Jósef has been learning to “blend in” since the start of the war. Because of his fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes he is successful at looking like a Volksdeutcher, that is someone who is ancestrally German but living outside of Germany. In Jósef”s case a Polish boy of German descent. He does this to avoid confrontation and persecution. Also, he wants to enjoy the basic rights that Jews have been denied, namely going into shops to buy things, checking out library books, sitting on a park bench. Simple things that have been denied the Jews of Poland.
Several months after Nazi invasion, the Jews of the Kazimierz learn there is to be a ghetto, a concentrated area designated as the living quarters of the Kraków Jews. A ghetto implies cramped living areas, poverty, and sickness. Indeed, the Kraków Ghetto lives up to this description.
Not every Jew is allowed to live in the ghetto. Only people who are deemed useful to the German military or lifestyle. Most Jews are on the move during this time, looking for a new place to live. Even Poles in the Kraków area are on the move. Because the ghetto is not set up in the Jewish quarter of the Kazimierz, but rather, it is situated in the Podgórze district, Poles must move out of their homes and into the former Jewish homes of the Kazimierz. Most Jews must move out altogether. Some seek sanctuary in towns and villages on the outskirts of Kraków. This is a time of great upheaval and uncertainty.
Sample chapters here: Altered I Sample-April Kempler
Scheduled for release in May 2013, anyone interested in ordering The Altered I: a Holocaust Memoir click here.
Check out the timeline of the Kraków Ghetto.
Other source material:
- December 4, 1939: Nazi Raid on the Jewish Quarter in Kraków, Poland (renogalsays.wordpress.com)