Christ or Hitler? is a collection of stories – in loose chronological order – about the life of Wilhelm Busch, who was an evangelist and pastor during the Nazi regime in Germany. It has been compiled and translated by Christian Puritz.
The book opens fairly dramatically with Busch’s house burning down during an air raid at the same time as him having an altercation with the secret police, which is a good hook to draw the reader in. We are then introduced to his parents, for whom he evidently had great respect and who, in his eyes, could do no wrong. Busch seemed to have a happy childhood and a fulfilling ministry. No matter what situation he found himself in, he took the opportunity to share His love and passion for Christ.
Busch’s ministry was filled with adventures, since he rubbed shoulders with all kinds of people, but he handled the different situations in which he found himself with a great deal of boldness, humility and grace. His encounters with the gestapo and imprisonments are not the main thrust of the book; it is more about what everyday life looked like during the time Hitler rose to power and ruled Germany.
I thought the translation was excellent, although it does not paint quite such a clear picture as if written and read in the mother tongue. It would provide some insights into life in Nazi Germany for anyone with an interest in this area.