The Best Books On The Psychological Aftermath Of The Shoah (Ηolocaust)

The Books I Picked & Why

Night

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel

Night

Why this book?

Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.


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The Search: The Birkenau Boys

By Gerhard Durlacher, Susan Massotty

The Search: The Birkenau Boys

Why this book?

A child survivor of the Holocaust, Durlacher long believed that he was the only person still alive from a group of 89 boys assigned to the Birkenau extermination camp in 1944. After he learned that he was wrong, he set himself the task of confronting his past by locating some of the others. As in many other Holocaust memoirs, the prose here is spare, and the lack of detail can be a little confusing. For example, the reader is thrown into the author's search without a description of the process that led him to take his journey. But some psychological truisms emerge in this gray travelogue that, while not fresh, are worth ruminating over. What the author, a professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam who died in 1996, finds is that even though the survivors shared a common experience, how they have coped with their wartime suffering differs. Some, in particular those who have moved to Israel, meet regularly with other survivors; others keep their harrowing past buried deep in their psyches. Equally diverse are survivors' personal outlooks--despite what they have gone through, some of the "Birkenau Boys" still call themselves optimists, while others possess the bitterness one would expect. Not surprisingly, Durlacher, who wrote two previous books on the Holocaust, enjoyed the company of the former much more than the latter.


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The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum's Writings

By Klaas Smelik

The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum's Writings

Why this book?

The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum’s Writings brings together the work of 33 experts from all over the world to shed new light on the life, works, inspiration, and vision of the Dutch Jewish writer Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), one of the victims of the Nazi regime. Hillesum’s diaries and letters illustrate her heroic struggle to come to terms with her personal life in the context of the Holocaust. This volume revives Hillesum's research with a comprehensive rereading of her texts but also by introducing new sources about her life. With the current rise of interest in peace studies, Judaism, the Holocaust, inter-religious dialogue, gender studies, and mysticism, this book is invaluable to students and scholars in a wide range of disciplines.


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Max and Helen: A Remarkable True Love Story

By Simon Wiesenthal

Max and Helen: A Remarkable True Love Story

Why this book?

This novel is the story of an Eastern European Jewish man (Max), who is imprisoned by the Nazis during WW2 and by the Soviets immediately after. His story is amazing and is being told to famed Nazi hunter and the author of this book, Simon Wiesenthal, in the 1960's. Wiesenthal's involvement surrounds the Nazi camp commander who persecuted Max and his fiancée. The Nazi, Werner Schulze, resurfaces as a German plant manager twenty years after the war and Wiesenthal must decide whether or not he has sufficient evidence to prosecute him.


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The Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs

By Simon Wiesenthal

The Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs

Why this book?

A compelling story of the way one man in our callous times truly assumed the role of his brothers' keeper, in spite of obstructions from Nazi supporters, unsympathetic governments, time, and fading memories. The Murderers Among Us is an inspiring book -- the stirring life of a man who pursued justice in the heyday of expediency. Simon Wiesenthal was lying in a ward full of corpses when Allied troops reached Mauthausen Concentration Camp. His wife was lost in the vast confusion of postwar Europe, the rest of his family victims of the gas chambers. His own loss and the horrors he had witnessed made Wiesenthal vow to spend the rest of his life bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. 


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