It has been over 80 years since the beginning of the Holocaust and education on the genocide continues to be extremely important. The number of Holocaust survivors that are alive to tell their own story is shrinking. Educating oneself about these horrific events is an important way people can ensure that society never forgets about the Holocaust.
Night by Elie Wiesel
Night is Elie Wiesel’s account of his time at Nazi concentration camps. With themes of loss of faith and inhumanity, this famous memoir is a great place to start if you want a deeply personal, detailed book that is emotional from start to finish.
Quote: “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”
Auschwitz #34207: The Joe Rubinstein Story by Nancy Sprowell Geise
Joe Rubinstein survived the horrors of Auschwitz. In this narrative story, Rubinstein reveals how he was able to survive and how his time at the concentration camp affected his future.
Quote: “Within each of us are two opposing inclinations, one toward good and one toward evil, and that God bestowed on us one of the greatest gifts we could ever know—the freedom to choose.”
Four Perfect Pebbles by Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan
Four Perfect Pebbles is the story of Marion Blumenthal Lazan and her time in Nazi Germany as a young child. The book has themes of youth and survival and is told from a unique, third-person perspective.
Quote: “Who would want to stay in Germany after Kristallnacht? It was more than just a warning. It was the beginning of the end.”
I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust by Livia Bitton-Jackson
Livia Bitton-Jackson was only 13 years old when she was forced into a Nazi concentration camp. I Have Lived A Thousand Years is her harrowing tale for survival, not only in the camps but after her liberation as well.
Quote: “Reading my personal account, I believe you will know that the Holocaust was neither a legend nor Hollywood fiction but a lesson for the future! ”
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning is a detailed account of Viktor Frankl’s time as a Nazi prisoner. Frankl’s unique mindset, known as his psychotherapeutic method, makes the book an interesting read for anyone, despite their level of prior Holocaust knowledge.
Quote: “I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner…I wanted to wake the poor man…At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him.”
But You Did Not Come Back By Marceline Loridan-Ivens
But You Did Not Come Back is the memoir of Marceline Loridan-Ivens. Themes of pain, grief, and survivor’s guilt are involved in the emotional story.
Quote: “Still today, whenever I hear the word “Papa,” I’m startled, even seventy-five years later, even when it is spoken by someone I don’t know. That word disappeared from my life so early that it hurts, and I can only say it deep in my heart, never out loud.”
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Corrie Ten Boom’s autobiography The Hiding Place details her experience of being a Christian in the Netherlands during the Holocaust who risked her life to save her Jewish neighbors.
Quote: “Books do not age as you and I do. They will speak still when you and I are gone, to generations we will never see. Yes, the books must survive.”
When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann
Ariana Neumann’s father never spoke about the past and his time in Nazi Germany. When Time Stopped tells the story of Neumann uncovering the truth about her father’s ability to survive and the fake identity that allowed him to do so.
Quote: “The past is intrinsic to the present, despite any attempts to dismiss it. It is a part of the mechanism that pivots who we choose to be.”
This memoir tells the story of Eddie Jaku, a man that radiated love and was determined to survive amidst some of the most horrific sights a human could ever see.
Quote: “If enough people had stood up then, on Kristallnacht, and said, ‘Enough! What are you doing? What is wrong with you?’ then the course of history would have been different. But they did not. They were scared. They were weak. And their weakness allowed them to be manipulated into hatred.”
Escape from Sobibor By Richard Rashke
Escape from Sobibor is Richard Rashke’s analysis of the Nazi camp Sobibor, the site of the largest prisoner escape of World War II.
Quote: “Intelligent people are saying today, ‘It is not true. The Holocaust never happened!’ They know it did, but they want to deny it because they want to bring up a new generation who could do it again. The roots are there. It all depends on how they grow.”
The Holocaust was a complex tragedy that affected millions. By learning more and gaining perspective on a smaller scale, you might find it easier to understand what it was like to be affected by these events. Consider reading these books and take a moment today to remember the victims of the Holocaust.
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