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3. The Bitter Road to Dachau by Robert L. Wise reviewed by Cheryl Russell:

a. Pastor Christian Reger’s descent into hell begins in 1940. As a leader in the Confessing Church during World War II, he is arrested by the Nazis and eventually sent to the Dachau concentration camp. Here, as prisoner number 26661, he will spend the next five years fighting to survive. In this place where brutality thrives, Christian’s physical survival is not the only thing at stake. His faith is also in danger of destruction, and the God he believes in seems a million miles away. Bitterness threatens to overtake Christian, as it has fellow pastor, Wilhelm Dittner. But other clergy-prisoners—men like Leonard Steinwelder, a Catholic priest, and Werner Sylten, a Protestant pastor sentenced to imprisonment because he had a Jewish great-grandmother—are trying to hold onto their faith, trying to take the higher road. And in this hell on earth, small amounts of grace shine through. A matchbox with a secret message is slipped to Reger before he is packed into a cattle car and shipped to Dachau. A simple catechism lesson from long ago surfaces, reaffirming that even though the Nazis see him as a number, to God he has a name. And a time spent praying for his enemy gives Christian a deep sense of the peace and presence of God. Eventually the Nazis permit the clergy to build a chapel. It is small, and confined to Barrack 26, the Pastors’ Barracks, but the small, humble room is what keeps the men of Barrack 26 hopeful. These once-a-month services bring new life to Christian’s faith and sustain him throughout his imprisonment.

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