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Praise for Priestblock 25487: ''Stunning... Casts light into dark and previously neglected corners of the horror that was the Third Reich.'' —Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief First Things ''Father Jean Bernard's portrait of survival in a German concentration camp is simple, forceful and vivid and therefore impossible to put down or forget. It ranks with the great 20th Praise for Priestblock 25487: ''Stunning... Casts light into dark and previously neglected corners of the horror that was the Third Reich.'' —Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief First Things ''Father Jean Bernard's portrait of survival in a German concentration camp is simple, forceful and vivid and therefore impossible to put down or forget. It ranks with the great 20th Century personal testimonies against totalitarian violence... Priestblock 25487 is a diary of Catholic discipleship under extreme conditions that will deeply move all persons of conscience.'' —Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver ''Gripping! This crisp story of the 3,000-plus Christian clergy at Dachau in 1941 forces me to turn pages quickly, in horror... In its understated power, this brief book is unforgettable.'' —Michael Novak, author of Washington's God (with Jana Novak) ''Many hundreds of books have been written and published about German concentration and extermination camps during World War II, including at least two or three dozens written or dictated by their actual survivors. Of these, Father Jean Bernard's Priestblock 25487 is among the very best, because of the exceptional intelligence and honesty of its author. Dachau, where he was imprisoned, was not the worst of all those camps, and Father Bernard was, surprisingly, released after two years of imprisonment: but perhaps because of these very circumstances his diary is extraordinarily telling, convincing, and graphic. Every scholar and student of that dreadful chapter of twentieth-century history ought to read—and ponder—its contents.'' —John Lukacs, author of The Hitler of History; and Five Days in London: May 1940 ''Father Bernard has left readers with a gripping testimony of the brutal treatment the Catholic clergy received at the hands of the Nazis in Dachau. Despite t


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Praise for Priestblock 25487: ''Stunning... Casts light into dark and previously neglected corners of the horror that was the Third Reich.'' —Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief First Things ''Father Jean Bernard's portrait of survival in a German concentration camp is simple, forceful and vivid and therefore impossible to put down or forget. It ranks with the great 20th Praise for Priestblock 25487: ''Stunning... Casts light into dark and previously neglected corners of the horror that was the Third Reich.'' —Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief First Things ''Father Jean Bernard's portrait of survival in a German concentration camp is simple, forceful and vivid and therefore impossible to put down or forget. It ranks with the great 20th Century personal testimonies against totalitarian violence... Priestblock 25487 is a diary of Catholic discipleship under extreme conditions that will deeply move all persons of conscience.'' —Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver ''Gripping! This crisp story of the 3,000-plus Christian clergy at Dachau in 1941 forces me to turn pages quickly, in horror... In its understated power, this brief book is unforgettable.'' —Michael Novak, author of Washington's God (with Jana Novak) ''Many hundreds of books have been written and published about German concentration and extermination camps during World War II, including at least two or three dozens written or dictated by their actual survivors. Of these, Father Jean Bernard's Priestblock 25487 is among the very best, because of the exceptional intelligence and honesty of its author. Dachau, where he was imprisoned, was not the worst of all those camps, and Father Bernard was, surprisingly, released after two years of imprisonment: but perhaps because of these very circumstances his diary is extraordinarily telling, convincing, and graphic. Every scholar and student of that dreadful chapter of twentieth-century history ought to read—and ponder—its contents.'' —John Lukacs, author of The Hitler of History; and Five Days in London: May 1940 ''Father Bernard has left readers with a gripping testimony of the brutal treatment the Catholic clergy received at the hands of the Nazis in Dachau. Despite t

