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 March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


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


Comments


More Living Faith

'Peace be with You'

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"On the evening of that first day of the week," according to the Gospel of John, "when the doors were locked, where the disciples were... Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' " To his closest followers, who feared that they too ... continue reading


What really caused Apostle Paul's blindness? Scientists believe they've figured it out Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A comparison among modern celestial events may help find what caused Apostle Paul to lose his eyesight for three days. His temporary blindness is an important historical event for the Christians as it led to where religion and the world is today, making it a ... continue reading


Conference sets out to bring the Gospel to the streets

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing conference striving to bring the Gospel to the streets will be held in San Clemente, CA on May 2. Speakers will focus on inspiring followers of Christ to apply the Gospel to today's social issues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those attending will ... continue reading


Slaughter of Ethiopian Christians is 'a testimony which cries out to be heard,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Depicted in a 29-minute video, entitled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In speaking of the wholesale slaughter of at least 30 Ethiopian Christians by the Islamist State in Libya, Pope Francis declared that the blood of Christians "is a testimony which cries out to be heard by everyone who can still distinguish between good and ... continue reading


Catholic pastor warns parishioners faith is not enough for safety, encourages gun possession Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Issuing a pro-gun letter to the members of the church, Reverend Edward Fride encourages having guns and attending a concealed pistol license (CPL) classes. Through the letter, the pastor from the Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, warned there may ... continue reading


Apostle of California, Father Junipero Serra, to be canonized by Pope during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Professor Guzman Carriquiry, Secretary in charge of the Vice-Presidency of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America recently expressed his displeasure at the news of the California Senate's wish to replace the statue of Brother Junipero with that of a NASA astronaut.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is scheduled to personally preside over the canonization ceremony of Father Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C. on September 23 during his U.S. visit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ceremony will take place in the open space in front of the ... continue reading


'Faith must not be turned into power,' Pope Francis warns Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, at mass in St. Martha's House, recalled that many people follow Jesus simply out of self-interest. This "spirit, which lies behind or beneath a varnish of Christianity leads people to live like pagans," he warned. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Oops! The Bible did not say that: 7 famous viral quotes people think came from the Bible Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Social media and the Internet has made it easier to share anything anywhere. Most of the time we spend in cyberspace, we see come across wonderful statements --- about life, love and other concerns. It assures us that we are not alone, we are going to beat every ... continue reading


The Experience of the Resurrected Christ: A Divine Dream Worth Dying For

Image of

By Deacon Frederick Bartels

The dream of God is a dream of unending, divine love. His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, sacrificed his human life for this Dream: the redemption of humankind and the gift of eternal life and perfect happiness. Heaven is the divine dream that is not but a dream, it ... continue reading


Pope Francis 'considering' visit to Cuba Watch

Image of A nun waves a Vatican flag while attending Mass with St John Paul II in Havana in 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is said to be considering a trip to Cuba this coming September. The papal visit would tie into his visit to the United States. The gesture could lead to improving relations both between Cuba and the U.S. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican ... 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, Acts 11:1-18
1 The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
2 I thirst for God, the living God; when shall I go ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:1-10
1 'In all truth I tell you, anyone who does not enter ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 27th, 2015 Image

St. Zita
April 27: St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. 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