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The Southern Cross : April 2012
April 2012 Page 7 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross news | The execution of his own grandfather by the Nazis in 1943 has been the impetus for Glen Osmond parishioner John Jasiukaitis to raise the profile of three Catholic priests and a Lutheran pastor from Lubeck who were beheaded the same year for speaking out against the Hitler regime. The three Catholic martyrs were beatified in June last year and the pastor was honoured in a special service. Prior to the beatification, Mr Jasiukaitis wrote to Archbishop Philip Wilson about the fate of the clergymen and his own quest to verify the circumstances of his grandfather's death at the hands of the Nazis. Archbishop Wilson subsequently offered Mass for his grandfather, Carl Andreas Zimmer (pictured below), and has actively promoted the story of the Lubeck martyrs, of which he was already familiar. This included celebrating their beatification at Mass last July. "I have been overwhelmed by the Archbishop's response," Mr Jasiukaitis said. Archbishop Wilson told The Southern Cross the common sacrifice of the martyrs of Lubeck was a great example for us today in overcoming denominational boundaries. The friendship between the Lutheran pastor and the Catholic priests while they were in prison was unusual for its time. Pope Benedict, himself a German, recognised the significance of this in an address to the German ambassador to the Vatican: "The documented friendship between these four clerics while they were in jail represents an impressive witness to ecumenical prayer and suffering which in many places flowered among Christians of different denominations during the dark days of national socialism. We may regard these witnesses as shining lights on our common ecumenical path." Lutheran pastor Karl Friedrich Stellbrink and Catholic chaplains Hermann Lange, Eduard Muller and Johannes Prassek were beheaded in the Hamburg prison Holstenglacis. They were sentenced to death for "undermining military strength, treachery, giving aid and comfort to the enemy and intercepting enemy radio stations". A place of remembrance has been created in the Herz Jesu (Sacred Heart) Catholic Church in Lubeck and Mr Jasiukaitis has been in touch with the Lubeck Church about having his grandfather's documentation placed there as well. Mr Zimmer, a newspaper editor, music teacher and scholar, was arrested for expressing doubts that Germany would win the war at a time when Hitler had conquered much of Europe. His daughter Margareta Zimmer (Mr Jasiukaitis' mother) always held out hope that her father survived but in 1997 the Red Cross tracing service confirmed that he had been executed. Mr Jasiukaitis also has a letter from Mr Zimmer to his wife Johanna, written just a few hours before his death, which states that he will be executed at 7pm and that he would go "straight to God" because he had already done his purgatory in prison. He also has others letters to Johanna and one to Margareta which will be glossed and bound and given to a museum in Berlin. Rev. David Altus, President of the Lutheran Church of Australia SA/NT said the story of the Lubeck martyrs "encourages us to dialogue both formally and at the local level, to speak together where we can as a witness to the world, and to offer each other mutual support as brothers and sisters in Christ". "That these Catholic priests and a Lutheran pastor supported each other as pastor and priests in each others' ministries through the sharing of sermons and ideas, and that they eventually shared a common witness in death is a powerful inspiration and witness to Christ's body, the Church today," Rev. Altus said. "That they are now at one with their Lord in their eternal rest calls us forward together in our common hope." Local link to Lubeck martyrs By Jenny Brinkworth The Herz Jesu (Sacred Heart) Catholic Church in Lubeck, where the three executed priests were based. Join the Principal on a School Tour You are invited to join Mrs Mary Camilleri on a learning walk around Marymount College, a Middle School for Girls Years 6 -- 9, Hove. Meet the students and teachers, see classes in action, ask questions and discuss your enrolment. Enrolling Now for og N o o 2013 & 2014 We look forward to sharing our unique place of belonging with you. Please contact the Registrar on 8298 2388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . to register for the tour www.mc.catholic.edu.au MARYMOUNT COLLEGE | COLTON AVE | HOVE MARYMOUNT COLLEGE Friday 15 June 2012 9.00 am