30 review for Priestblock 25487: a Memoir of Dachau

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kavita

    I have never read of the experiences of Catholic priests under Nazi rule, so I thought this book would be interesting. There is a raging debate on whether the Church supported the Nazis, looked the other way, or actively spoke out against them, depending on whom you ask. The stance of staunch Catholics is that the commies spread rumours against the CC. Regardless of what the intent of the Church was during the Holocaust, it is undeniable that things like the Holocaust happened partly because of I have never read of the experiences of Catholic priests under Nazi rule, so I thought this book would be interesting. There is a raging debate on whether the Church supported the Nazis, looked the other way, or actively spoke out against them, depending on whom you ask. The stance of staunch Catholics is that the commies spread rumours against the CC. Regardless of what the intent of the Church was during the Holocaust, it is undeniable that things like the Holocaust happened partly because of the Catholic / Christian stance for thousands of years. Father Jean Bernard was a priest in Luxembourg, and was arrested. He claims he does not know why (as if the Nazis needed a reason!), but it is possible that because of his standing in the catholic community, he made a good target. He was transported to Dachau and kept separated from the common folk, offered wine and extra bread, according to an agreement the Pope made with the Nazis. However, Bernard thought this was to manipulate the rest of the people into hating the priests. In keeping with this narrative, Bernard also continuously claims that the rest of the prisoners laughed every time he received a slap. This seemed rather incongruous to me. I have never read of any other account (and I've read a fair few Holocaust memoirs) where others voluntarily laugh at a fellow prisoner's mistreatment. Maybe the good father was trying to emphasise how Catholics are discriminated against even inside a concentration camp. But all was not really moonlight and roses. Though things were bearable at first, they quickly deteriorated as Bernard's physical fitness gradually eroded for lack of nutrition and rest. At first, the priests were not required to work, but soon that too was made a requirement, and Bernard had to brave the wind and the rain and the cold. At the same time, food was scarce and beatings were plentiful. The situation in the Infirmary was the worst. There is no doubt that Bernard suffered hugely and saw many of his friends and colleagues die in the camp. It was a terrible experience for him, and I do not doubt that. But the tone of the book was quite distasteful for me, as Bernard tries to one-up all non-Catholics and claims he wins every argument about god and religion. Once I had a guard who had obviously received some education, and I managed to get the better of him completely. I explained to him how, if God has created man with free will, He has to leave a back door open for unbelief despite all His revelations of Himself. For if He showed Himself to us too clearly, He would force us to believe and thus, having given us freedom with one hand, take it away with the other. Another time I did something most unwise. After we had spoken for a whole morning about religious matters, the capo said, “I’m not changing my mind—I still don’t believe in God!” Unable to resist the temptation, I responded, “Why do you talk about Him so much then?” That put an abrupt end to our theological conversations. Excuse me for not believing this. Another time, they visit a prominent socialist. Word reaches us that our compatriot Franz Clément has arrived, a prominent socialist politician and writer. We agree to risk a visit to the newcomers’ barrack on the following Sunday afternoon. ... A week later we go back: Esch, Brachmond, and I. Clément walked straight up to Esch, gripped his broad shoulders and embraced him. “Let’s forget what happened in the past! I was wrong. It turns out that the ones who hold out and behave best are you padres...” I am not sure why this need to keep emphasising he won a losing argument. It just comes off as extremely annoying, and I had to keep reminding myself he was the victim, not a jerk. Instead of talking about his own spiritual growth and how he survived the ordeal, Bernard comes across as smug whenever the question of religion arises. Another problem with this memoir is that it is disjointed. Often, Bernard just says things and then moves forward without explaining. One thing that specifically comes to mind is that he claims that his mother died because the Gestapo created a scene. Then he says that she died to save his life. But there is no elaboration, and I think this would be a relevant part of his narrative. A lot of important things got lost in this. There don't seem to be a lot of memoirs about the Catholic experience during this time, so I think this is an important book. But take the religious bits with a pinch of salt.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Josephine (Jo)

