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Inprisonment

The prison cell of Blessed Titus

The interior of cell #577 in Scheveningen penitentiary in Holland
— the cell where Titus was imprisoned.

The prison cell of Blessed Titus
Portrait of Blessed Titus

(Left) Portrait made in Dutch concentration camp at Amersfoort by a fellow prisoner, John Dons, who was executed May 6, 1942. Prisoners were categorized according to their crime and the patch over the right breast was color coded to signify the crime. Titus’ patch was red meaning political prisoner.

(Below) Part of a manuscript of a biography of St. Teresa of Avila begun by Titus in prison at Scheveningen. Due to the lack of writing paper, he wrote in a book “Jesus” by Cyril Verschaeve that he was permitted to keep.

Part of a manuscript of a biography of St. Teresa of Avila
Entrance to prison

Entrance to the prison at Scheveningen. At his arrest in January 1942, Titus was first imprisoned in this Dutch penitentiary which had been taken over by the Nazis.

Never were you, O Lord, so near --Blessed Titus Brandsma, O.Carm.

In cell #577 of Scheveningen penitentiary, Titus composed a poem on solitude and his experience of the presence of God that became famous in Holland.. ...“Never were you, 0 Lord, so near.. .“ This is Titus’ original copy written February 12-13, 1942.

BEFORE A PICTURE OF JESUS IN MY CELL

A new awareness of Thy love
 Encompasses my heart:
Sweet Jesus, I in Thee and Thou
 In me shall never part.

No grief shall fall my way but I
Shall see Thy grief-filled eyes;
The lonely way that Thou once walked
Has made me sorrow-wise.

All trouble is a white-lit joy
That lights my darkest day;
Thy love has turned to brightest light
This night-like way.

If I have Thee alone,
The hours will bless
With still, cold hands of love
My utter loneliness.

Stay with me, Jesus, only stay;
I shall not fear
If, reaching out my hand,
I feel Thee near.

Father Titus Brandsma, O.Carm.

(English translation by Gervase Toelle, O.Carm.)

A rosary for Blessed Titus

On March 20, 1942, Titus and others were brought from prison at Scheveningen to the Dutch concentration camp at Amersfoort. While there, Titus was given this rosary by a fellow prisoner. There are different stories about it, and there seems to have been more than one such rosary. It seems that the maker of this gift to Titus was himself executed later on. His name was Piet (Peter) Holfsloot.

Corridor of the Dutch penitentiary at Scheveningen, Holland. During World War II, the Dutch Resistance people called this prison “the Orange Hotel” because so many of the Dutch Resistance were imprisoned here. (Oranje, or Orange, is the name of the Dutch Royal family). Titus was kept in cell # 577 on the right.

Scheveningen
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