The American St. Nick tells the remarkable TRUE story of a handful of American soldiers who during the chaos of war, help bring Christmas back to a small Luxembourg town, and unknowingly create a holiday tradition that continues to this very day!
It's December 1944, the Germans are retreating. It appears the war in Europe may be over soon, but not soon enough for members of the battle-worn 28th Infantry Division. Knowing they won't be home again for the Holidays, soldiers from a 112th regiment Signal Company Message Center in the storybook town of Wiltz, realize that although the town has been liberated after nearly five years of Nazi occupation, the ravages of war have left the townspeople with nothing to celebrate the season. For the children, it will be especially bleak without the hope of candies, treats or gifts on the normally town-wide celebration of St. Nicolas Day.
Hearing this, Corporal Harry Stutz gets an idea. He gathers some fellow soldiers and together they organize a Christmas party for the children, a party that will include a special visit from St. Nicolas himself, thanks to a reluctant Corporal Richard Brookins.
Wearing the mass robes of the local priest and a crudely fashioned rope beard to complete the costume, St. Nicolas rides through town on an Army jeep, stopping to meet the children and passing out treats baked by the Army cooks or donated from the soldier's care packages from home. Later the celebration continues with a party for all the children at the Wiltz Castle. It is a wonderful day for the children of Wiltz and for the American soldiers as well.
Ten days later however the Battle of the Bulge erupts in the Ardennes; Wiltz and the 28th Infantry Division are overrun. In the weeks of fighting that followed, most of the town is damaged or destroyed, mostly from Allied bombing. Tragically, some of the townspeople including children were killed. The joy of that one St. Nicolas day was gone...but not forgotten.
Following the war Wiltz rebuilt and those who survived vowed never to forget the kindness and generosity of those few American soldiers that one St. Nicolas Day. From then on, to honor those soldiers, the Wiltz St. Nicolas Day celebration would include a new tradition: someone would dress not as St. Nicolas, but rather as the American St. Nicolas and recreate his 1944 Jeep ride through town and party after. This tradition has continued faithfully for more than seven decades.
An amazing TRUE story of war, honor, luck and love, The American St. Nick is a thrilling and heart-warming holiday classic packed full of incredible details that will amaze, entertain and delight.
WAS NOVEMBER 10, 2015
in Rochester, NY
STANDING ROOM ONLY
and BOOK LAUNCH took place in
November 27-29, 2015
To purchase DVDs, click the poster image above
ALSO TRANSLATED AND
A #5 BEST SELLING NON-FICTION BOOK IN LUXEMBOURG!
“One more memorable and inspiring story from the greatest generation - Soldiers who put down their weapons and brought Christmas to a beleaguered town and its kids. It will touch your heart and make you proud.”
– Tom Brokaw, author "The Greatest Generation"
In American St. Nick, Peter Lion adds an indelible chapter to the story of the great allied crusade in western Europe to defeat Hitler’s Germany. It is a time and a place where everything is at stake—and American GIs changed the course of history. Lion gives us the war as they knew it, and as those who suffered through occupation knew it. But this is a story about more than soldiering. It is a story of how even in the face of death and terror there are those among us who find a way to retain their humanity and compassion. American St. Nick is a beautifully told tale of the power of the human spirit.
– Jeremy Schaap, author "Cinderella Man" & "Triumph"
“Better than any Christmas fable, this is a remarkable true story that I can’t believe I didn’t know: American soldiers putting down their guns in the heat of WWII battle, to offer a sliver of light and holiday hope. An uplifting must-read.”
– Willie Geist, NBC’s TODAY and MSNBC’s Morning Joe
“On December 5, 1944, against the bleak backdrop of World War II, a group of American GI’s unleashed the strongest weapon in their arsenal: humanity. Peter Lion recaptures the magic of Santa to transcend even the darkest of times. The children of Wiltz, Luxembourg, never forgot their American St. Nick. And now neither will you.”
