Statues - Hither & Thither

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(Sankt Marien Basilika, Sakristei portal)

Portal der Versöhnung

Portal of Reconciliation

Karl Leisner
Rees 1915 - Krailling 1945
priest interned in the Dachau concentration camp; died of tuberculosis shortly after being liberated; martyr and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 23 June 1996
Bert Gerresheim

Kevelaer /  Portal der Versöhnung   Kevelaer /  Portal der Versöhnung


Bronze door depicting the secret priestly ordination of Karl Leisner by the French Bishop Gabriel Piguet (1887-1952, Wikipedia) in the Dachau concentration camp on 17 December 1944.
On the left door Karl Leisner kneels in front of a simple altar. His folded hands tied together according to the ordination with a linen bandage, on which are engraved his prisoner number 22356, the day of his ordination "Gaudete 17 Dez. 1944" and a quote from his diary of 16 June 1945. Above him sister Maria Imma Mack (1924-2006, Wikipedia) is depicted with a goblet in her hands, embraced by azaleas. In the background you can see he Dachau concentration camp with the entrance gate. The right door depicts Bishop Gabriel Piguet with in the background his official church, the Cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand, St. Mary's Assumption.

Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung

On the top of both doors are portraits framed by chains, handcuffs and barbed wire. They represent "contemporary confessors and martyrs" with their prisoner numbers:

Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung
Unknown, Reinhold Friedrichs, Anton Bornefeld, Wilhelm Holtmann, Heinz Bello, Wilhelm Frede, Nikolaus Groß, August Wessing, Gerhard Storm, Bernhard Hürfeld, Sophie Scholl,
Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung
Anne Frank, Bernhard Letterhaus, Graf Helmuth J. von Moltke, Josef Lodde, Johannes Maria Verweyen, Josef Kleinsorge, Carl Klinkhammer, Leo Statz, Bernhard Lichtenberg and Rupert Mayer

Above the portal are the three busts, from left to right, the first martyr St. Stephen, Christ, crowned with barbed wire, and and the first Christian woman of Europe, Lydia.

Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung
Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung
Sankt Stephan / St. Stephen protomartyr of Christianity, preached shortly after Jesus' crucifixion. He is condemned for blasphemy and stoned to death by an infuriated mob (Wikipedia).
Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung
Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung
St. Lydia von Philippi / St. Lydia of Thyatira, woman mentioned in the New Testament who is regarded as the first documented convert to Christianity in Europe (Wikipedia)

Inaugurated 26 October 1997.

Kevelaer - Portal der Versöhnung


Sources & Information


  • Frank, Anne
  • Frede, Wilhelm
  • Friedrichs, Reinhold
  • Gerresheim, Bert
  • Groß, Nikolaus
  • Holtmann, Wilhelm
  • Hürfeld, Bernhard
  • Kleinsorge, Josef
  • Klinkhammer, Carl
  • Leisner, Karl
  • Letterhaus, Bernhard
  • Lichtenberg, Bernhard
  • Lodde, Josef
  • Lydia of Thyatira, St.
  • Mack, Maria Imma
  • Mayer, Rupert
  • Moltke, Helmuth von
  • Piguet, Gabriel
  • Priest
  • Scholl, Sophie
  • Statz, Leo
  • Stephen, St.
  • Storm,, Gerhard
  • Verweyen, Johannes Maria
  • Wessing, August
  • Locatie (N 51°35'4" - E 6°14'39") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

    Item Code: denw760; Photograph: 15 June 2019
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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