The Person

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Statements by Colleagues, Fellow-Prisoners, and Others

His Brother

“He did not forget a single birthday, he showed interest in everything: the academic successes of his second nephews and nieces, the weather on the lake. the growth of the grass, and the chances of success for the next cattle show.” — Henricus Brandsma, O.F.M., Brother

Colleagues and Others

“It seemed that some years ago a legend became attached to the person of Brandsma, the legend of being able to appear in different places at the same time. He spread his attention and interests with the same ease with which the train brought him crisscross through the country. Whenever he came, he came thoroughly prepared, with the intention to engage himself actively in the issue at hand, and his opinion was always worthy to be heard.”  — Prof. Dr. Ferd.

“There is one word and it sounds strange and is not often used, but we used it in speaking of Titus: Titus had something angelic about him, something pure, you could not refuse him anything.” — Prof. Dr. B. H. Molkenboer

“There is no need to have penetrated into the intimate recesses of his person to know that everything in him was ‘authentic,’ because every thought and action of his had firm principles and deep strong faith for their foundations.” —
Prof. Dr. Ferd. Sassen, in “In memoriam,” 1942
 

His Lectures, his Inaugural Lecture of 1932

“Brandsma gave lectures on the history of mystical experience with the profound insight of a man who lived his material most strongly in his own person.” — Godfried Bomans, a popular literary figure in the Netherlands

Colleagues in Various Organizations and Activities

“Professor Brandsma began his task without any show of force but with his whole heart and soul, with boundless dedication and perserverance, and in no time he simply was one of us.” — President of the Union of Roman-Catholic Journalists

“In those days of battle our advisor spared no pains. From morning till evening, he was available with advice and help.” — E. H. J. B. Bodewes, director of “De Gelderlander,” a regional Catholic newspaper

“In the years that he was our spiritual advisor, Brandsma worked harder than anyone else to establish our legal identity as journalists.” — Spokesperson for the Union of Roman-Catholic Journalists

“... a true leader in our society, a clever fellow, somebody who had nerve, who was a moving force.” — Dr. D. A. Stracke, secretary of the Ruusbroec Society

“... he always knew how to encourage us when we began to loose hope.” — Dr. G. A.Wumkes on occasion of a legislative effort for “The Frisian Language in Primary Education”

A Cardinal and a Queen

“As long as I shall live I will always have before my eyes the figure of Father Brandsma, with whom I have so often spoken during the war years and whom I have always admired for his courage and clear insights. Repeatedly have I asked his advice. I regard him as a martyr. — letter from Cardinal Jan de Jong to H. W. F. Aukes, author of book on Titus

“...this great and sincere patriot who, with those who would ask his advice, never hesitated to present, clearly and right from the start, the religious and patriotic options open to them. The inner, spiritual power of his writings represents a testimony held by many in high esteem, then and still today.” — Queen Wilhelmina, in a letter of condolence to the family, November 4, 1946

Fellow Prisoners in Amersfoort and Dachau

Amersfoort (Netherlands)

“Probamur dum amamur: we are tested because we are loved: this we can fairly accurately retain as his life’s motto. He has sealed it with his death.” — Dr. C. P. Gunning about Titus’ variant of the meaning of the infamous acronym P.D. A. for Polizeiliches Durchgangslager Amersfoort [transitional police camp]

“He was completely at home in Amersfoort and it did not seem to make any difference to him whether he was there or in his monastery” — Mr. M. R. A. L Houtappel

“He did not want anybody to know it, but he was sometimes very saddened, not for himself but because people could do all this to one another. His temper did not suffer under it, rather, he became more gentle. Even for the worst of his fellow-prisoners he had only nice words.” — J. v. d. Mortel

“Though being a Lutheran myself, I must say that during my entire life I have met few people who made such an impression on me as Father Titus Brandsma. He knew how to make everyone his friend. Especially impressive was his spiritual unassailability. I felt immediately that I was in the presence of someone who in his ordinary life must have been far above the rest.” — Dr. P. H. Ronge

“Professor Brandsma was always cheerful and he also knew how to suffuse his environment with this cheerfulness. He was interested in all possible kinds of problems, and he was not in the least impressed by the methodical terrorism by which they were trying to break us, mentally and physically.” — Prof. Dr. J. G. G. Borst

“The source of his energy was undoubtedly his need to offer his fellow prisoners something which would turn their thoughts away from the misery which they felt in themselves and saw all around them.” — Prof. Dr. Jan Romein

“Father Titus was a highly civil, finely strung, beautiful and sympathetic person... who was highly respected by all of us, no matter which denomination we were. A man with a disposition that was always cheerful. A person whom we’ll never be able to forget.” — I. P. A. van Voorst van Beesd, Amersfoort/ Dachau

Dachau (Germany)

“He has been beaten terribly in Dachau. His little jacket was covered with blood but ‘it’s not worth troubling about.’ With a few words he silenced any further comment. Then he would reflect for a few quiet moments and offer some thoughts from Teresa of Avila to whoever would listen to him.” — Brother Raphael Tijhuis, 1946, a Carmelite who was with Titus in the concentration camp, which Brother Raphael survived.

“The ‘Kretiner aus Holland’ [the cretin from Holland] has in the short time that he was with us often been severely beaten, so that his face was covered over with blood. But he kept up his courage, and his spirit could simply not be broken.” — H. A. C. Jansen

“His spirit could simply not be broken. Any thought of revenge was far from him: thus he could say his Our Father in silence while in the presence of his attackers.” — R. Höppener

“His person and words always bespoke such a calm, such an abandon and so much good hope that one can never forget this venerable person.” — Dr. Joseph Kentenich, 1954

“When Professor Brandsma joined us, Dachau was at the time such a hell as it perhaps never had been before or would be afterwards. His short stay in Dachau was a true martyrdam. Yet he remained always cheerful and happy, a support for all of us.” — P. v. Genuchten

“Simple and unobstrusive among the 1200 priests of Dachau... a perpetual smile, filled with patience and inner calm, a smile of mystical serenity in the midst of all the suffering he had to undergo.” — Othmarus, A Capuchin

“Fr. Titus knew of no feelings of hate, he was all love. There was no favoritism with him. When I returned home I said immediately to my mother: That man will be canonized one day.” — P. Verhulst

 

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