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I recently found a special issue of Life Magazine that was dated September 25, 1939; only 24 days after Hitler invaded Poland. It was titled “The War World” and featured articles on “Today’s Most Important Man” Adolf Hitler and poll results to the questions, “Who do you want to win the war?” and “What should the U.S. do?” It was riveting to look through and also clear with every page of that magazine that nobody knew what was really coming.

But just the month before that issue of Life Magazine was released, and days before the historic invasion that would catalyze the war; President Heber J. Grant did seem to know what was coming. The missionaries throughout Germany were told to evacuate the country even though many didn’t understand the urgency or know how to quickly pull off such a feat.

That feat, of evacuating all the missionaries from Germany before the world was plunged into war, is the compelling heart of the new film Escape from Germany, written and directed by beloved Latter-day Saint filmmaker T.C. Christensen.

The film follows the story of many missionaries at once, but is told particularly through the lens of Elder Norman Seibold, a frustrated missionary who had previously been spending most of his time working on his homecoming talk. His focus is compelled to return to the present, however, when his mission president feels impressed to assign him to find the missing missionaries throughout the country and help them all get safely across the borders to neighboring nations to the north.

The problem? They don’t know exactly where the missionaries will be. It is a starkly different world to the one we live in now when everyone is just a call away and I can watch my husband’s exact GPS location on his way home from work to time when to have dinner finished. Or my sister can text me from an international trip with a message that says, “Look where I am!” and I can just pull up her location and see exactly where she’s standing.

Those seem like sophisticated technologies, but this film leaves you feeling that the Lord, working with His complex web of spiritual communications and orchestrated timing, has more sophisticated technology than we could ever match. For Elder Siebold and the other missionaries he gathers along the way, to walk through a train station in the midst of growing tension and the high stakes of a world on the brink of war, and receive messages directly to their hearts about what to do next without ever looking at a screen, leaves you truly standing amazed at how the Lord can help us—if we are prepared to hear Him.

Escape from Germany masterfully balances the difficult task of telling many stories at once without losing the audience’s emotional investment in each person’s outcome. Part of that strength comes from T.C.’s deft directorial hand and the other comes from the excellent performances of the lead missionaries such as Paul Wuthrich’s portrayal of Elder Seibold and the seemingly gullible Elder Anderson, portrayed by Sebastian Barr.

They had rich source material to draw from, thanks to the in-depth research and work of author Terry Bohle Montague, whose book Mine Angels Round About provided the basis for the film. The book draws heavily on personal journals and without her work in compiling them, T.C. said, “I don’t know that we’d have a story to tell”. None of the original players in the story are living still, but their memories and the legacy of their dramatic, divine rescue was additionally honored in the film by having background actors that were largely direct descendants of those being portrayed on screen.

I too had a small speaking role in the film, though I am not descended directly from its principal characters. At the premiere, someone in my scene said, “blink and you’ll miss it” jokingly as we passed them on our way to our seats. I bristled slightly at the comment, but my husband actually did kind of blink and miss it, despite my nudging at the appropriate time.

No matter; the experience was rich for me, particularly because I have a special interest in the German language. Since T.C. generously invited so many of the company to have a full script reading together before shooting began, I was able to hear from many that were playing German-speaking roles in the film. A good portion of them had served German-speaking missions and so had the kind of love for the people that you can only develop for those you serve. They all come across as quite convincing native Germans throughout the film, and the performances have nuance and warmth when it would be very easy to fall into the trap of many other World War 2 era films where all Germans are a caricature.

Despite the enormous ensemble cast of this film, no one seems a caricature. Each seems to be a real individual on a personal spiritual and physically dangerous journey that dramatically reminds all who watch to get on speaking terms with the Spirit now and not wait until someone’s life depends on your ability to be in tune.

Escape from Germany is also a gripping reminder of how many untold stories exist from our Latter-day Saint history that are worthy of a big screen treatment. Too often we tell tales of early Church history, then the pioneers arrive in the Salt Lake Valley and yada yada yada here we are today. But there are cinematic libraries worth of stories in that yada yada yada. There are miracles and inspiring stories of faith at every step that brought us here. I know it because that’s the way the Lord works.

Supporting Escape from Germany, which hits theatres April 11, particularly in its opening weekend, is how you tell theatres that you want to see more of these stories on screen. So, invite your family and friends for a night out this weekend. This film is well worth the watch. For tickets, visit