Author Whitney Stewart to Discuss Book on WWII German Soldier
Equinox Village will present a talk and book signing by author Whitney Stewart titled ‘Feldpost: The Wartime Letters of Friedrich Reiner Niemann, a German Soldier on the Eastern Front,’ at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 23. The book documents the life and frontline experiences of an anti-Nazi German soldier from the Sixth Infantry Division from 1941 to 1945. Niemann was a well- educated youth from a close-knit family in Cologne, who was sent to the Russian Front four times. He wrote his final two letters home from Poland on January 12,1945, before he disappeared during the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive. His extensive correspondence describes the fighting at Rzhev, Russia, 1942 to 1943, and his survival of the destruction of his division during the Soviet summer offensive in 1944, offering a rare view of battles that annihilated entire German divisions and armies. The Niemann family preserved Reiner’s letters and photographs and shipped them to New Orleans with Reiner’s sister, Liselotte Andersson, when she emigrated. Neglected in an attic for over 50 years, the documents surfaced after Hurricane Katrina flooded the family house. Andersson’s daughter-in-law, author Whitney Stewart, discovered the letters in 2012 and contacted Denis Havel to translate them, uncovering historical details that enabled them to follow Reiner’s trail and tell his story. Stewart is the author of numerous children’s books, adult nonfiction and travel writing. In the course of her work, she has trekked with Sir Edmund Hillary in Nepal and interviewed the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi. Equinox Village is located at 49 Maple Street in Manchester Center. For further information, call 802-362-4061.