Bernhard Lichtenberg

Hinter der Katholischen Kirche 4 /5
Stone was laid
June 2009
03 December 1875 in Ohlau (Schlesien) / Oława
Domprobst, kath. Geistlicher
05 November 1943 in Hof (Bayern)
A notice with anonymous anti-Semitic propaganda is being distributed to Berlin homes. It claims that every German who in any way supports the Jews out of supposed false sentimentality, if only by a friendly gesture, is betraying his people. Don't be misled by this un-Christian way of thinking but act according to the strict commandment of Jesus Christ: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Sunday sermon prepared by Bernhard Lichtenberg, 26.10.1941

Bernhard Lichtenberg studied Catholic theology and was ordained a priest in Breslau Cathedral in 1899. He was a chaplain from 1900 to 1913 in various parishes in the Berlin area. In 1913, he was appointed priest to the Herz Jesu church in Charlottenburg. He served in the First World War as a military priest and joined the Centre Party in 1919. From 1920 to 1933, he was a member of Charlottenburg district council. He was also on the board of the Peace Association of German Catholics. In 1931, he called upon people to go and see the anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front. In response to this, the NSDAP newspaper Der Angriff launched a hate campaign against him. From 1933, he was questioned several times by the Gestapo and his house was searched. In 1938, he was appointed provost at St Hedwig's Cathedral. He spoke out against the terror in the concentration camps in his sermons and prayed publicly for the persecuted Jews after Kristallnacht on 9.11.1938. We know what happened yesterday. We don't know what will happen tomorrow. But we have lived through what happened today. Outside, the temple is burning. That is also a house of God. As head of the relief organisation of the bishopric and together with the Bishop of Berlin, Konrad Graf von Preysing, he provided financial aid to Jewish citizens, and personally took some in. On 28.8.1941 he protested against the murder of people in care and nursing homes under the Nazis’ euthanasia programme. He was arrested by the Gestapo on 23.10.1941 and on 22.5.1942 a special tribunal sentenced him to two years’imprisonment for abuse of the pulpit and offences against the Treachery Act. The conditions in Tegel prison and in the transit camp in Berlin-Wuhlheide caused his weakened health to deteriorate further. Lichtenberg died in Hof/Saale while being transported to Dachau concentration camp. His funeral took place on 16.11.1943 at St Hedwig cemetery in the presence of many sympathisers among the public. In August 1965, his remains were transferred to the crypt of St. Hedwig's Cathedral. He was canonised by Pope John Paul II on 23.6.1996. There is a Bernhard Lichtenberg square in the Berlin district of Reinickendorf and plaques commemorating him in the St. Marien presbytery in Karlshorst and the Herz Jesu church in Charlottenburg.

Bernhard Lichtenberg was a city councillor; 1920 – 1921 nominated for election (Centre Party); 1925 nominated for election (Centre Party)