10 Holocaust-Related Books to Read this Yom HaShoah

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. In our interview with June Hersh, author of Still Here: Inspiration From Survivors & Liberators of the Holocaust, she describes the evolution of her understanding of the Holocaust and how to move forward despite the odds.
  2. In Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books, Rabbi Mark Glickman explores how Jews have always relied on books as essential sinews, binding Jews to God and to each other. Destroying Jewish books as the Nazis did mocked "the people of the book," depriving us of an essential source of ethnic pride.
  3. The haunting photos in Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception reveal the horror and extent of this tragedy. In "How a Book of Holocaust Photography Helped Me See What Cannot Be Seen," a Jewish essayist writes of how the book compelled him to emotional depths.
  4. Then They Came for Me: Martin Niemöller, the Pastor Who Defied the Nazis is an in-depth profile of the famous pastor, exploring why the Germans incarcerated him. Hint: It wasn’t for defending Jews.
  5. Two recipes from Recipes from Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival Sally Rosenkranz's Honey Cake and Carrot and Prune Tzimmes – explore Jewish resilience and culture through the lens of food. Relatedly, The Making of an Ashkenazi Culinary Renaissance sheds light on Jewish food culture post-war in America.
  6. How Hitler Was Made: Germany and the Rise of the Perfect Nazi tells the story of the political scene of post-WWI Germany and the turmoil that led to the rise of the monster who orchestrated the Third Reich
  7. Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War tells the story of one heroic family that saved hundreds of lives during the Holocaust.
  8. In her brilliant analysis of The Eichmann Trial, Emory professor Deborah Lipstadt explains why this trial was a watershed event in the world’s perception of the genocide.
  9. A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy tells the story of Thomas Buergenthal, the American judge on the International Court of Justice at The Hague, and the series of events that allowed him to survive the Holocaust.
  10. The Oscar-winning Schindler’s List is an emotional tour de force and a Yom HaShoah must-(re)watch. Schindler’s List: Separating Truth from Fiction helps us extrapolate truth from embellishments.

B. Lana Guggenheim is the communications associate for the Union for Reform Judaism. She graduated with a BA from Hunter College and an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has worked as a journalist, editor, and analyst covering international affairs, Jewish life, and Israel affairs for Jewcy, Tablet, the Forward, South EU Summit, and more.