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From Dachau TO D-DAY

In his recently published book From Dachau to D-Day, Flushing resident Werner Kleeman details his unique life, which has included surviving a concentration camp during the Holocaust, entering the U.S. Army, and eventually returning to his hometown in Germany following D-Day.
“I never could have imagined as I tucked away documents, photos and memories that I would one day be able to share them with not just the people I love the most but such an extended readership in my community,” Kleeman said during an event at Queensborough Community College to celebrate the release of the book. “I hope that as you read this book you can feel yourself a part of my life.”
Writing the book is something that Kleeman had wanted to do for a long time. His children and grandchildren also urged him to write it, being that they wanted to hear more of his life story.
Kleeman spent two years working with publisher Elizabeth Uhlig to put the book together. The pages of From Dachau to D-Day include many photographs and original documents from the book’s time period. Kleeman said that he wasn’t sure why he did so, but he saved many items from the war.
While growing up in Gauknigshofen, Germany, he saw the horrors of Kristallnacht firsthand. Although he was sent to Dachau, he was released six weeks after his arrival and soon headed to the United States, where he settled in Queens.
Kleeman was eventually drafted and served in the army of his new country, during which time he served with J.D. Salinger and met Ernest Hemingway and artist John Groth. During his military service, Kleeman participated in D-Day and even returned to his hometown. While there, he helped bring to justice some of those who had committed wrongdoings during Kristallnacht.
After the war, Kleeman went on to establish his own business selling floor and window coverings, predominantly to hospitals.
During the celebration of the book’s release at Queensborough Community College’s Kupferberg Holocaust Center, members of the community, Kleeman’s family and friends, including Senator Frank Padavan and the center’s director, Arthur Flug, were in attendance.
“I don’t think you’re going to find anyone with the same kind of story or life,” Padavan said.
During the ceremony, Flug presented Kleeman with a special plaque “in recognition of his never-ending fight for justice and human dignity.”
“It’s a good feeling, especially when you realize it’s a successful book,” Kleeman said. “I consider this an accomplishment to be able to put into writing…important things that happened in my lifetime. My life was very different. When you live from Dachau to D-Day and beyond, you have a hard life behind you.”
Kleeman is already thinking about a second book, which would give more details about his time during the war and talk more about his life afterward. He said that he already has enough material for another one.
From Dachau to D-Day can be purchased online at https://home.earthlink.net/~marble.house.editions/.

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