In this real life drama, A Soldier's Promise, The Alvin W. Shipman Story, tells of the turbulent years of World War II, as seen through the eyes of two people in love, Alvin Shipman and his new bride Inez. We are witness to their unimaginably romantic, whirlwind courtship, and marriage. Then after a one day honeymoon, Alvin Shipman and 15,000 other soldiers in the 65th Infantry Division leave for the front lines. During the next fourteen months Alvin and Inez lives are changed forever.
Sergeant Alvin Shipman and his Division, under the command of General George Patton, begin the final assault on Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany. Each day of this bloody war brings Alvin close to death, but closer to the memory of his bride back home. As his Division fights their way through Austria, Alivin is asked to lead a small patrol of nine soldiers through an unexplored area along the Danube River near Linz, Austria. It's not long before they discover the Nazi death camp called Mauthausen. After a short skirmish, eight of original squad of nine, walked into the camp, one of the nine was killed in action. The Nazi guards fled, but thousands of horribly starved prisoners, now wandered about the camp.
Over the next several months, Alvin and his Division were given the task of repatriating these former Nazi prisoners. During this time Alvin was to meet two prisoners that changed his life. One was a ten year old orphan named, Hans Schmidt, and the other was Charles Pilarski. A bond, almost like a father and son developed between Hans and Alvin. However in the realities of war, the two were cruelly torn apart, never to see each other again.
The relationship with Charles Pilarski was to haunt him until the day he died in 1979. Pilarski had been a printer before the war, and after he was captured and put inside Mauthausen, he had gone about collecting photos and incriminating evidence against his Nazi captors. Later, acting as a translator, he would take down the death bed confession of the Mauthausen Camp Commandant, Franz Zieries. It is the only know Nazi confession, of the "final solution," known to exist. It is reprinted word for word as the final chapter of A Soldier's Promise.
When the bloody war in Europe is won, Alvin W. Shipman comes home, but the horror of all he's seen, will live with him and Inez the rest of their lives. The book tells of how he copes, but never quiet comes to grips, with all he's witnessed and all that he has lost. It will take his only daughter, Shirley Shipman Johnson to help him fulfill a promise he'd made to his friend Charles Pilarski in Mauthausen. He'd promised Charles he would smuggle out the small booklet, titled Atrocities at Camp Mauthausen, Austria, bring it to America and get it published. For deep fears of reprisals from his own government, he did not get it published himself. He left that charge to his daughter. In this book, A Soldier's Promise, Shirley Shipman Johnson fulfills that commitment and help's her father keep a Soldier's Promise.
A SOLDIER'S PROMISE
THE ALVIN W. SHIPMAN STORY
Written by, Shirley Shipman Johnson & Houston R. Davis