Titles for the Holocaust Reading Project*

                                 (Book Covers are from Amazon.com, and various

                                  Publishing Companies)

 

 

  In My Hands:  Memories of a Holocaust Rescue by Irene Gut Opdyke

 

In the fall of 1939 the Nazis invaded Irene Gut’s beloved Poland, ending her training as a

nurse and thrusting the sixteen-year-old Catholic girl into a world of horrors that somehow gave her the strength to accomplish what amounted to miracles.  Brutally abused and left for dead by Russian soldiers, Irene escaped into German-occupied territory, where she was forced to work for the German army.  Her Aryan features landed her a job in the relative safety of an officer’s dining room.  With access to food and supplies, as well as the dinner conversation of SS officials, Irene was able to smuggle nourishment and information to the Jews in the ghetto, transport work camp prisoners to a forest enclave, and ultimately hide a dozen Jews in the home of the Nazi major for whom she was the housekeeper.   (940.53 OPD)

 

 

 

 

         Rescue: The Story of How Gentiles Saved Jews in the Holocaust

                            by Milton Meltzer

 

A Jewish woman tells how her perilous rescue was carried out:

   Then we saw the searchlight of the German patrol boat.  Everyone though his last

hour had come and was ready to jump overboard and drown, rather than be taken by the Germans.  However, the passengers calmed down after the initial danger had passed and made every effort to stay calm, though every muscle was tense for fear of discovery.

   The little boat had in the meantime gone off course because of the gale, and twenty-one lives lay in the hands of two fishermen. Gradually it began to grow light, but we had no idea of the boat’s position.  Would we land on Bornholm? Would we ever be saved?  The boat approached the coast; we hoped that liberty was at hand.  We were really in Swedish territorial waters.  The harbor we had sailed into was full of Swedish warships on whose decks sailors waved and shouted “Valkommen!

 

Here are the stories of many Gentiles who struggled to save Jewish people. (940.53 MEL)

 

 

 

 

 Who Shall Live:  The Wilhelm Bachner Story by Samuel Oliner

 

This is the story of the “Jewish Oskar Schindler,” Wilhelm Bachner, the man responsible for saving more than fifty Jews—and Gentiles—from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis. 

   Bachner, born in Bielsko, in a section of Poland that was part of Austria until after the first World War, grew up speaking flawless German.  He became an engineer, moved to Warsaw in 1939, not long before the German invasion, and was confined with other Jews in the Nazi-created ghetto.

   He escaped from the ghetto and with his Germanic name, his degree and his impeccable German, was able to get a job with a German engineering firm.  As a result he was assigned to head a crew of workers traveling in a special train to repair armament factories damaged by Allied bombing.  Thus he was able to hire Polish Jews, supplying them with fake identity papers.  This was a dangerous game.  Some German officials were suspicious and, Bachner often had difficulty controlling the foolhardy behavior of his Jewish staff.  Many of Bachner’s workers were Poles who had no love for Jews. (940.53 OLI)

 

 

 

 

            All But My Life  by Gerda Weissmann Klein

 

There is a watch lying on the green carpet of the living room of my childhood.  The hands seem to stand motionless at 9:10, freezing time when it happened. There would be a past only, the future uncertain, time had stopped for the present.  Morning—9:10.  That is all I am able to grasp.  The hands of the watch are cruel.  Slowly they blur into its face.

    I lift my eyes to the window.  Everything looks unfamiliar, as in a dream.  Several motorcycles roar down the street.  The cyclists wear green-gray uniforms and I hear voices.  First a few, and then many, shouting something that is impossible and unreal, “Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler!”  And the watch says 9:10, I did not know then that an invisible curtain had parted and that I walked on an unseen stage to play a part in a tragedy that was to last six years. 

     It was September 3, 1939, Sunday morning.  We had spent a sleepless night in the damp, chilly basement of our house while the shells and bombs fell.  At one point in the evening when Papa, Mama, and my brother Arthur, then nineteen, were huddled in bewildered silence, my cat Schmutzi began to meow outside in the garden and Arthur stepped outside to let her in.  He had come back with a bullet hole in his trousers.

