Max Josef Metzger

Max Josef Metzger was born on February 3, 1887 in Schopfheim. He studied theology and philosophy at the universities in Freiburg im Breisgau and Fribourg in Switzerland, earning his doctor of theology in 1910.

His experiences as a Catholic military chaplain in World War I were formative. He became a pacifist and, in 1917, propagated a peace program to reconcile the nations. Metzger became a member of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and was instrumental in founding the Peace League of German Catholics and the World Peace League of the White Cross, the nucleus of the spiritual “Societas Christi Regis” (Society of Christ the King), primarily dedicated to combatting alcoholism. (Metzger was the secretary general of the Kreuzbund Society for Abstinent Catholics as of 1915.)

In 1928, he assumed the management of a home for alcoholics in Meitingen near Augsburg (Christ the King Institute), which also became the center of the Una Sancta Brotherhood in 1938-39. Having moved to Berlin, Metzger came into contact with opposition circles through the Una Sancta movement. Convincedthat Germany would be defeated, Metzger drafted a brief program for a German postwar order in 1943. The paper was supposed to reach England via Sweden but fell into the hands of a female Gestapo informant. Metzger was arrested on June 29, 1943.

Since he had been attracting attention as a critic of National Socialism since 1932 and had been imprisoned in 1934 and 1939, Metzger was sentenced to death by the People’s Court in August of 1943 and executed on April 17, 1944.

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