Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Karl Püschel: “Far Away from My Home”: A Latter-day Saint in the German Army, 1918
 


Karl Püschel: “Far Away from My Home”: A Latter-day Saint in the German Army, 1918

By: Amy Tanner Thiriot - March 02, 2011

Karl Püschel sent the following letter in 1918 to Der Stern, the publication of the Swiss-German Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time, he was serving in the German army in Belgium. If our identification is correct, Karl Wilhelm Püschel was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1899 to Oscar Karl Friedrich Theodor Püschel and Christiane Barbara Merkel, baptized in 1908, and died in 1936.

When he says “brothers and sisters” in the letter, he would mean the members of the church rather than his own three sisters, Augusta Clara, Klara Babette, and Paula.

The English translation is below the German text. Many thanks to Mark E. Butler for helping with the translation.

-oOo-

Einen herzlichen Gruß vom Felde!

Liebe Geschwister! Heute komme ich dazu, einige Worte an Euch zu richten. Ich bin jetzt in Belgien, weit entfernt von meiner Heimat. Hier geht es mir zwar auch gut, aber ich fühle doch, daß ich nicht in der Umgebung unserer lieben Geschwister bin. Zuletzt hatte ich sehr schöne Zeiten gehabt in unsrer Pforzheimer Gemeinde, wo ich 4-1/2 Monate verweilen durfte. Sie können sich wohl denken, daß es mir schwer gefallen ist, dort Abschied zu nehmen; aber da es einmal so für mich bestimmt ist, so füge ich mich meinem Schicksal. Man hat sehr vielen Versuchungen zu widerstehen, der Kampf gegen sie ist ununterbrochen; aber doch sehe ich, wie groß und wunderbar die Wege des Herrn sind, denn er errettet uns immer, wenn wir ihn demütig darum bitten und mutig und energisch gegen die Sünde kämpfen.

Schon mehrmals habe ich die Liebe Gottes und seine väterliche Hilfe erfahren dürfen, und ich danke meinem himmlischen Vater für seine Güte und Barmherzigkeit, die er mir hat zuteil werden lassen. In dieser schweren Zeit haben wir seine Hilfe ganz besonders nötig. Wenn wir regelmäßig in der Heiligen Schrift und in unseren anderen Kirchenschriften lesen, so finden wir immer wieder Trost und Erbauung. Ich kann meinem himmlischen Vater nicht genug danken, daß ich das Evangelium habe, daß er mich dafür würdig erfunden hat; denn ich wußte nicht, wie ich ohne es Trost und Erbauung bekommen könnte und auf welche Wege ich geraten wäre, so daß mir schließlich noch die Segnungen des Evangeliums verlustig gingen.

Ich bin noch jung an Jahren, und es kostet mir keinen geringen Kampf, bei den Soldaten meinen Glauben zu behalten; aber ich vertraue fest auf den Beistand des Herrn, auf die Gebete meiner lieben Mutter und meiner lieben Geschwister. Der Abschied von ihr, als ich ins Feindesland musste, ist meiner lieben Mutter sehr schwer gefallen; wir wussten nicht, ob wir uns in dieser Sterblichkeit wieder sehen werden. Dies ist ja auch nicht die Hauptsache; viel wichtiger ist es, dem Herrn treu und rein zu bleiben, dann können wir getrost der Zukunft ins Angesicht sehen. Wenn es dem Herrn gefallen sollte, mich zu sich zu rufen, mir mein Arbeitsfeld im Jenseits anzuweisen, so wäre ich ihm auch dafür von ganzem Herzen dankbar. Sein Wunsch und sein Wille geschehe! Sein Name sei gelobt!

