Oberhausen Branch

Roger P. Minert, “Oberhausen,” 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), 370–371.

The thirty-one Latter-day Saints living among the nearly two hundred thousand inhabitants of the city of Oberhausen would have had reason to feel lonely, had there not been a close connection to the other branches of the Ruhr District. As World War II approached, this branch was so weak that only two leaders were shown on the branch directory submitted to the mission office in Frankfurt: Gustav Müller as branch president and Anton Pyta as Sunday School superintendant.[1] Because the address given for Brother Müller is in Essen, it can be assumed that district president Friedrich Biehl asked him to preside at the meetings in Oberhausen.

Documents in the mission office show that the Oberhausen Branch had been established less than a year before the war began: “December 18, 1938: the branch moved into a new hall in the little city of Oberhausen, because the members are closer to there than to Duisburg.”[2] The meeting rooms were rented in a Hinterhaus at Rolandstrasse 43. No description of the setting is available.

American missionary Erma Rosenhan provided some detail regarding the Oberhausen Branch in her diary after a visit there in 1939: “Sunday, August 13, 1939: Went with Bro. Naujoks to Oberhausen. It is just a small branch of about 20 to 25 persons. Only 6 were present. I had to play the organ there too. Bro. Naujoks and I both talked. We sang a song too and I accompanied. Sunday School and [sacrament meeting] followed one another.”[3]

Oberhausen Branch[4]1939
Other Adult Males3
Adult Females22
Male Children0
Female Children0

Nothing is known about the activities of the branch members during the war, but the list of losses indicates that they were not excluded from the sufferings of the inhabitants of this important industrial city.

In Memoriam

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

Minette Borrmann b. Altenburg, Anhalt, 5 Jan 1870; bp. Oberhausen, Oberhausen, Rheinland, 26 Nov 1932; missing as of 15 Nov 1946 (FHL microfilm 68802, no. 2; IGI; AF; PRF) Friedrich “Fritz” Wilhelm Jakob Hemp b. Duisburg 3 Aug 1912; son of Friedrich Hemp and Helma Roemmert; bp. 21 May 1927; m.; missing as of 15 Nov 1946 (FHL microfilm 68802, no. 9; FHL microfilm 162781; 1930 and 35 censuses)

Frieda Minna Krohse b. Abau Schönwalde, Westpreußen, 24 Jan 1906; dau. of Ernst Krohse and Emilie A. O. Brauer; bp. 19 Oct 1930; conf. 19 Oct 1930; missing as of 15 Nov 1946 (FHL microfilm 68802, no. 10; CHL microfilm 2447, pt. 26, no. 557)

Josef Sattler b. Liege, Belgium, 12 Apr 1908; son of Jakob Sattler and Maria Katharina Schapperdoth; bp. Oberhausen, Oberhausen, Rheinland, 18 Sep 1926; k. in battle Western Front 5 Sep 1944 (CHL microfilm 2458, form 42 FP, pt. 37, all-mission list 1943–46, 186–87; IGI)

Elisabeth Spindler b. 25 May 1894; bp. 6 Feb 1913; missing as of 15 Nov 1946 (FHL microfilm 68802, no. 21)

Anna Temme b. 18 Oct 1895; bp. 11 Oct 1919; missing as of 15 Nov 1946 (FHL microfilm 68802, no. 22)

Frieda Theunissen b. 24 Apr 1907; bp. 25 Jun 1927; missing as of 15 Nov 1946 (FHL microfilm 68802, no. 24)


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

[2] West German Mission quarterly report, 1938, no. 45, CHL LR 10045 2.

[3] Erma Rosenhan, papers, CHL MS 16190.

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