Synopses & Reviews
Mission at Nuremberg
is Tim Townsends gripping story of the American Army chaplain sent to save the souls of the Nazis incarcerated at Nuremberg, a compelling and thought-provoking tale that raises questions of faith, guilt, morality, vengeance, forgiveness, salvation, and the essence of humanity.
Lutheran minister Henry Gerecke was fifty years old when he enlisted as am Army chaplain during World War II. As two of his three sons faced danger and death on the battlefield, Gerecke tended to the battered bodies and souls of wounded and dying GIs outside London. At the wars end, when other soldiers were coming home, Gerecke was recruited for the most difficult engagement of his life: ministering to the twenty-one Nazis leaders awaiting trial at Nuremburg.
Based on scrupulous research and first-hand accounts, including interviews with still-living participants and featuring sixteen pages of black-and-white photos, Mission at Nuremberg takes us inside the Nuremburg Palace of Justice, into the cells of the accused and the courtroom where they faced their crimes. As the drama leading to the courts final judgments unfolds, Tim Townsend brings to life the developing relationship between Gerecke and Hermann Georing, Albert Speer, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and other imprisoned Nazis as they awaited trial.
Powerful and harrowing, Mission at Nuremberg offers a fresh look at one most horrifying times in human history, probing difficult spiritual and ethical issues that continue to hold meaning, forcing us to confront the ultimate moral question: Are some men so evil they are beyond redemption?
“Townsends account is full of surreal moments Gerecke witnessed during his time in Nuremberg” < i=""> Publishers Weekly <>
“Rich, potentially explosive. ... Townsend authoritatively addresses the excruciating moral and religious issues confronting wartime chaplains.” Kirkus Reviews
“Gripping.” < i=""> Daily Mail (London) <>
“Engagingly told…Townsend illuminates a hidden gem of World War II history and brings to light the life and career of a truly heroic Christian man…an important book. It deserves a wide audience.” Christianity Today
“A gripping story... puts the reader inside the cells of various Hitler henchmen.” Wichita Eagle
“Sheds light on a little-known player in an iconic episode of world history. ... A well-written study about a subject matter that cant help but hold a readers attention.” America in WWII Magazine
Lutheran minister Henry Gerecke was fifty years old when he enlisted as an army chaplain during World War II. At the close of the European theater, Gerecke received his most challenging assignment: he was sent to Nuremberg to minister to the twenty-one imprisoned Nazi leaders awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. Detailed, incisive and emotionally charged, Mission at Nuremberg unearths groundbreaking new research and compelling first-hand accounts to take us deep inside the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, into the very cells of the accused, and the courtroom where they answered to the world for their crimes. These twenty-one Nazis had sat at the right hand of Adolf Hitler: Hermann Goering, Albert Speer, Wilhelm Keitel, Hans Frank and Ernst Kaltenbrunner were the orchestrators of the most methodical genocide in history. As the drama leading to the court's final judgments unfolds, Townsend brings Henry Gerecke's impossible moral quandary to life. As he worked to form compassionate relationships with these men, how could he preach the gospel of mercy, knowing full well the devastating nature of the atrocities they had committed? And as the day came when he had to escort each of these men to the gallows, what comfort could he offer—and what promises of salvation could he make—to evil itself?
About the Author
Tim Townsend, formerly the religion reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, holds master's degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Divinity School. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. In 2005, 2011, and 2013, he was named Religion Reporter of the Year by the Religion Newswriters Association, the highest honor on the "God beat" at American newspapers. He recently joined the Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project as a senior writer and editor in Washington, D.C.