“The Altered I: Memoir of Holocaust Survivor Joseph Kempler” as told by April Voytko Kempler is a story of perseverance, and human strength. Read this book and be inspired by an enduring spirit that found freedom so many never reached.
Joseph Kempler was just a boy when the German Nazi’s invaded Poland and stole his youth, and ripped apart his family. The reader is guided through a story of fear and tragedy, but also of hope. His teenage years were spent hiding from Nazi’s in the country with his parents, and once separated alone in ghettos, he worked in forced labor camps, and was eventually sent to a camp designed to work all who were imprisoned towards a quick death. Along the way he grew into an adult, saw death close up, met up with a cherished friend, and occasionally united with his older siblings.
Though his life was unnecessarily changed, his ability to survive and attempt to live when he could have easily given up or into hate is a story to share. His experience shows the extent to which humanity can survive in conditions as deplorable, terrifying and long-lasting as those perpetuated by the Nazis.
Like most books about the holocaust, Joseph’s harrowing story is not for the faint of heart. I recommend it for mature readers who want to better understand this terrible genocide that so painfully brought a world to war.
I learned an interesting tidbit in this book about how Jehovah Witnesses were imprisoned for refusing to go along with Hitler’s genocide. They were imprisoned in camps next to Jewish people for that so-called crime. While they could have easily lied and played along as free as any other German, instead they stood their ground. I’m not a religious person, but I really admire those ethics just like Joseph did when he learned who they were and why they were imprisoned alongside him.
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