Bernhard Lichtenberg

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Blessed Bernhard Lichtenberg
File:Bernhard Lichtenberg Büste Hof.JPG
Fr. Bernhard Lichtenberg
Priest and martyr
Born 3 December 1875
Ohlau, Prussian Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died 5 November 1943(1943-11-05) (aged 67)
While being transported from Berlin to Dachau concentration camp, Germany
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 23 June 1996, Germany, by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine St. Hedwig's Cathedral,
Berlin, Germany

The Blessed Bernhard Lichtenberg (3 December 1875 – 5 November 1943) was a German Roman Catholic priest and theologian, who died while in the custody of forces of the Third Reich. He has been awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations and has been beatified by the Catholic Church.


Lichtenberg was born in Ohlau (now Oława), Prussian Silesia, near Breslau (now Wrocław), the second of five children. He studied theology in Innsbruck, Austria-Hungary and was ordained in 1899.[1] Lichtenberg began his ministry in Berlin in 1900, as the pastor of Charlottenburg.

In 1931, the Bishop of Berlin appointed him as a canon of the Cathedral chapter of St. Hedwig. Active in the Centre Party, in 1935 he went to Hermann Göring to protest the cruelties of the concentration camps.[2]

Named provost of the cathedral, in 1938, after Kristallnacht, the first organized Nazi pogrom in Germany, Lichtenberg warned at the Berlin bishop Church of Saint Hedwig: "The burning synagogue outside is also a house of God!" Until his arrest in October 1941, Lichtenberg would pray publicly for the persecuted Jews at the daily Vespers service. Bishop Konrad von Preysing later entrusted him with the task of helping the Jewish community of the city.

He protested in person to Nazi officials the arrest and killing of the sick and mentally ill, as well as the persecution of the Jews. At first, the Nazis dismissed the priest as a nuisance. Father Lichtenberg was warned that he was in danger of being arrested for his activities, but he continued nonetheless.[1] Deploring the regime of concentration camps like that of Dachau, he organized demonstrations against them outside certain camps.[3]

In 1942, Lichtenberg protested against the euthanasia programme by way of a letter to the chief physician of the Reich

I, as a human being, a Christian, a priest, and a German, demand of you, Chief Physician of the Reich, that you answer for the crimes that have been perpetrated at your bidding, and with your consent, and which will call forth the vengeance of the Lord on the heads of the German people."[4]

Lichtenberg was arrested and condemned to prison.[4] Because he was considered incorrigible, he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp, but he collapsed and died while in transit,[4] on 5 November 1943 in Hof, Bavaria.[1]


On 23 June 1996, Pope John Paul II declared Lichtenberg and Karl Leisner blessed martyrs. The beatification ceremony took place during a Mass celebrated in the Olympic stadium in Berlin.[3]

Lichtenberg's tomb is situated in the crypt of St. Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin. After the war, the main office building of the Archbishop of Berlin was named after him.[3]


  • Psalm 59. Mit zwei Meditationen von Bernhard Lichtenberg. Für Sopran solo, Chor, Organ and Streichquintett from Helge Jung, Berlin 1988. (Prolog: Die grüne Saat, Psalm: Errette mich, mein Gott, beschütze mich, Epilog I: Gott ist die Liebe, Epilog II: Wer mich vor den Menschen bekennt). UA: Chor der Hedwigskathedrale Berlin, Ltg. Michael Witt.
  • Song: Dein Volk die dunklen Zeiten. Text und music: Florian Wilkes, Berlin 1995.
  • Song: Laßt uns den sel'gen Bernhard loben. Text: Josef Steiner, Berlin 1996. Melodie: Gotteslob, Nr. 262: Loys Bourgeois 1551. In: Diözesananhang zum Gotteslob des Erzbistums Berlin.
  • Wer glaubt kann widerstehn. Bernhard-Lichtenberg-Kantate. For Spiker, Sologesang, Chor (SATB) und Instrumente von Ludger Stühlmeyer, Hof 1999. UA: 31. Oktober 1999, ZDF, Konzertchor der Hofer Symphoniker, Leitung: Gottfried Hoffmann.
  • Bernhard-Lichtenberg-Vesper. Textzusammenstellung und Musik von Ludger Stühlmeyer, Hof 2011.
  • Song: Gepriesen bist du, herrlicher Gott, für Bernhard, den seligen Priester. Text: Alois Albrecht, melodie: Ludger Stühlmeyer, Hof 2012.

See also




External links