(940.451 KLE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL   by Vladka Meed

 

Vladka Meed was 17 when Hitler’s army conquered Poland and entered Warsaw.  From the first days of the Nazi occupation, Feigele became a member of the underground.

 

Feigele was transformed into “Vladka” when she was called upon to work on the Aryan side by the underground movement.  Thanks to her Aryan appearance, her fluent Polish, her gallantry and resourcefulness in a variety of responsible underground missions, she gained a reputation as a courageous, intelligent, and alert underground courier.  She had many narrow escapes. 

 

Vladka smuggled weapons across the wall to the Jewish Fighting Organization in preparation of the revolt.  She rescued children and helped the Jews escape from the ghetto and find shelter in the homes of Christians.  As a courier of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations, she brought help to Jews in bunkers and other hiding places.  She looked for, and found ways of establishing contact and extending help to the survivors in the labor camps and in the woods.  (940.53 MEE)

 

       The Hiding Place  by Corrie Ten Boom

 

Corrie ten Boom stood naked with her older sister Betsie, watching a concentration camp matron beating a prisoner. “Oh, the poor woman,” Corrie cried.  “Yes, May God forgive her,” Betsie replied.  And, once again, Corrie realized that it was for the souls of the brutal Nazi guards that her sister prayed. 

 

Both women had been sent to the camp for helping the Jews.  Christ’s spirit and words were their guide; it was His persecuted people they tried to save—at the risk of their own lives; it was His strength that sustained them through times of profound horror.

(940.53 TEN)

 

 

           Never to Forget:  the Jews of the Holocaust by Milton Meltzer

 

A fourteen year old boy, M. I. Libau, had gone to bed that night in his home in Berlin.  Suddenly, at six o’clock in the morning, the doorbell rang, waking him up.  His mother went to the door and opened it.  He told what happened then:

    I heard the shrill, barking, yelling voices of men.  It seemed to me there were at least twenty.

   “Are here Gojim or Iwrim {Gentiles or Jews}?”  Then I heard my mother’s calm voice. “Please speak German.  I understand It very well, but if you wish to know whether we are Christians or Jews, we are Jews!”

  “Where are the Jews? Where are they?” they yelled.  I heard noises of falling furniture and breaking glass.  I could not imagine what was happening. I stood behind my bed when one Nazi in full uniform entered the room.  He stepped back a fraction of a second when he saw me; then he began to yell, “I’ll do nothing to you.  I won’t do any harm to you.”

   Now he stood near me, his face sweating.  A smell of bad alcohol came out of his mouth.  He took another glaring look at me and began to destroy everything within reach.  While he was breaking the closet door, my mother came into the room.  He commanded her to hold the clothes for him so that he would be able to tear them better.  Desperately my mother called out, “Those are all our clothes! What shall we wear?”

    “You wear? Nothing!”  he shouted.  “You don’t need any more clothes! You can go naked now.”

  …We watched the men destroy the whole apartment of five rooms.  All the things for which my parents had worked for eighteen long years were destroyed in less than ten minutes.”

 

This book tells the stories of those people, recorded in letters and diaries, and in the memories of those who survived.   (940.53 MEL)

 

        Upon the Head of the Goat   by Aranka Siegal

 

To nine-year-old Piri, war was only a word until the German soldiers came, closing the borders and turning her summer vacation at her grandmother’s farm into a year-long stay—a year during which she learned far too much about fear and fighting.  Returning to her home in Hungary when the borders reopened, Piri discovered that life would never be the same again.  For with Hitler in power, no place was safe if you were Jewish….

 

 

 

 

                              A Remnant by Jacob Barosin

 

Jacob Barosin was born in Russia, studies in pre-war German and fled to France when Hitler came to power in 1933.  When the Germans invaded France he was arrested and imprisoned in several work and prison camps.

