The best books on Holocaust survivor true stories

The Books I Picked & Why

All the Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

Why this book?

A beautifully written novel set against a dark but fascinating backdrop. The characters come alive in this emotional novel and stay with you long after you’ve read the last sentence. While the author does jump back and forth between different time periods, his writing is so creative and makes the reader feel as if you have been transported to places in the book alongside the characters.


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The Tattooist of Auschwitz

By Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Why this book?

This book is written from an incredible perspective of a Slovakian Jew, who because he speaks multiple languages, is forcibly put to work to permanently mark via tattoo his fellow prisoners. With all of the negativity surrounding his physical and emotional world, he finds love in a fellow prisoner, whom he met while marking her arm. The way the author is able to weave a beautiful love story throughout this nightmare, really exemplifies the importance of hope and resistance.


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The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Why this book?

I waited to read this book after my son read it in junior high and raved about it. The day he finished the book he actually insisted that I stop reading whatever I was reading at the time to start The Book Thief so we could discuss it. To this day (he is now a senior in high school) it is still his favorite book of all time (and he is an avid reader). This book is really like no other. Written from a perspective not usually done, the author does an incredible job of telling a story that takes place during a very dark time in history in a creative way that keeps the reader engaged.


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A Holocaust Memoir of Love & Resilience: Mama's Survival from Lithuania to America

By Ettie Zilber

A Holocaust Memoir of Love & Resilience: Mama's Survival from Lithuania to America

Why this book?

A beautifully written and compelling true story about the author’s heroine, her mother. The memoir shares with the reader the unspeakable horrors and tragic times that her mother lived through and witnessed – and of course, the impact of those events on the author, herself. The book is a testament to persistence, hope, and strength.


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The Children of Willesden Lane: A True Story of Hope and Survival During World War II

By Mona Golabek, Lee Cohen

The Children of Willesden Lane: A True Story of Hope and Survival During World War II

Why this book?

A beautiful read set otherwise on a very dark backdrop. Learning of Lisa Jura’s journey on the Kindertransport to a country she’s never been to at the age of fourteen, really exemplifies the very difficult, and not fair, choices parents were forced to make during this time period. However, the memoir really demonstrates the power of music and hope to uplift and fulfill many human needs.


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