Albert, Marcel: Die Benediktinerabtei Maria Laach und der Nationalsozialismus
Kommission für Zeitgeschichte, Research Center, Bonn

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Albert, Marcel: Die Benediktinerabtei Maria Laach und
der Nationalsozialismus, Paderborn [u. a.] 2002

(Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Zeitgeschichte, Reihe B: Forschungen, Bd. 95)

Marcel Albert: Die Benediktinerabtei Maria Laach und der Nationalsozialismus.

Marcel Albert: Die Benediktinerabtei Maria Laach und der Nationalsozialismus.

After Hitler seized power in 1933, the abbot of Maria Laach, Ildefons Herwegen, provided refuge to the deposed and imperiled Lord Mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, in the monastery for one year.  At the same time, the abbot and his closest associates attempted to build bridges between the Catholic Church and National Socialism.  What is more, ever since Heinrich Böll’s 1959 novel Billiards at Half-Past Nine, it is known that the monks at Maria Laach enthusiastically celebrated Hitler's seizure of power.  It was not until early 1934 that the convent distanced itself from the Nazi regime, so that Adenauer could speak of a »true, openly admitted 'twilight of the gods.«

The political involvements of Maria Laach’s monks attracted considerable attention at the time and led to strident debates.  The recent discovery of numerous new sources has, for the first time, made possible an exacting reconstruction of events.  In the process, Albert carefully analyzes the origins of the right-wing conservative nationalist positions held by the abbey’s leading monks and their firm anchoring in the right-wing Catholic political camp.  Just as thoroughly, the author examines the question of why the abbey abandoned its favorable view of Nazism after only one year.  This absorbing account depicts the Benedictines’ ultimately successful efforts to survive in the Kirchenkampf (Church Struggle), as well as the war’s end and the difficult reorientation of the first postwar months.

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