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How the Commandant of Auschwitz Found God’s Mercy

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Not even an "animal" like Rudolf Höss is exempt from Christ's forgiveness, Polish nun says

Anxious not to scandalize her listeners, she reminded us that all of this transpired right after the end of a brutal war, when “wounds were very fresh.” The guards agreed to look for a priest, but “it was not easy to find a priest who would like to listen to the confession of Rudolf Höss. They could not find one.”

And then Höss remembered the name of the Jesuit he had let go a few years before: Father Władysław Lohn. He gave the guards the name and begged them to find him.

And they did find him — in the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, where he was chaplain to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. He agreed to go hear Höss’ confession.

“It lasted and lasted and lasted,” Sister Gaudia said. “And then he gave him absolution. ‘Your sins are forgiven. Rudolf Höss, you animal, your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.’”

Father Lohn saying “you animal” during absolution is no doubt a flourish Sister Gaudia threw in there, but the point was clear: no one is beyond the mercy of God.

The next day Father Lohn went to the prison again, to give Höss the Eucharist before he died. “And the guard who was present said it was one of the most beautiful moments in his life seeing this ‘animal’ kneeling, with tears in his eyes, looking like a little boy and receiving Holy Communion, receiving Jesus with his heart,” the nun said. “Unimaginable mercy.”

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