Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Priestblock 25487

I have just received a review copy of Jean Bernard's Priestblock 25487: A Memoir of Dachau, trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider (Bethesda, MD: Zaccheus Press, 2007) from Zaccheus Press Editor, John H. O'Leary. In an accompanying letter, he notes that the original German edition of the work, published in 2004, was adapted into an award-winning European film called The Ninth Day the same year, but has never before been translated into English.

This is a work of non-fiction, a work of reputed literary merit, which promises to be not only a great read but to offer a tremendous witness to the power of faith. Read some of the consistent five-start Amazon reviews of the film version of the story for confirmation of that.

Here are a number of editorial reviews:
Product Description

In May 1941, Father Jean Bernard was arrested for denouncing the Nazis and deported from his native Luxembourg to Dachau's "Priest Block," a barracks that housed more than 3,000 clergymen of various denominations (the vast majority Roman Catholic priests).

Priestblock 25487 tells the gripping true story of his survival amid inhuman brutality, degradation, and torture.

This important book, originally published in Germany in 1963, was adapted by director Volker Schlöndorff into the film The Ninth Day in 2004.

Introduction by Robert Royal. Preface by Seán Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston.

Praise for Priestblock 25487

"Stunning... Casts light into dark and previously neglected corners of the horror that was the Third Reich."
Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief First Things

"Father Jean Bernard's portrait of survival in a German concentration camp is simple, forceful and vivid and therefore impossible to put down or forget. It ranks with the great 20th Century personal testimonies against totalitarian violence... Priestblock 25487 is a diary of Catholic discipleship under extreme conditions that will deeply move all persons of conscience."
Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver

"Gripping! This crisp story of the 3,000-plus Christian clergy at Dachau in 1941 forces me to turn pages quickly, in horror... In its understated power, this brief book is unforgettable."
Michael Novak, author of Washington's God (with Jana Novak)

"Many hundreds of books have been written and published about German concentration and extermination camps during World War II, including at least two or three dozens written or dictated by their actual survivors.

Of these, Father Jean Bernard's Priestblock 25487 is among the very best, because of the exceptional intelligence and honesty of its author. Dachau, where he was imprisoned, was not the worst of all those camps, and Father Bernard was, surprisingly, released after two years of imprisonment: but perhaps because of these very circumstances his diary is extraordinarily telling, convincing, and graphic.
Every scholar and student of that dreadful chapter of twentieth-century history ought to read—and ponder—its contents."
John Lukacs, author of The Hitler of History; and Five Days in London: May 1940

"Father Bernard has left readers with a gripping testimony of the brutal treatment the Catholic clergy received at the hands of the Nazis in Dachau. Despite the grim subject matter, the strong Christian faith held by these men is inspiring."
William A. Donohue, President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

"Deeply moving... The suffering of these priests for the sake of the loving God is one of the modern age's glorious mysteries."
Father George Rutler, author of A Crisis of Saints

"It is dramatic. It is brutally honest. I loved the book and could not put it down."
Teresa Tomeo, Ave Maria Radio

"Priestblock 25487 is an important work—a gripping firsthand account of the persecution of anti-Nazi Catholic clergy. I highly recommend this excellent book."
Sr. Margherita Marchione, author of Yours Is A Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy

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