The best books about the Holocaust and its aftermath

Jack R. Fischel Author Of Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust
By Jack R. Fischel

Who am I?

Having lost relatives in the Holocaust, and also a scholar of twentieth-century history, I have a special interest in attempting to understand how Germany turned from one of the most literate and advanced countries into the barbarism we call Nazi Germany. In the course of teaching and writing for the past  50 years, I have written/edited some nine books on modern Jewish history-including four on the Holocaust and hundreds of articles and reviews in such publications as Virginia Quarterly, Tablet, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The Forward, Midstream, Commonweal, Congress Monthly, Choice, among many other publications.


I wrote...

Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust

By Jack R. Fischel,

Book cover of Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust

What is my book about?

 My book details a useful compilation of the name of perpetrators, countries, terminology, victims, and bystanders who were involved in making the Holocaust possible It also includes a glossary and extensive bibliography.

The books I picked & why

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Night

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Book cover of Night

Why this book?

I have used Night in teaching the Holocaust with great results. The book provides us with the full scope of the steps from freedom to arrest, to ghettoization, to deportation to surviving the death camps to liberation. The book challenges the reader to raise important moral questions linked to belief in God, and what one does to survive, including difficult choices made under extreme duress, such as sharing a slice of bread with a parent.

Night

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor's perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of…

Ordinary Men

By Christopher R. Browning,

Book cover of Ordinary Men

Why this book?

Browning writes about how ordinary middle and working-class people were turned into killers by the Nazis in their war against the Jews. In particular, he raises the question of why the Jews were considered outside their circle of human obligation by those who ordered them to murder men, women, and children. The reader might question who, besides their family and close friends, if ordered to do so, they would feel it necessary to protect in situations like those described in Ordinary Men.

Ordinary Men

By Christopher R. Browning,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Ordinary Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews.

Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945-1955

By Harald Jähner, Shaun Whiteside (translator),

Book cover of Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945-1955

Why this book?

This book by Harold Jähner addresses how Germans responded to the Holocaust following their defeat by the Allies. Most Germans, it appears, not only refused to acknowledge the mass murders of the Jews, but instead, saw themselves as victims of Allied “terror” bombings, victims of rape by Russian soldiers, and victims of the mass hunger that was inflicted upon them following the war. It was only the next generation of Germans who were willing to confront what their parent’s generation ignored or passively accepted by their silence.

Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945-1955

By Harald Jähner, Shaun Whiteside (translator),

Why should I read it?

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


Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

By Hannah Arendt,

Book cover of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

Why this book?

The book was influential in my earlier years as a scholar of the Holocaust because it raised so many questions as to how the Nazis were able to perpetrate the Holocaust. For example, were the Jewish Councils in the ghettos of Nazi-occupied Europe complicit in the deportations demanded by the Nazis which sent Jews to death camps such as Auschwitz and Treblinka? Was Eichmann simply a study in the ”banality of evil”, who was simply following orders in deporting Jews to the death camps? Arendt argued yes to both questions thus resulting in a furor among the scholars of Holocaust scholarship. 

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A profound and documented analysis ... Bound to stir our minds and trouble our consciences' Chicago Tribune

Hannah Arendt's authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi SS leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt's postscript commenting on the controversy that arose over her book. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative - a meticulous and unflinching look at one…


Holocaust Cinema Complete: A History and Analysis of 400 Films, with a Teaching Guide

By Rich Brownstein,

Book cover of Holocaust Cinema Complete: A History and Analysis of 400 Films, with a Teaching Guide

Why this book?

In my many years of teaching the Holocaust, I discovered that many students learn about the Holocaust from films. The problem is that many films are not accurate and in our age of Holocaust denial it is imperative that films be as accurate as possible in their depiction of the SHOAH. Browning’s book is by far the best available guide to films—the good, the bad, and the inaccurate, that depict the Holocaust.

Holocaust Cinema Complete: A History and Analysis of 400 Films, with a Teaching Guide

By Rich Brownstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Holocaust Cinema Complete as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Holocaust movies have become an important segment of world cinema and the de-facto Holocaust education for many. One quarter of all American-produced Holocaust-related feature films have won or been nominated for at least one Oscar. In fact, from 1945 through 1991, half of all American Holocaust features were nominated. Yet most Holocaust movies have fallen through the cracks and few have been commercially successful. This book explores these trends-and many others-with a comprehensive guide to hundreds of films and made-for-television movies.

From Anne Frank to Schindler's List to Jojo Rabbit, more than 400 films are examined from a range of…

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Interested in the Holocaust, Jerusalem, and concentration camps?

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