Thursday, 8 January 2015



This week I am attending a conference and taking part in some church ceremonies in Krakow in Poland and had a very sad and thought provoking visit with some other church leaders to the Auschwitz / Birkenau concentration camps in the minus 12 degree South Polish weather.

It will take me many days or weeks to get my head around all I saw and heard yesterday about the 1.2 million people who perished in this place in the early 1940s.

I will write a longer Blog about this visit when I get home to Northern Ireland at the weekend.

I was shocked to discover that Rudolph Hoss (below) - the Nazi officer who built Auschwitz and commanded it had been a Catholic whose father wanted him to be a priest!

He was tried, convicted and hung (below) at the concentration camp after the war:

I was deeply touched in the cell of Saint - Father Maximilian Kolbe - Cell 18 - who was starved to death after taking the place of another prisoner - a husband and father:

Maximilian Kolbe
I am still thinking and praying my way through what I saw with questions like:


Where was God when this was happening?

Why did God allow it?

How did German soldiers who were Catholic / Christian manage to do such horrific deeds?

I will write more in the coming days.

+Pat Buckley


  1. We live in a strange world Pat. R Catholic is an organisational Structure (modelled on the Roman Empire, hence R Catholic) Christianity is a belief in Jesus who is Christ. Many weirdo's have made the church their home through history. Nazism is also related to the Roman Empire so there are avenues for a marriage of minds if one chose to follow that misguided road. As for the ordinary soldier, many perhaps did not have much of a choice. Sean

  2. Pat, Rudolph Hess was not hanged judicially. He - apparently - committed suicide in Spandau Prison in 1987 at the age of 93.

  3. Just in case folk thought it was Hess.

  4. Open Minded Parishioner10 January 2015 at 15:31

    Horrific. But look at the world today. Still the same hatred. God does not allow this. We lose sight of God and allow it to happen. Father Kolbe was filled with God and saved a life.

  5. I was there once. Probably the most moving of my experiences in my life. Deeply emotional

  6. You have a lot in common with the former keepers of that camp!