Joseph Kempler was born in Kraków, Poland, in 1928, to a Jewish family. When German soldiers invaded his hometown in 1939, Joseph’s life was completely turned upside down. It would never be the same again. Almost immediately the Nazi regime replaced the Polish government and Joseph and his family faced open prejudice, discrimination and hatred. Suddenly there were specific rules for Jews to abide by, or face punishment. The family business was lost and taken over by new German employers, Joseph was forbidden from attending school, and the family was forced to vacate their home.
So begins the book entitled The Altered I. This is Joseph Kempler’s memoir. It chronicles his early life as a young Jewish boy, growing up in Kraków, Poland. Joseph’s story travels through a peasant village, the Kraków Ghetto and six concentration camps, some of which were the most deadliest camps known. They were: Płaszow, Zakopane, Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Melk, and Ebensee. The story also captures what it was like when Joseph was liberated by the Americans, and what it meant to live in a displaced persons camp. Along the way, we see Joseph transform from a precocious eleven-year-old, to a callous, numb teenager, who will do anything to ensure his own survival.
Although Joseph was raised with a belief and love of God, while in the camps he becomes a self-declared God-hater. Later,when Joseph emigrated to the U.S. in 1947, he did the most unusual thing by converting to a Christian religion. Why would he do such a thing? Was he really a betrayer of his own people? The Altered I explains it all.
The Altered I by April Voytko Kempler is published by LeRue Press and scheduled for release winter 2012. Stay tuned, or follow, for release dates! To preorder the paperback (scheduled for May 2013) please click here.
To read an excerpt from the book: Altered I Sample-April Kempler