 

   Bewildered and frightened we stood there, Sonia and I, at the corner of Berlin’s Kurfurstendamm watching those goose stepping, noisily singing, torch carrying and flag-swinging storm-troopers who by the thousands had come out to celebrate Hitler’s seizure of power on this 30th day of January 1933. 

…The ancient German tale of the Pied Piper, the rat exterminator of Hameln, came to my mind who, centuries ago, had led the children of that town to the river where they all drowned.  …And here, this fateful night, hundreds of thousands of Berliners went overboard in their frenzy, their enthusiasm and their blind obedience to a leader that promised to free them from all their ills, the central cause of which—naturally—were the Jews.  (940.53 BAR)

 

        Dear God, Have You Ever Gone Hungry?  by Joseph Bau

 

In a scene in the film Schindler’s List, viewers the witnessed the miracle of two Jews being married clandestinely in the Plaszow concentration camp.  A silver spoon, concealed in the barracks rafters, yielded the rings they exchanged.  A camp bunk became their wedding bed.  Those two were Joseph and Rebecca Bau.  Rebecca was the manicurist of Amon Goeth, the sadistic commandant.  Joseph was a brilliant graphic artist employed as a draftsman in making signs and maps.  This is their story.  (940.53 BAU)

 

 

 

 

                          EUROPA, EUROPA  by Solomon Perel

 

“You must stay alive!”   With his mother’s parting words ringing in his ears, fourteen-year-old Solomon Perel set out from Nazi-occupied Poland hoping to find safety across the new Soviet frontier.  Like large numbers of other Jews fleeing the Germans, Perel faced staggering odds against his survival.  What actually transpired was far different from what anyone could have imagined.  By a startling twist of fate, the young Jew found unexpected refuge…as a student in an elite Hitler Youth school. 

 

This boarding school is training Hitler Youth to face the challenges of the Fuhrer’s vision of postwar Europe.  Tormented by the ethical struggle of his position—in effect, joining the ranks of those attempting to exterminate his people—at the same time Perel lived in terror or what seemed the inevitable discovery of his real identity.  (940.53 PER)

 

 

 

 

  

                 THE SEAMSTRESS: A MEMOIR OF SURVIVAL

                                        by Sara Tuvel Berstein

 

Growing up, Sara Tuvel was the smartest, most ambitious girl in her Romanian mountain village.  When she won and accepted a scholarship to a Gentiles—only Gymnasium, she was forced to make a decision that would change her path forever.  At thirteen, faced with a teacher’s anti-Semitism, Sara (Seren) walked out of her classroom and into a new existence.  She became the apprentice to a seamstress, and her skill with needle and thread enabled her again and again to patch the frying pieces of her life. 

 

As the Nazis encircled the country and bombs rained down, Seren stitched her way to survival, scraping together enough money to provide for her family.  When she, her younger sister Esther, and two friends were sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, the four girls became one another’s shelter.  (940.53 BER)

 

 

 

                   THE BEAUTIFUL DAYS OF MY YOUTH  by Ana Novac

 

“I am just a child, but I have a right to words that would make generations of elders turn pale.”

 

In 1940, at the age of eleven, a young girl in Transylvania began keeping a journal.  Four years later when she was taken to Auschwitz and Plaszow, she used scraps of paper, bits of newspaper, and backs of posters to record what she felt and saw and thought. 

 

Each short section is a vision of hell.  As the Nazis execute and burn thousands, each prisoner is reduced to being a “suffering thing” scrambling for bread.  And yet Ana also recounts acts of grace, moments of absurd humor, and the vivid personalities of her friends.  (940.53 NOV)

 

               

              With Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest by Per Anger

 

The first hand testimony of an important participant, this is a privileged account of the heroic activities of Raoul Wallenberg, the young Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Budapest’s Jews in the closing days of World War II—and who then disappeared behind Soviet lines, never to be heard from again. 

