The Meinhard Hoffmann German-American family was rounded-up during an FBI sweep when US entered World War II and was sent back to Germany. An eighteen year old son, Christolph Hoffmann, was instantly drafted by Germany's Wehrmacht. Christolph, a US citizen and fluent in English, was tagged for saboteur training. After weeks of intensive training, his team was inserted by German submarine onto US soil at Jekyll Island, an isolated beach in south east coastal Georgia. This was the beginning of an extraordinary life for Chris Hoffman.
From being a Prisoner of War in numerous work camps in North Carolina during the war to becoming a Lutheran Minister after the war in the Appalachian Mountains, Christolph's life unfolds from one profound experience to another. Christolph met Olivia O'Malley at the church where he was working as a janitor.They were married and in 1951, he and Olivia accepted the mission of ministering to the needs of the isolated and underprivileged mountain folks populating the hills along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
In 2006, Dan Turner, a free-lance TV journalist, was given a tip where he might find his next story which could develop into a documentary segment for television. The tip, from a long time friend, identified the elderly minister who aspired to be ordained before he dies. Much to Dan's surprise, he uncovers the tales of Christolph Hoffman and four other trained German Saboteurs. They were also inserted by submarine onto US soil during WW II and were now living normal lives in America. These reluctant saboteurs also became US citizens, had families, started businesses and became willing contributors to their adopted communities.
This story is a reflection of the little known fact that 371,683 German Prisoners of War were interned in the US during WW II. This tale reflects how their labor was used by farming communities to fill the loss of manpower brought on by the war effort . The State of North Carolina had seventeen such labor camps which harvested crops, harvested timber for lumbering companies, worked in industrial plants, and supported military bases. Reverend Hoffman was a POW in Hendersonville, NC and was allowed to remain in the area after the war.
His fond memories of the people and his desire to follow in his father's footsteps as a Lutheran Minister, drove his life choices. His good deeds made him a 'legend-in-his-own-time' in the mountains of western North Carolina.