Search for beloved cat leads Australian woman to learn of her father's life in ...

Search for beloved cat leads Australian woman to learn of her father's life in ...
Search for beloved cat leads Australian woman to learn of her father's life in ...

An Australian woman's search for her missing cat unexpectedly led to her learning about her grandfather's life fighting in World War II 77 years ago.

Brigitte Obelander, 49, of Glebe in Sydney, had dozens of locals trying to track down her eight-year-old Burmese cat Fonzi in an online community group.

So many people commented that she took the opportunity to ask if anyone could translate a precious letter handwritten by her soldier grandfather in 1944.

Irwin Obelander, a hairdresser before he enlisted to fight at age 30, wrote the letter to his one-year-old son, Bernd - Ms Obelander's father - shortly before he went missing in action.

As Brigitte notes, the moving letter is written as though Irwin believes he may not ever see his son again.

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Irwin Obelander's wartime letter and photograph, given to Bernd Obelander in his 40s

Irwin Obelander's wartime letter and photograph, given to Bernd Obelander in his 40s

Brigitte Obelander never felt much of a connection to her soldier grandfather until the precious family letter was translated last weekend

Brigitte Obelander never felt much of a connection to her soldier grandfather until the precious family letter was translated last weekend

One of the documents supplied to the Obelander family surrounding Irwin's wartime disappearance

One of the documents supplied to the Obelander family surrounding Irwin's wartime disappearance

The letter, which still has the wildflower pressed to it that Irwin attached, urges young Bernd to understand why he was away - fighting for a 'calmer world'.

'Still you do not understand what is happening to you and you know nothing of the greatest battle between the nations of the globe, in which all nations are standing in the fields to fight for the right of life, and for all the little boys that are lying in their cradles, so they might know a calmer world,' Irwin wrote. 

It ends: 'Now give to your mother the flower attached to this letter along with a healthy smile, and allow me to hope that you shall come to be the son that every mother and father wishes for.'

Irwin Obelander was a hairdresser when he joined the German army at age 30. He went missing in 1944 and his family received no explanation of where or how he died

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Irwin Obelander was a hairdresser when he joined the German army at age 30. He went missing in 1944 and his family received no explanation of where or how he died

Fonzi the still-missing Burmese, whose search inspired his mum Brigitte to post her precious family letter in a community Facebook group

Fonzi the still-missing Burmese, whose search inspired his mum Brigitte to post her precious family letter in a community Facebook group

He left instructions that the letter be given to young Bernd only when he was an adult.

Ms Obelander remembers her father finally opened the letter in his 40s, when she was about eight.

'I remember him reading what he could when he was in his 40s, he cried when it was given to him,' she said.

The letter was stored in family records and forgotten about until recently, when Bernd died.

Ms Obelander decided to take a chance and ask if anyone in the Facebook group Glebe Locals could translate 'old German'. 

'I can speak some German,

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