Biography of Father Joseph (Iogannovich) Neigum

Born into a peasant family in 1875 in Zenfeld, Yekaterinoslav province. Graduated from Saratov Seminary and the St. Petersburg Theological Academy; ordained for the Diocese of Tiraspol on September 8, 1897. From September 1898 he was vicar of the parish in Kostheim; from January 1901, in Zoloturn; from April 1903, he taught religion in Odessa schools; from 1907, he served at the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Tiflis and worked as a religion teacher in the secondary schools. He was the rector and a professor at Saratov Seminary where he taught pastoral theology and homiletics; he also taught at the minor seminary. From 1918 he actively worked with the German Catholic Union and collaborated closely with Bishop Kessler. In 1919, after Bishop Kessler had left for Germany, on his instruction, Father Joseph gathered signatures for the Declaration of the German Population of Odessa, which he forwarded to the Vatican – because of this activity he came under investigation, but was not convicted. From 1929 he was pastor of St. Klemens and dean of Odessa; later became a canon. November 11, 1930 – arrested in Odessa. October 8, 1931 – sentenced to five years in corrective labor camp [Special Troika, GPU Collegium, UkrSSR]. Released early on account of his health. November 16, 1935 – again arrested, in a case against Catholic clergy and laity (Neigum, Reichart et al.). Charged with “counter-revolutionary activity, collection and transmittal of espionage information, anti-Soviet agitation (especially among the youth), and counter-revolutionary work on the unification of the churches.” February 21, 1936 – sentenced under Articles 54-4(2) and 54-11 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR to ten years in corrective labor camp, commuted to ten years’ exile in Kazakhstan [Special Collegium, Odessa Dist. Ct.]. In 1938, according to information from the Polish embassy, he was in exile in Karaganda along with other German priests. In 1940 – according to the testimony of Polish exiles – Father Joseph had to report every day to the militia; he was under NKVD surveillance and forbidden to say Mass. From 1943 he was living in Siberia where one Polish priest met him and later with gratitude recalled is goodness and assistance. November 17, 1945 – after the completion of his term of exile he was sent to a Special Settlement in Talgar outside Alma Ata, where he died on October 9, 1955, at the age of eighty. Sources: Assumptionist Archive, Rome. 2EK.66, p. 38; Archive of the Center for Legal and Statistical Information (TsPSIP), Karaganda oblast; Odessa martirolog, p. 2; Osipova (1996), p. 186; Parafiial’na gazeta, 1995, No. 48, p. 8; Investigatory Matter 1733 fp, Archive of TsGAOO (Ukraine); Investigatory Matter 95215, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Sokolovskyi, p. 141; Dzwonkowski, pp. 367-368; Schnurr, p. 355
Variant Names:
Neigum, Joseph (Iogannovich); Neigum, Iosif Iogannovich (Ivanovich)
Dnipropetrovsʹk (Ukraine); Saratov (Russia); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Tiraspol (Moldova); Odesa (Ukraine); Qaraghandy (Kazakhstan); Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan)
male; clergy and religious; survived