Plymouth County

Fr. Charles Kneip
LeMars Globe-Post, October 2, 1944 (published photo of Chaplain C. M. Kneip)


Former LeMars Boy, Chaplain, Observes Easter

Cologne, Germany—(Wireless)—Twenty-five American soldiers and three clubmobile girls of the Red Cross took part Easter Sunday in the first American service held in the Cathedral of Cologne, while artillery and machine-gun fired was resounding across the Rhine.

Fr. Charles Kneip, as American Army chaplain, formerly of LeMars, conducted the service.

The Americans stood near the main altar in the center of the nave of the huge edifice, which as been “off limits” for all military personnel and civilians during the past two weeks because of renewed activity in the battle zone.

The brief service consisted of a message by Father Kneip and singing accompanied by the organ. For security reasons the public was not admitted.

Germany artillery on the east bank of the Rhine continues to fire into the Cathedral area and one of the twin spires was hit by a shell, fortunately without causing much damage.

Fr. Wilhelm Kleef, who served as custodian of the Cathedral during the many air raids on Cologne and who offered Mass each day in the sacristy chapel, was obliged to move to private quarters. Thus, for the first time in centuries, the Cathedral is completely abandoned. No sightseers are admitted.

It was in this weird atmosphere that the Easter service was held while observers in Cathedral Square could clearly see the shells bursting all around.

Rev. Fr. Charles Kneip, is the son of John Kneip, of LeMars. Fr. Kneip was formerly pastor of the St. Michael church at Ruthven, Iowa. He has been overseas now about two months.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, April 12, 1945