Berenz, Father Adam
Batschka
Theologian & Priest

Cont'd

In 1932 he served in Kernei, then returned to Apatin in 1933, where he was named chaplain at the main church in Apatin and parish vicar of the new church of The Sacred Heart of Jesus.  He held this position until May 1, 1944, at which time he became administrator of the main parish of Apatin, after the appointment of Abbott Dr. Egerth as canon of Kalotscha.  Three weeks later Adam Berenz was arrested, never to return to Apatin. 

Adam Berenz was arrested because of his involvement as editor in charge of the Catholic weekly paper “Die Donau”.  In his columns, he had waged an unyielding resistance for almost a decade against National Socialist neo-heathenism and against the arrogant, senseless conduct that National Socialism had given rise to.  For years he was at the center of an excessive battle, at times fought with rather questionable, unclean methods.

One night, the word “Volksverräter” (Traitor of the People) was smeared on his front door.  The outside wall of the rectory was scratched with swastikas and derisive caricatures.  Such methods were used to foment hate against him.  On March 16, 1944, Hungary was occupied by the German military, and on May 22, 1944 at 9:30 p.m., the Gestapo arrested him.  He was taken to Sombor in an automobile and locked into a jail cell, from where he was transferred to a Gestapo jail in Szeged a week later.  After being “sentenced” for being a resistance fighter against Nazism, he was transferred to the concentration camp in Batschka Topolya, where Jews and Communists were being detained. Archbishop Grosz interceded on his behalf with the Interior Minister of Hungary and received permission to release Berenz from the camp and take him to Kalotscha.  On May 23, the Archbishop drove him to Kalotscha in his car. 

In 1957 Adam Berenz was named preacher of the cathedral in Kalotscha.  He joined the Franciscan Order together with Abbott Dr. Egerth.  Berenz died a lonely death on October 21, 1968 and is buried with Dr. Egerth in a crypt in Kalotscha. 

Until the day of his arrest by the Gestapo, Berenz fought against National Socialism through his weekly paper “Die Donau” and thus has documented the resistance movement of the Donauschwaben.  He also protested against the thesis of collective guilt, which was attributed to the Donauschwaben after the war. 

Unfortunately the documentation of the resistance movement of the Donauschwaben against the brutal National Socialist regime has not and is not being reflected in the media or publications. 

The citizens’ association “Adam Berenz Apatin”, under the direction of Boris Masic, fosters the memory of Adam Berenz and regards itself as the custodian and preserver of his legacy, his personal items, books and issues of the weekly paper “Die Donau”.

Deutscher Bürgerverein Adam Berenz / German Citizens Association

[Written by Boris Masic. Translated by Rose Vetter. Published at DVHH.org by Jody McKim Pharr]

 Last Updated: 26 Nov 2018

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