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11 Eye Opening Holocaust Books Everyone Should Read

You can never learn enough about this vile atrocity to hit so many people

The Holocaust is getting further and further away from us historically, but its aspects follow humanity everywhere. The fact that regular people were sucked into the activity of disposing of people tells us a lot.

Which is why we think it’s critical that people remember the worst of humanity as well as the best. These books cover all there is to know about the Shoah (what Jews call the Holocaust).

#1 The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Tracey Friedlander from Dr. Edith Eger – The Choice.

This past September, a friend sent me The Choice via Audible while I was traveling. After listening to the first few chapters, I called my friend to say, I need to meet this author! Not only is this book a testament to the unbelievable strength of character and resilience of a young girl imprisoned in Auschwitz but also the incredible intellectual, physical and emotional capacity of humans to survive and transcend tragedy to live a fulfilling life.

The Choice tells the story of the author’s early childhood growing up in Hungary, the unspeakable horrors she and her older sister Magda survived at Auschwitz and Mauthausen concentration camps, and how the author came to the United States to forge a new path for her life. This petite, ballet dancer, once danced on command of Dr. Mengele for bread and survival. During a recent Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah, Dr. Eger explained her guiding principle: “I am not a victim. It’s not my identity. I’m a whole person who can have joy and passion today instead of living as a hostage of the past.”

Dr. Eger has dedicated her life to sharing her experiences and knowledge in order to help others, including individuals who have suffered trauma and members of the U.S. military. In The Choice, she teaches that we each have a choice when deciding how to live and/or heal from suffering and setback, We can choose to be our own jailers, or we can choose to be free.” This fall, I had the true honor of spending some time with Dr. Eger, who recently celebrated her 92nd birthday, and I will be forever changed by her story and message.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 If This Is a Man and The Truce by Primo Levi

If This Is a Man and The Truce by Primo Levi
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Augusta Medici Suriani from minimeexplorer.

There is no Italian student who has not read this book at school. It is the autobiographical account of Levi, an Italian Jew, of his journey and imprisonment in Auschwitz. It focuses mostly on the dehumanizing aspect of Auschwitz rather than the gas chambers.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 Escaping into the Night by D. Dina Friedman

Escaping into the Night by D. Dina Friedman
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Dina Friedman

The book tells the story of a young girl who flees the ghetto and ends up living in a forest encampment (modeled after those organized by Tuvia Bielski and later featured in the movie, Defiance). Unlike most partisan encampments Bielski took everyone who could possibly escape into the forest–women with young children, old and sick people, etc. and set up an entire community.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Stella Samuel from Brandnic.

Bloodlands is the best novel that paints out the whole picture of what happened in the Holocaust. The book was written by Timothy Snyder. In the book, the author narrates how Josef Stalin killed millions of fellow Americans. The author goes on and brings it clear how millions of Jews were also killed not to mention how he also describes the mass killing caused by the Nazi.

Besides, this book won 12 awards and became the best seller in six countries. So, if you are looking for the best book about the Holocaust then, you can’t afford to miss the Bloodlands.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 Quest for Eternal Sunshine by Mendek Rubin

Quest for Eternal Sunshine by Mendek Rubin
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Hanna Pollock from GoSparkPoint.

Quest for Eternal Sunshine chronicles the triumphant, true story of Mendek Rubin, a brilliant inventor who overcame both the trauma of the Holocaust and decades of unrelenting depression to live a life of deep peace and boundless joy.

Born into a Hassidic Jewish family in Poland in 1924, Mendek grew up surrounded by extreme anti-Semitism. Armed with an ingenious mind, he survived three horrific years in Nazi slave-labor concentration camps while virtually his entire family was murdered in Auschwitz. After arriving in America in 1946―despite having no money or professional skills―his inventions helped revolutionize both the jewelry and packaged-salad industries. Remarkably, Mendek also applied his ingenuity to his own psyche, developing innovative ways to heal his heart and end his emotional suffering.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Raven Beria from Brandalaxy.

Viktor E Frankl described how he suffered through four different concentration camps, seeing his friends die and being tortured every step of the way. Ultimately, however, Viktor concluded that despite the suffering he went through by the Nazis, the one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance. While I can in no way fully understand how much pain Viktor and others suffered during the Holocaust, his perspective really opened my eyes on how to approach life in general. Now, no matter what challenge I face, I tell myself that I have the power to choose my response. It’s taking that full responsibility for my life that was both the most terrifying and yet most liberating thing I’ve ever done.

