December 4, 1939: Nazi Raid on the Jewish Quarter in Kraków, Poland

In Joseph Kempler’s Holocaust memoir, The Altered I, Joseph Kempler describes the first raid (razzia) on the Jewish quarter (the Kazimierz). On  December 4, 1939, soldiers from the Wehrmacht surrounded the Kazimierz.  Jews were warned to stay in their apartments,and stay away from the windows, or else they would be shot. This was a harrowing time for Joseph and his family, but as an  eleven-year-old boy, whose head was full of adventure stories, this was also an exciting time.

Soldiers tromped up and down the stairs and corridors of the neighboring apartments banging on doors. They were hunting for valuables belonging to Jews: jewelry, money, fur coats, anything that would bring a high price. When they arrived at the Kempler family apartment they were disappointed to find very little in the way of valuables. Joseph’s parents were hard-working, simple people. They just didn’t have much in the way of material goods. After a brief search, pulling out drawers and rummaging through closets, the soldiers left with only a handful of the family’s belongings.

This would be the first of many persecutions the family would endure at the hands of the Nazis.

In December 1939, it became mandatory for all Jews, twelve years old and up, to wear a Star of David armband. This was a blue, six-pointed star symbolizing Judaism. The armband was worn on the left arm, just above the elbow.

Auschwitz II-Birkenau - Death Camp - Processin...

Auschwitz II-Birkenau – Death Camp – Processing Center – Family Photo of Jewish Couple with Star of David Armbands – Oswiecim, Poland (Photo credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive)

If you are interested in ordering The Altered I, please click on the link here:

Please read some excerpts from the book: Altered I Sample-April Kempler



One response to “December 4, 1939: Nazi Raid on the Jewish Quarter in Kraków, Poland

  1. Pingback: The Altered I: a Holocaust Memoir: The Kraków Ghetto | Reno Gal Says

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