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German Catholics assess rise, fall of Nazism from personal perspectives


These are the covers of "My Battle Against Hitler" by Dietrich Von Hildebrand and "His Humble Servant: Sister M. Pascalina Lehnert's Memoirs of Her Years of Service to Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII" by M. Pascalina Lehnert. The books are reviewed by Graham Yearley. (CNS)

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"My Battle Against Hitler" by Dietrich Von Hildebrand, presented by John Henry Crosby with John F. Crosby. Image Books (New York, 2014). 327 pp., $28.

"His Humble Servant: Sister M. Pascalina Lehnert's Memoirs of Her Years of Service to Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII" by M. Pascalina Lehnert. St. Augustine Press (South Bend, Indiana, 2014). 214 pp., $18.

"My Battle Against Hitler" and "His Humble Servant" are two memoirs of German Catholics who both resisted the totalitarian menace of Nazism.

Von Hildebrand was a Protestant who became Catholic, a professor of philosophy and an ardent critic of National Socialism from its formation in the beer halls of Munich in the early 1920s until its defeat in 1945.

Sister M. Pascalina Lehnert belonged to the order of the Teaching Sisters of the Holy Cross and, starting in 1918, she worked as a housekeeper and eventually as an adviser to Eugenio Pacelli, when he was the papal nuncio to Germany. During World War II, when Cardinal Pacelli had been elevated to the papacy, he instructed Sister Pascalina to direct his clandestine services to hiding and supplying the thousands who had turned to the Vatican for help.

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