Josefa Mack
Sr. M. Imma Mack

100 years ago, Sister M. Imma Mack was born

By bike and sleigh: This is how a nun helped concentration camp prisoners

Josefa Mack, later Sister Maria Imma, was just 20 years old when she went to the Dachau concentration camp for the first time in 1944. Her mission: to buy flowers for the monastery of the Congregation of the Poor School Sisters in Munich-Freising at the sales office of a nursery run by concentration camp prisoners. She couldn’t yet know that this first trip would present her with a task that she could never have imagined, as she would write a good 40 years later: «I was able to help many prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp, about which until then I had hardly no idea, to bring a little comfort and help amid great difficulties and dangers.» This is what Sister Maria Imma recalled in her memoirs, Why I Love Azaleas, written in the late 1980s. She wrote down her experiences, about which she made little fuss right up to her death in 2006, at the request of Munich Cardinal Friedrich Wetter. Inmates on the plantation had given her azaleas as a greeting to her mother before she went home for the holidays.

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