The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-45

By J. S. Conway | Go to book overview

Appendix 17: Protest of the Austrian
Bishops to the Minister of the Interior,
I July 1941

(From the files of the Ministry of Justice)

In the course of recent months the Gestapo has again ordered the confiscation of the property of a great number of monasteries and nunneries in Austria. This is tantamount to the closure of the affected orders, since it has occurred in connection with the frequent compulsory eviction of the inhabitants of these institutions. Included were the monasteries of St Peter and Michelbeuern in the province of Salzburg, the monasteries of Hohenfurt, Kremsmunster, Schlogl, St Florian and Wilhering in the province of Upper Danube, the monastery of Klosterneuburg and St Gabriel's convent in Mödling, both in the Vienna District. In all cases, as was reported to the superiors of the institutions, these confiscations were justified 'for reasons of police measures against opponents of the State' (Staatspolizeilichen Gründen). In no case was the nature of these acts stated which were alleged to be hostile to the State, as supposedly undertaken by the monasteries and convents, or by their inhabitants. Nor did any judicial investigation, let alone any judicial sentence, follow for any of those concerned. On the contrary, only ridiculous rumours were frequently bruited abroad, to the effect that in one monastery weapons, in another a secret radio transmitter, had been found.

In Salzburg the Gestapo closed the archiepiscopal diocesan teachers' training college and the archiepiscopal theological seminary. On 4 May I94I the Governor of Salzburg issued an order No. 5/5-52/4I (Rst. I47/4I) which took away the administration of the property of the theological college (Fund for the priests' house) from the Church and

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