Blessed Titus Brandsma
(Bolsward, February 23, 1881 – Dachau July 26, 1942) was a Dutch Carmelite priest and professor of philosophy.
Brandsma was vehemently
opposed to Nazi ideology
and spoke out against it many times before
the Second World War
He was arrested in January 1942, when he tried to persuade Dutch
newspapers not to print Nazi
propaganda (as was required by law of the Nazi German occupiers).
He had also drawn up a Pastoral Letter read in all Catholic
parishes, by which the Dutch Roman Catholic bishops officially
condemned the German anti-Semitic measures and the deportation of
the first Jews. In the Pastoral Letter, the Dutch Bishops also
was incompatible with
Catholicism in its core ideology.
After this Pastoral Letter, the first ca. 3,000 Jews to be deported
from the Netherlands were all Jewish converts to Roman Catholicism
. Brandsma was
transferred in February 1942 to the concentration camp Dachau on June 13, after being held
prisoner in Scheveningen, Amersfoort, and Cleves.
He died on
July 26, 1942, by a
lethal injection administered by a doctor
of the Allgemeine
was born at Bolsward, Netherlands
He was baptized Anno Sjoerd Brandsma. He joined the
Carmelites on September 17
, and took the religious name Titus.
Ordained a priest in 1905, Brandsma was knowledgeable in Carmelite
and was awarded a
doctorate in philosophy at Rome in 1909. He then taught in various
schools in the Netherlands. Among his accomplishments was a
translation of the works of Saint
Teresa of Ávila
One of the
founders of the Catholic University of Nijmegen (now Radboud
University), Brandsma became a professor of philosophy and the
history of mysticism at the school in 1923.
He later served
as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to
Fr. Brandsma also worked as a journalist and was the ecclesiastical
adviser to Catholic journalists by 1935. It was his fight against
the spread of Nazi ideology and for educational and press freedom
that brought him to the attention of the Nazis.
documentation on Middle Dutch mysticism
was the basis for the current Titus Brandsma Institute in
to the study of spirituality.
Titus Brandsma is honored as a martyr
the Roman Catholic Church. He was beatified
in November 1985 by Pope John Paul II
. His Feast Day is 27
Titus Brandsma was chosen by the inhabitants of Nijmegen as the
greatest citizen to have lived there.