Wanderer zwischen den politischen Mächten: Pater Nikolaus von Lutterotti O.S.B. (1892-1955) und die Abtei Grüssau in Niederschlesien. By Inge Steinsträßer. [Forschungen und Quellen zur Kirchen- und Kulturgeschichte Ostdeutschlands, Band 4L] (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag. 2009- Pp. xvi, 685. euro64,90. ISBN 978-3-412-20429-7.)
In this revised dissertation, Inge Steinsträßer illustrates the tension between Christian universalism and nationalism. During the tumultuous history of twentieth-century Central Europe, the Church, for Nikolaus von Lutterotti, O.S.B. , constituted the one constant identity in a world in which national identities proved unstable.
The von Lutterotti family hailed from Kaltem, one of Tyrol's southernmost German-speaking towns, but identified itself as Austrian, even after Italy gained South Tyrol. Nonetheless, the Lutterottis opted to accept Italian citizenship. By this time, Nikolaus had already joined the Benedictine Emmaus Abbey in Prague. Because of the strident pan-Germanism of Abbot Alban Schachleiter- who later became an ardent Nazi supporter- the monks were forced to leave Prague.The war's end transformed Lutterotti's identity, both as a Tyrolean and as a member of the Emaus community.
Monks from Emmaus established a new abbey at Grüssau in Silesia. With few resources and great personal engagement, the monks restored the facilities, which had housed Cistercian monks until the secularization of the nineteenth century. In addition to Lutterotti's pastoral and conventual responsibilities, he pursued archival studies, and published both popular and scholarly art history articles relating to the abbey. Additionally, Lutterotti supervised the restoration of the abbey.
The Nazi years proved difficult for the abbey, not only because of the increasing antireligious repression. As Brigitte Lob already discussed in her Albert Schmitt OSB-sein kirchenpolitisches Handeln in der Weimarer Republik und im Dritten Reich (Köln, 2000), Schmitt, the abbot of Grüssau, initially shared the enthusiasm of his brother abbots Ildefons Herwegen at Maria Laach and Schachleiter for the new regime. Although never as ardent or prominent as Schachleiter, Schmitt also did not share Herwegen's eventual realization of the regime's nature. While Steinsträßer could have developed Lutterotti's views further, she judiciously analyzes the sparse evidence to show that Lutterotti rejected the abbot's political views. Lutterotti's rejection of the Nazis led him to withdraw an application for German citizenship. In postwar homilies, Lutterotti placed blame for his flock's suffering squarely on the Nazi regime and its supporters. …