 

Per Anger was a friend and colleague of Wallenberg.  He writes of the Swedish delegation’s efforts, led by Wallenberg.  He writes of the Swedish delegation’s efforts, led by Wallenberg, to help save Jews from the Nazi death machine.  He also reports the terror and confusion of the city under fire when half was held by the Germans and half by the Red Army.  (940.53 ANG)

 

 

 

              The Cage  by Ruth Minsky Sender

 

After Mama is taken away by the Nazis, Riva and the younger brothers cling to their mother’s brave words to help them endure life in the Lodz ghetto.  Then the family is rounded up, deported to Auschwitz, and separated.  Now Riva is all alone.

 

At Auschwitz, and later in the work camps at Mittelestein and Grafenort, Riva vows to live, and to hope—for Mama, for her brothers, for the millions of other victims of the nightmare of the Holocaust.  And through determination and courage, and unexpected small acts of kindness, she does live—to write her memoir that is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.   (940.53 SEN)

 

      The Last Survivor  by Timothy W. Ryback

 

Depicting contemporary Dachau, home of the first Nazi concentration camp, the first gas chamber, and the first crematory oven, proves an elusive task.  Timothy Ryback travels to Dachau, looking for the community that inhabits the town today, to find out how the older people live with the memories and how the younger generation deals with the legacy; there he finds Martin Zaidenstadt. While Dachau’s residents express vastly divergent ways of and reasons for living in a city co inhabited by ghost, Ryback finds one daily constant:  Zaidenstadt’s vigil in front of the camp’s brick crematorium.

    My name is Martin Zaidenstadt.  I survive this camp.  I come here every day for

    fifty-three years.”  

 

 

 

            Close Calls: The Autobiography of a Survivor by Felicia Hyatt

 

In September of 1939, just before the author could implement her plans to migrate to Bolivia, her escape route was cut off by Hitler’s invasion of Poland.  Her life thereafter was filled with many exciting winning battles of wits with the Nazis when a wrong move often meant death or imprisonment.  She worked as a maid for an SS man, was saved from committing suicide and further mortal dangers by a series of small miracles culminating in her imprisonment in Auschwitz.  She escaped from the death camp by a perilously daring ruse, and wound up in a Czech labor camp.

 

Soon after the war, the former prisoners’ reactions to their new-found freedom provided revealing and frightening insights of their behavior as the oppressed.

 

              

          The Coldest Winter by Samuel Freilich  by Rabbi Samuel Freilich

 

   Drafted into a Jewish slave-labor battalion in Hungary after the German occupation, Rabbi Freilich was forced-marched to the Russian front, meeting German soldiers in retreat along the way. 

 

The author writes of Doroschitz prison, “The Auschwitz of Hungarian Jews,” where several thousand Jews were buried in mass graves.  He writes of dilemmas and choices, and of the miracle of life in the face of total destruction.

 

After the war, Rabbi Frelich established a network of schools to help Jewish orphans, and played a major role in the resettlement of Europe’s surviving Jews.  (940.53 FRE)

  

              Hiding to Survive:  Stories of Jewish Children Rescued From the Holocaust  by Maxine B. Rosenberg

 

When I was very young, my parents got divorced. …I went to live with Eli, one of her workers, and Eli’s family. Their religion was Greek Orthodox.  For the next three years, while Eli’s mother, Julia, watched me, my mother visited a lot…Then in1941, Greece was divided up between Germany and Italy. The Italians, who were in charge of Athens, pretty much left the Jews alone.  But things were very dangerous in the German-occupied areas.  In Salonika, where my relatives and most Greek Jews lived, Jews were being rounded up and taken away. 

 

One night my mother came by and woke me up.  She said she was leaving to find a safer country for us and that she would return for me. 

 

A few months later I heard shouting in the house “The Germans are here! They’re all over the place,” Julia was screaming in panic.  She had no idea where my mother was and didn’t know what to do with me. (940.53 ROS)

                   

                           

        We’re Alive and Life Goes On  by Eva Roubickova

 

On December 17, 1941, twenty year old Eva Manlova arrived at the Nazi’s “model” concentration camp, Theresienstadt.  From that day until she was freed three and a half years later, she kept a diary.  At times sweet and personal, at times agonized and profound, Eva is a human voice amidst inhuman evil. 

