Karlsruhe Branch

Roger P. Minert, “ Karlsruhe Branch, Karlsruhe District,” in Under the Gun: West German and Austrian Latter-day Saints in World War II (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011), 229–36.

The city of Karlsruhe was laid out in a beautifully symmetrical way, such that the streets of the downtown ran from the city palace to the south like rays from the sun. The city was home to 184,489 people in 1939 and hosted a substantial branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Although the record shows that the Karlsruhe Branch had eight elders in June 1939, an American missionary, Robert Kunkel, was serving as the branch president. His counselors were Johann Fauth and Eugen G. Bauer. Another missionary, John Wesche, was the leader of the YMMIA, but all other callings in the branch were entrusted to local branch members; Max Klotz was the president of the Sunday School, Johanne Block the leader of the YWMIA, Adleheid Schulz the president of the Primary, and Dorothea Bauer the president of the Relief Society. [1]

The branch meeting rooms were rented in a building at Waldhornstrasse 18, very close to the palace. Sunday School began at 10:00 and sacrament meeting at 3:00 p.m. The Primary met on Mondays at 6:00, the Relief Society on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., and Mutual an hour later.

Karlsruhe Branch [2]1939
Other Adult Males21
Adult Females69
Male Children5
Female Children2

The facility at Waldhornstrasse 18 had been secured by the branch in 1936. The following description is taken from the branch history:

The branch moved into the building that belonged to a fraternity and was located near the corner of Kaiserstrasse. The peaceful location and a garden in front gave the building a dignified appearance. From a broad foyer the stairs led up to a large, bright hall with a painted ceiling. Three additional broad and spacious rooms had large windows. The main floor of the building housed the studio of an artist named Heil. [3]

Heini-Werner Seith (born 1930) described the meeting rooms in these words:

The rooms were very comfortable and could easily fit about 120 people. We had a podium in the front where the branch presidency could sit. Three other rooms next to the large one were used for Primary, MIA, and Sunday School. We had decorations on the wall because the art students had left them there. We did not have to share the rooms during the week because the fraternity was not allowed anymore after Hitler came to power. . . . We had a pump organ. (The first one we owned, we still had to pump with our feet.) There was no sign at the door saying that we met there. During the war years, there were about forty people who attended regularly. . . . In the main room, we had single chairs so that we could move them around as needed. A room next to the large room also had a sliding wall, which made it possible for us to make the smaller rooms bigger. That was fantastic even back then. We could fit up to sixty people in the small rooms then. We never really celebrated anything in the “chapel” (the large room) but used the smaller rooms for those occasions. We also had a piano in the large room. [4]

Heini-Werner was only eight years old when he saw action taken against the Jewish community in Karlsruhe:

On the day of the crystal night [November 9, 1938], I looked out of the restroom window in the branch building and saw the synagogue burning just one street over. My family was very connected to Jewish people because they were our customers in our store. Doctors and professors often came to us, and I went to see them a lot also. One family told us that they would have to leave for Israel in order to be safer.

Heinrich and Elsa Seith operated a delicatessen store and owned a small car as part of the business—“an Opel Super 6. It was a very nice car!,” according to son Rolf (born 1932). [5] However, that car was not used to transport the family to church. Sister Seith and her sons took the streetcar or walked. According to Rolf, his mother sometimes did not go along but gave the boys money for the streetcar. They soon discovered that if they walked fast or ran to church, they could save the money and use it for the movie theater.

At the age of nine years, Heini-Werner had two experiences in the fall of 1939 that would remain clear in his recollection many decades later. The first was the departure of the American missionaries from Germany on August 26, 1939: “Elder [Robert] Kunkel left me a bicycle, which I never used because I was afraid that I would break it. It was so special to me. . . . After they found out that they had to leave, they came to us, took the most important things with them, and my father took them to the Karlsruhe West railroad station.”

The second memorable experience took place just weeks after the missionaries departed. He described it in these words:

About one hundred meters away from our home was a large army post. Karlsruhe was known for that, since we are located so close to France. We stood next to the post with flowers in our hands and put those flowers on the jackets of the soldiers as they left for duty. That is how we said good-bye to them. The soldiers then told us that they would be home in a month.

