The remarkable story of faith and gratitude of 1 Latter-day Saint who was imprisoned in East Germany

Bob Inama was an American soldier with a secret to keep.

Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1959, Inama was assigned on a mission to plot out ammunition targets for the U.S. in East Germany. Given a fake identity, he was to work as a teaching assistant for an economics instructor, Professor Schmitt, and accompany him on his traveling lectures. This would give him access to locations in East Germany for his undercover mission.

But Schmitt betrayed him, and Inama spent the next six months in an East German prison cell where he was beaten and interrogated. In a Deseret News article, Heather B. Moore, who has written a book about Inama, shares some details about his experience.

“What if this was his life now until the day he died? So, Bob began to look for the good in everything. He thanked the officers who beat him. He complimented them on their job well done. They might have been confused at first, or even laughed, but Bob persisted. He thanked Adolf [a nickname he used for his guard] for the mush that barely kept him alive. He thanked God when he woke up from his daily beatings to breathe another day.

“Bob prayed constantly. He sang hymns to himself. But mostly he pondered.”

When Inama learned from his prison guard which day was fast Sunday, he would return his food uneaten, saying he was fasting. That prison guard would later save Inama’s life. But little did Inama know at the time that he would also change Adolf’s life in a way he wouldn’t have ever guessed.

Learn more about how Inama influenced his prison guard at Deseret News.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Bob Inama’s last name. That spelling has been updated.

Featured image: Getty Images

In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Aware of the many whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help East Germans escape across the Berlin Wall and into the West. 

Bob Inama, a soldier in the US Army, is stationed in West Germany. He's glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Boigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he doesn't get the chance to say goodbye.

 With a fake identity, Bob's special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany, identifying possible targets for the US military. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and the danger of being caught and sent to a brutal East German prison lurks on every corner. 

In The Slow March of Light, best-selling author Heather B. Moore masterfully alternates the stories of Bob and Luisa, capturing the human drama unique to Cold War Germany as well as the courage and the resilience of the human spirit.

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