2020-01-17 GERMANY

Marist Brother honored for his Christian attitude at the time of National Socialism

The “Stolpersteine” (stumbling blocks) are small square brass cobblestones that are laid across Germany as a way of remembering where the victims of National Socialism lived.

One of these “Stolpersteine” was recently installed at No. 60 Hertener Street, in front of the entrance to the Marist High School. It commemorates Johannes Xaver Goebels, a German Marist Brother.

Brother Johannes courageously stood up to the National Socialists and refused to educate his students according to their principles and ideas. After a certain time, he was arrested, demeaned, tortured. He died on March 17, 1944 in the infirmary of the Dachau concentration camp where he had been deported 6 months earlier.

During the ceremony at Marist High School, Mr. Christophe Tesche, mayor of Recklinghausen, told the large gathering of students, “Brother Johannes had to pay with his life for daring to criticize the Nazi regime in the classroom. For us today, it is unimaginable and we must do our utmost to ensure that it never happens again”. After the ceremony, the “Stolpersteine” recalling Brother Johannes was unveiled by the Mayor and Brother Robert Thunus, Provincial of the Marist Brothers, who had made the trip from Belgium especially for the occasion.

At the same time that the “Stolpersteine” was placed in front of the Marist school, similar commemorative stones were placed in front of a house in the nearby Paulusstrasse. A Jewish family, the Arons, had lived here until 1942, at which time they were deported by the Nazis to Riga. Four of the five family members later died in Auschwitz.


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