– Extra extra personal experience about the book (in case you were curious): When I first read the book, it was five years ago, and I was dealing with my first long-term break up. I had no idea what the hell I was gonna do with my life, Zak. Had no job, $50 attached to my name, and was living with my parents in Washington State with zero plans for my future.. You see, I blamed my failure on my past – had a 2.6 GPA in high school, never really tried much. Yet when I looked back, I was angry at everything except me – my abusive biological father, my unambitious family history, and more. When I picked up that book, however, in the personal growth section of Barnes & Noble, I decided then and there that I’d commit to a better life. That I’d choose how I responded to everything.

Since then, I’ve moved back to Hawaii (where I was originally from) on my own, went from an intern to a COO for a wealth management firm, and have recently opened up my own business. I’d be lying to say it’s easy, but it sure as hell has been an experience – that no matter what, even with this pitch that may or may not be read, that I can choose how to move forward. It’s incredible how other people’s experiences can help us pave a path for our own.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli

Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Kate Mura from KateMura.

A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account was required reading my senior year of high school. It’s clinical, gruesome detail, stayed with me. As did my shock at their conditions and the justifications for such horrific acts. In this day and age, it is important to remember, so that we make sure it never happens again.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 A Portrait of Grandma’s Dog by Janet Ward

A Portrait of Grandma’s Dog by Janet Ward
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Janet Ward from BlueWaterPress.

A young Jewish girl, Gertrude, caught in the midst of WWII flees to London through pressure from her father to get out before it’s “too late.” War is a terrible thing, but sometimes miraculous stories spring forth from the tragedy. Such is the case of A Portrait of Grandma’s Dog. Although a work of fiction, author Janet Ward based this warm novella on the actual story of her mother-in-law, Erna Ward.

In her story, Ward captures and presents the emotions of a woman who transitions from childhood in war-torn Germany to a time of old age and grandchildren. There is the fear, the hatred, and the loss of hope that is a part of every story from the Second World War. There are also great stories of dreams that will never fade, and new hopes born of those dreams. While Gertrude was in the midst of fleeing for London a trunk of her beloved artwork was lost. Over 50 years later one piece of artwork returns to her through an act fate and in her old age she is taken back to a time of fond childhood memories before her life was forever changed.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 First One In, Last One Out by Marilyn Shimon

First One In, Last One Out by Marilyn Shimon
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio.

A memoir of Murray Schienberg ‘s hellish stories 6 years of living in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. He was one of the first 8 men to enter Auschwitz, as a political prisoner in 1940 and was one of the last to escape Dachu. This book is a harrowing tale of endurance, morality and one man’s story of survival in the face of Nazi brutality, and antisemitism. A must read.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10 Night by Elie Wiesel

Night by Elie Wiesel
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Leslie Kiel from FreeAdvice.

Historic tragedies are best understood not through facts alone, but more importantly through the eyes, emotions, and lives of those who survived them. Because of this need for human context, there’s no better book about The Holocaust than Elie Wiesel’s Night.

Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, recounts the terrors and his survival of a Nazi deathcamp. But It’s not the grotesque atrocities that make this book a must read; through his experiences, Wiesel wrestles with some of life’s most perplexing questions about humanity and God.

The emotional power of Night will stick with you long after you’ve put the book down.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#11 Tehran Children by Mikhal Dekel

Tehran Children by Mikhal Dekel
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Sharon Farnell from Finn Partners.

Fleeing East from Nazi terror, over a million Polish Jews traversed the Soviet Union, many finding refuge in Muslim lands. Their story―the extraordinary saga of two-thirds of Polish Jewish survivors―has never been fully told.

Author Mikhal Dekel’s father, Hannan Teitel, and her aunt Regina were two of these refugees. After they fled the town in eastern Poland where their family had been successful brewers for centuries, they endured extreme suffering in the Soviet forced labor camps known as “special settlements.” Then came a journey during which tens of thousands died of starvation and disease en route to the Soviet Central Asian Republics of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. While American organizations negotiated to deliver aid to the hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews who remained there, Dekel’s father and aunt were two of nearly one thousand refugee children who were evacuated to Iran, where they were embraced by an ancient Persian-Jewish community.

Months later, their Zionist caregivers escorted them via India to Mandatory Palestine, where, at the endpoint of their thirteen-thousand-mile journey, they joined hundreds of thousands of refugees (including over one hundred thousand Polish Catholics). The arrival of the “Tehran Children” was far from straightforward, as religious and secular parties vied over their futures in what would soon be Israel.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Tracey Friedlander from Dr. Edith Eger – The Choice

Augusta Medici Suriani from minimeexplorer

Dina Friedman

Stella Samuel from Brandnic

Hanna Pollock from GoSparkPoint

Raven Beria from Brandalaxy

Kate Mura from KateMura

Janet Ward from BlueWaterPress

Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio

Leslie Kiel from FreeAdvice

Sharon Farnell from Finn Partners

Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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