Blessed Father Gerhard Hirschfelder
"The Schonstatt Fathers are welcoming another beatification for their spiritual family" — Priest-Martyr of Dachau Beatified. A bried biographical sketch:
- Gerhard Hirschfelder was born in 1907 in Glatz, Silesia, and was ordained a priest in 1932. His path to ordination was strewn with difficulties because Gerhard was an illegitimate child and, according to the rules of the day, needed special authorization to study theology and a dispensation for orders.
Despite difficult beginnings, the young priest showed himself a dedicated and effective minster to youth. Realizing the horrors of Nazi propaganda, he tried through closeness and spiritual direction to keep his young people from the ideology.
In his homilies, he denounced the excesses and violence of that period. The Gestapo reacted to this and arrested him in 1941, during a meeting of young people.
While in the Glatz prison, where he was for four months, he wrote an impressive Via Crucis and reflections on the priesthood, marriage and the family.
He was taken to Dachau on Dec. 15, 1941, where he died of hunger and acute pneumonia on Aug. 1, 1942.