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Lutheran minister Henry Gerecke was fifty years old when he enlisted as am Army chaplain during World War II. As two of his three sons faced danger and death on the battlefield, Gerecke tended to the battered bodies and souls of wounded and dying GIs outside London. At the war's end, when other soldiers were coming home, Gerecke was recruited for the most difficult engagement of his life: ministering to the twenty-one Nazis leaders awaiting trial at Nuremburg.
Based on scrupulous research and first-hand accounts, including interviews with still-living participants and featuring sixteen pages of black-and-white photos, Mission at Nuremberg takes us inside the Nuremburg Palace of Justice, into the cells of the accused and the courtroom where they faced their crimes. As the drama leading to the court's final judgments unfolds, Tim Townsend brings to life the developing relationship between Gerecke and Hermann Georing, Albert Speer, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and other imprisoned Nazis as they awaited trial.
Powerful and harrowing, Mission at Nuremberg offers a fresh look at one of the most horrifying times in human history, probing difficult spiritual and ethical issues that continue to hold meaning, forcing us to confront the ultimate moral question: Are some men so evil they are beyond redemption?
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 9.0 X 6.0 X 1.2 (inches)|
Availability: In Stock
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The gripping story of the American army chaplain sent to save the souls of the Nazis incarcerated at Nuremberg
Lutheran minister Henry Gerecke was fifty years old when he enlisted as an army chaplain during World War II. As two of his three sons faced danger and death on the battlefield, Gerecke tended to the battered bodies and souls of wounded and dying GIs outside London. But at the close of the European theater, with Hitler defeated and scores of American troops returning home to resume their lives, Gerecke received his most challenging assignment: he was sent to Nuremberg to minister to the twenty-one imprisoned Nazi leaders awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.
A crucial yet largely untold coda to the horrors of World War II, Mission at Nuremberg unearths groundbreaking new research and compelling firsthand accounts to take us deep inside the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, into the very cells of the accused and the courtroom where they answered to the world for their crimes. Never before in modern history had man accomplished mass slaughter with such precision. These twenty-one Nazis had sat at the right hand of Adolf Hitler; Hermann Goering, Albert Speer, Wilhelm Keitel, Hans Frank, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner were the orchestrators, and in some cases the direct perpetrators, of the most methodical genocide in history.
As the drama leading to the court's final judgments unfolds, Tim Townsend brings Henry Gerecke's impossible moral quandary to life: How, having risked his own life (and those of his sons) to eliminate the Nazi threat, could he now win the confidence of these men? In the months after the war ended, Gerecke had visited Dachau. He had touched the walls of the camp's crematorium. He had seen the consequences of the choices these men had made, the orders they had given and carried out. As he worked to form compassionate relationships with them, how could he preach the gospel of mercy, knowing full well the devastating nature of the atrocities they had committed? And as the day came nearer when he had to escort these men to the gallows, what comfort could he offer—and what promises of salvation could he make—to evil itself?
Detailed, harrowing, and emotionally charged, Mission at Nuremberg is an incisive new history of the Nuremberg trials as well as a nuanced reflection on the nature of morality and sin, the price of empathy, and the limits of forgiveness.
Tim Townsend, formerly the religion reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, holds master's degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Divinity School. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. In 2005, 2011, and 2013, he was named Religion Reporter of the Year by the Religion Newswriters Association, the highest honor on the "God beat" at American newspapers. He recently joined the Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project as a senior writer and editor in Washington, D.C.
Rich, potentially explosive. ... Townsend authoritatively addresses the excruciating moral and religious issues confronting wartime chaplains.
-Daily Mail (London)
“A gripping story... puts the reader inside the cells of various Hitler henchmen.”
“Sheds light on a little-known player in an iconic episode of world history. ... A well-written study about a subject matter that can’t help but hold a reader’s attention.”
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