Father Alojs Andritzki: Martyr for the Faith

Father Alojs Andritzki was born on July 2,1914 in Radibor, Saxony, Germany to a devout Catholic family of German Sorbs. His father, Johann Andritzki was a school teacher and his mother was Magdalena Ziesch. His father was a devout Catholic who instilled religious piety in his six children by taking his children to visit various shrines once a month. He and his older brother became Catholic priests, his two sisters, Marja and Marta became Catholic nuns, and his youngest brother, Alfons became a Jesuit. In 1934, he began his studies for theological studies at Paderborn and later studies for the priesthood in Bautzen. In 1938, he was elevated to the diaconate. On July 30,1939, he was ordained a Catholic priest by Bishop Petrus Legge and on August 6, he celebrated his first Mass in his hometown of Radibor. On January 21,1941, he was arrested by the Gestapo, the Secret State Police of Nazi Germany for producing Christmas theatre and for being hostile towards the Third Reich with anti-Nazi statements. He was interrogated on February 7,1941 and was sent to a detention center in Dresden. In July 1941, he was to six months due to “insidious attacks” against the regime and was transferred to Dachau concentration camp in Dachau, Bavaria, Germany on October 2,1941. His father tried to have him released through a moving letter asking for a pardon since there were no charges but the appeal was rejected. Father Andritzki was a talented musician and artist and had painted the Nativity scene in the prison barracks for Christmas for a makeshift chapel. He also entertained his fellow inmates when he would walk on his hands. He also met two Schoenstatt priests, Father Joseph Fischer and Father Heinz Dresbach. By Christmas 1942, he fell ill with typhoid but did not go to the infirmary until January 19,1943. As he was dying, Father Andritzki asked the warden and guards to receive the Eucharist but was scoffed by them at this suggestion and they decided to euthanize him. The warden jeered and said:  “He wants Christ. We’ll give him an injection instead”. He received a lethal injection and died as a result of this overdose of chemicals on February 3,1943. His remains were dismembered and incinerated. His ashes were sent in an urn to his parents and the urn was interred in a Dresden cemetery on April 15,1943. The Nazis lied about cause of death by claiming he died of abdominal typhoid in order to hide the fact that the priest had been killed. On February 5,2011, his remains were relocated to Dresden Cathedral and on June 13,2011, he was Beatified by the Catholic Church, Angelo Cardinal Amato presided the beatification on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI and around 11,000 people were present at the beatification including Bishop Joachim Reinelt and Minister-President of Saxony Stanislaw Tillich. Father Andritzki is revered by the Sorb ethnic group. He now needs to miracles that are properly investigated in order to be a Catholic saint.

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