Holocaust survivor, lion tamer and longtime Colorado Springs resident Sara Hauptman died Wednesday in El Paso, Texas.
She was 96.
Hauptman was born Aug. 15, 1918, in Brussels.
She lost several family members to the Holocaust, including her mother and younger brother, who were killed in a concentration camp gas chamber.
After her husband, Nathan, was arrested, the 4-foot-11 Hauptman sent her two kids into hiding and joined the Belgian Resistance.
Hauptman, described by her son as “feisty,” worked as a lion tamer at the Cirque Royale in Brussels as a cover for two years before being arrested and taken to Auschwitz.
After the war, Hauptman was reunited with her husband and her two children, Guy and Monique. The family immigrated to the United States in 1951 and lived in El Paso for several years before moving to Colorado Springs in the early 1960s.
Hauptman lived in Colorado Springs for more than 30 years and shared her story with countless students in schools across the city, and recounted her experiences in the book “The Lioness of Judah.”
“She wanted people to remember what happened so that it would never happen again. She spoke to as many people as she could,” said Guy Hauptman, 75. “She touched the lives of probably 10,000 people.”
Hauptman also is survived by two brothers, two sisters, three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.