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The Shadow of His Wings

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  127 reviews
We had to do it. We had to reprint this book. Rarely has a book had such an impact on so many of us here at Ignatius Press. It is one of the most powerful and moving books we have come across. If you can only buy one book this season, this must be the one.

Here is the astonishing true story of the harrowing experiences of a young German seminarian drafted into Hitler's drea
Paperback, 347 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Ignatius Press (first published 1964)
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Average rating 4.46  · 
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 ·  1,064 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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It's difficult to start this review without the standard clichés and cheap, ubiquitous adjectives. This was "an inspiring true story" and "an amazing narrative" about the "astonishing life" of Father Gereon Goldman, a Franciscan priest, who was forced to serve in the German army during WWII. The Shadow of His Wings is full of "miraculous episodes." This book is "a truly stirring account" of Father Goldman's experiences with "Nazi oppression" and "the horrors of war." See what I mean? But the thi ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Completely inspiring! Amazing and believable at the same time. Goldman is no cookie-cutter saint.
Marie Noël
Dec 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Disgusted by this author. Amid the horrors of WWII that he witnessed as a purported Catholic & seminarian, his primary motivation was to get ordained. He describes buying up Rosaries and other Sacramentals while he was in the S.S. in France since the French were selling them & he sent them back to his friends (who could no longer get them in Germany). Never did he help any of those suffering amid the Nazi occupation. He uses deceit and more lies to get ordained. Even talks many times of being in ...more
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for triumph of the human spirit stories, even more so when they are based on a real person's life. This is one such book. Fr. Goldmann was a Franciscan seminarian who was drafted into the SS military (Hitler's army) at the start of WWII. Even while serving in an evil regime, by God's grace, he managed to minister to those around him of the mercy and forgiveness of Christ. Against all odds, Father made it out of the war alive and was immediately ordained to the priesthood. The heroic ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about a boy growing up in Nazi Germany and standing up to the Nazi's and being a real hero by not compromising moral integrity in the face of a greater evil than most people can even imagine. It shows how to stand for the truth in the face of evil and fully rely on God. I highly recommend this reading book!
Joan Gilmartin
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I found it so incredible that I doubted at first that it could possibly be true. I am now convnced it certainly is. A wonderful book inspiring others to have the faith and fortitude which can in any circumstances, adverse as those of the protaganist were, bring happiness and the kind of satisfastion so many people would like to have.
Arthur Gibson
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend had loaned me this book quite some time ago and being I wasn't given a due date... well I kinda let it lay for a while. So I finally got the chance to start reading it, and from the first few pages, I was hooked. It was certainly an action packed, exciting book! I should have not waited that long :p
Would totally recommend it.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
Inspiring biography of a priest-in-training pulled into service during WWII by the Nazis. The miraculous was everywhere as he weaved his was through the war as a Sercret Servie agent. Tremendously devoted to God and humanity, but not wihtout his prickly side, Goldmann provides an uncommonly solid example for everyone seeking a higher path through the world. It is tedious in places and does not measure up to the spiritual classics, but it does provide a unique angle on a historical moment of terr ...more
Irish Gal
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, christian
Awesome! Well-written, story flows well. Reading how his faith, others' prayers, etc. - overall Divine Providence - saved his life and changed others again and again. I've passed it on to my mom, then I'm loaning it to our pastor.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The life-story of this Franciscan would simply be too incredible, too far-fetched for any novelist to write. In virtually every place in these memoirs, Goldmann relates how the impossible happened to him. By the end, one grasps Christ's words, that "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).

