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Local History

A Little Known Chapter of Missouri History Provides Backdrop for New Novel

I first met David Fiedler back in 2003, as I was preparing for a journalism fellowship in Germany. At that time, he was writing an historical book chronicling how the Allies in World War II brought German prisoners of war to Missouri to work on farms and in other places while many American men were fighting in Europe. He helped me connect with two former POWs in Germany who had spent months living and working in Missouri during World War II. David Fiedler says it was from talking with POWs and the Missourians who knew them while he was writing the first book, that he began to get the idea for a work of fiction.

"When you write a history like I did on these prisoners of war, you've got to be certain you have factual, verifiable things in there, but any time there are people involved, there's always gossip, innuendo, and rumors, fascinating stories that detail the things that took place but you can't always verify. Hearing the stories about people and the things they did, for anyone with any creativity, it's going to spark ideas."

Fiedler’s novel, “My Enemy, My Love,” begins in Germany with a professor who is drafted into the military under the Nazi regime. He gets captured and ends up in Missouri where he works on a farm and meets an American woman. Love and danger follow as they find themselves at odds with Nazi POWs and an American guard. You can hear more about the novel and the actual history that provides the backdrop for the story at an event in Springfield tonight. Author David Fiedler will hold a reading and book signing tonight at Pythian Castle, located at 1452 E. Pythian. Doors open at 6:45 and Fiedler will begin speaking at 7:15. He explains why Pythian Castle is a good setting for tonight’s event.

“The Pythian Castle ended up being taken over by the military during World War II because it was adjacent to a large army hospital called O’Reilly General Hospital. It’s now primarily the campus of Evangel University. This Pythian Castle, because of its connection to World War II and O’Reilly General Hospital, there were actually Italian prisoners of war in that structure. It was used as a service club for enlisted Americans, but the Italians worked throughout the hospital grounds, and there are paintings in the basement of that structure that were done by the Italians while they were there.”

Again, if you want to learn more about German and Italian prisoners of war who were held in Missouri during World War II and new novel about that part of history, author David Fiedler will do a reading from his new book and talk about his research tonight starting at 7:15 at Pythian Castle in Springfield.