Fearing bombardment or invasion from the French just across the Rhine River, authorities in Karlsruhe ordered the evacuation of women and children. Sister Seith took her sons to the town of Sinsheim, near Heidelberg. Both boys recalled sleeping with other evacuees in a barn, but the conditions were not bad. The property owner was a Catholic priest who invited the newcomers to attend Mass; when all of them declined the offer, they were politely asked to leave. With nowhere to go, Elsa called her husband, and he picked them up in his car. He first smuggled them back into Karlsruhe, then drove them to a town in faraway Bavaria. Schaftlach was twenty miles south of Munich, and the three family members lived there under comfortable circumstances until the end of 1940. By then, the French had capitulated, and it was safe for them to return to Karlsruhe.

As a trained technical designer, Johann Albert Dahl (born 1912) had already worked for important industries such as Maybach and BMW when his draft notice arrived in December 1940. A veteran of the Swiss-German Mission, he spoke excellent English and was married to Betty Baer of the Nuremberg Branch. They both left Karlsruhe in December—he to Halle for training and she with their daughter Helga to stay with her parents in Nuremberg. Johann’s assignment had its advantages, as he soon learned:

Once you went through [the] Halle [training program], you were almost certain not to be called to the fighting front line. As a matter of fact we had a special paragraph in our military pass that no soldier of [our unit] FNR 601 could be transferred into any other unit of the German army. While in Halle, I had the opportunity to go and be active in my LDS Church each Sunday. [6]

Johann’s service took him from Halle to Cologne, Brussels, and Paris, where he enjoyed three weeks of spring air and the pleasures of the French capital. Back in Brussels, he worked with telecommunications until May 1941, when his unit was transferred to Suwalki, on the Polish-Soviet border. By June, he was in Vilnius, Lithuania. It was there that he encountered something about the German occupation that shocked him: a Jewish man offered him and his comrades a great deal of money to drive him to a secret place in Lithuania. Johann’s account reads as follows:

We all felt sorry for this man, but we could not help him. . . . The risk for him and us to loose [sic] our lives was too high. He was sadly disappointed, and so were we. The next morning, a security man dressed in a green uniform, came to the hotel, telling us that last night they, the security service, had again killed 4000 Jews somewhere outside of Vilnius. They buried them in a mass grave. We were so upset that we asked him to leave us alone. This was the first time in my life that I learned firsthand about the final solution or extermination plan against the Jews and other ethnic groups.

In 1942, Rolf Seith was inducted automatically into the Jungvolk. He had this to say about the experience:

I both liked it and disliked it. There are nice memories of things I learned during that time that I enjoyed—for example, first aid or how to make a fire when camping. We also played games that I would call military exercises. We had to go to an abandoned railroad track to learn how to guard it. We had to hide, and the goal was to not be seen. Another group had to try to put a barrel on the tracks. If they succeeded, we lost since the barrel represented a bomb. We were also trained in using hand grenades and small-bore rifles. These were all things that I liked doing. Except for the plays since they always ended up in huge fights until somebody won. Sometimes we could not determine a winner so we had to get in a line and the more people of the 70–80 people in one group got beaten down lost.

The Jungvolk experience went sour when the boys began fighting. Rolf was not interested in knocking others down, so he chose to skip the meetings. Soon a letter came to his home promising penalties if he did not return. Fortunately, he was able to discuss the matter with a reasonable leader who helped him transfer to a music group in the Jungvolk organization. “My new group was known for the plays they performed,” Rolf recalled. “We learned songs and even recorded them. Those songs were then heard on the radio on most Sundays. I liked that much better; I didn’t have to hit anybody, and I liked singing. I was still able to attend all church meetings even though I was in the Jungvolk.”

During his years on the Eastern Front, Johann Dahl did indeed avoid spending time in a combat zone. He was even privileged to use the communications network he serviced to make infrequent calls home to his wife in Karlsruhe (although such calls were not allowed). His lifestyle was so unlike that of a combat soldier in the same area that he apologized somewhat in his autobiography: “While all this sounds more like a vacation, it was not. We were separated from our loved ones, had no chance to attend church, and most of the time were very lonesome . . . especially those of us with families at home . . . with their lives endangered by a terrible air war.”

While in Saparzje, Russia, Johann was hospitalized with malaria for six weeks. He had just passed an advanced training course with excellent marks and was designated for a promotion, but the promotion was blocked: it turned out that officials had learned of his membership in an American church and suspected him of being a spy for the United States. He recalled, “Even though I did not care much about the promotion, yet I felt very much humiliated because I was on top of the class and the advancement would have meant more money for me and my family at home.” An officer later chastised him for even mentioning his association with the Church, saying that Johann would have been promoted at least to corporal if the army had not known about his religion.

