Blessed Otto Neururer
- 13 August
- Twelfth and youngest child of a peasant family; raised on a small farm with a mill.
Otto's father died when the boy was still young.
His mother was devout, but suffered periodic bouts of depression.
Otto was known as a brilliant but timid young man who also battled depression.
Attended seminary at Brixen.
Curate and religion teacher in several places in the diocese.
At the turn of the 20th century, ideological and social tensions arose in Tirol both in political and ecclesiastical circles.
Otto joined the Christian Social Movement which caused problems with his more conservative superiors.
Nazis occupied the Tirol in 1938, at a time when Otto Neururer was parish priest in Gotzens, a village near Innsbruck.
The occupation triggered a bloody persecution of the Church in Austria.
Thousands of the faithful were harassed, interrogated by the Gestapo, imprisoned, thrown into concentration camps, and/or murdered.
Otto, in his capacity as spiritual advisor to his parish, advised a local girl not to marry a divorced man who was leading a dissolute life.
The man was a personal friend of the Gauleiter, the highest Nazi authority in Tirol, and Otto’s intervention brought down the wrath of the Nazis.
Neururer was arrested for "slander to the detriment of German marriage," and imprisoned in Dachau and Buchenwald.
He suffered the abuse that was standard in these places, and was routinely tortured, but ministered to his new flock of fellow sufferers, even sharing his scant rations with prisoners weaker than himself.
In Buchenwald he was approached by a prisoner who asked to be baptized.
Otto suspected a trap, but felt he could not refuse.
Two days later he was transferred to the "bunker", the place of extreme punishment, where he was hanged upside down until he died, the first priest killed in a concentration camp.
- 25 March 1882 at Piller, Austria
- 30 May 1940 at Buchenwald;
relics (urn of his ashes) at Gotzens
- 24 November 1996 by Pope John Paul II
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