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Sixty-eight years ago today, Alfred Delp was arrested in Munich and imprisoned in Tegel Prison in Berlin. Six months later he was executed by hanging, just three months before General Alfred Jodl signed Gemany’s unconditional surrender, bringing to an end 12 years of Nazi terror in Germany…. Read more at http://blogs.timescolonist.com/2012/07/28/wartime-priests-vision-of-mercy-holds-true-today/
Alfred Delp, the Jesuit priest executed by the Nazis in 1945, got caught in circumstances vastly bigger than his one small life. The vicious inhuman events of 1933 to 1945 eventually crushed his body.
Believing that Nazism could not survive, Delp joined a group of intellectuals planning for the social reconstruction of Germany after what they believed was the inevitable the fall of the Third Reich. Such activity was deemed treasonous in the paranoid minds of the Nazis.
Roland Freisler, the fanatical Nazi judge who conducted Delp’s “trial”, despised the Jesuits and exhibited nothing but contempt and hatred towards the captive priest over whose “trial” he reigned with the terror of a tyrant. All the mighty powers of the Third Reich were assembled against the weak and helpless Alfred Delp.
But for Delp, power did not reside with the might and the tyranny of his Nazi oppressors. Bound in Tegel Prison, Delp wrote,
To captive eyes, it still appears that the ultimate throw of the dice will be cast here below in these valleys, on these battlefields, in these camps, and prisons, and cellars. One keeping vigil, though, senses the other powers at work and can await their hour.
In the Swedish film “As It Is In Heaven,” Daniel Dareus is an internationally acclaimed symphony conductor who, although fabulously successful in his career, is deeply lonely, broken, and bitter in his life. After suffering a serious heart attack Dareus retreats from the conductor’s podium to the Swedish village of Norrland where as a child he had suffered terribly at the hands of school bullies.
After keeping to himself in Norrland, Dareus is slowly coaxed to take a position conducting the tiny amateur local church choir. As the choir begins to discover its voice, Dareus recovers the original vision that caused him to pursue a life in music. Near the end of the film Dareus says that when he started his career in music he wanted to “create music that will open a person’s heart.”
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Alfred Delp who was born in Mannheim, Germany in 1907, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Munich at the age of twenty-nine. He had hoped to continue his studies after ordination but was prevented for political reasons. Instead Father Delp went to work for the Jesuit publication “Voice of the Times.”
On July 20, 1944 an unsuccessful plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in the arrest of over 7,000 suspected members of the German resistance movement. Due to his association with the Kreisau Circle, a gathering of intellectuals planning for a new social order after the fall of the Third Reich, Alfred Delp found himself among those the Gestapo put in prison.
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