Religious instruction was standard in most German schools of the era, but classes were only available for Catholics and Lutherans. Heini-Werner Seith recalled his interaction with other religions as a schoolboy:

Our neighbors in the Goethestrasse knew about us being members of the Church. It did not matter much to us because we lived in accordance with the eleventh article of faith. [7] We accepted them and they accepted us. I even attended the religion course at school until my teacher got really nervous because I already knew so much. I had gone to Primary and [Sunday School] classes and used all my knowledge in school. The teacher then told my mother that it would be better if I did not attend religion class anymore so somebody else would get the chance to learn.

Both of the Seith boys recalled air raids and alarms that disturbed the life of the inhabitants of Karlsruhe. They told of single airplanes that flew around over the city and generally harassed the people. Quite often, the planes did no damage, but on other occasions they dropped a bomb here and there or even swooped low over the streets and fired at vehicles and pedestrians. Sometimes the boys would watch the airplanes from the attic rooms of their apartment building. If the planes flew low, it meant a probable attack, and the youngsters raced for the basement shelter. As Rolf recalled, “Then we nearly jumped down all the stairs to the basement. It was like flying because we had to hurry so fast. It didn’t take us more than twenty seconds to get to the basement from the seventh floor.” As was the practice all over Germany, a nighttime air raid meant that school would begin one or two hours later the following morning.

Johann Dahl’s four years at the Eastern Front included time in the city of Odessa on the Black Sea, where he enjoyed sightseeing, the opera, and purchasing rare items on the black market. However, most of his time was mundane, and the terrible cold of the winters provided sufficient opportunities for suffering. The ravages of war were also very depressing, as he noted while describing a transfer trip by rail:

The [route] to the depot was filled with destroyed tanks and black burned house ruins. As mute witnesses of a senseless war they offered a cruel picture of destruction. The train crossed, slowly rumbling, over a squeaking emergency bridge destroyed by the Russians and reconstructed by German engineer troops just recently. Looking down into the frozen river made me dizzy. It revealed a picture of dead life and living death. I could have cried with heaven!

Eventually, the war came home to Karlsruhe in all its ferocity, as Heini-Werner recalled:

“On September 27, 1944, we were bombed out for the first time. I will never forget that day. It was a nighttime air raid by the British.” His family got out of the building in time but lost most of their possessions. A worse fate befell their relatives. “One of my aunts owned birds which she wasn’t allowed to take into the shelter with her. She loved those birds a lot so [she and her children] decided to stay in their basement. A bomb hit the house, and my aunt was killed instantly; her daughter was badly burned, but her son was not injured.”

Rolf’s recollections were more detailed: he described how the building burned for several days and attempts were made to save both the structure and its contents. The residents were able to carry out many pieces of furniture, but the building inevitably fell victim to the flames. “It was not possible to take out the piano from the first floor. But then again, we did not need it in order to survive.” When the fires died out, the basement was intact, and it was there that the Seith family took up residence again. According to Heini-Werner, “We lived in our basement for five years after that. Whenever it rained, there was so much water on the floor that our slippers would just float away.”

Another attack struck the neighborhood of the Waldhornstrasse. Rolf described an experience that happened just a week before that attack:

I found a cabinet in one of the smaller [meeting] rooms. I opened it and found the utensils for the sacrament. I opened the upper drawer and only found paper rolls. I took one out. In that moment, I heard my mother look for me and say my name. She had seen that I walked into that room. I put the small roll into my pocket, closed the drawer, and walked home with her. At home, I opened the paper roll and found three sacrament glasses in it. I hadn’t meant to take those home. A week later, the meeting rooms were destroyed, and the only thing that was preserved were those three little glasses. [8]

Although all furnishings in the church meeting rooms were destroyed, the members still had their scripture books and hymnals, which were usually kept in the home. The branch membership records also survived the destruction, because those were kept in the home of the clerk or a member of the branch presidency.

According to the branch history,

It was not possible to rent another place to meet after our rooms were destroyed, but a temporary solution was found: Sister Rosine Dahl, a widow and long-time member of the Church, invited us into her living room on the fourth floor of the apartment house at Tulla Strasse 74 in the eastern part of the city. It was a crowded situation but an offer we appreciated very much. [9]

Sister Dahl’s son, Johann, was pleased to spend a week with his family in Karlsruhe in 1944. When informed of his orders to return to the Eastern Front, he told his commanding officer that he wanted a transfer to Munich instead. When asked for a justification, he explained that he had friends in Munich and that his wife was expecting their second child. He recalled making this bold proclamation: “I explained to him that I did spend nearly four years in Russia and that I had enough of it and would not go [back].” Against all logic, he was assigned to go to Munich the next morning and recognized that his prayer had been answered.

