Biography of Father Aloysius Kappes

Born into a peasant family in 1885 in Mariental (Tonkashurovka) in the Volga colonies. Graduated from Saratov Theological Seminary, ordained in 1909. From 1911 he was pastor of the church in Marienberg; from 1914, at St. Rochus Church in Marienfeld. In 1922 he went to Germany to raise money to help the German Catholics suffering in the famine along the Volga. After his return and until 1924 he was pastor of the church in Josefstal. In 1924 he again went abroad: he first went to Germany where he worked at charitable organizations and was the Berlin correspondent for the [Saratov diocesan?] newspaper Klemens Blat; he later went to Argentina to raise money. From 1928, upon his return to the USSR, he served at the parish in Kamyshin. In 1928 and 1929 he visited the German embassy to find out about the possibility of the German Catholic clergy exiting to Germany. In January 1930 – with the beginning of mass arrests of clergy and laity, he crossed into an “illegal status.” July 14, 1930 – arrested in Kharkiv in a case against Catholic clergy and laity. Charged with “personal communications with the Pope and the German nationalistic-religious organizations Caritas and Fuhrerzorg, with the goal of organizing counter-revolutionary work in the USSR; for this he has twice visited Rome and Germany where he personally received directions from the Pope and leaders of these organizations. Aloysius Kappes also received instructions and money for carrying out counter-revolutionary work in the USSR. He, together with A.I. Baumtrog, led a counter-revolutionary organization of priests that he and Baumtrog created. He gave its members practical instructions for carrying out counter-revolutionary and espionage activity. He participated in illegal meetings of priests, which he and Baumtrog convened. He personally conducted espionage, gathering information along the line of political, economic and military intelligence. He personally transmitted this information to Metzger, an agent of the German embassy. He took part in the preparation of and conduct of counter-revolutionary campaigns of German colonists on the Volga in 1928 and 1930. Hiding from the Soviet regime with the goal of illegally fleeing across the border, he used false documents in another’s name.” April 20, 1931 – sentenced to death under Articles 58-2, -4, -6, -10 and -11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR; sentence commuted to ten years in corrective labor camp [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. In 1937 he was transferred to the prison block. October 14, 1937 – sentenced to death [Special Troika, Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast]. November 1, 1937 – shot, in Sandormokh, outside Medvezhigorsk. We present an excerpt from the information signed by the Solovetsky camp boss, on the basis of which Father Aloysius was sentenced to execution in 1937: “Kappes, A.N., from the moment of his arrival in the camp until the present has led energetic counter-revolutionary activity. He has grouped the imprisoned priests around himself. He set up illegal Masses, using them to attach counter-revolutionary elements to himself. He has systematically engaged in malicious counter-revolutionary agitation. He is an open enemy of the Soviet regime.” Sources: GARF, f. 8409, op. 2, d. 786, l. 184-186; Personal dossier, A.N. Kappes, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Sandormokh Memorial Cemetery, p. 43; Osipova (1996), p. 172; Protocols of Sessions of a Special Troika, Directorate of NKVD, Leningrad oblast; Reznikova, p. 21; Investigatory Matter 95215, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Schnurr, pp. 366-367; Dzwonkowski (1998), pp. 278-279, 5828
Variant Names:
Kappes, Aloiziĭ Nikolaevich; Kappes, Aloysius
A.S.S.R. Nemt︠s︡ev Povolzhʹi︠a︡ (R.S.F.S.R.); Saratov (Russia); Ĭosypivka (Ovidiopol'sʹkyĭ raĭon, Ukraine); Argentina; Kharkiv (Ukraine); Rome (Italy); Germany
male; clergy and religious; executed