10 Holocaust-Related Books to Read this Yom HaShoah

B. Lana Guggenheim

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is a time for meditation, reflection, and somber memorial, though its emotional magnitude can quickly become overwhelming. The following books – including memoirs, histories, and even a cookbook – can help guide your introspection.

1. Hitler’s True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis by Robert Gellately

It is a widely-believed myth that Adolf Hitler was a unique aberration in history. Gellately, a history professor, explains why such a belief is dangerously false. Our review outlines what you can expect from the carefully researched book.

2. The Eichmann Trial by Deborah Lipstadt

In her brilliant analysis, Holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt explains why the 1961 trial of Adolph Eichmann, one of the best-known Holocaust trials of the 20th century, was a watershed event in the world’s perception of the shoah(the) ShoahHebrew word meaning "catastrophe", referring to the Holocaust. Read the review.

3. Still Here: Inspiration From Survivors & Liberators of the Holocaust by June Hersch

When Hersh interviewed Holocaust survivors for her first book, she barely knew anyone who had endured this horrific time in history. In our interview, she describes the evolution of her understanding of the Holocaust and ways to move forward.

4. Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books by Rabbi Mark Glickman

Rabbi Glickman explores how Jews have always relied on books as essential sinews, binding us to God and each other. Destroying Jewish books as the Nazis did mocked "the people of the book," depriving us of an essential source of ethnic pride. Here's our review. 

5. Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception by Judy Glickman Lauder

Talented photographer Judy Glickman Lauder shares haunting photos that reveal the horror and extent of this tragedy. In "How a Book of Holocaust Photography Helped Me See What Cannot Be Seen," Jewish essayist Bruce Black shares how the book propelled him to new emotional depths.

6. Then They Came for Me: Martin Niemöller, the Pastor Who Defied the Nazis by Matthew Hockenos

Hockenos' in-depth profile of the famous pastor explores his life and eventual incarceration by the Germans – which wasn’t for defending Jews. Our review explains that Neimoller "continued to preach that Jews were a despised people, 'Christ killers.'"

7. Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival by June Feiss Hersch

This cookbook gives voice to stories and food-related memories of Jewish Holocaust survivors. Many of our recipes, especially Sally Rosenkranz's Honey Cake and Carrot and Prune Tzimmes, are also testaments to the preservation of Jewish culture through food.

8. How Hitler Was Made by Cory Taylor

How were Nazis made? Taylor explores the political scene of post-WWI Germany that led to the rise of the monster who orchestrated the Third Reich. Our review says the book, "provides important details about the seething cauldron that was post-WWI Munich, a political cesspool from which a mass murderer and political monster emerged."

9. Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War by Artemis Joukowsky

This nonfiction book tells the story of one heroic family that saved hundreds of lives during the Holocaust. Our review shares, "Their story reads like a spy novel, full of unexpected turns; yet it is also nuanced and complex."

10. A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Child by Thomas Buergenthal

Buergenthal, the American judge on the International Court of Justice at The Hague, is a scholar in the post-Holocaust field of international law and human rights. He is also a child survivor of Nazi labor and concentration camps. His memoir tells of the series of events that allowed him to survive the Holocaust. Here's our review. 

Browse more reviews on our Jewish Book and Literature page!