Upon arriving in Munich, Johann Dahl immediately contacted district president Johannes Thaller. He asked if President Thaller could take him in along with his pregnant wife and their daughter, Helga. President Thaller did indeed have room, having evacuated his own wife and children to Haag am Hausruck in Austria. Brother Dahl found that, in many respects, life went on in Munich, the capital of Bavaria and a center of history and culture. “We went to church as we did before the war, even on the Sunday afternoon when Munich was taken at the end of the war,” he explained. His wife returned to Karlsruhe, where their son, Rainer, was born on August 11, 1944.

Heini-Werner Seith had been in the Jungvolk since he was ten and advanced into the Hitler Youth at the age of fourteen. It was a mixed bag of positive and negative experiences in the last year of the war, as he explained:

I was interested in vehicles and everything that I could drive, so I joined a motorized Hitler Youth unit. We were trained to drive and operate tanks. They did not tell us where they were taking us for the training, but we knew that it would be a camp somewhere. I was transported to Alsace-Lorraine near Strasbourg and I knew that I was now in a combat zone. Our task was to clean all the trenches although there were air raids constantly. It seemed like we were always on the move to a safer location. This eventually led to us to come back to Germany after all.

Heini-Werner was fortunate that his Hitler Youth experience never evolved into a Wehrmacht experience. His father was equally fortunate, mostly because he was diabetic and not fit for duty. For a short time, he served in a communications unit, then was sent home and assigned to be a neighborhood watchman. His duty consisted of making sure that no looting took place among the ruins of bombed-out apartment buildings and stores. The members of the Seith family all survived the war unscathed, but they lost several relatives, according to Heini-Werner: “I had three cousins who died while serving in Russia.”

The people of Karlsruhe saw both French and American invaders in the spring of 1945. Whereas the Americans treated the populace humanely, the French were awarded the province of Baden as their occupation zone, and their behavior was far less kind, as Heini-Werner recalled: “When the French came, a lot of things changed. They raped women and did not treat us well. Even though the town square wasn’t [previously] damaged, they burned it down and filmed it in order to show their families and friends at home how they had fought to take over the city.”

The day after the American army entered Munich (encountering no resistance), Johann Dahl’s commanding officer dismissed the unit, instructing them to find civilian clothing if possible. Johann did so and thus avoided being taken prisoner. Soon he was confronted by GIs who were surprised to learn that he spoke excellent English. Immediately, he was employed by the American occupation forces and paid well. In September 1945, Johann was able to find a way home to Karlsruhe. His wife had arrived there after spending four months in a small town hear Nuremberg as a refugee. They were pleased to be home in Karlsruhe, safe and sound; his mother, Rosina Dahl, had also survived the war in her apartment.

Heini-Werner had become so accustomed to good treatment at the hands of the Americans that he was shocked by the actions of one GI: “An American officer attended church with us once [after the war], and he mentioned that he was happy and laughed when he saw Karlsruhe burning. This statement hurt us very much. He was a member of the Church, and we really did not expect that from him.”

Looking back on his experiences as a member of the Karlsruhe Branch during World War II, Heini-Werner summarized his impressions in these words:

Back then, all we had was church. We weren’t involved in any sports activities and people didn’t go on vacations as much. The church was the place we always went. We met very often together as Church members. We held little conferences, had dances, or met for cake in the afternoon. The Primary organized carnivals and we had Christmas parties in December. It seemed like we were in church a lot during the week. We were one big family. We also all lived relatively close to each other, which made it easier for us to get together and strengthen one another.

Shortly after the war ended, the branch leaders were able to rent space in the music hall of the Munz Conservatory on Waldstrasse. The facility was large enough for sacrament meetings and district conferences. The Relief Society continued to meet in Sister Dahl’s apartment, and the youth met in the home of the Böhringer family, but “only Mother Nature had room enough for the Sunday School meetings.” [10]

In Memoriam

The following members of the Karlsruhe Branch did not survive World War II.