– Meredith Vieira, Journalist and TV Talk Show Host
“A stirring account of how [we] can rise to the moment in the worst of times.”
– Bob Ley / ESPN's Outside the Lines
“Richard Brookings is a real-live American legend who is honored every single year in Wiltz on December 6. His story and how it affected Luxembourgers during the war is touching and should be heard by all.”
– Alison Shorter-Lawrence, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Luxembourg
“This story is one of the most heartwarming of World War II. Expertly written, The American Saint Nick captures the bond that exists to this day between American soldiers and those they liberated in Europe during WWII. The story goes to show that humanity and compassion does have a place in war and that one act of kindness can last centuries.”
– Tim Gray, Chairman, The World War II Foundation
“An uplifting story about man's humanity to man in the midst of a bitter war and how the goodness of a 28th Infantry Division Soldier has continued over seven decades. Speaks to our Army Values and the Warrior mindset.”
– John Gronski, Major General, Commanding General 28th Infantry Division 2012 – 2016
“Heroism comes in many forms. A simple act of kindness that liberated hearts and returned a beloved tradition to the people of Luxembourg.”
– Helen Patton, granddaughter of Gen. George S. Patton and CEO of the Patton Alliance
“Renews your faith in humanity and showcases our soldiers as brave and kind representatives of America.”
– Cheryl McCann, Review Books
“This is a must-read for [WWII history buffs] and a moving tale of the GIs who fought for our freedom.”
– Carol Ferguson / Greenville Herald-Banner
Here is a sampling
of what readers have to say:
John D. (September 2017): It's a wonderful story about the men of the 28th Infantry Division. I love how they all came together to give the people especially the children of Wiltz a happy Christmas, something many of the kids had never known. I love the stories that Peter Lion told about happened to some of the men during the Battle of the Bulge. I can understand why many men never got over this battle.My dad rarely talked about his time in Europe, it was too hard. Thanks to Cpl. Harry Stutz, for coming up with idea for the St. Nicholas party, Cpl. Richard Brookins becoming the American St. Nick and all the other men who gave their time and goodies to make the people of Wiltz happy for a day!
Nora H. (February 2017): A nice true story in a time of war
Richard G (February 2017): Extraordinary story of an extraordinary man.
Peter P. (January 2017): I love real life stories, this was awesome!
Marie D. (April 2016): "It is such an amazing story of compassion and values and the memorable Christmas of 1944 in Wiltz, Luxembourg continues to be celebrated to this day. Good read!"
Big Pavon (April 2016): "Not your typical boring dry history book. It was a fun read. We did it for book club and everyone loved this book."
Sandi B. (April 2016): "A great read. This is a compelling true story of the human spirit during WWII. It's well researched and well written. I found the book to be quite moving and highly recommend it to all generations."
Olie G. (Mar. 2016): "Great story."
Edward L. (Feb. 2016): "Great story & beautifully written. I'm proud to be an American. What heroes!!!"
Julie E. (Feb. 2016): "An engaging true life tale!"
Doris O. (Feb. 2016): "Great book, and it is a true story!"
Eileen S. (Feb. 2016): "Wonderful story of a true American hero."
Mary T. (Feb. 2016): "A heart warming story not just at Christmas. Makes you even more proud to be an American."
Iris P. (Jan. 2016): "I could not put this book down."
Viki L. (Jan. 2016): "Thanks to the imagination of a wonderful young Jewish G.I., this will become your favorite Christmas story."
MP (Dec. 2015): "Truly enjoyed this true story. I could not put it down!"
Karen F. (Dec. 2015): "I defy you not to be moved!"
Congratulations to Richard Brookins,
THE American St. Nicolas,
on receiving Luxembourg's
highest military honor:
The Military Medal.
Awarded to him in a ceremony held in his home town of Rochester, NY on July 7th, 2016, past recipients of this incredible honor include Winston Churchill, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle.
To view the award ceremony, click on the picture.
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