Gleb Rahr’s deeply moving account of the suffering endured at Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp near Munich which contained some 200,000 mostly Christian prisoners. At the end of the war, in the week of their liberation, the camp’s Catholic priest inmates generously offered the use of their makeshift chapel to the several thousand Orthodox inmates so they could observe Holy Week.

Orthocath

By Douglas Cramer

In 1945, a Paschal Liturgy like no other was performed. Just days after their liberation by the US military on April 29, 1945, hundreds of Orthodox Christian prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp gathered to celebrate the Resurrection service and to give thanks.

The Dachau concentration camp was opened in 1933 in a former gunpowder factory. The first prisoners interred there were political opponents of Adolf Hitler, who had become German chancellor that same year. During the twelve years of the camp’s existence, over 200,000 prisoners were brought there. The majority of prisoners at Dachau were Christians, including Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox clergy and lay people.

Countless prisoners died at Dachau, and hundreds were forced to participate in the cruel medical experiments conducted by Dr. Sigmund Rascher. When prisoners arrived at the camp they were beaten, insulted, shorn of their hair, and had all their belongings…

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