 

Through Eva’s eyes, the camp sometimes “even resembles normal life,” as she makes friends and talks with Benny, or Egon, or Otto.  But at any moment, anyone may be “selected” for a transport to “Poland”.  No one ever returns from “Poland.”

 

As a Gentile man inexplicably helps her, Eva must decide who should share her bounty.  As close friends and loved ones are sent away, she has to decide, over and over again, whether to ask to join them on their final journey.

 

 

            I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust by Livia Bitton-Jackson

 

Imagine being a thirteen year old girl in love with boys, school, family—life itself.  Then suddenly, in a matter of hours, your life is shattered by the arrival of a foreign army.  You can no longer attend school, have possessions, talk to your neighbors.  One day your family has to leave your house behind and move into a crowded ghetto, where you lose all privacy and there isn’t enough food to eat.  Still you manage, somehow, to adjust.  But there is much, much worse to come… 

 

This account describes her descent into the hell of Auschwitz, a concentration camp where, because of her golden braids, she was selected for work instead of extermination. 

(940.53 JAC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

          After Long Silence by Helen Fremont

 

Helen Fremont was raised Roman Catholic in America, only to discover in adulthood that her parents were Jews who had survived the Holocaust.  Delving into the extraordinary secrets that held her family together in a bond of silence for more than forty years, she recounts with heartbreaking clarity and candor a remarkable tale of survival, as vivid as fiction but with the eloquence of truth. 

 

When Helen was small, her mother taught her the sign of the cross in six languages.  Theirs was the tender conspiracy of a little girl and her mother at bedtime, protected by a God who could respond in any language.  What she didn’t understand was that she was being equipped with proof of her Catholicism, a hedge against persecution, real or imagined.  (940.53 FRE)

 

      

The Other Victims : First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis        The Other Victims: First Person Stories of Non-Jews

                                   Persecuted by the Nazis   by Ina R. Friedman

 

In this story eleven “other” victims share their stories.  A gypsy describes the systematic round-ups that brought him and many other Gypsies to the death camps.  A deaf woman tells how as a young girl she was classified as “defective” by the so-called scientists charged with preserving “racial purity” and was prevented from having children.  The daughter of a member of the outlawed Social Democratic Party recalls her father’s resistance to the Nazis and its terrible impact on her family.  A Polish doctor recounts the perils and triumphs of a secret medical school whose very existence had to be concealed from the Nazis. 

 

 

 

 

                   Child of the Holocaust by Jack Kuper

 

One day, when Jakob Kuperblum was eight, he came home to his town in Poland.  His family and friends were gone, rounded up by the Germans only hours earlier.  He would never see them again….

 

Thus begins a journey of survival—and a moving tale of terror, suspense, and triumph—as a young boy travels from town to town in a desperate search for safety and shelter, growing up in fear, deprived of his home, his people… and even his identity.  All that survived was his spirit—and his indomitable will to live….  (940.531 KUP)

 

 

       I Am A Star:  Child of the Holocaust by Inge Auerbacher

 

Inge Auerbacher’s childhood was as happy and peaceful as any other German child’s—until 1942.  By then, the Nazis were in power, and because Inge’s family was Jewish, she and her parents were sent to a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.  The Auerbachers defied death for three years, and were finally freed in 1945.  In her own words, Inge tells her family’s harrowing story—and how they carried with them ever after the strength and courage of will that allowed them to survive. 

 

  We are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in

                            the Holocaust  by Jacob Boas

 

David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman, and Anne Frank were all teenagers during World War II.  They lived in different parts of Europe. They had different lives.  But they all had something in common:  They were Jewish, and therefore, under Hitler’s twisted rule, they were five of the six million men, women, and children sentenced to death. 

