Near the banks of the river Amper, there is a place that has drawn artists of all sorts to paint or recreate its natural splendor. On the Dachau Concentration Camp on a clear day, one could even make out the majestic Alps in the distance. During the Middle Ages, this sprawling city was a commercial market center, lying as it did on a trade route that linked Munich to Augsburg. What is this place that has drawn artistic muses and merchants alike? Dachau.
It’s perhaps surprising to us to read that this city, now associated almost exclusively with the Nazi regime, used to be viewed in a very different light. But indeed it was in Dachau that Heinrich Himmler, head of the then Bavarian political police, set up the place that would become the model for future concentration camps. And within this camp, there were three buildings designated solely for clergy of all kinds. For February’s Catholic Book of the Month, we bring you the story of The Priest Barracks.
Of the clergy imprisoned at Dachau, over 2,000 of them were Catholics, whether priests, monks or seminarians. Taken prisoner from all over Europe, these men had to endure humiliation, hunger, grueling, exhausting work and other types of physical and mental torments designed to dehumanize them. They had to quickly learn who they could trust, and the protocol for interacting with the ever-present SS guards.
While emotional and difficult to read, it concludes with a beautiful lesson on the power of forgiveness and how only God can bring fruitfulness from such darkness. Get your copy of this Catholic book at our website today.
“With the increased persecution of Christians throughout the world, this book comes at an important time.” – Fr. Paul Scalia