In a memorial service, Hildesheim Bishop Heiner Wilmer paid tribute to the lives of pastors Joseph Muller and Christoph Hackethal and Father Friedrich Lorenz, who were murdered during the Nazi dictatorship.
After 1933, a great many people had turned away from God and followed the "foolish ideology of National Socialism," the Catholic bishop said Sunday in Hildesheim Cathedral. The priests Joseph Muller and Christoph Hackethal as well as Father Friedrich Lorenz remained faithful to their faith during this time and paid for it with their lives.
They had not been born as saints and had repeatedly quarreled with God, but they had remained faithful to him until death, Wilmer emphasized. Muller, Hackethal and Lorenz came into conflict with the regime because they did not allow themselves to be intimidated, continued to preach the Word of God and were there for the people in their parishes. They were therefore considered enemies of the state and were arrested.
Hackethal and Muller
The Rev. Christoph Hackethal, who was born in Hanover in 1899, served as parish priest in Bad Harzburg. In spite of all the restrictions, he also took care of Catholic forced laborers and prisoners of war, which probably led to his arrest in the summer of 1941, Wilmer said. However, the real reasons had not been handed down anywhere. Hackethal died exactly 77 years ago on the 25th of March. August 1942 in the Dachau concentration camp as a result of imprisonment and torture.
Father Joseph Muller was born in 1899 in Salmunster in the diocese of Fulda. He was ordained priest in the Hildesheim Cathedral and was active in numerous parishes of the diocese. He, too, had made no secret of his critical attitude toward the Nazi state and had also invited Polish forced laborers to his church services.
Arrested "completely arbitrarily and without reason"
A denunciation finally brought him before the People’s Court in Berlin, which sentenced him to death in July 1944. On 11. September he was executed. Father Friedrich Lorenz was born in Klein Freden near Alfeld in 1897. His last position was as a parish priest in Stettin (today Szczecin).
When at the beginning of 1943 the Gestapo once again took action against alleged "enemies of the system," Lorenz was also arrested: "completely arbitrarily, completely without reason," according to Wilmer. Lorenz was also sentenced to death in July 1944 by the Reich War Court in Halle and executed on 13. November executed.