Biography of Father Robert Glassner

Born in 1885 in Heidelberg, Yekaterinoslav province. Graduated from Saratov Seminary and was ordained in 1908 for the Diocese of Tiraspol. From 1908 he served at the parish in Bergtal, outside Mariupol; from 1914, in Seelman, on the Lower Volga; from 1918, at Urby; and from 1925, at the parish in Dehler, Saratov province. February 2, 1930 – arrested in the case against German Catholic clergy. Charged with “energetic work in establishing contacts with the counter-revolutionary organization “Fürsorge” [Welfare] in Germany.” Held in Yaroslavl Prison. June 6, 1931 – sentenced under Articles 58-6, -10 and -11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years in corrective labor camp [by Order of OGPU Collegium]. Sent to Karlag; released from camp in 1934, but internally exiled. Settled in Samarkand, worked as a bookkeeper at the raion sel’po. July 5, 1941 – arrested in Samarkand, charged with “anti-Soviet agitation directed against measures undertaken by the Soviet regime, praise of the fascist system in Germany, and approval of Hitler’s policies.” August 8, 1941 – sentenced to death under Article 66(2) of the Criminal Code of the Uzbek SSR [by Order of a Special Troika, NKVD, USSR]. September 10, 1941 – shot. Excerpts from his file:June 26, 1930 – Fr. Robert stated at his interrogation: “As a person educated in the spirit of the teaching of the Catholic Church, I never believed – nor do I now believe – in the possibility of building socialism. Neither have I ever believed in the possibility of the long-term existence of the Soviet regime. I have always regarded the Soviet regime as transitional not toward a socialist society, but toward a system wherein private property would predominate. I cannot deny the fact, which follows from this stance, that I have always had a “wait-and-see” attitude and further, that I have done all I could to preserve the old way of life in the village where I served as a priest. I advised those peasants who asked me about the (Communist) Party, that they should not join the Party, Komsomol, etc., emphasizing that joining the Party was the equivalent to breaking away from their religion – a Party member is a person who is an atheist and will have to answer before God for his view on religion, and so long as he lived on this earth, in his own village surrounded by believers, he will boycott the church. …. With respect to the nationalization of the land by the Soviet state, I see the question this way: Any person, organization or agency – in the instant case, the Soviet government – that for reasons of principle takes from individual persons property that is the private property of those persons, commits, from a religious point of view, the same kind of crime as a person commits when he violently takes the property of another for himself, i.e., for his own self-interest. August 14, 1930, Fr. Robert stated at his interrogation: “I do not deny that I advised faithful Catholics not to visit the “reading hut” [izba-chital’nya], because … in reading these books, newspapers and magazines, a faithful Catholic commits a grave sin and is morally harmed. I openly acknowledge that I have not agreed with Soviet policy with respect to the prohibition of teaching religion in school. I believe that the education of a child in a religious spirit is imperative for the moral well-being of society. … Neither do I wish to conceal that we Catholic priests have been against de-kulakization and against the liquidation of the kulaks as a class – that we regard the kulaks as our innocently suffering brothers, and the policy of the Soviet regime with respect to them as a grave injustice.” Sources: Archive TsPSIP, Karaganda oblast; Osipova (1996), p. 162; Investigatory Matter 95215, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Dzwonkowski, p. 241; Schnurr, p. 361
Variant Names:
Glassner, Robert; Glassner, Robert Valentinovich
Saratov (Russia); Tiraspol (Moldova); Temirtaū (Kazakhstan); I︠A︡roslavlʹ (I︠A︡roslavskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia)
male; clergy and religious; executed