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There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'Mission at Nuremberg'

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'"Do you know something?" he [Rev. Henry Gerecke] asked brightly, "I got the idea today I’d like to join the Chaplains Corps."  More silence.  Henry kept eating.  Still nothing from his wife.  "I have asked you something," he said.  "I heard you," Alma said finally."'

I’m Mark Martin with Martin’s Must Reads.  Tim Townsend, in his marvelous book Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis, tells us the story of one man’s humble service in a horrible situation.

In the summer of 1943, with all branches of the service in desperate need of chaplains, Rev. Gerecke volunteered for the Army. (The name Gerecke may ring a bell with some in Cape Girardeau as his son, Hank, was police chief for many years.)

In November of 1945, Rev. Gerecke was stationed in Europe and was asked to serve as the protestant chaplain to the Nazi prisoners about to be tried in Nuremberg for war crimes. The book describes his ministry to the Nazis and their acceptance of this humble pastor from Gordonville, Missouri.

When a rumor circulated that Rev. Gerecke was to be rotated home before the end of the trial, the prisoners sent a letter to Mrs. Gerecke requesting her husband be permitted to remain and minister to them.  Such was his impact on them. Rev. Gerecke was with the prisoners daily and accompanied them on their long walk to the gallows as the punishments were carried out.

Our society today struggles with the concept of forgiveness, especially for heinous crimes such as what the Nazis perpetrated.  Struggles aside, Tim Townsend’s book Mission at Nuremberg is the story of one man and how grace, gentleness and humility can change even the darkest lives.

Mark Martin (also known as Mr. Betty Martin) was born in Midland, Texas. In 1979, after graduating from Texas Tech University, he worked as a financial analyst for Conoco. Upon graduating from Concordia Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree in 1993, he began his ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Egypt Mills and later moved to the Associate Pastor position at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. In November of 2019, he began a new career as a Transitional Pastor of LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). When he's not pastoring, he's watching sports, reading, or riding his BMW motorcycle. His reading tastes gravitate to nonfiction: history, sports, science, biographies, and the human condition. As a monthly guest reviewer, he adds another dimension to Martin's Must-Reads.
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