25487

A Memoir of Dachau
Jean Bernard
Deborah Lucas Schneider
Zaccheus Press
Number of pages: 
177 pages
Grade / Age level: 

Spellbinding! From its opening pages, I was absolutely riveted to Fr. Bernard’s incredible story of faith and courage. Already familiar with that hell on earth, I was hesitant to read Priestblock 25487, A Memoir of Dachau.

I took the plunge and was richly rewarded. It was one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read. With deep humility and simple piety, Fr. Bernard’s tells his horrific story of living (if you can call it that) in Dachau from May 19, 1941 to August 5, 1942.

During World War II, priests were regularly rounded up and sent to concentration camps, in particular Dachau. The Nazi regime did not want the priests to administer the sacraments or spiritually lift up those around them, so they isolated them from the other prisoners. Fr. Bernard was a priest from Luxembourg, who never knew why he was sent there.

Throughout the story, two thoughts continually weave in and out. We witness man’s sadistic, cruelty to man and God’s transforming love though man. How is it possible for a starving man to offer up his meager ration of bread for his fellow prisoner? Out of love, he has placed the needs of the other person above his own.

The profound love that these priests have for the Eucharist leaves the reader without doubt that the Eucharist is real, life sustaining, and transforming.

I did not want to read this book, because I did not want to remind myself of man’s inhumanity to man. I would like to pretend that it did not exist, but that would be a lie. Even more importantly, even though the Third Reich no longer exists, Christian persecution continues to exist throughout the world today in many forms.

Reading this book reminds me to not take my faith for granted, to sink my roots deeper, so that I may fly higher, and that I too, in my meager, humble way, may offer my sacrifices like those heroic men and priests, who suffered incredible barbarism, to the capital of grace for the greater glory and joy of our Heavenly Father.

Additional notes: 

I would recommend this book for every high school student!

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