A Tale of Two Soldiers is a memoir about the unlikely friendship an American Jewish G.I. and trained sniper for the US Army formed with a German Luftwaffe pilot during WWII.
On Dec. 18 1944 twenty-one-year-old Max Gendelman was captured in the Battle of the Bulge one of only a handful in his company to survive. Starving and dazed his dog tags blown off he was marched through German villages and eventually arrived at a farm the Reich had commandeered from a German family.
The family's grandson Karl Kirschner a lieutenant in the Luftwaffe conscripted against his will was hiding out in one of the barns. To Max's astonishment one day Karl spoke to him through the fence they discovered a shared passion for chess and began to secretly meet to play the game.
As they got to know each other they recognized what they needed to do they formed a pact a plan to escape together. This was the start of a friendship that would endure for more than six decades.
A young Jewish G.I. taken prisoner in the Battle of the Bulge witnessed horrific images that left him shell-shocked. For sixty years Max Gendelman avoided painful memories by nurturing his family business and a lifelong friendship with the German Luftwaffe pilot who helped him escape. He received the Purple Heart and was named by the French Republic "Chevalier of The Legion Of Honor." He died in June 2012 one month after he finished A Tale of Two Soldiers he was buried with military honors.
"This World War II memoir is a remarkable history of survival and friendship. If an American military sniper-a young Jewish man from Milwaukee-can befriend a German Luftwaffe pilot and become lifelong friends then we can all certainly hope for a better world." -Wolf Blitzer CNN
"The American soldier Max Gendelman's story of his six-decades long friendly relationship with the German pilot Karl Kirschner gives a rare glimpse not only of the personal toll of WWII but also of the triumph of personal friendship against improbable odds." -Klaus Scharioth former German Ambassador to the U.S. 2006-2011
"This is truly a love story and a grand tale of courage faith honor and most importantly friendship. It is also the story of bigotry and the injustices of anti-Semitism. May their memories be for a blessing." -Hannah Rosenthal Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism under the Obama Administration 2009-2012
"A fascinating and inexplicable story about an American POW and a German officer that will move readers even as they learn about the hardships that American soldiers endured." -Deborah E. Lipstadt author of The Eichmann Trial