13 Best Books About The Holocaust Update 05/2022

Author Arielle Tchiprout provides an important reading list for anyone who want to learn more about one of the worst moments in human history and commemorate the Holocaust. We have a tendency to dismiss the Holocaust as something that only belongs in history books or museum exhibits, as if it were a mere footnote in history. The damage it wreaked on the world continues to this day, which is why it’s so important to keep in mind.

Most people are aware of what the Holocaust was: Nazi-led mass murder of six million Jewish people during World War II. However, many people are unaware of the many tales that lie behind those statistics, as well as the experiences of the millions of others who were lucky enough to escape. In the same vein as my grandpa, who escaped a Bulgarian labor camp in 1945. At the age of ninety, he died in Israel still wearing the yellow star he was forced to wear during the Holocaust. As in the case of the grandparents of one of my cousins, who were able to leave Vienna for the United States when their fundamental human rights were violated. My coworker, whose whole family was murdered at Auschwitz, has no immediate relatives beyond her grandparents. Almost every Jew in the United Kingdom today has a narrative to tell; for many, like myself, it’s a story of sheer luck that their family tree has survived this long. Many second- or third-generation survivors still carry the scars of their traumatic experiences in their bodies.

Because of this, even if the Holocaust has passed, it isn’t that far away. Survivors such as Dr. Edith Eger and Eddie Jaku, who have written memoirs about their experiences, can still remember the horrors of the Holocaust with piercing clarity. Anti-Semitism is on the rise across the globe, making it more important than ever to remember those who were murdered (physically and emotionally) to guarantee that such hate does not spread so deeply into society again.

Immerse yourself in those who were there, and you’ll be better able to recall. It’s a collection of folks with ambitions and dreams as well as fears as well as humour and perseverance; people who have and continue to be loved. Discover more about the Holocaust by reading my selection of the top true-story testimonies.

The best memoirs and biographies for learning about the Holocaust

Lily’s Promise by Lily Ebert

With the help of her great-grandson, Dov, Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert tells her tale. A Jewish-American soldier gave Lily a banknote with the words ‘the beginning of a new life, good luck, and happiness!’ scrawled on it after she was released at the conclusion of World War II.

To find the soldier’s family decades later, when Lily was 96, Dov decided to utilize social media. At the age of 16, Lily made a promise to herself: she would tell everyone about the horrors of the Holocaust, in the hopes that it would never happen again. After the deaths of her family members in Auschwitz, she moved to Israel, and then London, where she finally told the world her compelling life story.

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

Eddie Jaku, a Holocaust survivor who is now 100 years old, calls himself the “happiest man on Earth.” After losing the people he cared about but never losing hope, Eddie’s inspiring book, released last year, reveals his experience of rediscovering happiness in the midst of tragedy.

How to Be a Refugee

Although Simon May’s book relates the narrative of Holocaust survivors fleeing or dying, he also tells the story of individuals who refused to acknowledge they were Jewish. During the Holocaust, his mother and two aunts, who had converted to Catholicism and been given ‘Aryan’ status by high-ranking Nazi officials, are vividly depicted by May. The persistence with which May’s mother hid her identity even after the war led him on an enlightening journey into the meaning of belonging and home.

A Garden of Eden in Hell: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer by Melissa Muller

Alice Herz-Sommer, a well-known pianist in Prague, is the subject of this biography. After being sent to the Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt with her husband and six-year-old son, she found solace in music. Her performances offered her fellow inmates hope in a world of suffering and death.

The Choice by Edith Eger

After moving to the United States as a teenager, Edie found herself infatuated with her first lover, who happened to be Hungarian. When she was sixteen, she was sent to Auschwitz, where she saw her mother being gassed and was forced to dance for famed Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele. A professional psychologist in her own right, Edie’s remarkable journey of recovery and resiliency may be found here.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

He was able to examine how others at Auschwitz dealt with (or didn’t deal with) their experiences since Frankl was a well-known Vienna psychiatrist before the war. His conclusion was that people’s greatest goal is to find meaning and purpose. This classic (which has sold 16 million copies worldwide) offers a look into what it means to be alive in all its fullness.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Five million copies of this remarkable book have been sold, and for good reason. This fictionalized tale by Heather Morris depicts the actual story of Lale Sokolov, a tattooer who worked in Auschwitz. Gita, a young lady in line for her first tattoo, was patiently waiting her turn. Love at first sight was Lale’s motivation for surviving, as well as for making sure she did as well.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Even though Anne Frank’s diaries have become some of the most widely read books on the Holocaust, they remain one of the most introspective and revealing portrayals of life as a Jewish youngster in hiding. It’s a must-read for both adults and children.

Further reading: fiction and non-fiction books about the Holocaust

Final Solution by David Cesarani

One of today’s most prominent Jewish and Holocaust academics has written an insightful and thought-provoking brief history. To tell the story of the march to genocide and its aftermath, David Cesarani takes a firmly Judeocentric perspective. He presents a new chronology that highlights the period’s horrors and forces readers to reconsider how and why they came to be.

The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner

Shira, five, and Róza, their mother, spent the days and nights hiding out in a farmer’s barn in Poland during the pogroms of 1941. There are many tales Róza tells her daughter about a yellow bird, which she believes can only sing the songs Shira conjures up in her mind. There comes a point when Róza must decide whether to keep her daughter near or give her a fighting shot at survival.

The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler

The Tobacconist is a riveting account of the everyday lives of German citizens who were severely impacted by the Third Reich. Franz, a 17-year-old apprentice to Otto Trsnyek, an elderly tobacconist in Vienna, begins delivering newspapers and smokes to the city’s elite.

 

Franz, Otto, and their customers’ lives will forever be transformed when Germany annexes Austria in 1937 and the storm that has been threatening to consume the modest tobacconist business descends.

The Most Precious of Cargoes by Jean-Claude Grumberg

This is a story of family and redemption set against the backdrop of the Holocaust, told in a manner reminiscent of a fairytale. Living in the woods was a poor woodcutter and his wife. The woman prays for a child in spite of their poverty and the violence happening all around them.

A Jewish man and his wife and twin infants board a train. A father in desperate need sends his daughter into the wilderness in the hopes that she will be found when his wife’s milk supply runs out. Though she recognizes the risks, the woodcutter’s wife brings the baby home, even though she is aware of the consequences. What a heartbreaking piece of literary fiction!

You might also be interested in:

In the Midst of Civilized Europe by Jeffrey Veidlinger

Acclaimed historian Jeffery Veidlinger reveals for the first time the wave of homicidal violence that swept Ukraine and Poland between 1918 and 1921, when unchecked assaults on Jewish families and towns established the circumstances for the Holocaust two decades later.

It is via the use of hitherto untapped archive resources, such as thousands of recently uncovered witness accounts, court transcripts, and official directives that Veidlinger explores the atrocities committed against Jews during the Holocaust in this significant book.

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