    This was a most moving and modest memoir. It relates, without self-pity, the harrowing time spent by Father Jean Bernard in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. We all know, or should know, about the horrifying treatment of the Jewish people in these camps. However, we hear less about those who tried to speak up for them and were then submitted to the same dreadful fate. The number of priests sent to Dachau was 2,720, 94.88% of these were Catholic. On any church feast day or festival the pries This was a most moving and modest memoir. It relates, without self-pity, the harrowing time spent by Father Jean Bernard in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. We all know, or should know, about the horrifying treatment of the Jewish people in these camps. However, we hear less about those who tried to speak up for them and were then submitted to the same dreadful fate. The number of priests sent to Dachau was 2,720, 94.88% of these were Catholic. On any church feast day or festival the priests were singled out for ‘special’ treatment. The Nazis would contrive some particularly demeaning and physically traumatic task for them to carry out for the entire day. Father Bernard tells of the events in the camp that happened both to him and to his brother priests with such humility and never shows any hate. Pope Pius XII was in the position of trying to speak out about what was happening in these camps but also being well aware that every time he spoke against the regime the priests would again suffer. I have read a great many fictional horror stories but they do not compare to the inhumane treatment and punishments that the Nazis were capable of inventing, I cannot imagine what sort of minds could come up with these kinds of tortures. In the introduction to the book it says: “Pope Pius XII quite probably saved more Jews from the Nazis than any other single person.” That is why Golda Meir, one of the founders and later Prime Minister of the newly created Jewish state of Israel, thanked the pope and honoured him among the righteous gentiles: “When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims.” Moshe Sharett, the second Prime Minister of Israel, remarked after meeting with Pius: “I told him that my first duty was to thank him, and through him the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish public for all they had done in the various countries to rescue Jews. We are deeply grateful to the Catholic Church.” In the 1960’s, following a play entitled The Deputy by the Communist-inspired revisionist, Rolf Hochuth, there has been a massive attempt to deny these facts and paint the church as all but a Nazi accomplice and Pius as “Hitler’s Pope”. Father Bernard was not a German but from Luxembourg , the other priests came from all over Europe and were interned either because they had spoken out against Nazism or, as in Father Bernard’s case, simply on a trumped up charge, never knowing exactly what they had done. This was a piece of history that was a real eye opener to me and I think it is well worth a read. We can still learn so much about the Holocaust. Of course there are literally millions and each one is as heart-breaking as the last.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eva Marie

    This is simply astounding. I had a hard time even reading this and this is after reading a few books on the Holocaust. This was the first book I'd read coming from a clergyman and I wanted a different aspect which this gave me. There really isn't much I can say about this- it should be required reading I think- for everyone. I had the hardest time getting through some parts- the evil that is in some people is astounding. I can't begin to imagine going through the things that I had a difficult ti This is simply astounding. I had a hard time even reading this and this is after reading a few books on the Holocaust. This was the first book I'd read coming from a clergyman and I wanted a different aspect which this gave me. There really isn't much I can say about this- it should be required reading I think- for everyone. I had the hardest time getting through some parts- the evil that is in some people is astounding. I can't begin to imagine going through the things that I had a difficult time only reading about.

