An little known aspect of Nazi German was the efforts of ordinary German citizens who became extraordinary heroes fighting against Hitler’s Third Reich. This is one of their stories.
Simon Johann Haupt spent almost a year as a political prisoner in Dachau Concentration Camp in Bavaria, Germany.
One of the first of many Germans to rise up against the Nazis, he would suffer grave consequences for his opposition. Sentenced to indefinite detention in Dachau—denied the hope of a release date—he faced certain death in the brutal world of the camp.
Although he considered himself French by birth, Simon was a German citizen. The change in his adopted country under the Nazis shocked his conscience. This same conscience would compel him to acts of enormous bravery and great personal risk. One selfless act by Simon Johann Haupt set in motion a series of events that would lead to his freedom
The world knows of the atrocities inflicted on the Jews, Gypsies, handicapped, and homosexuals by the Nazis. What many never knew was the suffering and torment of thousands of ordinary German people. Germans who resisted the Nazis at considerable personal risk through open acts of defiance or secretly aiding those doomed by the “Final Solution.”
This is a story about one of those ordinary people.
Simon Johann Haupt was a remarkable man who loved his family, his friends, and his homeland. A man who fought for the liberty of his country and countrymen, enduring great suffering, moral tribulation, and degradation to survive an era of tyranny and hopelessness. He suffered great hardships fighting against the relentless and brutal forces of the Nazi regime.
He bore arms against evil in its most insidious form, never losing faith or hope or yielding to despair. While souls were being lost to Nazi tyranny, while surrounded by the wanton destruction of human life and spirit, he persevered. Simon Johann Haupt would be the champion of the helpless and stand fearless in his convictions and moral creed.
He never surrendered to the darkness; becoming a hero who continued in his pursuit of righteousness for the sake of humanity.
Through an unbreakable bond of brotherhood, he survived by a real miracle. The undying love of friendship, forged by a selfless act, offered him a way out. When the only thing a man had left was his faith, Simon Johann Haupt held tight to his conscience and lived to tell the world the truth of the years of Nazi terror.
September 1972: Laurin’s Story
By the time I arrived in Bavaria, Germany, after my high school graduation, two years had passed since I’d seen my grandparents, Oma and Opa.
I am filled with both happiness and excitement as I get into the taxi that will take me to their house. The drive brought back fond memories. Every kilometer, every turn in the road, every landmark took me back to my carefree childhood.
A passing train toots its whistle as it moves down the track parallel to the road. I remember the train rides to the city with my Opa when I was a young girl. I daydream of eating ice cream while listening to him tell his favorite stories as the train chugged along.
The day trips to the city with my Opa were memorable in their own way.
As the taxi pulls in front of the old rock house, I can see the half-opened window calmly blowing the sheer lace curtain. In the kitchen, I see my Opa and Oma peering out.
Opa hurries outside to greet me with a hollow, toothless smile. His excitement is contagious. Hugging me to him, holding me tight in his arms, then releasing me, he takes my suitcase inside.
Oma is standing in the open doorway with warm, wet eyes and a joyous smile. It feels as though I had never left them. The reunion is tearful, yet happy, and the joy melts away the years we’ve been apart.
Oma set the kitchen table with a coffeepot and her white gold-rimmed saucers on a bright red tablecloth. Centered are fresh homemade Danish made from the berries from their garden.
We talk about my mother and how much they miss her. I tell them of my plans for college, filling in the gaps of the two years since I’ve seen them. Surrounded by the familiar sights and sounds of the fourteen years I lived here before moving to the US, I feel at home.
My Opa and I would take our train ride to Augsburg in the morning, and I can’t wait. Childlike, all I can think about is our favorite place to get ice cream.
This train ride to Augsburg would be like no other, and the story I will hear would forever imprint on my heart and spirit. It would be an incredible emotional experience.
I will never forget.
My Opa, Simon Johann Haupt, was an ordinary man with an extraordinary true-life story. His was a story about war, the Holocaust, and courage more intriguing than any I have ever heard or could imagine.
My Opa would reveal his own human story, one I never suspected. Here was a man I have loved and admired my entire life yet had no inkling of his past. Little did I know he was a man of great courage, worthy of admiration and respect.
His is a story worth the telling…and one we should Never Forget“
Pre-order in Kindle here https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-at-Dachau-Laurin-Haupt-ebook/dp/B08C4LQ4DJ. Print book available August 26, 2020 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever books are sold.
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