Titus Brandsma, journalist and Carmelite, murdered in Dachau, will be canonized on Sunday

For Nazi Germany, he was an “evil teacher”. For the Catholic Church, he will soon be a saint. Carmelite Titus Brandsma, a Dutchman born in 1881 and assassinated in the Dachau camp in 1942, is one of the 10 blesseds, along with Charles de Foucauld, who will be canonized on Sunday May 15 by Pope Francis.

Born February 23, 1881 near Bolsward in Friesland, Titus Brandsma entered the great Carmelites and became rector of the University of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. Carme, professor, he was also the spiritual adviser of the association of Catholic journalists. He resolutely opposed Nazism, which he condemned from the mid-1930s.

Convince the Catholic newspapers

In 1936, he imagined a training program for journalists, particularly committed to journalistic ethics, their attachment to the truth, but also led a reflection on their working conditions, through the premises of a collective agreement.

His writings, his encouragement to Catholic newspapers to resist the pressures of the German occupier became a model for moral and cultural resistance in the Netherlands. In 1940, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, he met the directors of the country’s 14 Catholic newspapers, to convince them to refuse advertisements from the National Socialist movement in the Netherlands, the Dutch branch of the Nazi party.

Murdered by injection in July 1942

“At the time, all newspapers were under pressure to publish party propaganda”explained Tuesday, May 10 to Joan Hemels, professor emeritus of communication sciences at the University of Amsterdam, during a colloquium organized in Rome by the International Association of Journalists Accredited to the Vatican (AIGAV) and the Embassy of the Netherlands to the Holy See.

The Carmelite and journalist was put under surveillance in 1941. Before being arrested in January 1942 to be deported to the Dachau camp. He will be assassinated there, by injection, in July. “Most Catholic newspapers do not inform their readers of his death, for fear of reprisals”continued Joan Hemels during the colloquium.

On the occasion of the canonization, some sixty journalists addressed an open letter to the pope asking that Titus Brandsma be declared co-patron of journalists, in the same way as Saint Francis de Sales, who is for the moment the only one to have this title.


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