  4. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    "This was but a prelude; where books are burnt human-beings will be burnt in the end." ~~the German poet Heinrich Heine in 1820 Although I visited Dachau years ago and I've read many books--both fiction and non-fiction--dealing with life in concentration camps, I don't recall ever reading any individual accounts specifically about this particular camp, until I encountered this poignant diary by Father Jean Bernard from Luxembourg. As I was reading Priestblock 25487 A Memoir of Dachau it was hard "This was but a prelude; where books are burnt human-beings will be burnt in the end." ~~the German poet Heinrich Heine in 1820 Although I visited Dachau years ago and I've read many books--both fiction and non-fiction--dealing with life in concentration camps, I don't recall ever reading any individual accounts specifically about this particular camp, until I encountered this poignant diary by Father Jean Bernard from Luxembourg. As I was reading Priestblock 25487 A Memoir of Dachau it was hard not to recall the eerie silence of Dachau's vast empty spaces marking off where derelict huts had once housed skeletons. But for the Grace of God, Father Bernard, too, would have joined the many souls who died there. His memoir is unique in several respects and worth reading, no matter how many books you may have read about the Holocaust. First, it is about what happened to Christian, both Catholic and Protestant, clergy at the hands of the Nazis. For those who may have thought the Jewish nation alone suffered during those terrible times, they need look no further. In fact, there were punishments vindictive guards delighted in reserving just for priests on special feasts and other holy days. And yet the strength of the story comes from the author’s intelligence, compassion for his fellows, and lack of self-pity or belaboring the horrors. The suffering endured by these men is beyond imagining; that is sufficient. However, for me, it was Father Bernard’s unwavering faith in Christ through it all which speaks louder than anything and is the most important reason to read this book. Worth reading and rereading—a reminder of how blessed we all are!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    My father was part of the Rainbow Division which liberated Dachau at the end of WWII. He did not actually visit the camp, since the commanders did not recommend it and one of his tentmates was so traumatized by it, he sat in the corner of the tent and didn't speak until the Division moved out. So I am extremely interested in memoirs concerning the camp. I was very disappointed in this one. For most of the time Bernard was a resident, the priests were treated much better than the general populatio My father was part of the Rainbow Division which liberated Dachau at the end of WWII. He did not actually visit the camp, since the commanders did not recommend it and one of his tentmates was so traumatized by it, he sat in the corner of the tent and didn't speak until the Division moved out. So I am extremely interested in memoirs concerning the camp. I was very disappointed in this one. For most of the time Bernard was a resident, the priests were treated much better than the general population. Not too many Jews had been sent there yet; most of the others were political prisoners. Bernard never discovered why he was sent nor why he was released, so the book has a dislocated feeling about it. Bernard is not a good storyteller. Toward the end, his story becomes better narrated. This is when he begins discussing what happens to the prisoners in the hospital ward that are never going to be able to work again. They are sent "on transports" and never seen again. Somehow, Bernard does manage to convey the chilling implications. An interesting item is that the ill were bunked in 3 bed bunks. The highest level was for the least sick: those who could still climb that high. As they became sicker, they were moved down a bunk. Being on the bottom bunk could end up being reason for transport. The book is short and that may be why it is not well written. Bernard lacks the narrating of small details that make many other memoirs, such as Primo Levi's, so fascinating and horrible.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I read this book in a couple of hours. As a teenager I visited Dachau which is now a monument. The overwhelming feeling of misery and death surrounded me while I was inside, and I cannot begin to imagine the horror of being imprisoned there. The human spirit, love for one another and hope and faith in God is unbelievable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Betsy D.

    This might not be a five star book for everyone, but I found the experience of priests in Dachau to be fascinating, and of course, heart-wrenching like every other Holocaust survival story. Bonus points that the author, Father Jean Bernard is from Luxembourg, where some of my ancestors come from!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sean Brennan

    Harrowing story of the concentration camp in World War 2

  9. 4 out of 5

    El

    In 1941 Father Jean Bernard was imprisoned in Dachau for denouncing the Nazis. He was placed in Dachau's "Priest Block", a barracks for clergymen. He was released in 1942, but his experiences in the concentration camp led to his memoirs here. This is the first book of a clergyman's involvement in the camps that I have come across and was even startled to find there was such a barrack as "Priest Block", though I suppose I shouldn't find that so shocking. Bernard's descriptions of his experiences a In 1941 Father Jean Bernard was imprisoned in Dachau for denouncing the Nazis. He was placed in Dachau's "Priest Block", a barracks for clergymen. He was released in 1942, but his experiences in the concentration camp led to his memoirs here. This is the first book of a clergyman's involvement in the camps that I have come across and was even startled to find there was such a barrack as "Priest Block", though I suppose I shouldn't find that so shocking. Bernard's descriptions of his experiences are not quite as vivid as some memoirs I have read (particularly after the amazing images found in Oskar Rosenfeld's notebooks I finished immediately before reading Bernard's memoir); however, many images were impressed upon my mind's eye despite the short amount of time spent in discussing them (the dandelion he and others watched and desired to steal from the field to eat in desperation from hunger, the feces running down one man's leg). Without meaning to sound like a callous jerk I felt Bernard's memoir was more superficial than others I have read - I do not mean that it was not well written or that he did not experience horror as other writers of their experiences, but I do mean that I felt Bernard did not delve below the surface as much as others. Still, I'm glad I read it and recommend it to anyone also interested in Holocaust literature.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Cole

