Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig CMM
Many well-known people joined Francis Pfanner’s two foundations. Naturally some were, and still are, better known than others: for example, Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig and Fr. Bernhard Huss, and Mother Paula as well, but also missionaries like Bro. Nivard Streicher, Bro. Ägidius Pfister and so many others. Let us look at the lives of a few of them, always remembering, however, that they are merely representatives among all the others who carried out their work, day in day out.
Father Engelmar Hubert Unzeitig (1911 – 1945)
Father Engelmar has been called the “Angel of Dachau.” He was arrested by the Gestapo on 21 April 1941 and sent to the concentration camp of Dachau in the same year. In the autumn of 1944 he volunteered to help in the typhoid barrack. He had studied Russian whilst in Dachau in order to be able to help the prisoners from Eastern Europe. He died on 2nd March 1945. He was regarded as a holy man. In his desire to help the typhoid victims he contracted the disease himself. His beatification process was initiated on July 26. 1991, in Würzburg, Germany. And its second stage was officially opened at the Vatican in May 1999.
Father Engelmar was born in Greifendorf in 1911. At the age of 18 he entered the seminary of the Mariannhill Missionaries in Reimlingen. He spent his student days in Würzburg, was ordained to the priesthood in 1939 and spent 1940 as parish priest in Glöckelberg.
In a letter from Dachau to his sister, he wrote: “Whatever we do, whatever we want, is surely simply the grace that carries us and guides us. God’s almighty grace helps us overcome obstacles … love doubles our strength, makes us inventive, makes us feel content and inwardly free. If people would only realise what God has in store for those who love him!”
He also wrote from this hell of suffering: ‘Even behind the hardest sacrifices and worst suffering stands God with his Fatherly love, who is satisfied with the good will of his children and gives them and others happiness.’