 

David and the others were also alike in that they all kept diaries.  Each of them had hope—even to the very end.  Unfortunately, there were no happy endings.  Because the final, horrible thing David, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva, and Anne had in common is that they were all killed.  For no reason at all…

 

 

                HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST  by Arnold Geier

 

The Nazi regime was one of the darkest chapters in the history of humanity.  But even amidst the terrifying events of that time, many brave champions risked their own lives to help Jewish refugees in need.  Holocaust survivor Arnold Geier has collected the stories of 28 such heroes in this inspiring and unforgettable book.  From the benevolent Mother Superior who bravely hid Jewish children within the walls of her Catholic orphanage to the train engineer who slowed his train to save a mother and daughter fleeing an armed Nazi guard, each story recounts a random act of kindness that ultimately saved innocent lives.  (940.451 GEI)

 

 

            CHILDREN IN THE HOLOCAUST AND WORLD WAR II

                       BY Laurel Holliday

 

This is the first anthology of the diaries children wrote during World War II and the Holocaust.  From the ghettos of Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, and Hungary, to the Terezin and Stutthof and Janowska concentration camps, to the bombed-out streets of London and Rotterdam, to a Nazi prison in Copenhagen, these diaries tell us what it was like for children to live each day with the knowledge that it could be their last.

 

A third of the diarists were twelve years old or younger when they decided to record the historic events that would so drastically change their own lives and those of everyone around them.  The nine boys and fourteen girls in this collection, Jews and gentiles alike, described what the Nazis did to their families and their towns without guarding their feelings or mincing words. 

 

MAYBE YOU WILL SURVIVE BY Aron Goldfarb

 

It was the middle of the night.  He didn’t know what time it was, only that it was during the silent hours before dawn.  As he lay with the blanket pulled up to his neck, Aron could hear the distant howling of the wind whipping down from the hills, between the branches of the trees and along the cobblestones and dirt of Bialobrzegi’s ancient winding streets.  The shuttered windows were tightly closed and locked.  Aron was aware that he was drifting somewhere between sleep and wakefulness.  A hazy semi-consciousness. 

 

Things were no longer the same, he thought to himself.  And they never would be.  His youthful years of innocence were left behind.  Shattered almost overnight by this new and grim reality of fear that permeated everyone around him.  (940.53 GOL)

 

           HOPE IN DARKNESS: THE Aba Gefen Holocaust Diaries

                              by Aba Gefen

 

Recounts the perilous, clandestine life of two young Jewish brothers in Nazi—occupied Lithuania.  From 1941 to 1944 diarist Aba Gefen and his younger brother, Joseph, lived an underground existence in peasant barns and cellars, successfully evading the fascist dragnet.  Their recurrent preoccupations—finding a morsel of food, buying time, staying invisible, mourning the deaths of family and friends, and nurturing the will to endure—confront us in intimate detail as we are drawn into their wretched world. 

 

Their volatile hosts, fearing for their own lives (harboring Jews was a capital offense), threatened regularly to expel the condemned brothers.  But a gift, even the promise of a gift judiciously offered—a coat, a ring, a watch—often kept them from being immediately expelled, thus winning the brothers a reprieve.  (940.53 GEF)

 

 

 

         A NIGHTMARE IN HISTORY: The Holocaust 1933-1945

             by Miriam Chaikin

 

Adolf Hitler stood out in no way as a boy.  He was an average student and finished high school without a diploma.  As a young man, he tried to become an artist, but no art school would accept him.  When he entered politics he seemed a comic figure—a lock of hair falling over his forehead, a square moustache, a public speaker who ranted and raved.  Some people called him mad.  Others laughed at him.  They did not laugh for long.