    Amazingly, powerful book of a Catholic priest in the Concentration Camp at Dachau. Its a short read at only 177 pages, but I found it hard to put it down when I started to read it. My uncle recommended this book when I raided his book cases at Thanksgiving and I am really, really glad that he did. The story starts with him in prison and then transferring to Dachau and ends with him getting released from Dachau. Everything that happened to him during his imprisonment was horrifying. From staying i Amazingly, powerful book of a Catholic priest in the Concentration Camp at Dachau. Its a short read at only 177 pages, but I found it hard to put it down when I started to read it. My uncle recommended this book when I raided his book cases at Thanksgiving and I am really, really glad that he did. The story starts with him in prison and then transferring to Dachau and ends with him getting released from Dachau. Everything that happened to him during his imprisonment was horrifying. From staying in the priests barracks and having their extra wine and food at meals, to being a day labor at the SS Camp "plantation" as they called it. The immense pain that he went through both emotional and physical at the end of his stay was a horrible thing for anyone to go through.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cacallahan

    A must read Moving and profound. Shocking as all Holocaust and concentration camp accounts are, but unique in that Fr. Bernard is a Roman Catholic priest and experiences a different treatment and brutality than his Jewish brothers and sisters. There were moments when I cried silent tears of sorrow for his treatment and his fellow priests especially in regards to their religious duties. I worried and was hopeful. Fr. Bernard endured so much and came out alive. As always with these memoirs I find A must read Moving and profound. Shocking as all Holocaust and concentration camp accounts are, but unique in that Fr. Bernard is a Roman Catholic priest and experiences a different treatment and brutality than his Jewish brothers and sisters. There were moments when I cried silent tears of sorrow for his treatment and his fellow priests especially in regards to their religious duties. I worried and was hopeful. Fr. Bernard endured so much and came out alive. As always with these memoirs I find that they shake me up. His life and those of his fellow priests should not be forgotten. I am grateful to know his story and so be able to tell it and share with others. Eternal rest grant unto him, O God.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather Bolwar

    During WWII the Nazis sent priests and other clergy to concentration camps if they denounced the teaching of the party. This book is the memoir of Fr. Jean Bernard, a priest from Luxembourg. Fr. Bernard was released from Dachau for ten days during his "stay" there, but he returned because if he didn't, his fellow Luxembourger priests would've suffered for it. As I read and cried my way through this book, I wondered if my own faith would remain were I to be subjected to this kind of cruelty. During WWII the Nazis sent priests and other clergy to concentration camps if they denounced the teaching of the party. This book is the memoir of Fr. Jean Bernard, a priest from Luxembourg. Fr. Bernard was released from Dachau for ten days during his "stay" there, but he returned because if he didn't, his fellow Luxembourger priests would've suffered for it. As I read and cried my way through this book, I wondered if my own faith would remain were I to be subjected to this kind of cruelty.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Luke A. Bunker

    A must-read for better understanding the senselessness that occurred at Dachau. This book was written in the interesting and unusual perspective of a priest and I am glad I read it as I will be visiting Dachau this month and wanted to put a human and individual face for better understanding and empathy of that tragic time in our world's history. A must-read for better understanding the senselessness that occurred at Dachau. This book was written in the interesting and unusual perspective of a priest and I am glad I read it as I will be visiting Dachau this month and wanted to put a human and individual face for better understanding and empathy of that tragic time in our world's history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

    This book is a fast paced and sobering account of the depth to which man's inhumanity can sink, and also of the strength which man can gain from faith and uniting his suffering to that of Christ. This book is a fast paced and sobering account of the depth to which man's inhumanity can sink, and also of the strength which man can gain from faith and uniting his suffering to that of Christ.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meg Hunter-Kilmer

