I. Some Remarks Concerning the "Konnersreuth"-Literature

A quantity of books and papers appeared concerning the stigmatised of Konnersreuth. The major part of them doesn't reveal anything new and does only very superficially or not at all deal with the core of problems. Of special importance are the writings of those authors, who claim support for themselves by what they themselves have heard or seen in Konnersreuth.

One of the first, who wrote about the stigmatised of Konnersreuth, is the minister Leopold Witt from Münchenreuth. He calls himself "secretary for taking down the record" and assures us, that he wrote no word without the consent of Therese Neumann or their parents. The redemptorist P. Hummel judges him: "One cannot give a damn about what Witt writes. He wrote a book in favour of Therese Neumann and told us (clergymen) that Resl is a praying sister back and forth. The man is not quite sane2"

Among the books concerning Therese Neumann the two volumes by Dr. phil. Fritz Gerlich play an important role. The Konnersreuth fans point to them again and again. It is constantly emphasised that he was murdered by the Nazis. This is true, and nobody wants to withhold the respect he deserves for this; but its death has no connection with Konnersreuth. A further argument is stated: Dr. Gerlich went to Konnersreuth as a sceptic, but turned from a Saul into a Paul. If it would have happened otherwise, Gerlich would have come as a believer and went away disbelieving, then no "Konnersreuthian" would mention him. Gerlich was neither a theologian nor physician. At that time the chief doctor of Waldsassen and medical adviser Dr. Seidl called his remarks, a "medical novel". Gerlich was often and for long times in Konnersreuth. There the most natural procedure for him would have been to get into contact with Dr. Seidl who was a family doctor of the Neumann family and knew all connections of the events from the outset. He did not do that however. There are two reasons for his behaviour. The Neumann family was no longer in favour of Dr. Seidl at this time; Dr. Gerlich copied this rejecting attitude. The second reason is connected with the conviction which Gerlichs fell into at Konnersreuth: that Christ himself spoke from Therese Neumann. This makes it understandable, why he could not consider any critical objection from a disagreeing persons. Professor Dr. Wunderle told about him: "Trying to make Gerlich into the main witness however faces some difficulties. I not only 'enjoyed' his written insults but also knew him personally, and never knew him behaving from a pathologic fanatic. He acted accordingly in all areas3."

Several bishops have intervened in the Konnersreuth affair, all in favour of the case. These were archbishop Waitz of Salzburg (beforehand Feldkirch), archbishop Teodorowicz of Lemberg and cardinal Kaspar of Prague. The most extensive publication comes from Teodorowicz. The medical doctor Dr. Deutsch from Lippstadt reviewed the book of the archbishop of Lemberg and wrote about it on June 18. 1936:

"I have read your book with its adverse remarks over my scientific procedure. I can only say that I had to shake my head about these quite superficial proof, which did not even consider it necessary to do a check of the medical section. Since you considered such a check unnecessary, you completely uncritically accepted the fantasies of the layman Gerlich and you have delivered contributions which are completely free of expertise. It is not pleasant to be hard on a deceased person. However in the interest of the truth it must nevertheless be stated that Gerlich had quite a neuropathic personality, that he, possessed by an idea, misjudged the limits of his competence and reacted with hateful eagerness against each opponent. Such hate is clearly incompatible with Christian love4." Dr. Deutsch judgement is primarily based on medically reasons. Bishop Buchberger considered the writing of the Lemberg's archbishop as a "very thoroughly done work as far as theology is concerned." However the judgement of the two jesuits P. Richstätter and P. Siwek reads differently. The last being a professor of psychology at the Gregoriana in Rome, calls the book, "pessimae notae" and says that "the author has no idea whatsoever what psychology is all about and it is just the same with theology5"

The writings of the theologians bishop Waitz and chaplain Fahsel were met with similar refusal. That cardinal Faulhaber forbade propagating the one by bishop Waitz in his Diocese shows how the writing of the bishop of Salzburg was estimated. Dr. Johannes Junglas, professor of dogmatics in Bonn said he blushed red with shame while reading the writings of bishop Waitz and a lecture by the chaplain was repelling. He wrote: "What a concept of God this people must have6!"

The book by Ennemond Boniface, notes on the envelope that it was recognised, by the family Neumann and by the minister Naber. Boniface also owed his knowledge mostly directly to descriptions by the involved persons. Before the printing of his book he was in Konnersreuth four times, that last time in the year 1955. At these attendancies he was served readily; however when he later appeared again in Konnersreuth, he was to his large surprise and disappointment no longer given any audience by Therese Neumann; she was not satisfied with a few remarks in his book.

Soon after the death of Therese Neumann Johannes Steiner published his first book concerning the stigmatised; which in the meantime runs in its ninth edition. Steiner thinks of his writing as "a continuation of the accurate biography by Fritz Gerlich7". In the year 1973 and 1977 he published two further books; both dealing with the "visions Therese Neumann had". Finally in the year 1987 he published the diary of the minister of Konnersreuth Josef Naber. In them nothing new is revealed. Most of Naber's notes exist as duplicates in the bishops central archive in Regensburg. The authors mentioned, who got their information directly in Konnersreuth, belong all to the followers of Therese Neumann. There are some doubters, which expressed their impressions they won in Konnersreuth in essays; but they could not rely on more extensive information by Therese Neumann or minister Naber; such was available for believers only.

Professor Dr. Georg Wunderle professor of theology is an exception. He was in Konnersreuth three times; first on July 11. 1926, the second time, following an invitation by minister Josef Naber, on July 29. and 30. 1926. On both occasion he had long conversations with Therese Neumann and the minister. The third time he was in Konnersreuth on July 28. 1927 and the following day. Wunderle published his impressions. Therese didn't agreed at all with this; she accused him, that he depicted everything falsely. On June 27. 1930 Wunderle held a lecture at the international congress of religion and psychological in Erfurt about "The Stigmatised of Konnersreuth". Its personal attitude becomes evident in the following predication: "On this occasion one should not miss to say that I think that the stigmatised is not only a quite blameless girl, but also has an excellent, childlike pious personality. This is not in the least diminished if I repeat my conviction here that a recent check undertaken with all scientific aids is a requirement of scientific exactness. Such exactness however seems to me to be absolutely necessary in the interest of the important 'case of Konnersreuth'8." Now Therese Neumann did not at all agree with such an attitude. The consequence was a wild agitation against Professor Wunderle, whom above all was done by Fritz Gerlich who was called to assistance. Wunderle supported his defence by what Therese had said to him in her awake status to him as well also during their ecstasies; the professor was accused, that about everything that he said or wrote, is false. Now also Therese remembered that she had had no confidence into him from the outset. "Prof. Wunderle was not pleasant ", she explained9. With this approach it is understandable that the professor was not permitted further attendance.

So the "first source" in Konnersreuth was not available for the sceptically thinking folks. In the year 1953 Hilda Graef published a book concerning "The Case Therese Neumann". Among other things the reproach was made against the authoress, that she had never been to Konnersreuth. This is not true however; Hilda Graef was there. She also spoke twice, even if only for short time, with Therese Neumann and afterwards half an hour with minister Naber. Minister Naber harshly denied a further conversation with the stigmatised although the visitor had a written permit by the Bishop10.

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