Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/16/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

107-year-old Austrian man was given chance to renounce his faith, but refused - and served in three camps

Born in 1905 with a curved spine, raised in a village not far from where Hitler grew up, the young Leopold Engleitner was horrified by the atrocities of World War I and joined the Jehovah's Witnesses, a pacifist religious group that renounces all political involvement and military service. Captured by the Nazis and given the choice of renouncing his faith or serving in the death camps, he refused. The now 107-year-old Engleitner is considered the oldest living survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, and is the subject of a thrilling new documentary.

The 107-year-old Leopold Engleitner will be guest of honor at the film's Los Angeles screening where with help of an interpreter, he will be talking to audience members.

The 107-year-old Leopold Engleitner will be guest of honor at the film's Los Angeles screening where with help of an interpreter, he will be talking to audience members.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/16/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Austria, Nazis, concentration camps, Jehovah's Witnesses


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As he recalls in the film "The Ladder in the Lion's Den," when Austria joined the German Reich in 1938, Jehovah's Witnesses were rounded up and unlike their Jewish counterparts, given a choice. Allowed to get out of the camps if they signed a paper, the "the Ladder in the Lions' Den" of the title - which renounced their religion and joined the Nazis.

Engleitner refused - and for the next several year was starved and forced to labor in not one, but three Nazi prisoner camps -- Buchenwald, Niederhagen and Ravensbrueck.

According to the film, many other Austrian Witnesses, along with Engleitner, refused to do so, and many lost their lives. The documentary charts their story, and details Engleitner's own horrific ordeal.

One scene documents the time when, starving on a march back to camp from hard labor, his testicle was crushed by an SS guard's boot. The incident prevented him from ever fathering children.

The documentary's narrator and script-editor, Frederic Fuss, says that among the things that captivated him from the beginning was "the strength of Leopold's unbroken will and determination never diminished his positive outlook, and the intensity of his trial never made him bitter."

The film, "The Ladder in the Lions' Den," "takes a slice of Leo's experiences and puts them into a more direct historical context.

"You get to the significance of the stand he took as a conscientious objector, not going along with Nazism and its ideals.

"A document was regularly presented to the Jehovah's Witnesses, who were conscientious objectors and who objected to the principles of Nazism, and they did not subscribe to any of the racist ideas.

"To get out of the camp, they were told 'just sign this document where you renounce your beliefs, say you go along with Nazism and go along with Hitler.'

"They [Jehovah's Witnesses] would also not say the 'Heil Hitler' greeting, and the film comments on that, that the words ascribe salvation to Hitler.

"They said, no, he's not God so we're not going to do that.'

Engleitner is still active and tours schools around his home country telling children "You don't need to go along with peer pressure; you can stick by your conscience."

Engleitner will be guest of honor at the film's Los Angeles screening where with help of an interpreter, he will be talking to audience members.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Articles of faith: Haunting images of Italy's 'incorruptible' preserved saints whose bodies are displayed for thousands to worship

Image of St. Marie Bernarde

By Linky C

Several incorruptible bodies of saints remain to be displayed and worshiped around several churches in Italy. These haunting images bring a different kind of eerie to the tourist and locals who are visiting these churches. Some of these saints are ... continue reading


Amazing beautiful ancient mosaic church floor found under courtyard of current church Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient decorated mosaic floor of an ancient church, underneath its modern incarnation, during an excavation. The Christian mosaic is believed to be about 1,700-years-old and part of the old Byzantine church of the fourth century. ... continue reading


Remembering another great encyclical!

Image of

By Tony Magliano

While Pope Francis' new encyclical Laudato, Si' is enjoying wide publicity, few people are aware this year marks the 20th anniversary of another powerfully prophetic social justice and peace encyclical: Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life"). Trying to awaken the ... continue reading


Former 'Accountant of Auschwitz' asks God for forgiveness during trial facing 300,000 counts of accessory to murder Watch

Image of Oscar Groening,

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Auschwitz guard, Oscar Groening has asked for God's forgiveness after serving Austchwitz during his testimony in court, last Wednesday. The 94-year-old worked for Austchwitz when he was just 13 and later became the "Accountant of Auschwitz." MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


U.S. archbishops express excitement over pending papal visit Watch

Image of After visiting Cuba, the Pope will visit three major cities on the U.S. east coast - Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia - and the respective bishops of those cities were indeed jubilant.

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

Looking forward to Pope Francis' September visit to the U.S., the nation's bishops were exuberant on Tuesday, as the itinerary for the apostolic voyage was released. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - Fewer than three months before the scheduled visit, Archbishop ... continue reading


Pope Francis to meet with president, prisoners and homeless during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden and preside over a vespers service at the newly spruced-up St. Patrick's Cathedral.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis' visit to both the United States and Cuba will be hectic. In addition to meeting with political officials in both countries, the Pontiff will meet with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and the homeless at the ... continue reading


Learning from Elijah: Shipwreck, Struggle and the Broom Tree

Image of Elijah under the broom tree

By Deacon Keith Fournier

There are lessons that can only be learned under the broom tree. The lesson St Paul gave to the early Christians in Greece about the reality of being shipwrecked and experiencing daily struggles in life is critical in our age. God is searching for men and ... continue reading


Head of Russian Orthodox Church to meet with Pope Francis to repair rift between branches Watch

Image of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is a Russian Orthodox bishop. He became Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in February of 2009.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is definitely going to happen -- but where and when has yet to be decided. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis have agreed to meet in an attempt to repair the major rift between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity. LOS ... continue reading


Pope Francis explains the nature of faith - the whole Gospel is written in its light Watch

Image of Francis lamented that

By CNA/EWTN News

The Pope focused on the virtue of faith during his Sunday Angelus address, saying the whole gospel is written in its light. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - "Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves," Pope Francis explained June 28 at ... continue reading


Pope Francis admonishes archbishops to be convinced by what themselves teach Watch

Image of The Pope added that, in being witnesses to the faith, archbishops should practice what they preach.

By CNA/EWTN News

During his Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, Pope Francis called on the Church's new archbishops to be courageous witnesses who are not ashamed of Christ, and who are convinced by what they themselves teach. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 28:10-22
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:18-26
18 While he was speaking to them, suddenly one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 6th, 2015 Image

St. Maria Goretti
July 6: Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter