WORLD WAR II AND THE HOLOCAUST

As a follow-up to the October 16, 2023 blog: PALESTINE 1936: the great revolt and the roots of the Middle East conflict by Oren Kessler it seems appropriate to share more titles that will help the reader to more deeply connect with the humanity and INhumanity of the second World War – a direct precursor to the establishment of Israel as a nation. With the current state of affairs in the Middle East and the division it has caused in our own country and around the world, reminding ourselves of the past is vital to preventing another holocaust (of any people) and potentially another World War.

These books are organized into several categories and deliver the facts of World War II that directly impacted the persecuted people and focus on their personal stories. These are true re-tellings of the horrific acts perpetrated on ordinary people and their fight for survival. There are stories of individuals who risked their lives through selfless acts to help save others. There are stories of resistance and brave defiance, as well as the work of spies and operatives. Included, too, are books that tell of the ideology of the enemy and the atrocities at the concentration camps.  More comprehensive histories of the war are offered as well as books discussing what we can learn from this war, how it has shaped us, and how we can reclaim our humanity and seek peace.

What’s not covered:

There are so many facets of World War II, that this list of books is largely limited to the civilian impact of the war on the European continent, particularly of Jewish people or anyone who dared to help them – including the death camps. This list does not include books that are focused more on specific military campaigns, the battle stories and valor of those who served (excluding spies & operatives), the important acts of the medical corps, the lives of those on the home front, or any of the undertakings in any of the many theatres of war. You may search these topics yourself and will find plenty of books to help you understand those aspects of the war.

STORIES OF THOSE WHO SURVIVED, HOW THEY SURVIVED, AND OF THOSE WHO DIDN’T:

A Bookshop in Berlin : The rediscovered memoir of one woman’s harrowing escape from the Nazis by Francoise Frenkel

The choice : embrace the possible by Edith Eva Eger

Death march escape : the remarkable story of a man who twice escaped the Nazi Holocaust by Jack J. Hersch

The diary of a young girl the definitive edition by Anne Frank

The dressmakers of Auschwitz : the true story of the women who sewed to survive by Lucy Adlington

Into the forest : a Holocaust story of survival, triumph, and love by Rebecca Frankel

The light of days : the untold story of (Jewish) women resistance fighters in Hitler’s ghettos by Judy Batalion

My friend Anne Frank : the inspiring and heartbreaking true story of best friends torn apart and reunited against all odds by Hannah Pick-Goslar

Remember us : my journey from the shtetl through the Holocaust by Martin Small

Saved by Schindler : the life of Celina Karp Biniaz by William B. Friedricks

Tehran children : a (Jewish) Holocaust refugee odyssey by Mikhal Dekel

STORIES OF THOSE WHO RISKED THEMSELVES TO HIDE OTHERS:

The Bielski brothers : the true story of three men who defied the Nazis, saved 1,200 Jews, and built a village in the forest by Peter Duffy

A good place to hide : how one French community saved thousands of lives in World War II by Peter Grose

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Irena’s children : the extraordinary story of the woman who saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto by Tilar J. Mazzeo

The sisters of Auschwitz : the true story of two Jewish sisters’ resistance in the heart of Nazi territory by Roxane van Iperen

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

STORIES OF RESISTANCE:

A cool and lonely courage : the untold story of sister spies in Occupied France by Susan Ottaway

D-Day girls : the spies who armed the resistance, sabotaged the Nazis, and helped win World War II by Sarah Rose

The forgers : the forgotten story of the Holocaust’s most audacious rescue operation by Roger Moorhouse

The girls who stepped out of line : untold stories of the women who changed the course of World War II by Mari K. Eder

Invisible heroes of World War II : extraordinary wartime stories of ordinary people by Jerry Borrowman

Madame Fourcade’s secret war : the daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler by Lynne Olson

The nine : the true story of a band of women who survived the worst of Nazi Germany by Gwen Strauss

Operatives, spies, and saboteurs : the unknown story of the men and women of World War II’s OSS by Patrick K. O’Donnell

A train in winter an extraordinary story of women, friendship, and resistance in occupied France by Caroline Moorehead

A woman of no importance : the untold story of the American spy who helped win World War II by Sonia Purnell

Red Orchestra : the story of the Berlin underground and the circle of friends who resisted Hitler by Anne Nelson

FAMILIES SEARCHING FOR LOST RELATIVES AND THE TRUTH:

Jews in the garden : a Holocaust survivor, the fate of his family, and the secret history of Poland in World War II by Judy Rakowsky

A world erased : a grandson’s search for his family’s Holocaust secrets by Noah Lederman

OTHER EXPERIENCES OR FIRST-HAND WITNESS:

The diary keepers : World War II in the Netherlands, as written by the people who lived through it by Nina Siegal

Facing the lion : memoirs of a young girl in Nazi Europe by Simone Arnold Liebster

Last witnesses : an oral history of the children of World War II by Svetlana Aleksievich

The ravine : a family, a photograph, a Holocaust massacre revealed by Wendy Lower

RECOVERING FROM HORRIFIC EVENTS OF WAR:

Man’s search for meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Wounds into wisdom : healing intergenerational Jewish trauma by Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Ph.D.

HOLOCAUST HISTORY AND GENERAL WORLD WAR II FACTS:

Historical atlas of the Holocaust by the U S Holocaust Memorial Museum

The holocaust chronicle by Marilyn Harran, Dieter Kuntz, and John K. Roth

Holocaust : the Nazi persecution and murder of the Jews by Peter Longerich

The secret war : spies, ciphers, and guerrillas 1939-1945 by Max Hastings

The storm of war : a new history of the Second World War by Andrew Roberts

World War II in photographs by Richard Holmes

THE ALLIES

1944 : FDR and the year that changed history by Jay Winik

Britain at Bay : the epic story of the Second World War, 1938-1941 by Alan Allport

Last Hope Island : Britain, occupied Europe, and the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war by Lynne Olson

Why the allies won by R. J. Overy

HOW THE WAR CHANGED US, CAN CHANGE US, (OR COULD HAVE):

The fear and the freedom : how the Second World War changed us by Keith Lowe

If the Allies had fallen : sixty alternate scenarios of World War II by Dennis E. Showalter and Harold C. Deutsch

Learning from the Germans : race and the memory of evil by Susan Neiman

Why we fight : the roots of war and the paths to peace by Christopher Blattman

THE AXIS – IDEOLOGY OF THE ENEMY:

Army of evil : a history of the SS by Adrian Weale

Becoming Hitler : the Making of a Nazi by Thomas Weber

The book thieves : the Nazi looting of Europe’s libraries and the race to return a literary inheritance by Anders Rydell

Göring’s man in Paris : the story of a Nazi art plunderer and his world by Jonathan Petropoulos

Hitler’s furies : German women in the Nazi killing fields by Wendy Lower

The rape of Europa : the fate of Europe’s treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn H. Nicholas

Then they came for me : Martin Niemöller, the pastor who defied the Nazis by Matthew D. Hockenos

The women who flew for Hitler: a true story of soaring ambition and searing rivalry by Clare Mulley

PRISON CAMPS:

Auschwitz : not long ago. not far away by Luis Ferreiro, Miriam Greenbaum, and Robert Jan van Pelt

Dachau 29 April 1945 : the Rainbow liberation memoirs by Sam Dann

Ravensbrück : life and death in Hitler’s concentration camp for women by Sarah Helm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bad Behavior has blocked 1807 access attempts in the last 7 days.