The best books about the Holocaust

The Books I Picked & Why

On the Borderline of Extermination: A Narrative of Inhumanity

By Joseph Gershkowitz

On the Borderline of Extermination: A Narrative of Inhumanity

Why this book?

No one can truly know what life was like for Jews under the Nazis. We cannot feel the constant terror and inhumanity imposed upon their Jewish victims. We cannot hear their constant pleas, moans, and screams. We cannot smell the stench of filth, sickness, and death. Nevertheless, Joseph Gershowitz manages to take us as close as we can to his suffering in his absolutely riveting first-hand account of life in the Nazi’s concentration camps. On the Borderline of Extermination is a must-read for understanding the cruelty, barbarism, and inhumanity of the Germans and their all too willing helpers.


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Survival in Auschwitz

By Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Why this book?

I read Survival in Auschwitz many years ago. Primo Levi was the first Holocaust survivor I had read who had given a first-hand account of life in the inferno named Auschwitz. Mr. Levi spares no detail when describing the barbarism of his Nazi keepers and their ingenious methods of cruelty. One feels his agony in the retelling. Yet, tell he did, so what the Germans did is never forgotten.


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The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive

By Philippe Sands

The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive

Why this book?

The Ratline tells the story of Nazi war criminal Otto von Wachter. The information about Wachter is gleaned from Wachter’s wife’s detailed diary and Sands’s meticulous gathering of information about him. After the war, Wachter attempts to escape prosecution through the Ratline, the route that numerous Nazi criminals took by escaping to South America. This part of the book is absolutely fascinating and reads like a spy thriller. The intrigue of who helps who, who seems to help whom, secret agents, secret double agents, and the maneuverings of the United States, Britain, and Russia leaves the mind reeling.


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The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945

By David S. Wyman

The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945

Why this book?

Mr. Wyman details the ways in which FDR’s government and the State Department purposely ignored the plight of the Jews during WWII. Wyman meticulously researched work tells the sad but true story of how the anti-semitism of high-level decision-makers in the United States government allowed the genocide of European Jewry to continue unabated.


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Hunting the Truth: Memoirs of Beate and Serge Klarsfeld

By Beate Klarsfeld, Serge Klarsfeld, Sam Taylor

Hunting the Truth: Memoirs of Beate and Serge Klarsfeld

Why this book?

Beate and Serge Klarsfeld made it their life missions to find Nazi war criminals and bring them to justice. In their memoir Hunting the Truth, they detail their efforts in tracking down Nazi war criminals. We are with them when we read how they put their lives and well-being at considerable risk for many years. Hunting the Truth is an incredible book about two incredible people.


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