The Chapels

The circle of eight small chapels is the defining feature of the undercroft. 

Each has its own distinctive function.  For example, one is reserved for baptisms, one honours the patronal saint, Hedwig and another is dedicated to St Otto of Bamburg (born around 1060 and died in 1139) who, as papal legate, is credited with converting much of Pomerania to Christianity. 

Part of the territory in which Otto worked is included within the geographical region of the modern Archdiocese of Berlin, so Otto is very appropriately the second patron of the diocese.

Another of the eight undercroft chapels recalls the Roman Catholics of the Berlin region who suffered so terribly under Nazi oppression from 1933 to 1945.

At the centre of this chapel is the grave of Bernhard Lichtenberg, the Provost of St Hedwig’s Cathedral, who for many years bravely spoke out against Nazi programmes. 

His persistence in challenging the regime, and his practice of praying publicly in the cathedral for the Jewish victims of the regime, led eventually to his arrest and incarceration in Tegel prison in Berlin.

In November 1943, the authorities commanded that Lichtenberg be transferred to the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in Bavaria.  He never reached Dachau but died while in transit. On 23 June 1996, Pope John Paul II during a visit to Germany beatified Bernhard Lichtenberg. Since 2004 he is listed as "Righteous Among the Nations" at Yad Vashem.

 


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