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 personal aberration in history – but Gellately, a history professor, explains why such a belief is dangerously false. Our reviewer outlines what you can expect from the carefully researched, 428-page work of nonfiction.
2. The Eichman Trial by Deborah Lipstadt
In her brilliant analysis, Holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt explains why the 1961 trial of Adolph Eichmann, the best-known Holocaust trials of the 20th century, was a watershed event in the world’s perception of the genocide. Read our review.
3. Still Here: Inspiration From Survivors & Liberators of the Holocaust by June Hersch
When Hersh, a cookbook author, interviewed Holocaust survivors for her first book, she barely knew anyone who had endured this horrific time in history. In our interview with her, she describes the evolution of her understanding of the Holocaust and how to move forward despite the odds.
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 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. Here's our review.
5. Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception by Judy Glickman Lauder
A talented photographer 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," one Jewish essayist writes of how the book compelled him to unforeseen emotional depths.
6. Then They Came for Me: Martin Niemöller, the Pastor Who Defied the Nazis by Matthew Hockenos
This in-depth profile the famous pastor explores his life and eventual incarceration by the Germans – which wasn’t for defending Jews. Our reviewer 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 memories of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Two recipes available on our site, Sally Rosenkranz's Honey Cake and Carrot and Prune Tzimmes, explore Jewish resilience and culture through the lens of 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 reviewer 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. Says our reviewer, "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.