Category Archives: History of the Netherlands

Today in Catholic History – The Dutch Bishops Condemn the Nazi Deportation of the Jews

On Sunday 26 July 1942, the Dutch Bishops publically condemned the deportation of Jews by the Nazis in the Netherlands.

In retaliation, the Reichskomissar of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, ordered that all Jewish converts to Catholicism in the Netherlands be arrested. Among the two hundred converts arrested would be St. Edith Stein and her sister Rosa – both of whom were executed in Auschwitz.

There is some evidence that the arrest and deportation of the Jewish converts would contribute to Pius XII’s decision to refrain from an action similar to that of the Dutch bishops, that is a public condemnation of the Nazis. Indeed, the Protestant churches of the Netherlands had initially also wished to issue similar strong condemnations but Seyss-Inquart’s threat to take action against Jewish converts to Protestantism kept these churches silent.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart will be charged with crimes against humanity for his actions during WWII and will be executed at Nuremburg on 16 October 1946. Before he died he returned to the Catholic faith of his youth, receiving the Sacrament of Penance from Father Bruno Spitzl.

Today in Catholic History – The Martyrs of Gorkum

On 9 July 1572, nineteen Catholics were martyred in Brielle by the Calvinist William de la Marck, the Lord of Lumey despite an order from the Prince William of Orange to leave priests and religious unharmed. Lumey was the leader of a group of Watergreuzen or “Sea Beggers” – irregular troops that had recently captured the city of Brielle from the Spanish.

The nineteen martyrs included eleven Franciscans, an Augustinians, and a Dominican. The Dominican priest, John of Cologne, had been arrested after it was discovered that he was secretly visiting the other Catholic prisoners to administer the sacraments. After spending several days in prison during which time they were tortured and forced to parody Catholic rituals, the Lord of Lumey demanded that the Catholic prisoners deny the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and the primacy of the pope in exchange for their freedom. The prisoners refused and were martyred by hanging.

Their beatification took place on 14 November 1675, and their canonization on 29 June 1865.