Font size

Johannes Prassek


Prassek was „First Chaplain” at the Catholic Herz-Jesu Parish in Lübeck – the highest ranking among the three young clerics. Born 1911 in Hamburg-Barmbek, Prassek already proved to have a mind of his own during his education at the Jesuit-run high-school St. Georgen at Frankfurt on Main as well as at the seminary at Osnabrück, which expressed itself in deep devotion and love for the Church. His ordination in 1937 made him, in his own words, the „happiest man in the world“. He would, however, in his estimation, be called upon to make many sacrifices.

 Via Wittenburg in Mecklenburg province he came to the Herz Jesu Parish in Lübeck in 1939. Here, this priest, in whose nature religious sobriety, human candour, joie-de-vivre, a desire to help and humour were all bound together, quickly won many hearts. He would address topical events without fear. During religious instruction classes or discussion groups he would quite clearly take a stand against the state-organised murder of the physically or mentally handicapped or inhuman treatment of civilians in the then occupied territories. In his sermons he would critically dissect the Nazi world-view.

Well-meaning parishioners often warned him after mass not to be quite so outspoken. “But someone has to tell the truth”, would be his reply. He also, like other seminarians, learned Polish, in order to be able to minister to Polish catholics in the diocese in their own language. Later he used this knowledge to minister, secretly, to Polish forced labourers, which was strictly forbidden. Young Polish men and women, who had met in Germany and had fallen in love were encouraged by him to declare themselves before God as man and wife, and to live as such, – although without a ceremony, because that he could not perform. Shortly after the war had ended there were many wedding ceremonies of Polish couples performed in the Herz Jesu Church. In the memories of the Herz Jesu parishioners Prassek will remain a priest with a strong aura.

Original GermanText: Ökumenischer Arbeitskreis „Lübecker Märtyrer“
English translation: Hans-Heinrich Boeker, Wyoming, Australia

proceed to portrait of Hermann Lange