LAFAYETTE, La. — An Air Force veteran says what he experienced in Nazi Germany is something that no child should ever go through.
In November of 1938, Nazi Germans destroyed thousands of Jewish stores, places of worship and homes, including Manny Klepper’s.
“They just demolished everything in our place and at our neighbor's place...” said Klepper. “I mean everything was demolished.”
Shortly after the massive destruction, they were rounded up to watch the cold-blooded execution of five people, including three people he personally knew.
“And we all had to watch, there must have been 100 or 150 people,” said Klepper. “It was a horrible thing for an eight year old to see.”
During his time in Nazi Germany, he was taken care of by a Catholic young woman. Her name was Anna and she took care of Klepper’s family, bringing them food and taking him to church.
After a long journey to the United States, making stops in a couple of Asian countries, he says he felt a sigh of relief once seeing an emblematic American symbol.
“It was a wonderful experience to go underneath the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Klepper. “When we saw that, we knew we were in a country that loved us.”
In order to keep his memory alive, his grandson Joshua decided to write a book, telling the story of his grandfather in Germany and how he got to where he is today.
Joshua wanted to sell it on Amazon to spread awareness, but Klepper wasn’t a fan of the idea. Eventually, he decided to give Joshua permission to sell the book on the site.
“I said, ‘Okay Joshua, if this what you want, I will go along with you’,” said Klepper.
On a day meant to remember and teach about the Holocaust, Klepper says he has one goal.
“I only hope that what I went through, nobody in this country has to go through this again,” said Klepper.
You can purchase the book narrating Klepper’s story here. All royalties from the book will benefit Temple Shalom in Downtown Lafayette.
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