Eugen Gottlob Bauer b. Möttlingen, Schwarzwaldkreis, Württemberg, 3 Jan 1884; son of Friedrich Nikolaus Bauer and Christine Dorothea Gackenheimer; bp. 6 Oct 1923; conf. 6 Oct 1923; ord. deacon 1 Jun 1924; ord. teacher 6 May 1928; ord. priest 30 Sep 1930; ord. elder 11 Oct 1931; m. Heimsheim, Calw, Schwarzwaldkreis, Württemberg, 25 Mar 1912, Dorothea Walz; 4 children; d. multiple sclerosis Baden 18 Oct 1944 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 152; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 152; FHL microfilm 25719, 1930 and 1935 censuses; IGI)

Juliane Eicher b. Bühl, Baden, 2 Oct 1903; dau. of Adolf Eicher and Magdalene Schleif; bp. 19 Jun 1939; conf. 20 Jun 1939; m. 6 Aug 1935, Ignaz Gerber; missing as of 20 Dec 1946 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 627)

Lina Katharina Gehreg b. Mannheim, Baden, 29 Jan 1886; dau. of Karl Gehreg and Katharina Baur; bp. 13 Oct 1929; conf. 13 Oct 1929; m. —— Deininger; d. kidney disease 23 Nov 1941 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 339)

Christiana Grimmer b. Lippoldsweiler, Neckarkreis, Württemberg, 29 Aug 1864; dau. of Johannes Grimmer and Christiana Waibel; bp. 12 Oct or Dec 1894; conf. 12 Oct 1894 or Dec 1894; m. 29 Nov 1894, Ludwig Eckert; d. old age 2 Jan 1943 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 139; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 139; FHL microfilm 25759, 1930 and 1935 censuses; IGI)

Marie Magdalena Heck b. Kippenheimweiler, Freiburg, Baden, 21 Aug 1866; dau. of Michael Heck and Katharina Zipf; bp. 29 Jun 1901; conf. 29 Jun 1901; m. 29 Apr 1893, —— Deser; d. heart attack 26 Mar 1944 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 88; FHL microfilm 25754, 1930 and 1935 censuses; IGI)

Friederika Hirschbühl b. Hornberg, Wolfach, Karlsruhe, Baden, 31 Mar 1876; dau. of Karl Hirschbühl and Christine Haas; bp. 19 Jan 1914; conf. 19 Jan 1914; m. Hornberg 28 Dec 1901, Gottfried Moser; 1 child; d. tuberculosis Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Baden, 12 Oct 1940 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 117; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 117; FHL microfilm 245238, 1930 and 1935 censuses; IGI)

August Kary b. Dumersheim, Baden 9 Sep 1874; son of Joseph Kary and Josephine Abath; bp. 8 May 1928; m. Louise Knappschneider; 1 child; d. 31 Mar 1946 (FHL microfilm no. 271376, 1930 and 1935 censuses; IGI)

Christina Klebsattel b. Spiegelberg, Neckarkreis, Württemberg, 29 Dec 1864; dau. of Jacob Klebsattel and Elisabeth Andres; bp. 6 Aug 1903; conf. 6 Aug 1903; d. old age 15 Jan 1940 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 155, CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 155; FHL microfilm 271380, 1930 and 1935 censuses; IGI)

Ernst Max Klotz b. Pforzheim, Karlsruhe, Baden, 16 Mar 1912; son of Friedrich Ernst Klotz and Emma Bonnet; bp. 8 Apr 1934; conf. 15 Apr 1934; ord. deacon 7 Jun 1934; ord. teacher 7 Aug 1938; m. 20 Oct. 1939, Dorothea Bauer; k. in battle 5 Apr 1944 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 467; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 573; IGI)

Maria Magdalene Kraus b. Karlsruhe, Baden, 27 Feb 1875; dau. of Jakob Kraus and Maria Magdalena Neuweiler; bp. 2 Feb 1904; conf. 4 Feb 1904; m. Karlsruhe 12 Feb 1898, Phillipp Schmieder; 5 children; d. lung cancer Karlsruhe 28 Feb 1941 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 161; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 161; IGI; AF)

Georg Johann Leyer b. Mannheim, Baden, 3 Jan 1918; son of Georg Johann Leyer and Anna Hess; bp. 1 Feb 1931; conf. 1 Feb 1931; m. 16 Mar 1940, Antonie Margarethe Wenzel; d. lung ailment 14 Dec 1942 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 458; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 458)

Ernst Lichtenberg b. Herrensohr, Rheinprovinz, 3 Mar 1864; son of Georg Friedrich Lichtenberg and Louise Rosental; bp. 22 Nov 1901; conf. 22 Nov 1901; ord. priest 30 Aug 1903; ord. elder 11 Oct 1931; m. Kassel, Hessen-Nassau, 23 Mar 1889, Philippine Geldmacher; 4 children; d. heart attack and senility Karlsruhe, Baden, 11 Apr 1941 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 92; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 92; FHL microfilm no. 271387, 1930 and 1935 censuses; IGI)

