|Church||Roman Catholic Church|
|Birth name||Otto Neururer|
25 March 1882|
Piller, Tyrol, Austria-Hungary
|Died||30 May 1940
Buchenwald, Gau Thuringia, Germany
|Feast day||15 August|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Title as Saint||Blessed|
|Beatified||24 November 1996
Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City
by Pope John Paul II
Blessed Otto Neururer (25 March 1882 – 30 May 1940) was an Austrian Roman Catholic priest and martyr. He was the first priest to die in a Nazi concentration camp and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996 on account of his martyrdom.
Early life and priesthood
Otto Neururer was born in 1881 as the twelfth and final child to parents who worked on a small farm. He was a timid but academic man who battled depression like his mother did. He studied for the priesthood in Brixen in Italy and was ordained as a priest in 1907. He served as a curate and as a teacher of religious education.
He later joined the Christian Social Movement and it put him at odds with his conservative superiors.
Arrest and death
Following the Nazi annexation of Austria there were many priests who were arrested. Neururer was serving as a parish priest in Gotzens near Innsbruck at the time. He advised a girl not to marry a divorced man of questionable morality. The man was a personal friend of the Nazi Gauleiter (party leader) of Tirol. Neururer was arrested on the charge of "slander to the detriment of German marriage" and sent to Dachau Concentration Camp and later to Buchenwald, where he faced torture.
After agreeing to perform a forbidden baptism at the camp, Neururer was sent to the punishment block, where he was hanged upside down until he died on 30 May 1940. This was reportedly conducted at the orders of the sadistic SS Hauptscharführer (master sergeant) Martin Sommer – the "Hangman of Buchenwald".
The cause of beatification was introduced in Innsbruck on 23 May 1983 and he was granted the title of Servant of God. The cause started on a local level from 1983 to 1986, and that process was eventually validated in 1991. The Positio which documented the case for martyrdom – was forwarded to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and led to Pope John Paul II proclaiming him to be a martyr killed "in odium fidei" (in hatred of the faith) on 12 January 1996. It allowed for his beatification on 24 November 1996.
- Hagiography Circle
- Otto Neururer on Friends of the Blessed's of Dachau webpage (German language)
- Address by Pope John Paul II following Beatification of Otto Neururer; 25 November 1996; published by Vatican website (German language).