Dear Hanna—A biography of pacifist Martin J. Zimmer based on letters from the Eastern Front during WW II by Rudolf Alois Zimmer, is a rare eyewitness account of the plight of both civilians and soldiers affected by the military operations in the mud and freezing temperatures of the Eastern Front during WW II.
Hanna’s husband, Martin J. Zimmer, is a pacifist who, through his observations, reveals a profound understanding of what it should mean to be human. His world is not a world of war, but simply one to be shared with his beloved wife and their three children.
Martin is conscripted into the German army and sent off as an army engineer to fight on the Russian Front. A quirk of fate or luck allows him to be reassigned to the Bakery Company of the 10th Motorized Infantry Division. Surrounded by members of the Nazi Party, he is forced to send letters in secret to his wife, Hanna; his private musings would be considered seditious and dangerous. His letters record events on an almost daily basis from 1941 to 1945, starting with the German offensive on Moscow, the Kursk offensive, the battles of Orel and Kirovograd, the retreat through the Ukraine, Rumania, and Poland to the last defence in Czechoslovakia. It culminates with the narrator’s imprisonment in a POW camp in Auschwitz.
After years of courage, uncertainty, and unbelievable luck, Martin eventually returns safely to his soulmate, Hanna, and his three children. His letters and journal speak with the voice of one man who quietly resisted the lucrative offerings of a brutal regime and remained true to his beliefs, both as a Christian and a pacifist.