Miner. Father of seven. Member of the Christian miners‘ labour union at age 19, and secretary at 22. Member of the Zentrum Christian Party at age 20. Worked on Westdeutschen Arbeiterzeitung, (West German Workers’ Newspaper), the newspaper of the Catholic Workers’ Movement, at age 22, and became its director at age 24.
Non-violent opponent of Nazism from its beginnings. Worked with distinguished Catholic intellectuals who opposed the regime. From Cologne, Germany he exposed the lies and harmful effects of Nazi propaganda, and he worked for the revolt of consciences against Hitler. Declared an enemy of the state, his newspaper was shut down in 1938, but at great risk, he continued to publish an underground edition.
Nikolaus tried to organize resistance among Catholic workers in preparation for the planned assassination of Hitler on 20 July 1944. Though neither he nor the members of his group were implicated in the assassination attempt, Nikolaus was arrested on 12 August 1944 for treason, and sentenced to death by a People’s Court on 15 January 1945. Martyr.
- executed 23 January 1945 at the Berlin-Plotzensee, Germany prison
- body cremated, and the ashes scattered
We, Catholic workers, strongly and clearly reject National Socialism, not only for political and economic reasons, but also, decidedly, because of our religious and cultural position. – Blessed Nikolaus
The majority of great enterprises result from daily fulfillment of one’s duty in small, everyday things. What is valuable in the doing is our special love for the poor and the sick. – Blessed Nikolaus, 1943
Blessed Nikolaus Gross teaches us to obey God rather than men. Our time urgently needs convinced Christians, who listen to the voice of their conscience and have the courage to speak out when it is a question of the transcendence of the human person. – Pope John Paul II during the beatification ceremony for Blessed Nikolaus
- “Blessed Nikolaus Gross“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 January 2016. Web. 14 February 2016. <>