Seliger Bernhard Lichtenberg : steadfast in spirit, he directed his own course / by Brenda Gaydosh.
In Berlin, June 23, 1996, the Roman Catholic Church beatified German priest Bernhard Lichtenberg, a martyr of the Nazi era. Born at the height of Bismarck's Kulturkampf, Lichtenberg grew up amidst the German Church/State struggle, and he died because of his opposition to Nazi Germany. From fall 1938 until fall 1941, Dompropst Bernhard Lichtenberg offered daily prayers for the "non-Aryan Christians and persecuted Jews." In 1941, two young women reported Lichtenberg's "indiscretion." To keep Lichtenberg from using his dais as a "bully pulpit," the Nazis arrested him under the long considered dead Pulpit Paragraph and the 1933 Malice Law. After two years in Berlin prisons, a frail Lichtenberg died en route to the concentration camp Dachau. Lichtenberg's conscience guided his actions as he sacrificed his life for what he considered imperative Christian principles.This dissertation seeks to answer the question, "Why did Bernhard Lichtenberg take a path through the Nazi regime that differed from the majority of his fellow clergymen? Lichtenberg suffered from ill health and was already in his sixties, yet he did not back down in opposing the Nazis through his Christian actions. This work presents a broad biographic overview of Bernhard Lichtenberg's life. It discusses the areas of his life that had the greatest impact on how he dealt with daily situations. It employs many underutilized primary sources such as Lichtenberg's prison diaries and letters, minutes from city council meetings, and statements from those who knew him. This dissertation maintains that particular life experiences and situations combined to give Bernhard Lichtenberg the courage, the words, the strength, and the opportunity to resist the Nazi regime and to die a martyr because of his resistance.
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