Address of Chanoine Pierre Andre
At the time, when he was apostolic nuncio in France, his excellency monsignor Roncalli, when talking about Abbé Franz Stock, said:
"Franz Stock, „that is not a name, it is a program.“
The conduct of this German priest, whose recollection we commit during these days in his mother country, proves it with up to certainty. The word “PAX”, which governs his gravestone in the church Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Chartres, combines indeed, his entire life as a priest,
- Apostle of peace
- Heroic priest in his charity
- Honest friend of France
- Mediator of the reconciliation
Alike in the same spirit
General Boisseau, responsible for all Prisoner of War Camps after the war, by allowing to centralize all young Germans who wanted to become priests.
Abbé Le Meur, who put into effect the gathering together of those German POWs Commander Gourut, in charge of Camp Camp 501 of Chartres, by his amiableness,
Abbé Johner, his first lieutenant, responsible for „Block I“ of the „POW Seminary behind barbed wire“ by his understanding,
and his excellency monsignor Harscouet, the bishop with the great heart, who addressed these young prisoners „my dear children“.
Everyone had worked in his function for the peace and the German-French reconciliation.
By the way, this is what your Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, expressed to monsignor Harscouet, the commander Gourut and myself during the course of a visit in the year 1952 with the following words: „You have won the respect and affection of all Germans with your treatment of captured soldiers”.
The body of Abbé Franz Stock in the church Jean Baptiste of Chartres.
The names of 950 students of the „Seminary behind barbed wire“ which the altar of this church comprises, represent the everlasting memorandum of this reconciliation between both our countries.
Thirty years earlier, between 1914 – 1916 died not far away from here, in Meschede, a French prisoner of war in a camp, after two years captivity, father of four children.
When feeling that his life is coming to an end, he wrote to his wife, my mother,
„I die in captivity, that the peace between France and Germany may be realized. During these two years I have prayed every day to the Lord, that Pierre may become a priest and Marie a nun. Do not move my dead body back home. I want to stay here in Meschede, which I acknowledge as my second home, because our Lord has sought that I would meet him from over here."
On the wall, at the entrance of the POW cemetery, where he has been buried, this sentence is chiselled in the French and German language:
„Far from the fatherland rest in peace.“
My sister has become a nun and the Lord has called me to his service. In the same spirit of my father I have worked for the reconciliation between both our countries.
Through the contact with Abbé Franz Stock, Abbé Wilhelm Delbeck and all their pupils, those who were:
- Monsignor Emil Stehle,
- Monsignor Raimund Winkelhofer
- And you, dear friends:
- Dieter Lanz, Franz Zimmermann and Pater Anselm,
Yes, by virtue of the frequent contact with you, during the visits, which I made to you in the camp, the „Seminary behind barbed wire“, I have learnt, to know you better, to appreciate and love youi.
I also thank the Providence, which has nominated me for this apostolate of reconciliation and lasting peace between both our countries.
I am greeting here especially the brothers and sisters and the parents of Abbé Franz Stock, who are for me true and sincere friends.
I greet the suffragan bishop of Paderborn.
I thank monsignor bishop of Chartres, who has encouraged us in this spirit of friendship and reconciliation, by participating with our meeting of those who had been in „Chartres“, in Fulda, Chartres, Salzburg and Aachen.
I greet Monsieur le General, the chief commander of the French Army in Germany.
I greet the town mayor of Arnsberg
I thank the Franz-Stock-Committee, which contributed with activities not only to the friendship between us but has also developed it further.
Receive finally, Mr. President, the expression of my sincere gratitude for this ELISE-KÜHN-LEITZ price now awarded to me.