August 9, 2016

Eye-witness account of Saint Teresa Benedicta's Arrest by the Nazis in 1942

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

The following is the eye-witness account of Saint Teresa Benedicta's arrest along with the members of her religious community, on August 7, 1942, from Frits van der Asdonk, a resident of Echt, Holland.

"[At] the end of July 1942, the Dutch Bishops took a stand, and from the chancel in every parish church of the country sounded a loud protest and condemnation of the injustice to the Jews of the country and elsewhere in occupied countries...

Revenge could be expected, but nobody thought of Sister Benedicta... in an enclosed convent... a nun... a Carmelite. Yet, this was exactly what happened, the Sunday after, in the early afternoon. All of a sudden sounded the war songs of the SS while a group of some forty soldiers marched through the Grote Straat and halted at the Carmel. The villagers were forced to clear the streets and withdrew behind the windows of their houses from which they watched the scene, praying and weeping. Sister Benedicta appeared after some 15 minutes in choirdress with the David Star; proudly walking right in the middle of the road with her sister a little behind her and the German SS forming a 'guard of honour' on the sidewalks of the street. From the windows came the farewell shouts of the people ('Sister Benedicta', 'Sister Benedicta') which Sister acknowledged as far as the end of the road where a Panzer lorry was waiting. What a lonely scene! What a lonely scene! I witnessed the scene from the windows of the first storey of my aunts' house in the Grote Straat of Echt. I knew I had seen something historic, and whenever I revisit the Grote Straat at Echt I see in my memory's mind a martyr who still lives on not only with God but also in the hearts of people."

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