Question and Answers with Holocaust Survivor Joseph Kempler

Question: Did any of your family survive the Holocaust?

Dziunka (Judy) Laub Billys

Joe: Yes, my sister Dziunka (Judy) survived. She and her husband were hidden by a Christian family, an early group of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I began looking for any surviving members of my family after liberation. I asked anyone I met if they had known or heard of my brother, my sister, or my mother and grandmother. One man said he knew a Dziunka Laub that she was in a displaced persons camp in Germany. I wrote to her: Judyta Laub (German for Dziunka) Someplace in Germany. I gave it to him. By some miracle this man delivered the letter to her and she made her way to Linz, Austria, where I was staying and found me. Together we went to the displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany.

Question: Did you ever find out what happened to the other members of your family who didn’t survive?

Joe: Some of them. My father, Max died in the Bochnia ghetto of a stomach ailment. My mother, Malka and Babcia (grandmother) were transported from Bochnia to Auschwitz, and it is my belief that they died there. My brother Dolek was with me from Rackowice, to Plaszow, and Mauthausen. We were separated in Mauthausen and I never saw him again, but I found out that he died of typhus in Gusen.

Question: I notice from the photos that you were in the National Guard. Considering all the things you experienced in the camps why did you join the National Guard?

Joseph Kempler Sergeant 1st Class Joe in uniformTop-036

Joe in uniform

Joe:The Korean War had started, and I wanted to avoid the draft. A very good friend of mine, Leon Sperling, who I went through Landsberg DP camp and knew in New York, came to me one night and said that the draft law went into effect at midnight, but if we joined the National Guard we could avoid it. So that is what we did.

Question: You only had an education to the fifth grade level. What kind of work did you do after you came to this country?

Top-013I.D. Card from Landsberg

 

Joe:I did a lot of different jobs. When I was in the DP camp I went to a radio school, even in the National Guard I was in communications. I had a strong interest in Hi Fidelity sound and gravitated to that field. I worked at Jewel Radio as an assembler, and then moved on to Fisher Radio. I was looking for work in electronics and was hired by American Measuring Instruments Corporation. Near the end of the 1950s I started work with Audio Devices which was bought by Capitol Records. I worked in the tape division, for over 30 years until Capitol Records closed that division.

 

To read more about Joseph Kempler click for excerpts from his memoir THE ALTERED I: MEMOIR OF JOSEPH KEMPLER, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR.

Available on Amazon.com and Google Play.

 

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3 responses to “Question and Answers with Holocaust Survivor Joseph Kempler

  1. Dear April, I read your fine book about Joseph a few years ago. Fabulous work! I loved the Knocking video and fell in love with your entire family. I met Virginia at a Cow Palace convention and got to meet Joseph. I was caring for elderly family members at home and had shown Knocking to so many guests that I quit counting how many times I had seen it at 25! Then I heard about Seth Thomas’ death and suffered so much grief I sort of shoved it all in the background. Of course, I had fallen in love with the whole Thomas family as well. Having lost three family members in death in the past three years, and am just now coming out of the shock, so would like to send my love to all of you. Hope everyone is still alive. I just now rewatched Knocking and what a fine witness it gives, as well as your book about Joseph. My dad read it before he died, and it was a great witness for him. He respected our stand, though he never became a Witness. Thanks!
    Your sister,
    Julie Warren
    Juliewarren8@gmail.com

    • Hi Julie! Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate it. Everyone in the Kempler clan is doing well. Joe is surprisingly doing great! He is now 89 years old, but hanging in there, for which we are all grateful. So sorry to hear about your losses. It can be very shocking to the system. I, too, have lost family members over the last couple of years. Please keep in touch! April

      • Hi April, So nice to hear back from you! I see you and Joseph have put together another book–I will look into it when the time is right, but for now, thanks for letting me know everyone is okay, and I am truly sorry about your losses as well. Our grief becomes a part of us, a source of our empathy, as a brother who just lost his wife said. I have been reaching out on Facebook, as well in the regular ministry, with special emphasis on the hope and the recovery process. Life is still beautiful, just different. Thanks for carrying on Joseph’s work in Jehovah’s service, to His glory. Your sister, Julie Warren

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