Holocaust Memorial Day

Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 12:15

 

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.

The theme this year Is "One Day". Holocaust Memorial Day is One Day – 27 January – that we put aside to come together to remember, to learn about the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, in the hope that there may be One Day in the future  no genocide. History is about learning more about the past, so we empathise with others today, and we can take action for a better future.

The Shrine has a beautiful icon of two martyrs of Nazi Persecution: Saint Edith Stein and Blessed Titus Brandsma.

Edith Stein

Edith was born to a Jewish family in Breslau in 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy, she searched after truth. She declared that she had found the truth after reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) in a single sitting. In 1922 Edith was baptised a Catholic, and continued her work as a philosopher and academic. In 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne to live as a nun. Like many of her fellow Jews, Edith suffered during the Nazi persecution of World War II. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz concentration camp on 9th August 1942, dying both as a Jewish woman and a martyr for the Christian faith, having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, Edith left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was declared one of the six co-patron saints of Europe by Pope Saint John Paul II.

Titus Brandsma

He was born as Anno Sjoerd Brandsma in Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, and joined the Carmelite Order in 1898 taking the name ‘Titus’, eventually being ordained a priest in 1905. In time he became a professor and then Rector Magnificus at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. He was also a journalist. During the 1930s he gave a famous series of lectures in the United States on Carmelite mysticism. Throughout the 1930s Nazi propaganda was on the rise but Fr Titus refused to support or print anything in support of the Nazi regime. Fr Titus was arrested by the Gestapo on January 19, 1942, and imprisoned in his native country before being sent to the concentration camp at Dachau where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners. In Dachau he was experimented on in the medical wing and was finally put to death by lethal injection on July 26, 1942.