This is the biography of a Carmelite, born in Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, who dies in the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany in 1942 and is beatified as a martyr for the Catholic faith by Pope John Paul I on November 3. 1985. As president of the Catholic Schools and assistant of the Union of Catholic Journalists in The Netherlands (UCIP), Fr. Brandsma denounced with authentic and prophetic courage the trampling of human and religious rights by the Nazi movement, defended the Jews as well as educational freedom, and the Catholic press during the invasion of the Netherlands.
“He is a dangerous little friar,” shouted the Nazis and they arrested him. After enduring several jails and concentration camps, Brandsma found himself at the terrible camp in Dachau where he suffered unspeakable physical and moral tortures and underwent the infamous biochemical experiments of the Nazis. He was killed with an injection of carbolic acid on July 26, 1942.
This biography is based on the acts of the process of canonization as well as biographies printed in various languages. To better understand Brandsma’s spiritual journey, the author visited The Netherlands and Germany, in pilgrimage to the places of birth, life, and death of this “martyr for freedom of expression.”
These pages bring before you the life of a simple, cordial Carmelite, a multifaceted priest as well as a mystic, passionate journalist, rector magnificus of the Catholic University of Nijmegen. But in all of these Brandsma lives as a courageous witness to Christ, even to the point of giving his own life for the Truth.
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