Many heroes emerged from World War II. Some of these men received awards such as the Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Distinguished Flying Cross. Most combat veterans wore their awards humbly, insisting that many of their fellow warriors did as much or more as they did but were not noticed during the thunderous roar of fire and smoke of battle. And nearly all combatants argued that the real heroes were the chaps who died and never heard the good news of the enemy's surrender.
Among the unsung heroes of World War II was U.S. Army Chaplain Henry Gerecke (pronounced Cherokee). Born in southeastern Missouri in 1893 to German-American parents, Henry grew up in a rural community populated by first- and second-generation Germans who farmed the land and worshipped God in the Missouri Synod Lutheran tradition. In his teens young Gerecke heard God's call to preach. He left the farm and worked his way through St. John's Academy and College in Kansas, and then moved to St. Louis, where he attended Concordia Lutheran Seminary. During his St. Louis years he met Alma, who became his wife and mothered their three boys. Between 1940 and 1942 the two oldest boys joined the Army. And then in 1943 Henry Gerecke followed his sons into the Army by volunteering for the Chaplain Corps.
The fascinating story of Chaplain Henry Gerecke is engagingly told by Tim Townsend, the senior writer and editor for the Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project in Washington, D.C. In Mission At Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis, Townsend illumines a hidden gem of World War II history and brings to light the life and career of a truly heroic Christian man.
A Good Candidate
The Army did ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more