 

Hitler was an evil genius.  Qualities that had lain dormant in him began to surface.  Fired by dreams of glory for Germany, preaching hatred, he formed the National Socialist German Worker’s party—NAZIS for short—and began to climb to power.  ((940.53 CHA)

 

              ORDINARY MEN: RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 101

                AND THE FINAL SOLUTION IN POLAND

                By Christopher Browning

 

In mid-March 1942 some 75-80 percent of all victims of the Holocaust were still alive, while 20 to 25 percent had perished.  A mere eleven months later, in mid-February 1943, the percentages were exactly the reverse. At the core of the Holocaust was a short, intense wave of mass murder.  The center of gravity of this mass murder was Poland, where in March 1942, despite two and half years of terrible hardship, deprivation, and persecution, every major Jewish community was still intact, and where eleven months later only the remnants of Polish Jewry survived in a few ghettos and labor camps. In short, the German attack on the Jews of Poland was not a gradual or incremental program stretched over a long period of time, but a veritable blitzkrieg, a massive offensive requiring the mobilization of large numbers of shock troops.  This is the story of how that could happen. (940.53  BRO)

 

          CLARA’S STORY by Clara Isaacman

 

The first hint we children had of any trouble occurred one night at dinner while Uncle Emil, my mother’s brother, was visiting from Czechoslovakia.  The main course had been cleared away.  My brothers and sisters and I were scraping the pudding out of our dessert dishes, trying to make it last so that we would not be sent to bed.  Daddy and Uncle Emil were talking about politics.  It wasn’t paying much attention, but suddenly their voices started to get louder.  Looking up, I was surprised to see Uncle Emil shaking a warning finger at my father. 

    This Hitler is a madman, Sholom,” he said. “I know how you feel, with a good business and your family settled.  But if Hitler takes over Belfium, your business will be worthless.  And as a Jew you’ll be in more danger than you were in Romania!” (940.53 ISA)

 

                         HOLOCAUST  BOOKS  (3)

 

       An Interrupted Life:  The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943

 

        “I want to be sent to every one of the camps, I want to be there at every front,

         I don’t ever want to be what they call ‘safe’. . .

 

        Those haunting words were written by Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz in November, 1943, at the age of twenty nine.  Composed during the last two years of her life, but only recently discovered, her diaries reveal the gradual transformation of an independent woman preoccupied with worldly pleasures into a vibrant, brave one of new spiritual depth.  (BIO HIL)

 

       The Sunflower:  on the possibilities and limits  by Simon Wiesenthal

 

While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS.  Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to—and obtain absolution from—a Jew.  Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing.  But even years after the war had ended, he wondered:  Had he done the right thing?  What would you have done in his place?

 

     Fifty-three men and women respond to Wiesenthal’s questions.  (940.54  WIE)

 

 

         Walls:  resisting the Third Reich—one woman’s story by Hiltgunt Zassenhas

 

Hiltgunt Zassenhaus was 17 when she first resisted the third Reich by refusing to give the “Heil Hitler” salute in her high school.  Later as the terrible events of wartime Germany swirled around her, she risked death to smuggle food, medicine, and emotional support to hundreds of political prisoners, ultimately saving them from mass execution by the Nazis. 

For her wartime work, Zassenhaus was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974. 

(940.54 ZAS)

         In the Mouth of the Wolf  by Rose Zar

 

Rose Zar flees the Piotrkow ghetto to live under false papers as an Aryan Pole.  Tough, quick, and gutsy, she outwits and out bluffs those who would turn her in. The most amazing part of this book is how she is hired by the S. S. Commandant of Krakow as a nursemaid for his infant son.  Rose’s ironic picture of Nazi domesticity and her genuine friendship with the colonel’s wife make this a unique book. 

    The Jews of Poland knew the end was coming.  In fact, we had known for a long time.  The casual brutality that marked our everyday existence, the random, senseless beatings and shootings, the murderous forced labor details were all early indications of what the Germans had in store.  Added to what was the studied official callousness that set up ghettoes—decrepit districts where Jews were forced to live—drove thousands of people into areas scarcely able to hold a fraction of that number, then denied them the most basic levels of good, shelter, and medical care.  With time, according to their calculations, disease, starvation, and simple suicide would write an end to the Jewish people.  (FIC ZAR)

 

         Holocaust Poetry by Hilda Schiff

 

This volume includes 119 poems and the voices of 59 poets.   It is a lasting and solemn tribute to the memory of the past and the hope for the future. 

