German Pastry Christmas
PG got an email today from Allen Hunt a radio announcer. The letter had a Christmas message. PG read the story, and heard the ding ding ding of his BS detector. Here is the story.
Merry Christmas! As the wars about the public celebration of Christmas become filled with pettiness and hostility on all sides, be not dismayed. Your celebration of Christmas depends solely on you and nobody else. I heard the story of Oswald Goulter years ago and it reminds me of that simple fact. I am responsible for how I embrace the gift of Christmas.
Oswald Goulter served as an agri-missionary to China. On his way back to the USA for furlough during World War II. His sponsor mission agency gave him a ticket to get home by boat. When Oswald arrived in the port of India, New Delhi, he found boats filled with Jews, housed there to protect their lives from Nazi Germany. The Jewish boats couldn’t land anywhere. They were not accepted or welcome anywhere at the time
Oswald went to see them and said, “Merry Christmas!”
“We’re Jewish,” they responded.
“I know, I know. But what would you like for Christmas. Merry Christmas!”
“Don’t you understand? We are JEWISH.”
“Merry Christmas. What do you want?”
To get rid of this nuisance, they said, “How about some German pastry? That sure would be grand.”
Oswald scoured the city until he found a bakery that made German pastry. Oswald sold his ticket for home to get money to purchase some pastry. He went back to the boat and shared it with them.
As he spoke about this experience later in one of his supporting churches, a very prim member of the congregation stood and asked, “Why did you do that? They were Jewish. They don’t even believe in Jesus.”"I know,” Oswald replied, “but I do.”
PG sent a reply to the original email. This post is being written an hour later, so it is not unreasonable that Mr. Hunt has not replied.
Allen do you have any proof that Oswald Goulter existed? This story seems a bit far fetched. I googled Oswald Goulter, and all I see is the same story told over and over.
Why did he go to India? This is over the Himalayan mountains, or around Vietnam. Couldn’t he do just as well in North Asia, or even Russia?
When did this incident happen? There are mixed indications in the versions I read, and no exact dates. If this was after WW2, then maybe the restrictions about admitting Jews would start to loosen up.
Why German pastries? After all that the German people had done to them, this seems a bit strange.
There are hundreds of real, verifiable Christmas stories out there. This one seems a bit fishy.
After sending the email, PG hunkered down in the google.(Snopes never heard of Oswald Goulter) It seems that Oswald John Goulter was born June 22, 1890 in Oklahoma. He died in March 1985, in Santa Clara California. He was interviewed in 1971 as part of a project involving missionaries to China. “This interview supplements the account of Goulter’s life in Wilfred Powell’s Scattered Seed. Mr. Goulter portrays the disruption in Chinese life in the area of Lu-chou (Hofei) in Anhwei province during the years 1922 to 1951. He tells how the Communists were able to take advantage of the disorder caused by warlords and bandits and the Japanese invasion to drive the nationalists from power. He also discusses his conception of practical Christianity and its applicability in China.”
There is another story about Mr. Goulter. After the communist takeover, Mr. Goulter and his wife, Irene, were taken into custody. Mr. Goulter was beaten repeatedly, but refused to renounce his faith. Finally he was released (or, in some versions, escaped). This imprisonment is generally agreed to be three years long, and if he left in 1951, that would be consistent with the time line of the communist takeover.
In the Hunt version of the story, Oswald Goulter left during World War 2.
This does not answer the question of why Mr. Goulter would go to India, before America. It also does not account for the appearance of the Jews in India, six years after the end of World War 2. It should also be noted that India was in chaos, with the advent of Independence and the partition. Would they have Jews hiding in the city?
There is a book, Scattered Seed: The Story of the Oswald Goulters, Missionaries in China 1922-51. PG does not know if it discusses German pastries.
This is a repost from three years ago. The original had several comments about Mr. Goulter, which we will share. Allen Hunt sent a reply, which was lost in a hard drive crash. It was rather snide. Mr. Hunt has quit sending PG emails. His radio show is on WSB am Sunday evening. The show is a partially sponsored by ChikFilA.
indsay goulter said, on February 26, 2010 at 3:26 am Hi oswald goulter was my great uncle.Born in Auss. If you would like to know more about him please reply to my e/mail. lindsay g
Teena Anderson said, on October 30, 2010 at 10:02 pm
Oswald Goulter is my grandfather. He was a missionary to China for 30 years. His story is told in the book Scattered Seed by Wilfred Powell. Oswald and Irene had 3 daughters, Lovena, Doris ( who is still living!) and Jean. Doris and Jean were born in China. Jean was my mother-she spoke excellent chinese with a Hefei accent. I am the eldest grandchild. They lost a baby boy born in China and buried him in the mountains of Kuling, where the missionaries would go for the summer.