Anna Long b. Beihingen, Neckarkreis, Württemberg, 6 Dec 1877; dau. of Adam Long and Friederike Bötzner; bp. 1 Aug 1909; conf. 1 Aug 1909; m. 7 Jul 1900, Karl August Nagel; d. heart condition 18 Mar 1941 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 97; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 97; IGI)

Lydia Lund b. Kappeln, Schleswig-Holstein, 29 Dec 1899; dau. of Johann August Lund and Anna Agnes Hampkens; bp. 20 May 1938; conf. 20 May 1938; m. Aug 1919, —— Halit; missing as of 20 May 1941 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 661; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 661)

Karl Paul Müller b. Merseburg, Bitterfeld, Sachsen, 4 Jul 1869; son of Karl Ludwig Theodor Müller and Johanne Friedrike Pauline Meyer; bp 15 Mar 1913; conf. 15 Mar 1913; ord. deacon 25 Jan 1925; ord. teacher 17 Apr 1927; ord. priest 4 Jan 1931; ord. elder 11 Oct 1931; m. 4 Oct 1894, Emilie Steffen; k. in air raid 25 Apr 1944; bur. Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Baden (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 110; www.volksbund.de; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 110; IGI)

Luise Müller b. Ettlingen, Karlsruhe, Baden, 1 Oct 1905; dau. of Wunibald Müller and Josefine Lachner; bp. 13 Jun 1939; conf. 13 Jun 1939; k. in air raid 25 Apr 1944 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 681; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 681; IGI)

Christiana Ott b. Oberniebelsbach, Schwarzwaldkreis, Württemberg, 15 Mar 1874; dau. of Gottlieb Ott and Barbara König; bp. 3 Oct 1909; conf. 3 Oct 1909; m. 27 Aug 1898, Karl Deuchler; d. dropsy and heart attack 9 Jan 1941 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 99; IGI)

Edgar Schmieder b. Lauda, Mosbach, Baden, 26 Dec 1917; son of Phillip Schmieder and Maria Magdalene Kraus; d. 2 Aug 1942 (FHL microfilm 68797)

Gerald Fritz Schmieder b. Karlsruhe, Baden, 1 Feb 1924; son of Friedrich Philipp Schmieder and Sophie Elisabeth Clemens; bp. 16 Jun 1933; conf. 16 Jun 1933; ord. deacon 5 Sep 1937; k. in battle Kaukasus, Russia, 11 Nov 1942 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 278)

Anna Maria Schwartz b. Machern, Elsaß-Lothringen, 25 Dec 1858; dau. of Michael Jean Schwartz and Elisabeth Lux; bp. 15 Jun 1909; conf. 15 Jun 1909; d. old age Oct 1939 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 48; CHL CR 275 8 2441, no. 48; FHL microfilm no. 245260, 1930 and 1935 census; IGI)

Karl Emil Zapf b. Mannheim, Baden, 26 Aug 1878; son of Johann Casper Zapf and Katharina Hasslinger; bp. 13 Feb 1927; conf. 13 Feb 1927; ord. priest 16 Oct 1929; ord. elder 11 Oct 1931; m. Mannheim, Baden, 15 Sep 1900, Anna Maria Schott; d. heart attack Mannheim 10 Jan 1942 (FHL microfilm 68797, no. 343)


[1] West German Mission branch directory 1939, CHL LR 10045 11.

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

[3] Chronik der Gemeinde Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe, Germany: Karlsruhe Ward, 1997), 328.

[4] Heini-Werner Seith, telephone interview with the author in German, May 5, 2009; unless otherwise noted, summarized in English by Judith Sartowski.

[5] Rolf Seith, telephone interview with Roger P. Minert in German, May 19, 2009.

[6] Johann Albert Dahl, “Vier Jahre im Verhassten Feldgrau” (unpublished autobiography).

[7] “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience , and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Articles of Faith 1:11.

[8] The fact that Rolf took the paper home should not be considered theft. In those days, paper was a rarity, and he likely thought that any paper found in the cabinet could be put to better use. The implements used in the sacrament in Germany during the war were in fact small glass cups. Neither paper nor plastic was available for that purpose until many years after the war.

[9] Chronik der Gemeinde Karlsruhe, 330.

[10] Ibid.