          Where Light and Shadow Meet by Emilie Schindler

 

Emilie Schindler tells the true story of hers and Oskar Schindler’s life together, what they did to save the Jews in their factories, and what led to “Schindler’s list.”  Emilie Schindler does not consider herself or her husband to have been heroes.  As she writes in this moving memoir, “We only did what we had to.”  Born in Bohemia, she married Oskar Schindler in 1928 and moved from her beloved country-side to the more industrial city of Zwittau, where Oskar and his family lived. 

 

It soon became clear that her marriage would have both its passions and its betrayals.  Yet Emilie stayed with Oskar through his growing involvement with the Nazis, working for counterintelligence with him.  She first, then he later, came to realize the costs of the Nazi takeover and became witnesses to its terrors.  Their inward allegiance changed even as they needed to maintain patriotic appearances and close affiliations with the Nazis in power. 

 

Through their work together at their two factories, saving the Jews became paramount for the Schindlers.  Emilie nursed the Jewish factory workers when they fell ill, often saving their lives.  She risked imprisonment or worse for her activities in the black market to feed them. Her stubbornness kept her fighting for food, even daring to ask a wealthy mill owner to give them grain to feed her starving workers.  (940.53 SCH)

 

        Against All Odds: A tale of two survivors by Norman Salsitz

 

It was a ghastly picture:  hundreds of Jews evicted without notice, heaped like garbage on the high wooden wagons, children screaming and crying, women fainting, men with eyes full of despair, old men mumbling their prayers.

 

I was at home with my mother when the caravan came through the marketplace, in sight of our house.  Her eyes filled with tears, and I heard her murmur to herself, “Those poor souls, they have no food and no clothes.  They will die of hunger and cold in a few days.  We must do something to help.”

 

She went back to the house and returned with a basket of bread. . .Just then a Sonderdienst man with a riding crop approached, demanding to know what she was doing.  She pointed to the bread and then to the wagons.  He lashed at the basket with his whip, striking my mother’s knuckles and forcing her to drop the basket.  (940.54 SAL)

 

          The Iron Furnace:  A Holocaust Survivor’s Story by George Topas

 

Topas was a Jewish teenager living in Poland when the Nazis invaded the country in 1939.  He survived the horrors of the concentration camps by learning to live by his wits—including passing himself off as an “inventor” to work on a “secret weapon” that was never produced.  His life was saved at the end of the war when Allied soldiers intercepted the camp’s inmates and guards on the way to an execution site.  Of topa’s immediate family, only one aunt and uncle and his grandmother, who migrated to the United States just before the war began, survived.  This chilling memoir effectively reminds us of the inhumanity with which people treated their fellow humans.   (940.53 TOP)

 

         

    In the Shadow of the Swastika by Hermann Wygoda

 

He was known first as a Warsaw ghetto smuggler, then as Comandante Enrico.  He traveled under false identity papers and worked at a German border patrol station. Throughout the years of the Holocaust, Hermann Wygoda lived a life of narrow escapes, unsavory masquerades, and battles that almost defy reason.

 

Wygoda kept a journal during the time he spent in the mountains of northern Italy, where he rose from commanding a platoon to leading a division of nearly twenty-five-hundred partisans that ultimately liberated the city of Savona.   (940>53 WYG)

 

         Struggle  by Sara Zyskind

 

This is the story of Luzer from Bzezin, Poland, a small town located between Lodz and Warsaw.  On the seventh day of the war, Luzer and his family became homeless when Nazi Planes bombed their neighborhood.  Each time his family moved, they expressed the hope it was for the last time.  But only when their cattle train stopped at Auschwitz did they realize the nature of their final destination. Until then the horrors they had experienced were bearable.  But nothing had prepared them for their arrival in this barbarous place that Luzer said was like another planet. 

 

 

Home