During and after World War II, the Saints in East Germany, and all other occupied or devastated areas, had little-to-no access to Church headquarters. Despite the devastating effects of the war on every aspect of their lives, these Saints remained faithful. They pulled together to strengthen one another. Miracles happened, faith grew stronger, and against all odds, the Saints prevailed and survived.
It was very hard for these Saints to communicate with Church headquarters because nearly all communication had been stopped by the occupation. All citizens of the occupied area could no longer travel freely. The literature they were able to distribute and receive was monitored and severely restricted. All other resources were also limited. At times many people were near starvation, they had little clothing, and at times almost no shelter. Many lost their homes in the bombings and work was scarce. Everyone struggled to provide for their families and themselves.
In such conditions these people rose above their trials. They were blessed for their faith. Church leaders did all they could to bring aid and comfort (both physical and spiritual) to their fellow brothers and sisters. Despite the fact war had just waged between their countries, many Church members donated food and clothing to be sent to the suffering European Saints, including the Germans.
As the Germans struggled to find places to hold their Church services they often had to build from scratch or clean up the remnants of a bombed-out building. They made huge sacrifices to help one another and to help build the kindgom of God where they were. Their faith was and is staggering and inspiring. Here are just two examples of the kind of faith and commitment these Saints had to the gospel. The peaceful examples they set by remaining obedient to their government over several years, while still living their religion, gave the German Democratic Republic (GDR) the confidence it needed to allow the Saints to build a temple behind the Iron Curtain in the ’80s. Such strong examples can still be a strength to us today.
Let’s Follow Dad—He Holds the Priesthood: Dorothea Condie relates her experience in the bombing of Dresden, Germany, and how her mother, sister, and herself were inspired to follow the priesthood, which obedience saved their lives.
If God Is for Us, Who Can Be against Us? Elfriede Pawlowski tells of her conversion to the Church after the war and of her willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of her ward, resulting in numerous blessings.