As World War II raged across Europe, thousands of German Latter-day Saints found themselves embroiled in the conflict. Hundreds served in the German military as their loved ones at home struggled to keep their families and the Church alive. Many were evicted from their homes and never allowed to return. The collective stories of how they lived - and died - under those conditions have never been told. This volume brings together the accounts of hundreds of Church members who survived the war, preserved in hundreds of personal interviews, journals, letters, and photographs. Their stories of joy and suffering are presented in this book against the background of the rise and the collapse of the Third Reich. Readers will be amazed at the faith and dedication demonstrated by these Saints, young and old, military and civilian. Here are just a few of the many accounts included in this volume:
Church members became very, very close. Everybody helped each other. It was a great time of togetherness. Also, after losing it all, those who had formerly been deemed wealthy were just like all the rest. Now we were all equal. No one had any more than anyone else. War is a great equalizer.
—Lydia Ruf Wright, Stuttgart Branch
With a broken heart, I knelt before the wreckage of my home and prayed to my Father in Heaven to help me recover the body of my wife from the ruins intact. I wanted to find and identify her among the sixteen persons killed in that building. A great effort was made and my purpose achieved. Along with many others, she was buried in a mass grave at the Freiburg cemetery. From that time on, I have endeavored to preach the gospel with greater energy.
—Karl Becker, Freiburg Branch
My father has been outside watching things. Then he came into the basement and said, "We all have to get out right now! The house is on fire!" We had felt something hit the house, but in all of the commotion, we didn't know what it was. So we ran out into the street and saw that our house was on fire. There was no fire department to help. Then my father and some neighbor men went back in to save some stuff. They brought our piano out too. The house burned to the ground, but we had our piano out in the street. I played the piano, and then my sister played the song "Freut Euch des Lebens" (Let's All Be Happy).
—Liesellotte Pruess Schmidt, St. Georg Branch
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