Ich wollte, ich könnte allen unseren lieben Geschwistern zurufen: Werdet nie lau im Evangelium, arbeitet stets energisch für das Werk des Herrn und nehmt es ernst mit dieser heiligen Sache, denn sie bringt den Menschen Heil und Segen! Bleibt Euren Bündnissen mit dem Herrn treu! Satan geht einher und flüstert uns zu: Die Zeit ist noch nicht so schlimm wie viele Leute meinen und sagen; alles geht wohl! — In dieser Zeit erfüllen sich die Offenbarungen, und es ist notwendig, daß wir uns um den Willen des Herrn kümmern und ihn befolgen. Lasset uns acht geben auf das Werk des Herrn!

Ich möchte noch bezeugen, daß ich weiß, daß Gott in diesen Tagen wieder vom Himmel gesprochen und seine Kirche durch den Propheten Joseph Smith auf Erden aufgerichtet hat. Aus Gnade hat er den Menschen das wiederhergestellte Evangelium nochmals anvertraut und der Menschheit den Weg gezeigt, den sie gehen muß, wenn sie nicht verloren gehen will. Möge der Herr seine Diener und Dienerinnen, die zu Hause das Werk des Herrn fördern, reichlich segnen, möge er sie dahin führen, wo es wachsame Seelen gibt, die nach Wahrheit und Licht suchen! Möge der Herr auch meine lieben Eltern und Geschwister in der Heimat segnen, daß sie immer für mich ein Gebet auf dem Herzen haben werden. Und sollte es des Herrn Wille sein, daß wir uns in diesem Leben nicht wiedersehen, so möge er Sie alle segnen und trösten und Ihre Hoffnung auf ein frohes Wiedersehen im Jenseits stärken. Des Herrn Wille geschehe auf Erden wie im Himmel!

Ihr Bruder im Bunde der ewigen Wahrheit

Schütze KARL PÜSCHEL

-oOo-

A heartfelt greeting from the field!

Dear brothers and sisters!

I have a chance today to send a few words to you. I am now in Belgium, far away from my home. Things are going well enough for me here, but it’s obvious that I’m not among our beloved brothers and sisters. Lately I had a very lovely time in our Pforzheim Branch, where I spent 4-1/2 months. You can surely realize that it was hard for me to take my leave from them; but since my path was already determined, I had to accept my fate. There are so many temptations to overcome; the fight against them is never ending; but I see how great and wonderful are the ways of the Lord, for he rescues us every time we ask Him humbly, and with courage and energy struggle against sin.

I have often experienced the love of God and His fatherly guidance, and I thank my Heavenly Father for the kindness and mercy that He has bestowed upon me. In these difficult times we are in particular need of His help. If we regularly read in the scriptures and in our other church publications, we will always find comfort and edification. I cannot thank my Heavenly Father enough that I have the gospel, and that He has found me worthy of it, because without it, I don’t know where I could find that comfort and edification and in what path I could have gone so that I would not eventually be deprived of the blessings of the gospel.

I am still young in years, and it requires no small struggle to uphold my beliefs among the soldiers; but I trust firmly in the help of the Lord and in the prayers of my dear mother and my dear brothers and sisters. The farewell from my mother, as I was ordered to the front, was very difficult for her; we didn’t know if we would see each other again in mortality. But that is not the main point; it is much more important to remain true and pure before the Lord; then we can confidently face the future. If it pleases the Lord to call me to Himself, to call me to labor on the other side, even then will I be grateful to Him with all my heart. His wishes and His will be done! His name be praised!

I wish I could proclaim to all our dear brothers and sisters: never become lukewarm in the gospel, labor ever faithfully for the work of the Lord and take seriously these sacred things, because they bring mankind salvation and blessings. Stay true to your covenants with the Lord! Satan comes and whispers to us: The time is not as bad as many people think and say; all is well. In these times the revelations are being fulfilled, and it is essential that we attend to and observe the will of the Lord. Let us give heed to the work of the Lord!

