Listen to an interview with Fr. Hamans by clicking here.
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."
—Ralph 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.
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