Must read books about the Holocaust.
“Holocaust” is the term generally referring to the systematic extermination of Jews along with other groups perpetrated by Nazi Germany and the Axis powers during World War II. Other victims include religious groups such as Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Catholic and Protestant clergy; the physically and mentally handicapped; homosexuals; prisoners of war; intelligentsia and political activists; and races that were considered inferior such as the Roma Gypsies and Slavic people. More than eleven million people perished, which according to estimates include around six million Jews and two million Gentile Poles.
An enormous amount of Holocaust literature is available for those who desire to comprehend the dimensions of the Holocaust. Some are left behind by victims in the form of journals, letters and diaries, while others were written by Holocaust survivors. There are also accounts of resistance and stories of heroic rescues. The most important goal of learning about the Holocaust is to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
Here are six classic holocaust-themed books:
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
A book comprising of excerpts from diaries written by Anne Frank, beginning from her thirteenth birthday in June 1942 which was a mere three weeks before she and her family went into hiding from the Gestapo in a building’s tiny room in Amsterdam until their eventual betrayal in August 1944 when they were transported to Bergen-Belsen camp, where she died of typhus in 1945. It provides a glimpse of daily life under the Nazis and her expression of faith in human goodness in the hope of living in a world without hate.
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
Originally titled “Se Questo e un Uomo” (Italian for “If This Is a Man”). This memoir recounts the author’s two agonizing years at Auschwitz with his life spared mainly because of his scientific expertise being a chemist by profession, making him valuable to the Nazis. It was written to expose the atrocities perpetrated by the German Nazi regime.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Initially published in 1946 under the title “Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager”(literally “A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp” in German). Viktor Frankl chronicled his three torturous years of experience in Nazi death camps where he lost his wife and parents; and discussed logotherapy, a new psychotherapeutic method developed to assist people find a reason for living, even in the most painful circumstances including suffering and death.
Night by Elie Wiesel
Originally published in Yiddish in 1956 entitled “Un di Velt Hot Geshvign” (”And the World Remain Silent”). Elie Wiesel, after having endured through four concentration camps, vowed never to speak of his holocaust experience but decided after a decade to finally break his silence when Nobel laureate Francois Mauriac encouraged him to write a memoir about it; and had since written more than 30 works dealing with Judaism, Holocaust and the moral responsibility to battle racism and genocide. It somehow enabled people to understand the horrors of the Holocaust.
They Fought Back by Yuri Suhl
A book featuring a collection of more than 30 amazing stories, detailing accounts of women including teenagers, wives and widows; and of many Jewish people of diverse political beliefs who courageously conducted anti-Nazi operations in Berlin at the height of the war. It was written to in an effort to dispel the Holocaust myth that Jews did not resist their tormentors, because the truth is, many did.
Their Brothers’ Keepers by Philip Friedman
A scholarly work by the “Father of Holocaust History” for the purpose of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive after more than a decade of extensive research through interviews, eyewitness accounts and official documents. It features objective accounts of many ordinary individuals, who, at great personal risks, displayed great compassion and courage in aiding Jews during the Nazi occupation.
Other Holocaust themed series