Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Radio Signal (Memoir) Depicts German Baptists in World War II

The Radio Signal

Author: Friedhelm Radandt

Publisher: Deep River Books

Publication Date: June 8, 2016

Length: 248 Pages

About the Author
Friedhelm Radandt served as a college president for a quarter of a century, first at Northwestern College in Iowa and then at The King's College in New York. After arriving from his native Germany as an immigrant, he earned graduate degrees at The University of Chicago and enjoyed a rewarding teaching career at that institution and at Lake Forest College.

The Tale of Two Families
Friedhelm and his wife, Elizabeth Job, share the childhood memories of their experiences in Poland and Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. During the war years, neither family knows of the other. Neither family knows that their paths will cross after the war and their families will be united forever.

The author shares some history of the Radandt and Job families. The families lived a pleasant, middle-class life in Germany and Poland in the years prior to the reign of Hitler and the beginning of World War II. They were both active in the German Baptist Church and community. The author believes the support that both families received from the church was an important aspect in their survival during the years they spent as refugees during the war. 
"Like his parents before him, Friedhelm began looking for a Baptist fellowship as soon as he arrived in Hamburg. This had, after all, been his family's saving grace: no matter where they settled they had never been truly alone, because they always established ties to the nearest Baptist community."
Friedhelm found fellowship and love at the Baptist Church in Hamburg. Elizabeth Job was a member of the youth group at the church and their friendship eventually grew to love and marriage.

My Thoughts
This is a riveting account from a child's point-of-view of the extreme conditions endured by ordinary families during World War II. These families faced the threats of arrest, hunger, homelessness, and death on a regular basis. Both families had to relocate several times and lost their homes and all of their material possessions. There were times when it seemed that Divine intervention was responsible for their safety and survival.

I belong to a Baptist Church and found the information about the German Baptists very interesting. In recent years, the German Baptists have come under criticism for not speaking out against Hitler and the terrible injustices and atrocities that occurred during the years the Nazi party was in power. In most cases, the Nazis allowed the Baptist Churches to remain open and continue to preach the Gospel within the church. So, the Baptists were happy to be left alone and did not want to make waves that would put their organization in jeopardy. 

After the war, the author did extensive research on the role of the Baptist Church and other Christian groups during the war. He immersed himself in Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Ethics" and committed himself to teaching about the issue of resistance to Baptist young people's groups. He believed that dealing with the past would free the church to do God's work with integrity.

The memoir ends in 1960, when Friedhelm and Elizabeth immigrated to America, arriving in New York City aboard the SS United States. This is a book about war, but it is also about faith, hope and love. The author did an excellent job telling his story. Highly recommended!


FYI ~ I received a free print copy of this book from the author's publicist in exchange for a fair review.

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