The best books about the Holocaust from a variety of perspectives

Derek Niemann Author Of A Nazi In The Family
By Derek Niemann

Who am I?

I am a Scottish writer who discovered at the age of 49 that my grandfather was an SS officer involved in the Holocaust. I wrote my book, A Nazi in the Family, to understand how a dark family secret could remain hidden for so long and I have spent the years since publication talking about my grandfather as an example of an ordinary man who turned to doing extraordinary evil.

I wrote...

A Nazi In The Family

By Derek Niemann,

Book cover of A Nazi In The Family

What is my book about?

The Niemann family - Karl, Minna and their four children - live in a quiet, suburban enclave. Every day Karl commutes to work, a business manager travelling around inspecting his "factories". In the evenings he returns home to life as a normal family man. Three years ago Derek Niemann, born and raised in Scotland, made the chilling discovery that his grandfather Karl had been an officer in the SS - and that his "business" used thousands of slave labourers in concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen. Derek had known little about the German side of his family, but now a lifetime of unsettling hints and clues began to fall into place. With the help of surviving relatives and hundreds of previously unknown family photographs, Derek uncovers the true story of what Karl did. A Nazi in the Family is an illuminating portrayal of how ordinary people can fall into the service of a monstrous regime.

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The books I picked & why

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart,

Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Why did I love this book?

Will anything ever match this book in all its humanity, capturing the constant fear, uncertainty, claustrophobia, and poignant hope for something better? It would be hard to find any work that so encapsulates the cruel pointlessness of the Holocaust.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Anne Frank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.

The Long Night: A True Story

By Ernst Israel Bornstein,

Book cover of The Long Night: A True Story

Why did I love this book?

The author, a keen observer of behaviour under appalling conditions, has an astonishingly wise and humane attitude that bears him through both internment and concentration camps. I have a personal interest in this book, and the writer, because I am the speaking partner of his daughter Noemie Lopian, and we talk at synagogues, schools, universities, and public events to ask for kindness, toleration, and understanding.

By Ernst Israel Bornstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Long Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Night lasted five years and eight days. Before the Night began, Ernst Bornstein was a precocious eighteen-year-old¬ who had an ordinary family with three siblings, two parents, and a large circle of friends and relatives. But in the autumn of 1939, decades of anti-Semitic propaganda turned into full-fledged violence. Bornstein's family was subsequently sent to Auschwitz where his parents and siblings were gassed to death. The Long Night is Bornstein's firsthand account of what he witnessed in seven concentration camps. Written with remarkable insight and raw emotion, The Long Night paints a portrait of human psychology in the darkest…

Book cover of East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Why did I love this book?

A remarkably broad and detailed examination into the lives of men who established the legal definitions of genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as a detective story into the author’s own family.

By Philippe Sands,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked East West Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



When he receives an invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, international lawyer Philippe Sands begins a journey on the trail of his family's secret history. In doing so, he uncovers an astonishing series of coincidences that lead him halfway across the world, to the origins of international law at the Nuremberg trial. Interweaving the stories of the two Nuremberg prosecutors (Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin) who invented the crimes or genocide and crimes against humanity, the Nazi governor responsible for…

Book cover of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Why did I love this book?

How I wish I had had access to this book when I was researching my own book on my grandfather’s role in the Holocaust. There have been so many academic books about the concentration camps and this one, published 70 years after the last camp was liberated, feels like a landmark.

By Nikolaus Wachsmann,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked KL as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize and the Wolfson History Prize

In March of 1933, a disused factory surrounded by barbed wire held 223 prisoners in the town of Dachau. By the end of 1945, the SS concentration camp system had become an overwhelming landscape of terror. Twenty-two large camps and over one thousand satellite camps throughout Germany and Europe were at the heart of the Nazi campaign of repression and intimidation. The importance of the camps in terms of Nazi history and our modern world cannot be questioned.

Dr Nikolaus Wachsmann is the first historian to write…

Book cover of Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice

Why did I love this book?

How do the perpetrators, victims, and their descendants deal with the mental legacy of the Holocaust? This is sobering, illuminating stuff from one of the world’s leading Holocaust academics.

By Mary Fulbrook,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Reckonings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A single word - Auschwitz - is often used to encapsulate the totality of persecution and suffering involved in what we call the Holocaust. Yet a focus on a single concentration camp - however horrific what happened there, however massively catastrophic its scale - leaves an incomplete story, a truncated history. It cannot fully communicate the myriad ways in which individuals became tangled up on the side of the perpetrators, and obscures the diversity of experiences
among a wide range of victims as they struggled and died, or managed, against all odds, to survive. In the process, we also miss…

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Interested in the Holocaust, concentration camps, and Germany?

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