Goldmann was a seminary student in Germany when Hitler came to power. He was fiercely independent, incredibly intelligent, and of a strong, tall build - a perfect candidate for the elite SS divisions
Pamela Shropshire
A remarkable memoir of a German soldier/Catholic priest during WW2. He grew up in a devout Catholic family; his mother died when he was a young boy. The Nazis came to power as he approached adulthood, and he was drafted first into the Wehrmacht and then into the SS. Talk about being thrown into a den of lions! At first he was able to stay under the radar, so to speak, but it wasn’t long until he was put on the spot, and he had to either deny his faith or oppose the Nazi philosophy. Because he sp ...more
I read the abridged version with 167 pages. I wish I had to full version because it was a captivating story of a German man who became a priest during WWII with the permission of the Pope. He then spent several years as a prisoner in various camps ministering to the other prisoners.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How on earth can you be a good Franciscan priest and an SS lieutenant? Well that was the dilemma forced upon young seminarian Gereon Goldmann when he was drafted into the SS at the beginning of World War II. How could he serve both Church and State when the State was run by such an evil force? Part of the answer lay in Goldmann’s character. He was a strong willed, feisty man. But the other part of the answer lay in the hands of a powerful intercessor. Years earlier following the death of Gereon’ ...more
PJ Manning
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A stirring account of the life of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, a German Catholic SS soldier who works through incredible circumstances to serve out his calling.
I couldn't get through this book and ended up skimming the last fourth. I feel kind of strange about it since there are so many good ratings, but I wasn't engaged.

The writing was pretty poor, which I would accept from a non-professional writer (for example, the excellent With God In Russia by Cizhek), but a couple of things bothered me. First, Father Goldmann was never wrong about anything and I felt him to be a somewhat grating narrator. Second, some of his actions were highly questionable. Ho
Jan 05, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: catholic
Here is the astonishing true story of the harrowing experiences of a German seminarian drafted into Hitler's dreaded SS at the onset of WWII. Without betraying his Christian ideals, against all odds, and in the face of Evil, Goldmann was able to complete his priestly training, be ordained, and secretly minister to German Catholic soldiers and civilian victims caught up in the horrors of war. How it came to pass will astound you.

Father Goldmann tells his own incredible experiences of the trials o
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I listened to an abridged version of the book. It was part of the series "Catholic CD of the month", given to me by a fellow parishioner. I guess this is a CD for June.

The story highlights the value of integrity. Fr. Goldmann expressed his beliefs to the point that even his fellow seminarians wouldn't venture; and he was the only one of them who actually survived the war, although he had many hardships.

The power of prayer and faith is also a significant theme, and it's fantastic. A nun prayed f
Becky Kondritz
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible true story of a Francisican seminarian who was drafted into the SS. The story tells Goldmann's journey to priesthood despite obstacle after obstacle. The book provides example after remarkable example of how the power of prayer and the power of the Eucharist repeatedly won over the evils associated with war.
Joe Kolf
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This story is truly amazing. It is about a German seminarian who is drafted into the Nazi army when the seminary is shut down at the beginning of WWII and how the man is able to not only avoid committing evil, but use this situation to do tremendous good. You won't be able to put it down.
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An inspirational biography about a blessed man who should be canonized. He served the human race with perserverance and determination to make a difference - despite what the environment and obstacles. Faith Hope and Charity personified.
I thought I was a Christian until I read this book. Wow. Wow. Wow. A Must-Read! Originally published in 1964, re-published in 2000 by Ignatius Press, SF. I had a 2008 printing. Find it and read it!! It will alter your world view - not too many books do that.
Sep 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Another WW II book. I've always thought of the Germans as our evil enemies. This one puts a human face on them & their culture. It's told from the other side & point of view. ...more
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shawna by: Monica Trevino
Shelves: inspirational
Amazing book, giving fresh view of WWII from the perspective of a young seminarian. Very inspiring.
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! A truly stirring account of the life of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, a German Catholic SS soldier who through incredible circumstances becomes a priest. Highly recommended!
Dhanaraj Rajan
I did not like this work much as a biography. Only the additional part by Joseph Seitz that spoke of Fr. Goldmann's work in Japan in his later days was worth.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite autobiography of an almost unbelievable life story. This book made me laugh out loud and weep. One of the best I have ever read.
Michelle Daniels
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If I coud give more stars I would! I was so inspired by his sagacity! He was firm but not offensive!
Christy Kellner
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic story!!!!! You really understand God's Divine Providence and Protection after reading this book. What an adventure!
Amy Gieser
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting to read about the experiences of a seminarian in WWII who even gets promoted to the S.S.! Then his extraordinary road to ordination during war! Truly amazing.. It is always interesting or even astounding reading of first hand accounts of a war vs a fiction book- and none the less of a German yet Catholic viewpoint. His work in Japan later on in also very inspiring.
Very inspiring read. Reminds us to always hope. God has a Him.
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