Week 26 – From Nurnberg to Auschwitz

75th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Week 26

From Nurnberg to Auschwitz

In order to understand the Holocaust and what led to St. Maximilian’s death in Auschwitz, one
must first travel back in time to Nurnberg, Germany.

In 1298, the Jews of the town were accused of having desecrated the host, and 698 of them
were killed in one of the many Rintfleisch Massacres. Behind the massacre of 1298 was also
the desire to combine the northern and southern parts of the city, which were divided by the
Pegnitz river. The Jews of the German lands suffered many massacres during the plague years.

In 1349, Nuremberg’s Jews were subjected to a pogrom. They were burned at the stake or
expelled, and a marketplace was built over the former Jewish quarter.
While we are all called to defend the Eucharist, Jesus never instituted it to be a reason for
violence.
How unbelievably tragic that the Body that was broken for us and the Blood that was shed for us
became an excuse for violence and murder.

Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

So Nurnberg became the site of the Nazi Party conventions known as the Nurnberg Rallies.
At the 1935 rally, the anti-Semitic Nurnberg Law was passed which revoked citizenship for all
Jews and non Aryans and took away all political and voting rights.
The second law, For the Protection of German Blood and Honor, forbid Germans and Jews to
Marry.

Then came Kristallnacht, Night of the Broken Glass in November 1938.
On this night throughout Germany and Austria the glass of Jewish shop owners were smashed
in response to the assassination of a German embassy official in Paris by a Jewish refugee.
Jewish businesses were looted, synagogues and homes burned down and 30,000 Jews were
arrested and deported to concentration camps such as Dachau.

Propaganda was essential to the Nazis and promoting their ideas and in particular their anti-
Semitism.

One famous piece of Propaganda is the illustrated book, “The Poisonous Mushroom” whereby
Jews are depicted as Poisonous mushrooms in the following text,
“Look, Franz, human beings in this world are like the mushrooms in the forest. There are good
mushrooms and there are good people. There are poisonous, bad mushrooms and there are
bad people. And we have to be on our guard against bad people just as we have to be on guard
against poisonous mushrooms. Do you understand that?”
“And do you know, too, who these bad men are, these poisonous mushrooms of mankind?” the
mother continued.
Franz slaps his chest in pride:
“Of course I know, mother! They are the Jews! Our teacher has often told us about them.”

Excerpt From: Skehan, Luke. “The Holocaust.” v1.0. Caulfield Grammar School, 2013. iBooks.

What is the difference between Propaganda and the Truth?
Jesus!

Jesus is the Truth.
The Truth is we should love our enemies, do good to those who persecute us, turn the other
cheek, and forgive 7 times 70.
Jesus preaches the Truth.
The world preaches propaganda.
It is important to know the difference!

Prayer: Lord, Jesus help me to follow Your Way, to know Your Truth and to live Your Life. Amen

Questions and Meditations

1. Are there groups of people with whom I have negative feelings?
2. How do I respond to these people?
3. With Whom did Jesus have difficulty?
4. How did Jesus respond to people with whom He had difficulties or disagreements?
5. How do I know the difference between Propaganda and the Truth?