5 Best Books About Auschwitz Update 05/2022

Books About Auschwitz

Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration, 1945–1979

Jonathan Huener

Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration, 1945–1979

It’s hard to find places in the world that have as much history. Auschwitz, the most well-known site of Nazi crimes, has had a lot of symbolic weight in the world after the war.

Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration is a book about the Auschwitz memorial site in the years of the Polish People’s Republic. It talks about the politics of commemoration at the memorial site. Since 1945, Auschwitz has been a memorial and museum for people who died there. Its monuments, exhibitions, and public spaces have attracted politicians, pilgrims, and a lot of people who participate in public demonstrations and events.

Study: Jonathan Huener starts with the liberation of the camp and looks at the State Museum at Auschwitz from its beginnings right after the war until the 1980s. He looks at how the site looks, what it looks like, and how public events were held there.

Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration is based on a lot of research and has a lot of old photos. It explains how a Polish commemorative idiom grew and stayed strong at Auschwitz. Putting too much emphasis on Polish “martyrdom” at Auschwitz and not enough attention on the Holocaust were some of the more controversial aspects of how the camp looked after the war. Political use of the grounds and exhibits were also a problem.

He places these and other public displays of memory at Auschwitz in the larger context of Polish history, in the context of postwar Polish politics and culture, and in the context of Polish-Jewish relations, as well. It will be interesting to scholars, students, and people who just want to learn more about the history of modern Poland and the Holocaust. Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration

Charlotte Delbo: A Life Reclaimed

Ghislaine Dunant, Translated by Kathryn M. Lachman

They were taken to a station with no name in 1943, but later found out that it was Auschwitz. Delbo was arrested when he tried to stop the Nazis from taking over Paris. He was sent to the camps, where he lived in both Auschwitz and Ravensbrück for twenty-seven months. There, she, her friends, and millions of others were forced to work as slaves and almost died of typhus, dysentery, and hunger. She kept herself going by reciting Molière and vowed to write a book about herself and her fellow deportees, called “None of Us Will Return.” She spent the rest of her life writing and arguing that the arts could help fight oppression and tyranny. Delbo spent her life writing and arguing that the arts could help fight oppression and tyranny.

Readers in France fell in love with Ghislaine Dunant’s biography of Delbo, La vie retrouvée (2016), and it won the Femina Prize. As a working-class woman, survivor, leftist, and writer, Charlotte Delbo: A Life Reclaimed shows Delbo’s fights over the course of her life. It also shows how she came to be a leftist who left the Communist Party.

The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland

Geneviève Zubrzycki

They put up hundreds of crosses outside Auschwitz in the summer and fall of 1998. This started a debate that pitted Catholics and Jews against each other. Geneviève Zubrzycki thinks this dispute had consequences that went far beyond Poland’s borders. She thinks it was a very important time in the development of post-Communist Poland’s statehood and its relationship with Catholicism.

In his book, The Crosses of Auschwitz, Zubrzycki shows how this event sparked long-running social tensions about the importance of Catholicism in defining “Polishness” and the role of anti-Semitism in the construction of a new Polish identity. People who are very nationalistic don’t like how the bond that has kept Polish identity and Catholicism together has broken since Communism came down. They also take pride in the long history of hardship that the Polish people have endured. For the ultranationalists, then, the crosses at Auschwitz were not only symbols of their ethno-Catholic vision, but also a way for them to try to take over what they thought was a Jewish monopoly on death.

Emotional and aesthetic aspects of the scene at Auschwitz are described in a gripping way in this book. It gives a clear picture of what Polishness is today and what it could become.

Days and Memory

Charlotte Delbo

Days and Memory Charlotte Delbo

Memories were important in Auschwitz: remembering the humanity that was killed by the death camps, and wishing to live long enough to tell about what they had been through. For being a member of the French resistance movement, Charlotte Delbo was sent to Auschwitz. She talks about poems, vignettes, and meditations that helped keep the spirits of her fellow prisoners up. She weaves her own experiences with those of others and shows how dignity and decency can be shown in the face of cruelty.

Rosette Lamont is a well-known author and theater critic who has written about Ionesco and Beckett’s work. This translation is the best one. Lamont said that Delbo was “a minimalist of infinite pain, a voice of conscience.”

The Holocaust as Culture

Imre Kertész

Prize-winning Hungarian author Imre Kertész was given this award for writing that “protects the fragile experience of an individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history.” This is what he did. His conversation with a literary historian, Thomas Cooper, is shown here. It talks about how the personal and the historical work together.

As a child, Kertész lived in Buchenwald and Auschwitz. As a writer, he lived under the “soft dictatorship” of Communist Hungary. On the subject of the Holocaust and communism, Kertész compares National Socialist ideology to oppressive routines of life under communism when he talks about these things. He also talks about the complicated history of Fateless, his best-selling book about a Hungarian child who was sent to Auschwitz, and how the Communist government in Hungary didn’t like it because it didn’t fit their simple story about how the Nazis and the communists worked together. Kertész and Cooper talk about how hard it is to mediate the past and make models for how to think about history, and how this changes how we think about ourselves.

The title comes from a talk Kertész gave in Vienna for a meeting about Jean Améry’s life and work. Here, you can read that essay. It talks about Améry’s fear that history would quickly forget the fates of the people who died in concentration camps. Combined with an introduction by Thomas Cooper, these thoughts show Kertész’s ideas about how the Holocaust’s long shadow is a part of the world’s cultural memory and how literature and art are important because they help people remember.

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