Loving the Enemy: building bridges in a time of war
Loving the Enemy tells the compelling true story of Fred Clayton, a grammar schoolboy from Liverpool, and brilliant Cambridge scholar, who leaves the comfort of the halls of Cambridge at the beginning of the Nazi era and makes a troubled journey to discover first-hand what life must be like to live under the despotic regime. Arriving in Dresden, he develops a friendship with a German family that will change his life.
Through the course of the next decade, with his and their nations at war, Fred will not forget the connections that have been made and refuses to allow hate to win. After the war, with Dresden in ruins, reflecting his own state of mind, Fred writes to the same German family. Will he find the healing, love and redemption he seeks?
“It is my hope that, thanks to Andy’s efforts, the story will inspire you as much as it has inspired me, and that it will find its place as a signpost, even a landmark, along the path of reconciliation, trust and love which links Coventry and Dresden; Britain and Germany.” (Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, from the Foreword)
A wonderful story. Family history and perseverance to do the right thing. Found it hard to put it down. Fabulously written.
This is a compelling, well written biography with many attributes of a thriller that I couldn’t put down. I highly recommend it.
I absolutely loved this book. It is a page-turning true life story of two fascinating people, Fred and Rike, living through the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s. It is a real human story, and I came to love the key characters.
This story is truly compelling and beautifully written. It is gritty, honest and deeply moving, giving new insights into both sides of the war. Highly recommended!
It’s International Women’s Day, and it seems apt to celebrate Rike, who displayed remarkable courage on many occasions, not least when defending her home from invading Russian troops in 1945. Her story seems remarkably and sadly relevant today. Here’s some of her story (taken from Loving the Enemy: building bridges in a time of war).
Next month, debutant author, Andy March releases the biography of his grandparents, Englishman Fred Clayton and German woman Rike Büttner-Wobst from Dresden, Germany, who rose above extreme suffering and defied the hatred and enmity of warring nations to build an enduring bridge of love. Andy March is a vicar in Coventry, who travelled as part … Continue reading Press release – “Loving the Enemy: building bridges in a time of war”
It’s been five years in the making, but on 6th November, “Loving the Enemy: Building bridges in a time of war” will finally be published. It’s been an immense privilege to discover and and write the story of my grandparents, Fred and Rike, for theirs is a story that deserves to be told – one … Continue reading Coming soon … “Loving the Enemy: Building bridges in a time of war” – can you help?
Today, 21st September, is the 80th anniversary of the death of my great-uncle Götz, who became one of the first casualties of the 2nd World War. He was just 18. Here is the story, as featured in my as-yet unpublished book, “Dreams of Dresden”, which tells the true story of Rike and Fred, my remarkable grandparents. … Continue reading The death of Götz Büttner-Wobst, 80 years on
On 13 February 1945 Dresden was destroyed by Allied bombs. British and American planes brought death from the sky. 25,000 perished. This had a traumatic impact on both of my grandparents, Fred and Rike. Fred loved Dresden and the people of Dresden, and he had prophetic nightmares that the city would be destroyed by fire … Continue reading The bombing of Dresden – the nightmares come true
2019 marks 60 years since Coventry and Dresden became twin cities. As part of the celebrations I was so pleased to be invited to come and read excerpts of “Dreams of Dresden” at the Kreuzkirche, Dresden yesterday (11th February) for their service, Prayer for Peace. Andy March traces the life of his grandfather Frederick Clayton. … Continue reading Building bridges and living reconciliation
In 1934 Fred Clayton visited Vienna to brush up on his German and to take in the culture of that city. He stayed with a Jewish widow and her sons. Little did he know that this visit would shape his life. They lost touch after some time, but then, after Kristalnacht in November 1938, he … Continue reading “The redeeming act of my life” – the Kindertransport 80 years on
In February 2015 I travelled to Dresden, Germany as part of a party from Coventry to join in with the commemorations marking 70 years since that city was bombed. The two cities were both (along with many others) devastated by bombing in the course of World War II. After Coventry was bombed in 1940, leaving … Continue reading How the book began …
In 1942 Secker and Warburg published a novel by first-time novelist Fred Clayton under the pseudonym Frank Clare entitled The Cloven Pine. Described as a “remarkable first book” by E. M. Forster, The Cloven Pine depicted German boys as creatures to be pitied and loved, as much victims of the Nazis as the British and … Continue reading Dreams of Dresden – A synopsis