Brothers across Enemy Lines: A Mission President and a German Soldier Correspond during World War I

The First World War destroyed millions of lives and billions of dollars’ worth of property. In peacetime, each death is a tragedy, while in war the deaths of millions become a statistic. One of the lives lost among the statistics is that of Wilhelm Kessler (fig. 1), a German citizen and Latter-day Saint who cut short his mission to enlist in the German army. His correspondence with his mission president, Hyrum W. Valentine, reflects both his patriotism and his love for the gospel and the Saints. Valentine’s letters in return express his love for this young man, a love that transcended political differences and earthly conflicts.

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