From yet another favorite blog, V for Victory at blogger:
From afar, Edith Stein, who had been born and raised Jewish, discerned the fate that awaited her people at the hands of the Nazis. In 1933, she wrote: “I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on His people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine.” Six years later, in her last will and testament, the child who had been born on the Day of Atonement would offer herself up for the sake of atonement: “Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being His most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my death…so that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world.” Although her order smuggled her to the Netherlands for her safety, she desired to share the fate of her Jewish brethren. This desire was granted on August 9, 1942, when St. Theresa Benedicta and her sister Rose, also a convert to the Faith, were murdered in the gas chamber at Auschwitz.
A Franciscan Sister of Charity, Bl. Maria Restituta was born in Brno in what is now the Czech Republic. A trained nurse, she went to work at the hospital in Mödling, south of Vienna after World War I, eventually becoming the head surgical nurse. Her refusal to take down crucifixes that she had hung in the hospital, plus her writings critical to the regime, led to her arrest by the Gestapo on Ash Wednesday, 1942. She was eventually sentenced to death, and was beheaded on March 30, 1943. Here is the link to Pope John Paul II’s homily on the occasion of her beatification.
When Pope Pius XII ordered the convents and cloisters of Rome to open their doors to Jewish refugees in 1943, Bl. Mary Elizabeth Hasselblad, Bridgettine abbess, and her assistant, Sr. (later Mother) Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough, an Englishwoman, sprang into action. Thanks to their efforts, Casa di San Brigida, became a refuge for more than 60 Jews during the war. Bl. Mary Elizabeth died in 1957, whereupon Mother Ricarda, who died in 1966, succeeded her as abbess. Pope John Paul II beatified Bl. Mary Elizabeth in 1999; early last year, the Bridgettines petitioned Rome for permission to open a cause for the sainthood of Mother Ricarda, who played a leading role in this life-saving work.
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Irena Sendler used her position as an employee of Poland’s Social Welfare Department to smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, to which her duties gave her access. While apparently conducting health inspections, Sendler hid children in boxes, suitcases, packages, trams, ambulances, and whatever else would answer the purpose, and got them out to various refuges and hiding places. In order to make it possible for the children to be reunited with their families after the war, she buried jars full of lists of their names. In 1943, the Gestapo caught Sendler, put her to torture and sentenced her to death; bribed by her friends, the guards whose task was to take her to her execution abandoned her in a wood instead, unconscious and with broken arms and legs. Officially dead, Sendler passed the war in hiding but continued her work. After the war, she dug up the jars she had buried and tried to reunite the approximately 2,500 children she had saved with their families; however, most of the latter had perished in the death camp at Treblinka. Sendler died in 2008 at the age of 98.
Born in 1889 in Florence to a renowned German sculptor, Dietrich von Hildebrand was raised in a milieu in which natural gifts and virtues flourished in an absence of religion. Gifted himself with a brilliant intellect, the young von Hildebrand decided to become a philosopher, and studied first at the University of Munich, and then the University of Göttingen. In 1914, he and his wife accepted Baptism and entered the Catholic Church. Von Hildebrand was an early and vocal denouncer of the budding Nazi party, and quickly earned a place of honor on their blacklist. When Hitler tried to take over Bavaria in November of 1923 (the infamous “Beer Hall Putsch”), von Hildebrand was compelled to flee, but returned after the putsch failed. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, von Hildebrand was compelled to abandon his property and his professorship at the University of Munich and return, penniless, to Florence, the city of his birth. Appalled and grieved at the confusion of those — especially Catholics, and even Catholic clergy — who failed to recognize the evil of the Nazi ideology, von Hildebrand determined to continue to wage war against it; later in 1933, he moved to Vienna and, with the backing of Chancellor Dollfuss, founded a magazine devoted entirely to attacking and exposing the intellectual underpinnings of Nazism and its first cousin, Communism. Von Hildebrand — whom the Nazis had sentenced to death in absentia — again became a refugee after the Anschluss and, after many adventures in Switzerland and France, made it to America in 1940. The author of a large body of theological and philosophical works (Pope Pius XII called him a “20th-century doctor of the Church”), von Hildebrand died in New Rochelle, New York in 1977.
Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss called himself the youngest (43) and the shortest Chancellor in all of Europe. A devout Catholic, he was also the only European head of state to actively and openly oppose Hitlerism in the 1930s. In 1933, he met Dietrich von Hildebrand and agreed to provide financial backing for Hildebrand’s anti-Nazi, anti-Communist magazine. Determined to preserve the independence of Austria, Dollfuss took stern measures in the face of Nazi and Communist attempts to take power. On July 25, 1934, as part of an attempted coup, Nazi assassins dressed as Austrian guards invaded the Chancery and shot Dollfuss. Dollfuss lay dying for seven hours, during which time the Nazis refused to bring him either a doctor or a priest; he breathed his last praying for his murderers.
No, it is not the Catholic Church that owes an apology for the Holocaust. If any apologies are owed, they are owed by people whose blind hatred of the Church makes them equally blind to the facts, and enemies of the truth.