Magdeburg Branch, Leipzig District

Roger P. Minert, In Harm’s Way: East German Latter-day Saints in World War II (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009), 351-2.

One of the most important venues in the Thirty Years War (1618–48), the city of Magdeburg is located on the west bank of the Elbe River. The city survived the ravages of that terrible war and eventually became the capital of the Prussian province of Saxony. With a population of nearly 300,000, it was the largest city for many miles in any direction.

Magdeburg Branch[1]1939








Other Adult Males


Adult Females


Male Children


Female Children




The LDS Church had only a small branch in this large city. According to the official records of the East German Mission, there were only forty-three members in this branch at the beginning of the year 1939. It is interesting to note that there were fourteen adult males (age twelve and up) who did not have the priesthood; this constitutes thirty-three percent of the branch population.

According to East German Mission records, the members of the Magdeburg Branch held their meetings in rooms rented at Blumenthalstrasse 11, about a half mile southeast of the city’s main railroad station. It is not known just how many rooms were used by the branch or what they looked like.

Anton Larisch was working in Halberstadt (thirty miles to the southwest) and serving as the group leader there (the membership was not sufficient for branch status). In his diary entry of June 15, 1942, he mentioned that the group had acquired the pump organ “of the Magdeburger branch, which has completely ceased to be.”[2] There is no explanation regarding how the Magdeburg Branch population of forty-three in 1939 had decreased to zero four years later.

As of this writing, no eyewitnesses from the Magdeburg Branch could be located, nor could any biographical or autobiographical writings by members of that branch be found.

In Memoriam

The following members of the Magdeburg Branch did not survive World War II:

Minna Pauline Amalie —— b. Sangerhausen, Sachsen, Preussen 3 Jul 1868; bp. 15 Sep 1936; m. Erdmann Adolf Hermann Koebel; d. Magdeburg or Aschersleben, Sachsen, Preussen 7 Jun 1940 (Sonntagsstern, no. 23, 7 Jul 1940, n.p.)

Erdmann Adolf Hermann Koebel b. Benstedt, Halle, Sachsen, Preussen 1 Apr 1868; bp. 19 Dec 1932; m. Minna Pauline Amalie —; d. Aschersleben, Sachsen, Preussen 18 Sep 1942 (IGI)


[1] Presiding Bishopric, “Financial, Statistical, and Historical Reports of Wards, Stakes, and Missions, 1884–1955,” CR 4 12, 257.

[2] Anton Larisch, diary, June 15, 1942, 30; private collection; trans. Ruth Larish Larisch Hinkel.