Franciscan convent to be built at site of Nazi concentration camp

.- The Diocese of Osnabrück in Germany has announced it is building a convent on the site of the Nazi concentration camp of Esterwegen, where four religious sisters of the Franciscans of Münster will take up residence to serve those visiting the camp.

The Kath.net news agency reported that the construction of the convent will entail demolishing the old building that housed the offices of the Nazi officials who ran the camp.  The land where the camp is located belongs to the municipality of Emsland, which has granted approval for the construction.

The Franciscan sisters will be dedicated full-time to receiving people who come to visit the Nazi death camp.  Father Theo Paul, vicar general of the Diocese of Osnabrück, said the founding of this place of prayer would greatly contribute to discouraging indifference and helping people never to forget the holocaust.

The local mayor, Hermann Bröring, praised the initiative and said, “I was convinced the building of this memorial of Esterwegen would be an extraordinary and enriching contribution to humanity.”

The founding of the convent at Esterwegen will be the third new foundation in the last six years in the Diocese of Osnabrück.  In 2000 a Dominican convent was founded on the site of the Nazi concentration camp of Rieste, and in 2002 the diocese founded another convent at Schnoor-Viertel in Bremen, for the Sisters of St. Bridget.

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