On the same summer day in 1942, Saint Teresa Benedicta
of the Cross (Edith Stein) and hundreds of other Catholic Jews were arrested in
Holland by the occupying Nazis. One hundred thirteen of those taken into
custody, several of them priests and nuns, perished at Auschwitz and other
concentration camps. They were murdered in retaliation for the anti-Nazi
pastoral letter written by the Dutch Catholic bishops.
While Saint Teresa Benedicta is the most famous member of this group, having
been canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1998, all of them deserve the title of
martyr, for they were killed not only because they were Jews but also because of
the faith of the Church, which had compelled the Dutch bishops to protest the
Nazi regime. Through extensive research in both original and secondary sources,
P.W.F.M. Hamans has compiled these martyrs’ biographies, several of them
detailed and accompanied by photographs. Included in this volume are some
remarkable conversion stories, including that of Edith Stein, the German
philosopher who had entered the Church in 1922 and later became a Carmelite nun,
taking the name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Several of the witnesses chronicled here had already suffered for their faith
in Christ before falling victim to Hitler’s “Final Solution”, enduring both
rejection by their own people, including family members, and persecution by the
so-called Christian society in which they lived. Among these were those who,
also like Sister Teresa Benedicta, perceived the cross they were being asked to
bear and accepted it willingly for the salvation of the world. Illustrated
"Father Hamans has put us in his debt for having taken on the enormous task
of making the Jewish Catholic martyrs flesh and blood persons."
McInerny, from the Foreword
"An important, beautiful, heart-wrenching book. These Jewish Catholics, were
doubly blessed, for they were martyred twice – once, when they entered the
Catholic Church at the cost of losing their families, their homes, their
livelihoods, and a second time when they were sent to the extermination camp as
Jewish Catholics. Martyred for their Catholic faith, martyred for their Jewish
blood. The faith, dedication to God, and love of the Church that they showed as
they underwent this double martyrdom are inspiring reminders of what the true
stakes and rewards of our lives as Catholics are."
—Roy Schoeman, Author,
Salvation is From the Jews
Fr. Paul Hamans is a diocesan priest in Roermond, Netherlands, where he
teaches Church history at the seminary there. He has a doctorate in history from
the University of Augsburg, Germany, and is an expert on the Dutch martyrs of
the twentieth century. His other publications include History of the Catholic
Church in the Netherlands.