Official Review: A Miracle at Dachau by Laurin M. Haupt

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kdstrack
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Official Review: A Miracle at Dachau by Laurin M. Haupt

Post by kdstrack » 04 Apr 2019, 23:42

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Miracle at Dachau" by Laurin M. Haupt.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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A Miracle at Dachau by Laurin M. Haupt tells the true story of her grandfather, Simon Johann Haupt, a prisoner in the Dachau Work Camp in Germany during the Second World War. Johann talks about his life before and after the horrors of the war and life in Dachau including the events that culminated in the miracle he experienced.

Laurin traveled from America to Bavaria to visit her grandparents. Her grandfather, affectionately called Opa, planned to take her to Augsburg on the train. On their journey, Laurin documented Opa’s memories in her journal.

Opa recalled how a depression, a failing economy, and lack of food were some of the factors that contributed to the rise of the German Workers’ Party and its leader, Adolf Hitler. Johann and his friends defied the new leadership. They were arrested and condemned to serve their time in Dachau. Hard labor, lack of food, and the constant threat of death demoralized the prisoners. The constant torture, both physical and psychological, filled his recollections. Johann needed to take several breaks in his narration of the past as waves of pain and loss overwhelmed him. When he spoke of the miracle, Laurin felt proud of her Opa and grateful that he was finally willing to open up about his past.

I liked the transparency of the narrative. Johann’s struggle to maintain his sanity while in solitary confinement and the heartbreak of wondering what had happened to his wife and daughters heightened the emotional impact of his story. Readers know what to expect when reading a book about the Holocaust. Some of those same details appear in this story, but they provoke a sharp contrast with Johann's unique miraculous experience.

Although I have read many books about the Holocaust, I found the sections where he detailed his memories of isolation, torture, humiliation, and separation from family hard to read. The vivid descriptions of what prisoners suffered brought me to tears.

I would have liked to see a picture of Johann with his family or with his granddaughter to create a stronger bond with the reader. The text does need another round of editing as there are numerous misspelled words and punctuation and capitalization errors. The inconsistency of spacing between paragraphs was a bit jarring.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story is told in a compelling way building up to the revelation of the miracle Johann experienced. If not for the editing issues, this book would have received the full rating. Readers who find inspiration in memoirs will enjoy this story. Students of history, especially of the Second World War and the Holocaust, could add this valuable book to their collection. Sensitive readers might have difficulty with the sections dealing with the treatment of the prisoners in the camp.

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A Miracle at Dachau
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Post by gen_g » 11 Apr 2019, 01:33

This seems like it is both informative and inspiring. I like that the author chose to tell her grandfather's story in the narrative form - it becomes closer and more touching as compared to dry texts. I'll keep an eye out for this; thank you for the wonderful review.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 11 Apr 2019, 05:10

It's never easy to read about the atrocities of the Holocaust. I know this it's not a consolation, but I'm glad the author got to spend some time with her grandfather learning about his life. My grandparents fled Germany before the war, and one of my biggest regrets was that I never asked them about it before they passed. As difficult as it is to read about, I find this subject so interesting.
Thanks for the great review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 11 Apr 2019, 07:39

I think it's important to read stories of these atrocities to keep them fresh in our minds. I hope something like this never happens again. It sounds like the author had quite an experience, and I have no doubt that the book would be very emotional. Thanks for introducing us to it.
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Post by 8amaseter » 11 Apr 2019, 11:08

An emotion filled book is it. The miracle talked about and the prison experiences are what would make a reader want to get the book.

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Post by Julie Petitbon » 11 Apr 2019, 21:57

It sounds like a powerful, emotional book. I can see why you would be moved to tears. The physical and emotional suffering that this man went through is almost incomprehensible. Though a difficult topic, it sounds really interesting. Thank you for a great review on this book!

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Post by ElizaBeth Adams » 12 Apr 2019, 07:41

I'm glad this grandaughter recorded her grandfather's story. He is obviously a courageous man; standing up to Hitler's men, enduring his time in the concentration camp, and then sharing his story despite the wounds that the process opened up all attest to that. What a powerful testimony.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Apr 2019, 15:42

gen_g wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 01:33
This seems like it is both informative and inspiring. I like that the author chose to tell her grandfather's story in the narrative form - it becomes closer and more touching as compared to dry texts. I'll keep an eye out for this; thank you for the wonderful review.
The respect and love for her grandfather is evident throughout the book. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for commenting.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Apr 2019, 15:45

Bianka Walter wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 05:10
It's never easy to read about the atrocities of the Holocaust. I know this it's not a consolation, but I'm glad the author got to spend some time with her grandfather learning about his life. My grandparents fled Germany before the war, and one of my biggest regrets was that I never asked them about it before they passed. As difficult as it is to read about, I find this subject so interesting.
Thanks for the great review!
It is interesting that the author mentions that she often wanted to hear about her grandfather's war experiences. She couldn't write the book until he was ready. When he began, she wrote this captivating story. Hope you have an opportunity to read it. Thanks for commenting.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Apr 2019, 15:48

kandscreeley wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 07:39
I think it's important to read stories of these atrocities to keep them fresh in our minds. I hope something like this never happens again. It sounds like the author had quite an experience, and I have no doubt that the book would be very emotional. Thanks for introducing us to it.
I agree. The retelling of the 'miracle' is truly amazing. It made this book so unique from other books I have read about the camps. Hope you get a chance to pick it up. Thanks for commenting.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Apr 2019, 15:50

8amaseter wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 11:08
An emotion filled book is it. The miracle talked about and the prison experiences are what would make a reader want to get the book.
There are many emotions that run through your mind and heart as you read this book. I hope you will read it and experience the miracle. Thanks for stopping by.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Apr 2019, 15:52

Julie Petitbon wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 21:57
It sounds like a powerful, emotional book. I can see why you would be moved to tears. The physical and emotional suffering that this man went through is almost incomprehensible. Though a difficult topic, it sounds really interesting. Thank you for a great review on this book!
I knew from the title that it would be an emotional read. I was not expecting the impact of the 'miracle' that Johann experienced. It is an amazing story. Thanks for commenting.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Apr 2019, 15:57

ElizaBeth Adams wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 07:41
I'm glad this grandaughter recorded her grandfather's story. He is obviously a courageous man; standing up to Hitler's men, enduring his time in the concentration camp, and then sharing his story despite the wounds that the process opened up all attest to that. What a powerful testimony.
Johann wanted to stand up against evil, and the regime wanted to crush that effort. I guess you could say, "the rest is history," except that Johann's life took an amazing and unexpected turn. Yes, it is a powerful story! Thanks for commenting.

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Post by unamilagra » 12 Apr 2019, 23:15

I am a sucker for WWII stories, despite the fact that I always end up in tears. It sounds like this was a very moving memoir. Hopefully the author chooses to go through another round of editing to allow the book to achieve its full potential.

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Post by kdstrack » 13 Apr 2019, 07:46

unamilagra wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 23:15
I am a sucker for WWII stories, despite the fact that I always end up in tears. It sounds like this was a very moving memoir. Hopefully the author chooses to go through another round of editing to allow the book to achieve its full potential.
This book will fit nicely on your shelf. You will be moved - from tears of anger and tears of amazement! Thanks for commenting.

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