The Story of a Mormon Girl from East Prussia
Heidi Parker sent me a link to this book recently because we are fellow writers of family stories and this is a beautiful personal memoir about life and family. I am serving a mission in the Canary Islands right now but, through the glory of the internet, I downloaded the Kindle version. I can sneak a little time here and there for worthwhile reading.
One of my favorite books is one reviewed years ago by Heidi, German Boy and this was another glimpse into the personal lives of the German people during World War II. The tragedies of war both physical and emotional play out in both of these stories. This was especially poignant because Helga told her story as a Mormon girl and I felt her faith, and the way the Lord guided the LDS community in Germany at this time, to help each other. I had a strong sense of how important that group of saints were to each other and how difficult for those that did not have such a faith based community. I enjoyed the pieces of Helga’s diary, at the end of the book, where she told of the fasting, praying and singing they did together. How do you get through these things without the Lord and human support?
I had so many thoughts about Helga’s life, her mistakes, her divorce, even though she was trying to do the right things, she still made mistakes and her trials continued, even when the “war” ended. But she never lost her faith and God never stopped helping her, and that is the beautiful thing. And then she got married again at 91 and felt so joyful still! For me, who is fast becoming an old lady, I love her aging spunk and ability to tell her story. We never want to lose that. The writing is simple and straight forward but I felt her voice, at times I even heard her German accent. It was a good, uplifting read.
Helga’s Life before the war:
"We went to my grandparents’ apartment in between Sunday School and sacrament meeting….It seems like the days or the hours didn’t go by fast. Somebody was at the piano, and we sang the whole hymnbook, one song after the other. Do you think we were happy? We were! How do I explain that it was heaven on earth."
After losing her grandparents and aunt in a fire bombing: "It was quite a heartache to lose three at once. Anyway, we took it. We had to take it. There was no other way. What can you do? You have to live. You have to go on."
"We fought for life. We were heartbroken. We cried and we were sad, but we didn’t need everybody to come to support us. Nobody was there. Nobody had time. We have gone through certain things, and we have the feeling of it. We know how it is when the bombs are falling and something is burning and somebody dies."