This book shines a light on a remarkable heroine of the Baha´i Faith. Alma Knobloch (1864–1943) one of the three Knobloch sisters, raised up the first African-American community in North America, and was instrumental in the growth of the Baha’i community in Germany. In His Tablets of the Divine Plan, ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote: ‘Likewise Miss Knobloch travelled alone to Germany. To what a great extent she became confirmed!’
Alma’s 13 years in Germany saw an astonishing growth in the Baha’i community to become the largest in Europe. Following ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit in 1913 and the outbreak of the First World War, the emerging community focused its efforts on peace: soldiers who had attended Bahá’í meetings entered the battlefields with Baha’i prayers and quotations against their breasts. Alma continued to open new Bahá’í communities, and at the end of the War she emerged from the bomb shelters of Mannheim to receive confirmations in large halls overflowing with hundreds of people who came to hear the message of Baha’u’llah throughout Germany. She also taught early believers in Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic, as well as future Hand of the Cause Hermann Grossmann, and the first European martyr, Adam Benke. Many of the Tablets from ‘Abdu’l-Baha to Alma and other believers in Germany from 1908 to 1920 are published in English in this book for the first time.
In 1920, Alma returned to the United States, where she dedicated the rest of her days to race unity, fearlessly crossing the racial and social barriers to build up lasting communities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. These later years of her life have been little known until now and are recounted here.