Reappearance of Christ

The Danish writer Hans Heltoft wrote the following about his experience of Christ in a Gestapo prison during World War II:

Five hundred prisoners of various nationalities were occupied with weaning mats in a damp and mouldy cellar. A guard entered and beat a Russian to death for no reason at all, pummelling the lifeless, bleeding remains again and again. We prisoners felt every blow on our own bodies… One Polish prisoner, at his wit’s end, called out: “That’s enough.” We all repeated in muffled voices: “That’s enough.” At that moment Jesus entered the cellar. I do not belong to the Church and I had never seen Jesus before. And yet I did know him, and I noticed that the others recognized him… His entire appearance transcended our normal conception of things. The only thing that is clear to me today is that this Jesus was Something Indescribable – and yet at the same time a normal human being. And although I am not a member of the Church I must say: This was the Greatest that we had ever experienced and ever will be able to experience.

Simultaneously with Jesus’ entrance, the following took place: the damp and mouldy room became completely transformed… bright red and blue shades of colour permeated the room and a sphere spread out which gave one a feeling of peace… The space up to the ceiling appeared to be so vast that one could have built a great barn in it… Jesus did not look at us… He contemplated the mutilated person lying at his feet. His face radiated love – a love which cannot be expressed in words… He bent over the Russian and gently kissed him on his bloody, swollen cheek. The man, whom we had considered dead, opened one eye. The other was such closed with blood. When he saw Jesus, his mistreated face shone with childlike joy. With great difficulty he stretched out one hand toward Jesus. Jesus, bending over a little, took it in both his hands.

It was so indescribably beautiful that we all stood there smiling silently – also the guard. The Russian sank down, and the unmentionably beautiful expression which had settled upon the disgracefully abused figure disappeared. Jesus gently laid the Russian’s hand back upon his body and left the cellar. Immediately everything was as it had been before.

This account of Christ is given in Hans-Werner Schroeder’s book Von der Wiederkunft Christi heute (“The Reappearance of Christ in Our Time”).