A POW Camp - of particular kind
Franz Stock was born 1904 in Arnsberg / Neheim (Westphalia). He was very much influenced by the war 1914/1918 and the time thereafter with its political and economic disorders. Parallel to his religious destiny he decided, to engage himself for the promotion of the peaceful state of nations, in particular between the youths of France and Germany. After staying for studies in France and travels to francophone regions he was ordained 1934 priest for the German community in Paris, a job which he resumed 1940 after a brief interruption because of the outbreak of the war. As clergyman of the Paris army prisons (Fresnes, La Santé, Le Cherche-Midi) he performed the duty to furnish aid – often under mortal danger – to hostages and those sentenced to dead, independently of descent, religion or political point of view.
During 1945, when his health was badly impaired and when he could have returned to his homeland, he accepted a new task: the establishment of a seminary of unique nature, in which German speaking priests and seminarists were brought together in a former military depot, which the occupation authorities had used as transit camp for north African captives in Le Coudray near Chartres. In this way the “Seminary behind barbed wire” came into existence, where commencing in 1945 until 1947 about 1000 young men were made ready for their future tasks in a new Europe.
Unexpectedly Franz Stock – still a prisoner of war – died of exhaustion in a Paris hospital. At first he was inhumed on the cemetery Thiais/Paris before his mortal remainders were moved 1963 to Chartres into the church St. Jean Baptist de Rechèvres which is now dedicated to him. After the closing of the „Barbed Wire Seminary“ in August 1947 the pioneer squad received the order to administer the camp Coudray; It was now named “Mobilization Base 101”. Block 001 which once had housed the “Seminary” is added in the supplementary list of memorials, principally because of the frescoes painted by Franz Stock in the camp chapel.