Adolphe Arnold was born in Krüth, Alsace, on August 22, 1897, and was raised in a humble Alsatian home and came of age during the turbulent days of World War I. Through his honesty, perseverance, talent, and diligence, he grew up to be a creative artist, a devoted husband, and a loving father. Eventually Adolphe was hired as a colorist at the world-famous textile manufacturer Schaeffer and Company. He and his wife, Emma, and daughter, Simone, thus came to live in the bustling city of Mulhouse in 1933. Adolphe saw that Simone had a rich upbringing with art and music lessons, treks through the woods, and pleasant times together reading about ancient history, faraway lands, and the awesome heavens.
Adolphe and Emma shared a strong sense of justice and a deep desire to please God by their words and actions, and they raised his daughter, Simone, with the same values. When the family embraced the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses, their values were tested sorely by the Nazi storm that swept through their land. They practiced their faith in secret at the risk of their lives.
In September 1941, the Gestapo arrested Adolphe at work and charged him as an enemy of the state. After a prison stay in Mulhouse, Adolphe endured nearly four years in the Nazi camps of Schirmeck, Dachau, Mauthausen, and Ebensee. The Nazis beat him, performed medical experiments on him, starved him, and taunted him. His most difficult test came with the knowledge that his beloved wife and daughter had also fallen into Gestapo hands. Though she did not know it, whenever Simone refused to follow Nazi orders that were against her conscience, the SS punished her father. By this, however, Adolphe was reassured that Simone had stayed true to her faith.
The end of the war found Adolphe close to death but with his faith and values intact. It took two months before he gained the strength to make the trip back to Mulhouse, wondering all the time whether or not his wife and daughter had survived. The three were reunited in June 1945, bearing the wounds of their ordeal. Over time, their strong love and deep faith restored the warmth and life to the Arnold family.