My husband, Hugh Anderson (Presbyterian minister) and I have taught in China with the Amity Foundation. Our first summer of teaching we traveled to Hefei and met Rev. Zhu who helped Oswald after he had been confined in the internment camps. They were great friends. Rev. Zhu’s son is now a Disciple of Christ minister here in the United States. Teena Anderson, Medford, Oregon.
chamblee54 said, on October 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm
Thanks for stopping by. Do you know if the story about the German Pastries was true? It is an inspiring story, but as I noted in my post, there are a few issues with it.
Miaohua Jiang said, on January 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm
The book by Wilfred E. Powell titled Scattered Seed came in mail yesterday. I searched in the book for any evidence that this story might actually happened. Unfortunately, the story as it is stated never happened. At least it did not happen in India.
The sabbatical year was between 1936 and 1937. The family did take the western route going through Europe to return to US. They arrived in US in September 1936. Christmas of 1936 was their first Christmas in US in many many years. They were not able to return to China because of Japenese invasion until late 1937. Mr. Goulter did help refugees in Shanghai around Christmas time 1937. The book did mention that Shanghai also had ships with Jewish refugees. So, the story could have happened in Shanghai, China, instead of India. It did not involve boat tickets. Mr. Goulter had clothings shipped from Los Angeles to Shanghai. Also Mr. Goulter was interned by Japenese for many years, not communists.
chamblee54 said, on January 20, 2011 at 12:02 am
Thank you for following through. That is an inspiring story, too bad it can’t be proven to be true.
Miaohua Jiang said, on January 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm
Doris is visting us this new year’s day of 2011!
Miaohua Jiang said, on January 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm
This is what I got from my conversation with Doris, O.J.’s second daughter. According to Doris, Mr. Goulter did not like his first name. Chinese people would simply call him Gou Shee-Sang (Mr. Gou). Doris was born in Hefei in 1924. Her mother homeschooled the girls. By the time she was 10, they felt it was time for girls to have a more formal education in Shanghai. Before they left for Shanghai, they travelled for a year to Europe, going through possibly the Hongkong – India route. So, it was around 1934 – a time Jews were forced to escape Germany. So, the story is credible. The girls stayed in Shanghai until 3 month before Pearl Harbor was attacked when American government ordered evacuation of women and children. Mr. Goulter stayed behind and was imprisoned by invading Japenese because of his British citizenship. I am ordering this book and hopefully when Doris visits again next time I will have a chance to verify a few more details with her. Amazingly, after leaving Hefei for more than 75 years, she can still speak the local dialect and sing local children songs forgotten even by the local people.
Teena Anderson said, on October 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm
Oswald Goulter was my grandfather. He was born in Australia. He heard about the Boxer rebellion and felt called to go to China. He came to the U. S. to get more education. He married Irene Goucher (my grandmother) in Oklahoma and they spent 30 years together in China. They had 3 daughters, 2 of whom were born in China. My mother was born in Tsingtao but spent 10 years in Hefei (Lu Chow Fu). She had a great Hefei accent. They also had a baby boy that died and was buried in the Kuling mountains. (Lu Shan)Oswald Goulters life was written by Wildfred Powell in the book Scattered Seed. Our family still have ties to Chinese that were ministered by my grandfather. There are many more accounts of what my grandfather accomplished in China. He loved the Chinese and they loved him. Teena Anderson of Medford, Or.
Lauri Penry said, on March 25, 2012 at 8:27 am
My grandparents (Dr. and Mrs. Paul R. Slater) served as medical missionaries in China with the Goulters. I have heard the story many times of how my grandfather met up with Mr. Goulter, and he wasn’t wearing shoes. So my grandfather gave him his. The next time they crossed each other’s paths, Mr. Goulter was again without shoes. He told my grandfather that he found someone who needed them more than he did.
I was just going through some pictures at my parents’ house this weekend, and found one with Mr. Goulter in it. I am in the process of reading Scattered Seed now. My parents were attending Phillips University when Mr. Goulter was a member of the faculty. From what I have always heard about this man, he was exceptional, and a true servant!
John McBride said, on May 10, 2012 at 10:10 am
Oswald Goulter is my grand uncle and he was born in Australia. I had the pleasure of meeting him and Irene in in either 1973/4 when they visited Australia and later in San Jose in 1981. He was quite some bloke who’s achievements were quite incrediable. My grand father was a potato farmer at a place called Irrewillipe, about 100 miles west of Melbourne. One year my brother and I spent our Easter weekend (4 days in Australia) helping dig up the crop. At night, my grandfather read Oswald’s letters to us by kerosene lamp beside the wood stove in the kitchen. As a ten year old, those letters were more exciting to listen to than reading my Superman comics.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.