My great Uncle Al, the one I interviewed about seeing Hitler and Mussolini, showed me a book of mostly typed notes he kept during his German-speaking mission from 1934-1937. Included are talks and outlines, tables, scriptures, poems (a lot of the poems were about mothers, do you think he was homesick?), and other observations. It was a delight to see his German, which wasn’t too bad. He even wrote out jokes in his talks, but the main focus was on religion.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I came upon a page entitled “Prayers?” Why the question mark? I wondered. Then, as I read the entry, my surprise turned to shock.
I’m certainly no Hitler or German history expert, but a curious missionary had copied down prayers that most certainly were aimed at Hitler! I had never thought that Hitler had ascended to some sort of religious figure status, especially because he had seemed to be rather intolerant of religion anyway, but see for yourself (my English translations are in parentheses):
Führer, mein Führer, von Gott mir gegeben,
(Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, given to me by God,)
Beschütz und erhalte noch lange mein Leben.
(Protect and preserve my life for a while still.)
Hast Deutschland gerettet aus tiefer Not.
(You saved Germany from deep distress.)
Dir danke ich Heute mein taegliches Brot.
(I thank you today for my daily bread.)
Bleib’ lange noch bei mir, verlass mich nicht.
(Abide a while with me, don’t leave me.)
Führer, mein Führer, mein Glaube mein Heil mein Führer.
(Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, my religion my salvation my Fuhrer/leader.)
-Gebet vor dem Essen (prayer before eating)
Dank sei dir für diese Speise,
(Thanks be to you for this food,)
Beschüetzer der Jugend, Beschützer der Greise!
(Protector of the youth, protector of the old!)
Hast Sorgen, ich weiss es, doch kümmert’s dich nicht.
(You have worries, I know it, but it doesn’t bother you.)
Ich bin bei dir, bei Nacht und bei Licht.
(I am with you, both night and by light.)
Leg’ ruhig dein Haupt in meine Schoss.
(You can really lay your head in my lap.)
Bist sicher mein Führer, denn du bist groß.
(You are surely my Fuhrer, because you are great.)
Heil mein Führer!
(Hail my Fuhrer!)
-Gebet nach dem Essen (prayer after eating)
I asked Uncle Al about these prayers to Hitler, but he doesn’t remember where he got them. Has anyone else heard about things like this?
Recently, Uncle Al sent some more items of intrigue.
German Mission district conference, 1936:
Deutsches Reich stamps:
Marching he witnessed:
And finally, if you’ve ever asked yourself if Mormon missionaries really did “heil Hitlers,” here’s proof (that’s Al with the dark hat):
Aren’t missionaries’ experiences in cultures strange to them both scary and fascinating at times?