    Interesting but brief with very little on priestly activity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I had thought this would be a hard read but it was actually a very easy read. I found the description of Dachau and how priests were treated to be very interesting. I had known that some priests and Christians had opposed Hitler. But, this book describes a large number of priests who were sent to this concentration camp. I am thankful that some people tried to stand up against Hitler and the Nazis. The preface by Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, states "Over 2,000 Catholic priests b I had thought this would be a hard read but it was actually a very easy read. I found the description of Dachau and how priests were treated to be very interesting. I had known that some priests and Christians had opposed Hitler. But, this book describes a large number of priests who were sent to this concentration camp. I am thankful that some people tried to stand up against Hitler and the Nazis. The preface by Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, states "Over 2,000 Catholic priests became prisoners of one of Hitler's earliest concentration camps, Dachau in Bavaria, Germany." While in this camp, the priests starved yet shared some of their stolen food with others. They did what they could to help each other survive in horrible circumstances. May we all help others and stand up against evil like these priests did.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Teresa “Teri”

    Horror of Dachau This is one of the very few books I’ve read about a prisoner in a Concentration Camp during WWII who was not Jewish. As horrific as this Priest’s story was, I kept thinking that even at its very worst moments, it could not compare with the Jewish Holocaust experiences I’ve been reading. I know that the Nazis tortured and murdered many non-Jewish people. But, in the Jewish stories I have read, one’s whole family are taken prisoner or killed. There is never a hope of being released Horror of Dachau This is one of the very few books I’ve read about a prisoner in a Concentration Camp during WWII who was not Jewish. As horrific as this Priest’s story was, I kept thinking that even at its very worst moments, it could not compare with the Jewish Holocaust experiences I’ve been reading. I know that the Nazis tortured and murdered many non-Jewish people. But, in the Jewish stories I have read, one’s whole family are taken prisoner or killed. There is never a hope of being released from the camp as happened with Fr. Bernard, no short term release because a family member has died, etc. I sympathize with this man and all he went through and I’m not making his suffering seem light. I am happy Fr. Bernard survived and lived a long life.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy D Lucas

    When reading a book on Nazi concentration camps, or any form of unjust internment, particularly when written by a victim, it’s hard not to bow to the author’s vulnerability in sharing. Priestblock is not a riveting page turner, but a nuanced and occasionally difficult-to-accept account of conditions on the inside of Dachau. And I say difficult-to-accept not because it’s unbelievable, but because I still can’t fathom the levels of diabolical evil and, on the other side, the levels of intentional, When reading a book on Nazi concentration camps, or any form of unjust internment, particularly when written by a victim, it’s hard not to bow to the author’s vulnerability in sharing. Priestblock is not a riveting page turner, but a nuanced and occasionally difficult-to-accept account of conditions on the inside of Dachau. And I say difficult-to-accept not because it’s unbelievable, but because I still can’t fathom the levels of diabolical evil and, on the other side, the levels of intentional, general apathy among standing witnesses that exist within so many members of the human race.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    Important memoir because it is from a priest and shows how priests were treated. As with all survivors of concentration camps I am always astonished by the perseverance, will to live, help from others, and just pure luck it took to make it through alive. This memoir is no different. Must read especially if you are Catholic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate Clough

    This is a bare bones account of a priest’s experience in a concentration camp. It plainly shows how he and other prisoners were forced to live and is extremely moving while hard to read at times. I only gave it 4 stars because the words don’t necessarily flow but would recommend it to everyone to read for the historical importance.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lois B Gudanek

    How Priests Helped Each Other Survive Dachau. Increases your love for the Eucharist and the Mass. I recommend this book to those who who are interested in the reality of how priests were treated in countries occupied by Germany during WWII.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lkb

    A gripping read. May Fr. Bernard and his fellow priests rest in God's peace and may such horrors never occur again -- to anyone. May the perpetrators have repentance and conversion so God may have mery on them. A gripping read. May Fr. Bernard and his fellow priests rest in God's peace and may such horrors never occur again -- to anyone. May the perpetrators have repentance and conversion so God may have mery on them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    BL

    Honest easy read. He makes his suffering seem like less than others without false modesty.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Fr. Jean Bernard's first-hand witness and submission of the torture and hatred poured out upon Catholic clergy in the Dachau concentration camp is, as other reviewers have said, "dramatic, brutally honest, gripping, riveting, absorbing, compelling, deeply moving, important, luminous, unforgettable, powerful, inspiring, simple, forceful and vivid." Yes! It is all that. The depth of human cruelty, the height of human sanctity, the worst disregard for the human body and soul and the vast limits to w Fr. Jean Bernard's first-hand witness and submission of the torture and hatred poured out upon Catholic clergy in the Dachau concentration camp is, as other reviewers have said, "dramatic, brutally honest, gripping, riveting, absorbing, compelling, deeply moving, important, luminous, unforgettable, powerful, inspiring, simple, forceful and vivid." Yes! It is all that. The depth of human cruelty, the height of human sanctity, the worst disregard for the human body and soul and the vast limits to which they can survive are covered very explicitly in this book. When you hear slanders against Catholics for aiding the Nazi persecutions, this is a story of have in mind. Certainly some Catholics complied with those great atrocities, but to leave the story at that, to even entertain the notion that number of Catholics that did so were anything more than disobedient and miniscule minority is to abandon reason and history. This is one small and piecing contribution to the vast canon which thoroughly disproves such insane libel. This is a book for those interested in history, biographies, perseverance through great suffering, Advent and Lenten reading, lives of the saints and clear writing to refocus your mind on the things that matter most.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    From the first page I was captivated by the simplicity of the writing and the horror of the story. The book recounts the time that Fr. Bernard spent in the concentration camp of Dachau. It is a beautiful account of humanity, humility and the best and worst of what we can do to each other. The horrors portrayed in this book had a deep impact on me. I always knew that life in a concentration camp was horrible but to actually read a first person account of the day-to-day life with all its moments w From the first page I was captivated by the simplicity of the writing and the horror of the story. The book recounts the time that Fr. Bernard spent in the concentration camp of Dachau. It is a beautiful account of humanity, humility and the best and worst of what we can do to each other. The horrors portrayed in this book had a deep impact on me. I always knew that life in a concentration camp was horrible but to actually read a first person account of the day-to-day life with all its moments was very eye opening. The incredible hardship these men endured, and the constant ridicule and hunger they lived with is hard to imagine. Yet these men still managed to find Christ in all this mess. Some of the most amazing moments in the book come when these starved and barely alive men get to sneak in a small piece of the Eucharist, and are overfilled with joy that they can have their Lord with them in this suffering. This book is incredibly important. It reminds us how the Nazis treated those who believed in Christ. The book is very graphic and truthful. I highly recommend it to everyone.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Moving and powerful. I read Night many years ago in college, and remembered how graphic and disturbing it was. Priestblock 2587 was written from a different perspective- that of a priest who has been condemned to Dachau for opposing the Nazis. I didn't know that there was a whole section of Dachau set aside for priests and other clergy- in fact, one out of ten prisoners in Dachau was a priest or other clergyman. The story of Christians in the concentration camps is rarely told. Priestblock 2587 Moving and powerful. I read Night many years ago in college, and remembered how graphic and disturbing it was. Priestblock 2587 was written from a different perspective- that of a priest who has been condemned to Dachau for opposing the Nazis. I didn't know that there was a whole section of Dachau set aside for priests and other clergy- in fact, one out of ten prisoners in Dachau was a priest or other clergyman. The story of Christians in the concentration camps is rarely told. Priestblock 2587 was hard to read, very disturbing, and also well written- I really got a sense for what the inmates of Dachau went through. Books about the Holocaust are so important because we must never forget how horrible the Nazis were and what so many innocent people went through in the camps. The knowledge that the people whose stories were told in this book were in the camps because of their opposition to the Nazis and that they could have avoided being persecuted if only they didn't fight or help the Jewish people makes their story so much more powerful. They are true heroes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    This was a strange recollection experience...one I haven't come across before, almost as if the author wasn't terribly keen on revisiting the memories for the sake of a book. It was strangely (but not surprisingly) detatched. Very raw and simple experience of pure survival, and nothing else. Most interesting is it is probably a very accurate depiction of his mind set during this time. Father Bernard makes a statement about one of his friends being at the bottom of a pile of corpses and the autho This was a strange recollection experience...one I haven't come across before, almost as if the author wasn't terribly keen on revisiting the memories for the sake of a book. It was strangely (but not surprisingly) detatched. Very raw and simple experience of pure survival, and nothing else. Most interesting is it is probably a very accurate depiction of his mind set during this time. Father Bernard makes a statement about one of his friends being at the bottom of a pile of corpses and the author said he was too weak to get up to look "and besides I knew what a pile of naked corpses looked like." He mentioned "one doesn't get too emotional about things..." and I think this book reflects that. A valuable book certainly but not really one which reflects on wisdom or thoughts...it is almost like a camera roving the camp and barracks without narration...just scratchy jumpy images of hollowed faces, haunted eyes, and supreme suffering.

  28. 5 out of 5

    G.M. Burrow

    A quick, tough read. Jean Bernard's memoir comes mostly in snapshots, which works best if you already have a basic grasp of the war's timeline and Hitler's purpose for the concentration camps. The book's brightest gem comes early as he introduces the horrors he's about to tell: "We must never forget what happened there.... Forgetting would be cowardice on the part of the people in whose name all these crimes were committed.... That amounts to a wish to forget, in order to make forgiveness easier A quick, tough read. Jean Bernard's memoir comes mostly in snapshots, which works best if you already have a basic grasp of the war's timeline and Hitler's purpose for the concentration camps. The book's brightest gem comes early as he introduces the horrors he's about to tell: "We must never forget what happened there.... Forgetting would be cowardice on the part of the people in whose name all these crimes were committed.... That amounts to a wish to forget, in order to make forgiveness easier.... Yet we must forgive. We must forgive while remaining conscious of the full horror of what occurred, not only because nothing constructive can be built on a foundation of hatred--neither a new Europe nor a new world--but above all for the sake of Him who commands and urges us to forgive, and before whom we, victims and executioners alike, are all poor debtors in need of mercy."

  29. 5 out of 5

    James Hecker

    A memoir of a Catholic priest from Luxembourg arrested and sent to the German concentration camp, Dachau in 1941. Written in the style of diary entries, it is a compelling account of the horror, brutalization, and inhumane treatment at the hands of the SS and the prisoners in charge of the operation of the camp. Yet even among the brutality and mistreatment there are examples of Grace and the sustaining power of hope. The book is no "happily ever after tale" though. Many of the priests the author A memoir of a Catholic priest from Luxembourg arrested and sent to the German concentration camp, Dachau in 1941. Written in the style of diary entries, it is a compelling account of the horror, brutalization, and inhumane treatment at the hands of the SS and the prisoners in charge of the operation of the camp. Yet even among the brutality and mistreatment there are examples of Grace and the sustaining power of hope. The book is no "happily ever after tale" though. Many of the priests the author knew or met in the camp died, and his own survival and release is surprising and unhoped for at the end. A quick read and although moving, not so graphic as to be overly painful to read. It makes me wonder how throughout history, and even today people can dehumanize another to treat them so badly.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book is good. Midway I was thinking to myself - "This is quite repetitive" but then I thought, that's understandable really if you're in a concentration camp. There is nothing else but to focus on food and survival. And this is captured extremely well. What I did miss was more interiority (his faith, struggle, dialogue with Christ, etc.). I understand that this is not an aesthetical book but somehow I think it could be very enriching for the reader. I admire the book, "Man's Searching for M This book is good. Midway I was thinking to myself - "This is quite repetitive" but then I thought, that's understandable really if you're in a concentration camp. There is nothing else but to focus on food and survival. And this is captured extremely well. What I did miss was more interiority (his faith, struggle, dialogue with Christ, etc.). I understand that this is not an aesthetical book but somehow I think it could be very enriching for the reader. I admire the book, "Man's Searching for Meaning", while I know it's from a psychologist, it does help you to think a little bit beyond the material necessities to the human soul.

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