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Edith Stein
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Religious Figure
    (October 12, 1891-August 9, 1942)
    Born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland)
    Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism
    Carmelite nun
    Wrote 'Life in a Jewish Family,' 'On the Power of Empathy,' 'Knowledge and Faith,' 'Finite and Eternal Being' and 'The Science of the Cross'
    Died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz
    Canonized as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1998)
    When she took holy orders, she said she offered her life to atone for the sins of the 'unbelieving' Jewish people.
    She was declared a martyr for the faith by the Catholic church even though she was killed because of her Jewish heritage.
    Several Jewish leaders complained her canonization was an attempt to 'Christianize the Holocaust' and minimize the Catholic Church's inaction.
    Anti-Defamation League head Abraham Foxman called the canonization 'an unnecessary and painful act.'
    She wrote to Pope Pius XI urging him to denounce the Nazi regime and 'put a stop to this abuse of Christ's name.'
    She was offered a chance to escape to Switzerland but refused because her sister could not come with her.
    She and other Jewish converts to Christianity in the Netherlands were arrested and sent to Auschwitz in retaliation after the Conference of Dutch Bishops condemned Nazi racism.
    At her canonization ceremony, Pope John Paul II said that her feast day would be an annual reminder of 'that beastial plan to eliminate a people.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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