Whitney Stewart is an award-winning author of books for children and adults. She published her first biography after interviewing the Dalai Lama in India. She's trekked with Sir Edmund Hillary in Nepal, interviewed Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, and traveled to China to write about Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong. Stewart’s recent publications are A Catfish Tale, a Louisiana bayou retelling of The Fisherman and His Wife, and Mindful Monkeys: 50 Mindfulness Activities for Kindness, Focus, and Calm.
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Feldpost: The War Letters of Friedrich Reiner Neimann, a German Soldier on the Eastern Front
Friedrich Reiner Niemann was a German soldier serving in the 6th Infantry Division from 1941 to 1945. A well-educated youth from a good family in Westphalia, he was sent to the brutal Russian front four times. He wrote his final two letters home on 12 January 1945, before disappearing during the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive.
With the assistance of Reiner’s extensive correspondence with his family, which has been obtained by the authors, Feldpost documents his life and front-line experiences over this period. Throughout the war, evocative and moving messages were passed between Reiner, on the Eastern Front, and his family, who, by the end of the war, would be scattered throughout Germany.
Reiner describes the fighting at Rzhev from 1942–43 and how he survived the destruction of his division during the Soviet summer offensive in 1944. His is a rare view of battles that annihilated entire German divisions and armies. After the Second World War, the Niemann family preserved Reiner’s letters and photographs and shipped them to New Orleans, where Reiner’s sister, Liselotte Andersson, had emigrated.
Neglected in an attic for over fifty years, the documents surfaced only after Hurricane Katrina flooded the family house. Andersson’s daughter-inlaw, author Whitney Stewart, discovered the letters in 2012 and contacted Denis Havel to translate them. Together, Havel and Stewart uncovered historical details that enabled them to follow Reiner’s trail and finally tell his story.
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