I want to testify as well that I know that God has spoken again from heaven in these days and has established His church on the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. By grace He has again entrusted the restored gospel to man and shown mankind the way that they must go, so they will not be lost. May the Lord richly bless His servants, men and women, that further His work at home, and may He lead them to those watchful souls who search for truth and light! May the Lord also bless my dear parents and brothers and sisters at home, that they may always have a prayer for me in their hearts. And should it be the Lord’s will that we not meet again in this life, may He bless and comfort you and strengthen your hope in a happy reunion in the world to come. The Lord’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Your brother in the bonds of eternal truth,

Rifleman KARL PÜSCHEL



16 Comments »

  1. Great find — thanks for posting this.

    Comment by john f. — March 2, 2011 @ 7:59 am

  2. I love this — a letter from a Latter-day Saint on the “other” side, who is as much a brother as any American or Englishman, with a testimony just as strong, who loves his family and branch members with the same intensity — it brings a new perspective on partisanship, doesn’t it?

    Thanks Amy, and Mark.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 2, 2011 @ 8:27 am

  3. Wow! What a great find. I’ll be forwarding the link to my Austrian LDS friends.

    Comment by Maralise — March 2, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  4. Yay! I love this!

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — March 2, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  5. Very touching, and a reminder to us to not demonize our temporal enemies, as the gospel becomes even more wide spread. Thanks.

    Comment by kevinf — March 2, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  6. For some reason I tend to forget to look for records on Family Search, but I see there that Karl Püschel (Pueschel) died at Salt Lake General Hospital on March 27, 1936 of pulmonary tuberculosis or tubercular meningitis.

    He had been in the United States for five and a half years, which means that he emigrated about twelve years after he wrote this letter. He was unmarried, and had been working as a gardener.

    We don’t know anything about his military service besides what is mentioned in his letter since I have seen the service records for several other Karl Püschels, but not this one.

    Comment by Amy T — March 2, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

  7. I couldn’t find an obit in the Deseret News just now, Amy. I’m no Justin. :(

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 2, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  8. World War I is the first known instance in which there were Latter-day Saints fighting on opposing sides. (Although I have heard there might have been a handful LDS on both the North and the South during the US Civil War. Can anyone clarify?)

    Comment by Steve C. — March 2, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

  9. The Salt Lake Tribune obituary (Mar. 28, 1936) offers few details. Spelling in the original.

    “Karl Wilhelm Pueschel, 37, of 228 H street, died Friday morning after a lingering illness in a local hospital.

    Mr. Pueschel was born in Germany, February 23, 1899, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Karl Pueschel. He came to Utah in 1930.

    Surviving are his father, residing in Germany; a sister, Mrs. Carl Kritzer, Sandy, and another sister residing in Moscow, Russia.

    Funeral services will be conducted Sunday at 3:15 p.m. in the Wilford L.D.S. ward chapel, 3187 Highland drive. Friends may call at the Larkin mortuary, 260 East South Temple street, Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Burial will take place in the Sandy City cemetery.”

    There is an accompanying photograph.

    Comment by Justin — March 2, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

  10. I saw Püschel’s immigration record before we’d agreed on an identification, but it showed him going to Chicago so I wasn’t sure at the time that it was the right man since Mormon German immigrants of this period seemed to go to Utah or Brooklyn or Manhattan.

    With the additional information from the death certificate and obituary it seems that Chicago was a way station and that he remained strong in the faith. Thanks, Justin. I’d be interested (of course) to see his picture.

    Here is his immigration record (page 1, page 2) and death certificate.

    Comment by Amy T — March 3, 2011 @ 8:16 am

  11. Probably because of my mission, there is something more poignant to me about a testimony in German. Thanks for reproducing this.

    Comment by SilverRain — March 3, 2011 @ 10:37 am

  12. Researcher, I can email you a copy of the obituary (PDF).

    Comment by Justin — March 3, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  13. Here’s the photo from the obit Justin found:

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 3, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  14. Thanks, Justin and Ardis.

    Comment by Amy T — March 3, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  15. Thanks for this. It will go with my study of never married Mormon men.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — March 3, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

  16. D’oh! /slaps forehead/ — I usually try to notice that and forward you identifications of single men, Jeff — I’m glad you caught this one yourself.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 3, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI