The lieutenant’s face turned beet-red. "You must be mad, private!" he bellowed. "This is the German Army! This battalion’s going to war, and you want Saturday off?" Under his breath he spat out, "It’s just my luck to be saddled with a religious nut!"
Franz Hasel, a 40-year-old pacifist, was drafted and assigned to Pioneer Company 699, Hitler’s elite troops who built bridges at the front lines. His religious scruples did not endear him to his superiors. Sarcastically dubbed "carrot eater" and "Bible reader, " he finally gained the respect of his unit.
Just before he was sent deep into Russia—where all but seven of his 1,200-man unit would die— he secretly discarded his gun, fearing that, as the company sharpshooter, he might be tempted to kill. In Russia he faced a new problem: how to warn the local Jews before the SS got to them.
Meanwhile, back at home, Franz’s wife, Helene, and their four children were fighting their own battles. Pressured to join the Nazi Party, she announced, "I belong to the party of Jesus Christ."
"Tomorrow night your children will be taken from you unless you join the party," Herr Doering screamed. And she had another secret. One day the Gestapo knocked on her door. "Are you hiding a Jew" they demanded. Their chances of survival? Dim. Their only ally? God.
In a few short years they lived several lifetimes of danger. As thousands around them fell victim to the horrors of war, they were borne up on angels’ wings—sometimes quite literally. This is the true, soul-soaring story of one desperate family who chose to be faithful whatever the cost, and found refuge in the shadow of the Almighty.
Paperback. 184 pages. Copyright 2001.